|West Ridge - part D - Xanadu to Pony Express
Nearly at the Top of the West Ridge is the "North Buttress." This small area is the last West Facing area of the West Ridge before it gives way to the gully up to Shirt Tail Peak or over to Rincon. This area is fairly flat and the pitches are a little bit longer than many of those a bit lower on the West Ridge. This area gets some good sun and can be very pleasant in the winter. The area favorites are Xanadu, As We Liked It, Friends In High Places, Purple Haze, and the various take-off's of Chockstone.
To the far right of this area, just left of a rotten gully, is the climb Tryptich. Locate Xanadu, a hanging dihedral with a small crack and a small "Dr. [Zeuss]" looking tree growing out of it 60 feet up. The next major crack system to the right (30' north) is the start of Tryptich. This is also the start of the more serious routes, Tanqueray, and Kubla Khan.
Trypitch is a nice climb, although it is not a standout like the area favorites, it is unique in character and is one to think about doing "as long as you are there."
Climb up a crack and dihedral system with mostly good protection and jams (5.6) to a slot with a medium sized tree growing out of it. At last observation, a fixed anchor was present on the tree. Belaying in this nook might avoid a belay on the ledge, which has some loose rock. It is also possible to move on to the ledge and up and left to a decent crack for the belay. The second pitch moves up the previously mentioned crack under a small roof, then out right and up again to a huge roof. This second roof is negotiated out up and right again, traversing under the roof with your feet on a slab and cams of various sizes placed overhead in the crack between the roof and the main wall. This is essentially an undercling layback onto the slab feet (5.8+). A large tree and a reasonable stance are to be had for a belay at the right hand end of the roof.
There are two variations for Pitch #3- both of similar difficulty.
A) From the tree traverse far left to the bottom of an arching crack and then to the first obvious dihedral. The line is so-so. From this right-facing dihedral, climb upwards and then up and left through the obvious roof (5.10b), to another tree. Belay at the tree or continue an easy scramble for the top.
B) If you don't mind watching for loose rock, there is a more direct and pleasant variation- Move only slightly left and up to the first crack. Instead of heading for the big dihedral and roof, tackle a series of handcracks between flakes up and onwards to a tree just up and right of the belay tree mentioned on the original route (5.10b). There are a few rocks in the area that it would be best not to pull on. From the belay tree, scramble up and left to the top of the wall. To the best of my knowledge this [variation] was first done by Tony Bubb & Mark Spieker on 11/4/00. It is called "Trip Itch" by the FA party.
The descent for either variation is to hike northwest and come down the [Shirt Tail] Peak gully.
Standard Eldo Rack, with a full set of cams.