|Sespe Gorge (Black Wall)
The most engaging line on the wall. Although it is possible to link pitches, managing the lower and upper roofs is more reasonable when the climb is broken up into three pitches.
For the first pitch, there are two options:
-The original first pitch: [5.8] lieback out the left side of the cave. The crux is getting into the lieback.
-The Sting [5.10+ R] big moves on overhanging terrain out the cave. The crux is pulling the lip.
Both first pitch variations end just above the cave at slung huecos.
For the second pitch, the angle kicks back. Easy climbing follows a system of huecos upward. The huecos then disappear and while the climbing remains easy, protection becomes somewhat sparse [5.7]. Continue upward until a crack opens up, allowing more opportunity for pro. Belay at the small but sturdy oak, down and right from the high roof, or construct a belay.
The third pitch includes steep and exposed moves past a roof, 200+ feet off the deck. From the belay, head left to the roof and surmount it via one of three weaknesses. The leftmost crack is 5.9, the middle is 5.8, and the rightmost is 5.7.
Getting to the 5.9 crack from the oak belay includes a great hand traverse beneath the roof.
A large oak with slings makes it easy to rappel back down and sample each top-out variation.
*tattered slings marking the top of pitch 1 on 'The Sting' replaced with black webbing and tan ring Oct. 19th 2013*
The route begins in the back of the obvious cave left of the platform.
This route is 100% bolt free. To protect the crux moves on the first pitch (The Sting), sling the obvious horn. The horn can be backed up with a decent BD #2 just below and right. A fall at the lip of the cave can be caught by the horn. It is also possible to place a great BD #3 mid-crux (but doing so is tough and most will want to just punch it).
If doing the standard 5.8 first pitch of The Wasp, a BD #2 or #3 protects the steep start, and a #4 fits perfectly behind the upper flake.
After the huecos above the cave, the pro goes from thin to none. A bomber medium stopper can be placed just before the pro vanishes. Once the crack opens up again, protection is basic. The roof moves at the top of the climb can be safely protected by BD #1 or #2.
A top-rope can be set up on The Sting by first climbing pitch one of The Wasp. At the slung huecos, equalize several more huecos to create a bomber TR setup. There is webbing and a fat ring to lower from when you are done.
|By Richard Shore|
May 12, 2011
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
Heady lead. The R rating is very real; mostly at the start in my opinion. You are committed into the crux with the slung horn as the only pro that could (maybe) stop a fall. I placed a 2 c4 in a crack high up and left, but the rock was so sandy and poor that I don't think it would have held body weight. As as I got towards the lip of the cave, I looked down and saw the sling fall off the horn. FML. Felt like i was free-soloing with a rope. As I was clipping into the anchor I was stung by a bee - how fitting.
If you opt to do just the cave section and lower off, consider bringing a knife and a good length of natural-colored webbing to replace the aging slings.
|By andy patterson|
From: Santa Barbara, CA
May 12, 2011
Way to get out there and tick off those old lines, Richard!