|Kiss of the Lepers Buttress
The First Kiss is a creatively constructed, fully bolted multi-pitch route tucked off in the northern most reaches of the park. The route has five pitches but, by linking the first two pitches, it can be done in four (but not recommended). All anchor stations have two bolts. Be aware that due to the locations of the anchor stations communication can be challenging - especially if there is a breeze blowing and/or if you've linked the first two pitches - and rope drag can be a problem on much of the route.
The first pitch (5.7) follows a generous collection of bolts up in a fairly straight line past a single high step crux to a fairly comfortable, semi-hanging belay station.
Pitch two (5.6) continues up an interesting blocky face and on a short arete to an excellent wide belay balcony with a sweet view of the north face of Monkey Face and the Cascade mountains to the west.
Note: if you chose to link pitches one and two be sure to attempt to use standard length runners at appropriate bolts to minimize rope drag. However, if you link these pitches, no matter how skillfully you might long runner and/or skip bolts you will experience some rope drag.
Pitch three heads horizontally north slightly down for about 40 feet along a ramp and then turns modestly up left another 40 feet to a fun crux move (5.5) just before the belay station. Plan on substantial rope drag on this nearly horizontal and rounded traverse pitch.
Pitch four (5.5) traverses up and left into and then up and out of a mossy bowl via a short and fun blocky arete. A short traverse left after the arete leads to a belay station atop a small bolder at the base of an orange-colored, pothole filled wall.
Pitch five (5.7) heads straight up the wall passing a short left-facing book and then continuing up another fun wall to the finishing anchors. There are two sets of anchor bolts at the top of the climb - the upper set are recommended.
It is recommended that you do not attempt to rappel this wandering route. Instead, walk off (you did remember to bring your approach shoes with you, didn't you?) by a short scramble above the final anchors to the top of the formation and then carefully down-climbing from the exposed top to a notch. Follow the faint climbers trail that leads to the hikers trail coming down from the mesa. The other option is to pack all of your gear and climb the route "alpine style". Then hike / scramble up to the trail system on the top of the mesa.
Once you reach the base of the Kiss of the Lepers Buttress via the hiking trail from the base of Monkey Face continue for about 50 feet and exit the hiking trail onto a short climbers trail to the obvious left-facing dihedral. Look for bolts ascending the west-facing wall.
Quickdraws plus a number of standard length runners. To link the first two pitches (not recommended) have at least 15 draws/runners if you plan to clip every bolt.
JimG leading pitch four.
Third pitch traverses horizontally north from a hu...
JohnK following the third pitch
Photo taken by me at the top of the last pitch, my...
Big Wave Dave at the second pitch belay ledge.
JimG leading pitch two.
JohnK leading the fifth and final pitch.
JimG following pitch five.
BETA PHOTO: JohnK leading the first pitch of The First Kiss,
First time a quickdraw has ever come undone! And o...
JohnK and Big Wave Dave standing on top of The Kis...
From: Fort Collins, CO
Aug 24, 2007
One of the funnest first climbs for the aspiring multi-pitch climber. Super protected, solid bolts, nothing questionable. Because the route gradually goes WAY left from the start, rappelling down this route is impossible. HOWEVER, if your bring 2 ropes, it is possible to rappel down The Climb in 3-4 awesome rappels. There are solid belay/rappel anchors for The Climb that you can use at the end of each rope length. One of the rappels goes over a lip and is a full on over hanging rappel. The final rappel takes you down through an fully enclosed, pitch black water chimney. This spits you out about 20 feet above the ground right into a pain in the ass juniper tree.
In my opinion, the descent is just as fun as the climb, making this one of my favorite easier routes.
May 3, 2010
You can also exit from the top of pitch 4. Rappel from the top with a 70 meter rope. Walk towards the Monkey and Misery Ridge on the wide ledge. Ten feet of scramblins gets you off the ledge and onto the hillside. Tack over to the turn on the Misery Ridge Trail (you will intersect with the old trail). This exit has less exposure and gets you fairly close to the top.
The exit off the top of pitch 2 is more ugly and should be avoided.
|By Nate Ball|
From: Taipei, TW
Dec 20, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c
You can also bail from the anchors of Pitch 3 with two 60m ropes. Hence the presence of rap rings. You will see the bolt line of some crazy-hard route below and to the left. Beware of loose rock on your way down... you'll probably want to move up the hill if you're waiting for your partner to come down. Me and a couple buddies had to do this when it started getting dark... one of us could talk the talk more than they could rock the rock.
This is a fantastic route on which to learn multi-pitch belay setups and transfers. The climbing is pretty fun, the views pretty stellar, without a whole lot of exposure. Pitch 1 is pretty straightforward stemming, knob pulling, and ramping. Pitch 2 is pretty sweet, meanders a little, and is much like the first. Pitch 3 can be a pain in the ass, as it only "climbs" maybe 20 feet, and traverses about 70. Practice your rope signals, because if there is any wind, you won't be able to hear each other at all. Pitch 4 is pretty short, with scary fall potential early on, but the climbing is easy. Pitch 5... this is what you came for. It's the longest, the most technical, and the most exposed. Top out, enjoy the view, then switch into your approach shoes, because the walk off is a little precarious.
As the name suggests, this is a great "date" route as well. ;-)
|By Heather Bates|
Jun 2, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b
This is a great route! The exposure is amazing on the last few pitches. Very alpine like feel with the convience of clipping bolts. The views are amazing the entire way up, enjoy the climb!!
Sep 3, 2013
This is a great route for learning multi pitch sport climbing. This was my first long(ish) multi pitch climb with my wife, There was zero wind as we hiked in (Misery Ridge is quicker, but sucks...) but by the 3rd pitch we couldn't hear each other at all. I have a pretty loud and carrying voice, but she couldn't hear me once I rounded the corner on the traverse and I never heard her once I was at the anchors ready to belay her. Rope signals were the only thing that worked, but it was a challenge for us. I read the reviews and the guide books, but I truly would recommend practicing and going over rope signals before you start this route. Pitch 1 was fine, 2 was better, 3 was ok (kind of neat with the rounded traverse), pitch 4 was my wife's favorite and the amphitheater feel was neat, but pitch 5 was my favorite and felt a little more exposed. We used a 70m rope and rappelled the 5th pitch for an easy and shorter walk off of the 4th pitch. The 70m was JUST enough rope to get us to the base of 5 with both ends knotted for safety. DO NOT RAP P5 with <70m. This route was a lot of fun!
|By Kate Rafter|
Oct 21, 2013
Updating on what ytterbium said below, at the top of the final pitch there is still a JANKY flake teetering over the edge. If it's television-sized, it's definitely a widescreen. Also, bring walkie-talkies.