|Upper Bulge Routes
This is one of my favorite Tahquitz routes, although it does have a few dubious aspects. What I like about it is the exposed position and the neat features it links up. What may detract slightly from its stature is that the pitches are short and its cruxes are very sequency and height dependent.
P1: 5.11a. Climb the very thin crack up to the roof. The gear is good but a little technical, mostly thin stopper placements with a small TCU or two. Just under the roof, make a tricky stem right. Then pull the roof and belay at a small tree in a right facing corner.
P2: 5.8. This is the easy pitch, but the position is fantastic. Climb up the right facing corner a short ways (you can continue straight up and climb the entire corner, this is the second pitch of Stairway to Heaven and a great option in its own right), then make a cool blind step left around the arete to gain a spectacular left-tending thin flake. Great position here. This pitch ends on a big ledge which is shared by Stairway to Heaven on the right and Super Pooper on the left.
P3: 5.11. Climb a crack to the top of a little pedestal, where you will be faced with a blank bulge. Reach high to clip a bolt, then either make a huge reach to an edge or do a bouldery move off thin sidepulls. Follow a ramp left to another belay stance near the base of an enormous right-facing corner.
P4: 5.10c. The original finish wanders up and right on easy slabs to the top. This is about 5.6 and not very exciting. The much better finish is called "The Price of Fear". Step left around the arete of the huge corner, where you will find a 1" crack just a couple feet from the arete. After 30-40' the crack peters out into 5.10c face climbing past 4-5 bolts. Exciting, but not as scary as the name implies. This is a great pitch and a wild ending to this fun climb.
Just right of Super Pooper.
very thin to 2"
The beginning of The Flakes
BETA PHOTO: Paul Gleason - higher on the 'Flakes' 1972.
another lonely day sniffing the Lily. Oh so sweet...
|By Scotty Nelson|
Apr 8, 2007
A grey and purple TCU will work underneath the roof on pitch 1. This pitch takes very small wires and is pretty spooky.
|By Bruce Diffenbaugh|
Feb 18, 2008
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- E4 5c
Wow!! What great beta above,The only thing I can add is if you are visiting from some other area and you don't do this route you will have to come back.Don't miss it!!!!!
|By Fat Dad|
From: Los Angeles, CA
Mar 26, 2008
If you're short (I'm 5'7"), you'll have a hard time getting into the stem on the first pitch, which will make it substantially more demanding. When I did, I had to do an awkward and delicate reach for the jug at the lip. AFter pumping out placing gear I kicked my r. leg out to that edge in desparation and found I could just barely make the stem. Whew.
When I did the route a second time, I followed my much taller friend up the first pitch. He just casually kicked his leg out and make the stem.
Third pitch seems impossible until you figure it out. Then it's solid.
Jun 22, 2009
This is a fun route for sure. You need small wires and tcus for the first pitch. If you are over 6'1" it is no harder than 5.10d, as both cruxes involve reaching for a good hold. I disagree that the original finish is not exciting. It's a long and runout slab across the top of the bulge, where you turn a couple 5.9 roofs. What could be more exciting than that?
|By Luke Stefurak|
From: Mountain View, CA
Sep 30, 2009
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a
There are only 3 bolts on the Price of Fear finish which safely protect this excellent pitch.
Only 11+ if you have to use trickery to make the reach on the 3rd pitch. Could be 10+/11- for those over 6 feet. While following my partner could just reach the hold with his foot on the large pedestal. Wow!
|By Jon Clark|
From: Philadelphia, PA
Dec 30, 2010
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a
The boulder problem on pitch three is height dependant. I'm 5'6", found it very reachy, and thought it was on the hard side of V3.
From: Mojave, CA
May 8, 2012
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c
I recommend Rp's for the 1st pitch or at least BD nuts in the #3 & #4 sizes. Micro-cams only work higher up.
This route is awesome. The cruxes are short and it seems similar in difficulty to the Vampire for me. Even the 5.8 P3 is great. Get on it!
|By Will S|
From: Joshua Tree
Sep 8, 2012
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a
GEAR BETA (onsighters stop reading now)
P1. Exciting way to start the day. Recommend Peanuts and offset brass or similar (a double set of peanuts would likely see a couple from the second set used). A straight set of nuts seems like it wouldn't be nearly as useful as something with some front to back taper, ymmv. If you can get hold of one, the blue/black alien hybrid is a godsend about 2/3 up the pitch right when you're questioning falling on those tiny, tiny little wires below you and the wavy, flaring geometry at that point makes getting confidence inspiring wires difficult (possible, I actually fell on a wire placed 3" lower, but just not ideal and the blue/black was nine kinds of bomber).
Yes, the gear is mostly good, but yes it's way spooky and hard to see the placements well when making some of them. The feature is a seam, but you're really mostly climbing face holds around it so look around because some of them are hard to see. Not a lot of chalk on this route.
P2. Super cool 5.8 pitch. Short, like all the other pitches on this route, but really neat feature and position and it feels like real climbing.
P3. Beta intensive crux, and harder to actually get to that point than you expect. Take micro and small wires and single cams from tiny to #1 camalot (double up the .75s for use in the belay). Couple choices of belays, I used the lower stance and belay took .75 to 1 camalots.
Getting the bolt clipped is mildly terrifying if you're not tall, trying to not pitch over backwards. Once it's clipped unless you are 6' or so (in which case it's trivial and not even the crux of the route) there is one way that's 5.11 and two or three that are about V7. I managed to get up one of the V7 ways, and I even had some vague beta for the easier way beforehand and wasn't smart enough to make use of it. My partner used the good beta following and made it look reasonable. Pretend you're bouldering in the gym.
p4. (Price of Fear finish). Soft for the rating? Plug some tips sized gear and then cross the corner almost immediately, at the obvious ledgy break you can step onto and continue in a .5 camalot crack (take a couple) then through a few bolts with the crux at the second bolt. This has only about 3 moves of slab harder than say 5.8 and felt way easy for an Idyllwild 10c slab pitch. This pitch feels very well protected and has fantastic position.
Rack: We took a set of offset brass, set of peanuts, set of regular nuts, doubles from 00 C3 to #3 camalot, and a set of tcus from 00 to 4 (only placed one of the #3 camalots, one time and might have placed a #2 twice). This was clearly too much gear, but we didn't have gear beta ahead of time. Next time, doubles from 00tcu to #1 camalot, single 2,3 camalot, double peanuts, set offset brass, set regular nuts.
|By Ryan Kempf|
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 19, 2012
I would agree with Will. def take some small wires (#2-5) + offset brass, gear is good but small on p1 and p3. stemming move on p1 was tough and I'm 5'10". standing on top of the pedestal clipping the bolt on p3 seems business (I followed it), and the sequence over the bolt is a boulder problem (old school V3 Will). Exit for "price of Fear finish" is obvious, go left at 1st chance and hit the .5 crack (blind), slab section felt easy for the grade and flows well. damn good route, deserves the stars.
Mar 25, 2014
Combining pitches 2 and 3 makes for a better second pitch. If you do the Stairway to Heaven variation, clip the belay with long slings and keep going. If doing the 5.8 2nd pitch, no need to go to the belay bolts, just keep on trucking to the base of Price of Fear.