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Jason on the second pitch.
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As the only free option on the Watchtower, the Timex Route is undoubtedly the most popular choice. That being said, this route is no give me for a 5.9 leader. The crux pitch is insecure and the protection isn’t always bomber. It’s also worth noting that there is vegetation on nearly every pitch of this route.
On the other hand this is an awesome alpine adventure route within two easy miles of the car. It climbs the best looking face in a beautiful alpine cirque and offers some extraordinary views of Tokopah Falls.
The best route beta is the overlay photo which I marked the day after we did the climb. The route can be broken up several different ways. Here’s what we did with 60 meter ropes and a tiny bit of easy simu-climbing on pitch one.
Pitch one – Start 20 feet right of the biggest tree. Climb up and right past a short bit of harder climbing and continue up and right for an entire rope length ending on a small ledge. A little simu climbing is required with a 60m rope.
Pitch two – Continue up and right until near the top of the giant, triangular crack system. About 20 feet from the actual apex cut up and left via a series of shallow dihedrals. This is the crux and it feels somewhat insecure in places. Climb until out of rope.
Pitch three – Make a few moves up and left to reach a crack that cuts back right up and across the face above. Hand traverse out this crack and continue up and right until the climbing above you looks like 5.10. You’re standing on some broken ledges here. Traverse right and slightly downward at one point to another crack system 20 feet away. Climb this crack a short distance until you run out of rope. Watch for rope drag here.
Pitch four – Climb past a couple bushes and a layback and chart a course aiming for the right side of the giant, light colored pillar that is looming above. Look for a good belay when you are near the end of your rope.
Pitch five – Climb over a small 5.9 roof with good gear and continue to a large, loose ledge area and build a belay. This pitch is not a full rope length.
Pitch six – Climb up and left via several cracks to a ledge. From the ledge, make a few harder moves and then run out the rope heading up at first and then up and right. Belay on a large flat ledge with a gash on the back side.
Pitch seven – Down climb into the gash and out the other side to easy scrambling. We ran the rope out on this pitch going up and right and belaying at the top of the large notch.
From here an easy scramble to the west will put you on the Pear Lake trail which you can follow to Wolverton and then back to Lodgepole in a little over three miles.
See photo overlay.
A double set of cams from black alien to #3 Camalot. One #4 Camalot (C4). One set of nuts.
Jason Ivanic halfway up the Timex Route.
Rob Beno following P5 of the Timex Route with the ...
Exiting the gash on pitch seven.
Rob Beno leading P4 of the Timex Route. This photo...
By Richard Shore
Sep 15, 2014
The photo overlay topo posted here is extremely helpful - take a copy with you on route. P1 as described here is about 220', so be ready to simulclimb on some easy terrain. Look for a small tree about 40' up with some rap slings as a landmark on the first pitch. A good adventure route on quality rock with no fixed gear and LOTS of vegetation. Nut tool for the leader is essential for excavating gear placements. Take care with some minor loose blocks on belay ledges as well - we trundled a few. This thing might clean up and become a "classic" after a hundred or more ascents!
By Gabe De La Rosa
Jul 20, 2015
Whoa...what an adventure. Did this with Victor Dunphy on Jul. 18, 2015. The route feels very alpine, lots of bushwhacking, routefinding, and not much straightforward climbing. It felt about 5.9+ for these reasons, plus loose rock and gear far between.
We split the first pitch into two because of rope drag, and belayed off a ledge half a rope length up, which I recommend. Pitch two was the crux, though I felt the lower half was much more difficult than the upper half. The number four is really only useful for the OW layback on pitch four, but protects some strenuous moves exiting a dirty, vegetated chimney. Pitch four and five are the glory pitches, far and away the most fun climbing on the route. Pitch six had more plants than rock, it seems...
We got caught in a horrendously thunderous hailstorm right after pitch five, which soaked all the rock and us and made things feel a little scary and definitely alpine. Luckily the last two pitches are cruiser, but climbing in hail with thunder striking less than a mile away and fog reducing visibility to ~50 feet is an experience in itself. We actually free soloed to the top after reaching the "gully", but the climbing was basically fourth class. Quite the adventure!