The Fortress is a stunning spine-like formation that runs east to west in the heart of the northern part of the Wonderland of Rocks. Numerous vertical, slanting, or discontinuous crack systems are found on the north face. Directly north of the Fortress is the Flying Fortress and lying west is the Grey Giant and the Tombstone. These formations feature excellent crack and face climbs.
Legendary climbers including Randy Leavitt, Tony Yaniro, and Mike Lechlinski established a few of the best and longest climbs in the Park on the Fortress and adjacent formations. Natural Selection (5.10d) and Weekend Warrior (5.11a) are two examples of superb crack climbs but the ultra-classic on this wall is the Catapult (5.11b).
Climbers making the relatively long trek to this area should have a comprehensive rack with stoppers and cams to 4". Two ropes to rappel off are also necessary.
The approach to this area begins in the large parking area near Key's Corner where the boyscout trail to Indian Cove exists. Head northeast on the well-marked trail for about a mile. When the trail forks, take the trail that veers northeast. After about one more mile, the trail ends in a wash that branches northeast and south.
The Atom Smasher Boulders and Timbuktu Towers lie to the northeast. Take the wash that veers in a southerly direction (trail markers have been recently established) and follow it as it meanders towards the Grey Giant. Numerous boulders in the wash near the Grey Giant require boulder hopping and tunnelling.
The best approach to The Fortress from the base of the Grey Giant is to remain north of the Grey Giant and head east for a notch between the Grey Giant and Flying Fortress. This entails some time consuming scrambling and boulder hopping. Once the notch is reached, the serene Fortress Valley lies before you.
The Wonderland Guide by Alan Barlett and Randy's guide are invaluable as references for this area.
Natural Selection is a very thin crack in a small right facing corner about 30-40 yards left of Catapult. There is a small roof halfway up. Start a little to the right and climb easy rock to a stance 30' up. Here, step left into the shallow corner. There's no distinct crux, pretty fun climbing the whole way....[more]Browse More Classics in CA