Interesting hooking, lack of awkward pitches and a few memorable sections characterize this ephemeral line. While few will list this as their favorite route it is fun and enjoyable climbing if you can tolerate a few rivets. Most parties will fix 1-2 pitches and spend another 4-7 days on the wall. While the route is fairly overhanging seeps can wetten your belays/bivies especially lower on the route.
We found the route generally safe with the Journey Through the Brain as the crux pitch. My partner found several good cams on the JTTB in between a good bit of hooking. The second A4 pitch goes through poor and hollow rock but the placements are reasonable. Another pitch listed as A3 up higher is intricate and has a couple of tricky placements.
There are basically no ledges on the route until you connect back in with Zodiac at Peanut ledge.
The route begins in a shallow corner just to the left of Zodiac and goes up between Zodiac and Zenyatta Mondatta.
All anchors have at least one good bolt and accomodate two portaledges.
Cams - doubles up to 4.5 (for the big pitch on Zodiac above Peanut ledge)
Offset cams - double set
2-4 baby angles, blades, LAs each
6-8 peckers/tomahawks make things much easier.
A wide variety of hooks and probably one large hook with good clearance would be helpful.
3-4 #1-#3 copperheads each
15-20 rivet hangers (or more if you want for the Sun and Steel pitch)
Those shoes were new at the start of the climb..
|By neil chelton|
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 18, 2011
I somehow managed to bumble my way up this thing in June 2011, heres a trip report: www.supertopo.com/tr/The-Shortest-Straw/t11059n.html
And heres some relevant info:
Pitch 1: (130' A3+) A C1 start lures you into some fixed heads, reachy hooks and other nastyness. Put good hangers on the rivets because they're probably the only things that would stop you hitting the ground. A solid beak/arrow crack leads up to a strenuous pull through a roof.
Pitch 2: (140' A3) Straightforward rivets, hooks, fixed heads and other shenanigans.
Pitch 3: (130' A4-) Awesome pitch. Follow the path of least resistance on this rising traverse through crazy rock. You'll be an expert at hooking by the end of this. Some reasonable protection can be found with a little wandering. It's possible to bust out some sick free moves mid-pitch which will speed things up, but increase the chances of a necessary change of underwear at the end.
Pitch 4: (110' A2+) Mostly hooks, heads and rivets with a rather long (but clean) fall potential for the grade. Make some rather tricky final moves to gain the sloping ledge belay. You should appreciate this pitch because it will be a long time before you see solid rock again.
Pitch 5: (180' A4-) Aim for the poor rivet above the horrorshow heap of crumbling choss and DON'T FALL. Some moderate free moves and eyebrow-raising hooking will get you there. The difficulty eases after the rivet, but be delicate when climbing up the remaining 140' of dangerously loose, crunchy and sharp rock. Watch out for the big sharp edge at the top of the ramp, from here some loose 5.6ish moves get you to the belay. This pitch goes hammerless.
Pitch 6: (120' A3) Continue up the loose, sharp chossy ramp system. Difficult at first, then easing to C1+ with free moves towards the end.
Pitch 7: (130' A3) Fill up the poop tube to make yourself lighter for this dangerous pitch. Delicately navigate loose, sharp blocks and flakes up to a standard rivet, hook and head section to finish. Here you will find the biggest ledge of the route, which is almost a foot wide.
Pitch 8: (130' A2+) An expanding blade/ arrow slot leads up to more rivets, hooks and heads. Ledge fall potential early in pitch.
Pitch 9: (140' A3+) This is what you have been waiting for. Follow an expanding beak seam up to some exciting sporty hooking. A few rivets here help to control your bowels. This pitch certainly keeps your attention right to the very end..
Pitch 10: (170' A2+) Follow features that use tons of beaks and arrows to an enormous, gravity-defying loose block which seems to be held in place solely by the seasonal slime which oozes from beneath it. Putting a cam behind this feature will ensure that the pitch suddenly becomes R-rated for people in the talus below. Standard hooks, heads and rivets to finish. Time consuming to lead and clean.
Pitch 11: (170' A2+) Cruise up a line of shiny rivets glistening in the sun until they abruptly end. Putting a screamer on the last rivet or 2 will provide you with a bit more confidence for the intricate hook sequence above. Follow small features up to an expanding roof where it is nice to have cam hooks. Traverse around the roof, sink some good gear and pull through to the belay.
Pitch 12: (40' A2) The final hurdle. A few fixed heads and hook moves lead up to a rivet where a short pendulum can be done into Zodiac. Embrace that familiar trade-route smell of urine. You will be excited to plug in the first bomber cam on the whole route. Follow a 5.8 hand crack up to Peanut Ledge. The war is over, you have won.
Pitch 13: (110' C1) Sprint up the wide crack in a state of disbelief about how fast you are moving. Bring 2 #5 Camalots or equivalent.
Pitch 14: (100' C1+) Straightforward climbing with lots of easy free moves. Back cleaning will create a potential 40' ledge fall so consider not doing this if you are soloing, or use 2 ropes otherwise.
Pitch 15: (90' C2-) Possible to link with P14 if soloing with 60m ropes. More mixed aid and free climbing past fixed pins and then suddenly you are on the summit!
Useful stuff to have on your rack:
12 beaks (7 big, 3 medium, 2 small)
6 blades (1 of each size)
20 arrows (mostly medium-big size)
8 sawed angles (2 of each up to 1")
6 angles (3 each of smaller sizes)
1 set of nuts
1 set of micro nuts
3 sets of cams to 2"
2 sets of cams to 5"
offset cams probably would be nice
2-3 of each hook (including pointed)
1 set of cam hooks
15-20 heads (heads are currently all fixed, but be prepared in case you rip a bunch out)
15-20 rivet hangers (nice to have some cinch and keyhole types)
Healthy sense of humor