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North Side
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The Seal 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Bob Mitchell, Will Fulton - 1969
Season: Any
Page Views: 6,192
Submitted By: Brent Roaten on Mar 22, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (67)
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The Seal, Looking Glass, NC.

Description 

The route takes the beautiful arching crack just around the corner from Cornflake crack on the North Face. The arching crack ranges from 5.9 fingers at the bottom to an offwidth through the top of the arch over to the anchors. As I recall, the gear is excellent and there are plenty of stems on the lower part of the route. The crux is a strenous move or two through the offwidth ending in a lovely thin traverse to the anchors. The route continues as an aid climb for a couple of additional pitches.

Location 

North Face of Looking Glass. Obvious arching crack to the right of Cornflake

Protection 

Wide range of cams and passive gear. Save a #4 or #5 camalot for the crux. Fixed anchors at the top


Photos of The Seal Slideshow Add Photo
D.J. Shalvey leading with another climber at the shared anchors with Killer Whales
D.J. Shalvey leading with another climber at the s...
Diff Ritchie on the Seal in 1974
Diff Ritchie on the Seal in 1974
Me on P1 of the seal.
Me on P1 of the seal.
Happy to be at the anchors
Happy to be at the anchors
pitch one variation:  Killer Whales 5.11
pitch one variation: Killer Whales 5.11
Brent Roaten taking a rest in the 5.9 finger crack section
Brent Roaten taking a rest in the 5.9 finger crack...
The beautiful arching line of the Seal.
The beautiful arching line of the Seal.
Ryan Myers climbing The Seal
Ryan Myers climbing The Seal
A view from up high just past the wide section.  Photo by Phil Hoffmann.
A view from up high just past the wide section. P...
Having fun on The Seal
Having fun on The Seal
MJ returns on the Seal.  Adjusting helmet after hitting the roof too many times at the 9+ wide section.  Photo by Phil Hoffmann.
MJ returns on the Seal. Adjusting helmet after hi...
Diff Ritchie on the seal in 1970's
Diff Ritchie on the seal in 1970's

Comments on The Seal Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 7, 2014
By andjoely
From: Menlo Park, CA
Jan 18, 2008

You don't need any large cams (like #4 or #5 mentioned)
By John W. Knoernschild
From: Wisconsin
Mar 6, 2009

This is one of the sexiest routes I have ever seen! I am heading out to North Carolina for just for this!
By ziggy
Aug 24, 2009

Never saw a spot for a #4 or #5, but I would bring doubles of #1, #2, and 0.75 camalots, plus several small camming units. Not PG-13, in fact this route will take just about as much gear as you can feed it. Warning possible beta spoiler will procede!

I would say that the crux was not the offwidth undercling at the top (all though placing gear is pretty strenuous through that section) but the thin section about 1/3 of the way up the route. You will know it when you get there. It is marked by the finger section getting to thin to use (at least for bigger fingered people) and your feet slowly dwindle to smears.
By camhead
From: Vandalia, Appalachia
Sep 7, 2010

I used a 4 camalot right before the wide section, which was definitely the crux for me.
By Joe Virtanen
From: Asheville, NC
May 25, 2011

Great route, amazing moves. Didn't need doubles of anything really. Takes nuts (I used a lot of nuts and tricams so I didn't need doubles) and cams well the whole way.
By BruceBurgessNC
Nov 18, 2012
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

It's not necessary, but you can get a big piece in the right end of the big slot if you want a more directly overhead piece during the crux. It's also a good directional for the second especially if you think they may whip on that move. That undercling always feel super slick and somewhat desperate to me. Fortunately my wife can walk the dog that pitch, so I rarely have to lead it :)
By daveisclimbing
From: Oakland, CA
Mar 17, 2013

Great route, and stout for the grade. The thin fingers was the crux for me since I'm short, but that made the upper crux easier. You win some and you lose some. I didn't use any underclinging at the wide section, just some crimping and a side pull. No need for large gear, but it would be helpful for your follower.
By Tom O'Shields
Mar 26, 2013

I noticed the FFA was not noted. It was by Mark James in early summer 1976. All these north side routes were pretty sporty in eb's and swamis.
By Jonathan Dull
From: Boone, NC
Jul 24, 2013

The Seal! What a fantastic climb with perfect gear all the way through. The fixed stopper is still in place (7-20-13) before you start the wide section (crux), no need to bring a big cam or anything, just clip the fixed stopper and crank through the crux (It will hold; I fell on it!) You can bring a 1 or 0 C3 for the thin section that is bomber. Do yourself a favor and rack up for this gem! Definitely one of my favorite climbs at the glass..

  • This is beta for the first pitch only.
By Bob M
From: Alpharetta, GA
Aug 31, 2014

The fixed stopper is still in place, looks to be in good condition, and is still bomber. Tested 8/30/2014.
By Scott Phil
From: NC
Sep 7, 2014

Hmm, I think I might have placed that fixed stopper. One rainy day a few years ago I took a friend to LG for the first time. The rain was supposed to stop and we had hoped a breeze might dry off the Nose area, but instead it settled in. So I told her about this "great climb that always stays dry" thinking that we could do the first pitch of the Seal. Everything was fine until I got to the top crux. The rain had blown in and area near the undercling was damp. I was able to place the stopper but could get no further. Glad that it is being put to good use, especially since it sounds like it will be there for a long time.

Edit to add that if this is my stopper it is a straight-sided Chouinard (8 I think) with a strong wire and in great condition despite its age.