|Central Wall Area
This popular moderate (C2 or C2+) aid route was free-climbed in 2007 at 5.12d. Short pitches and an easy descent (only one 60m rope required to rappel) make it very accessible for both aid and free climbing. Aid ratings and to some degree free climbing protection assume fixed gear is in place.
Pitch '1-' (.9): Not technically the first pitch of Town Crier, but accesses the ledge from which the route begins. Climb the hand and finger crack to 4th class ledges, trending right and belaying either at a bolted anchor below P.1 of Green Drag-on, or at a natural belay to the right below a chimney.
Pitch 1 (.9): Climb up the chimney to a crux move exiting the chimney. For the free version, belay at the first anchor (atop '12 Angry Bees'). If aiding, continue up cracks to another anchor atop 'Smokeout Ledge'.
Pitch 2 (.11c or C2+): The free variation climbs left to an overlap (crux), then up a scary hollow flake and thin cracks to a belay out right. The aid line either goes left out the roof (C2+ with possible pendulum point), or up thin cracks on the face (cam hooks and small nuts) to the same belay.
Pitch 3 (.12b/c or C2): The 'Triple Overhangs' pitch. Climb off the belay past fixed gear into a corner. Surmount the overhangs (.12 boulder problem or C2). If free climbing, exit left out of the corner when it starts to seem blank, then climb up and back right to the belay.
Pitch 4 (5.11a/b or C2): Climb a thin seam to a flare. Aid or free, the crux is the initial section off the belay.
Pitch 5 (5.12d or C1): Climb a flare off the belay (5.10 or C1). Fixed pins lead over a bulge to a bolt ladder. Climb the ladder (5.12d or C1) and belay at the second of two anchors. The free crux climbs a faint flared seam. Not all the bolts can be clipped when free climbing. It is also possible to free climb right of the ladder and rejoin it higher up with a 15-20 foot runout on difficult moves in horizontals.
Pitch 6 (dirty 5th class): Join Green Drag-on for a less-than-stellar finish to the top of the wall, or rappel the route.
Upon reaching the Upper Town Wall, turn left and up a couple of steep steps to a nice flat spot. The approach handcrack will be obvious a little to the right on the wall. One 60m rope is adequate for descent, although a second would obviously make the rappels more convenient. Alternately, finish the final gully pitch and walk off up and left to meet the Upper Town Wall trail.
Free climbing: Nuts to #9 Black Diamond; I found brass offsets or RP's to be useful, with doubles in the #3-5 range. A single set of cams from #0 C3/equivalent TCU's to #3 Camalot with doubles in the .4 and .5 range is more than adequate. Extra thin cams could be used, but aren't necessary.
Aid Climbing: Cam hooks, good nut selection with offsets, doubles in cams from thin to #3 Camalot and possibly a #4 would cover it, but please note that I haven't aided it lately.
If some of the pins were missing in certain spots it could change the nature of the climbing, but my impression is that the aid would probably still be clean, especially with modern gadgetry.
From: Chicago, IL
Sep 30, 2010
A fantastic route. We aid climbed it, and the description above is pretty spot-on. For the aid rack, micro-stoppers and offsets were key. We only used a skyhook once, but there was one other place that I remember one could use a hook, so it may be a good idea to bring a couple. All belays have good bolts and chains or rings. When aiding, this route goes at 5.9 C2. Also, note that on pitch 4 (pitch after the triple overhangs),there is a mandatory free move or two, around 5.8, just below the anchors.
On a side note: is there a way to post this route as an aid route as well? I've noticed other climbs that see both aid and free ascents are listed as two separate links. Any way we can give this single link a dual rating? Seems redundant to post another link when the aid description here is just right.