The Mudshark Arpeggio
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BETA PHOTO: Showing line of The Mudshark Arpeggio
This is a classic Steve Grossman lead which means some serious run out face climbing with tricky pro. I've only recently remembered to bug Steve for the name of the route, thus it has gone relatively undocumented for many years. It's seen on Hill's third edition BSS topo as #7 Unnamed.
This route climbs the trad line you would take to climb up through the Great White and Hammerhead areas if you were climbing on all natural gear. I've appropriated a pic from BSS crack and tried to draw in the line as best I can remember it 20 years later.
With the establishment of Great White and Hammerhead, the original line will probably not see many, if any ascents. Why climb run out trad 11+R when you can sport climb and clip bolts? Not having climbed either of those two routes, I'm not sure where Hammerhead's second pitch goes in relation this climb's third. But for posterity (and the masochists amongst you) I've tried to document this climb. While Steve is well known in AZ and the Valley (FAs of Jolly Rodger, The Turning Point, The Real Nose, etc...) his new routes in NM are (probably) limited to this one and a few wild corners out at the Malpais.
Just left of the bolts on the first pitch of Great White is a flake/crack system. First pitch climbs this set of discontinuous cracks and flakes up to where it bears right under the big roofs. Belay out right in a small corner on the right side of the roofs. ~10+ Climbing probably had at least some PG13 and possibly some R sections up higher where the cracks come and go.
2nd pitch climbs up and over the roofs with some wandering here and there to get gear and snake around the roofs. It was a short pitch due to the rope drag (certainly this bit has to have been straightened out by Hammerhead.) Belay was on a nice small foot ledge above the roofs where an obvious corner with gear is located. Great exposure at the belay, had the feeling of hanging out in space. I seem to recall the actual climbing being 5.9ish but it was probably more accurately 5.10 if you happen to miss any of the wandering sequence holds. Relative to the 1st and 3rd pitch it was pretty easy. After drawing on the pic, it's possible I went the way seen in the green line.
3rd pitch is the real deal. Climb up the corner above the belay and continue up the face. Higher up you'll find yourself about 15-20ft out and confronted with a relatively small roof. Turn this roof basically straight on (11+) and continue up easier ground to the summit. The roof involved some very strenuous and reachy moves. I recall lunging for holds and popping off this thing a couple of times before figuring out a more static way. It would be a real nasty fall to take. Probably put you back below the belay and possibly over the roofs.
This pitch basically follows upper right side of the nose of the spire.
Descent as per BSS.
Led clean with no fixed gear.
A typical Grossman rack includes the kitchen sink.
May 8, 2009
A marvelous little arpeggio.And now....