|4. Moby Grape Area
Vertigo is a classic (mostly) free route that offers sustained and varied climbing. A lead of the fearsome Half Moon Crack is a feather in a trad climber's cap.
Locate the undeniable splitter of Reppy's Crack and head to the right past a death gully. The next section of solid rock to the right holds Union Jack and Vertigo. Vertigo starts in the center of the low angled pane of granite at a wide crack.
Pitch 1, 5.6: Head up the wide crack to easier climbing. Belay on a comfortable ledge.
Pitch 2, 5.9 AO: A long 50 meter pitch. Climb up the slab to a roof. Skirt the roof on the right and climb up a beautiful cleaved flake to a mass of slings attached to a new bolt. Clip the bolt, lower down about 15 feet and pendulum or tension traverse right to a stance below a large left facing corner.
If you are using double ropes, it is useful to lead the first part of the pitch, including the pendulum, on one of the ropes and then use the other rope after swinging into the corner. This way, you will have little drag and your second will have an easier time cleaning the pendulum. It is still a good idea, however, to climb as high as possible in the corner before putting a piece in.
Once established in the corner, follow the amazing fingercrack in the left wall. The technical crux of the route is found here. This part reminds me of Serenity Crack in Yosemite- thin technical jams in lower angled rock. Finally, belay off two bolts at an awkward stance.
The pendulum section of this pitch was freed a few years ago by Tim Kemple at 5.12.
Pitch 3, 5.9: Make commiting moves right off the belay and then make a big span move to a crack out right. Follow this crack as it widens and goes through a bulge. Belay at a stance at the base of the unmistakable wide crack. This is a short pitch and can be combined with the next pitch.
Pitch 4, 5.9R: The Half Moon Crack. Routefinding is not an issue on this pitch: simply climb the wide crack. Pro can be placed at the start of the crack, but after that, there is no pro for the rest of the pitch since the crack is just too wide for gear. All goes swimmingly until the final few moves when the crack trends rightward and the angle steepens.
Do not underestimate this pitch. I did and scared myself silly at the top when I found myself desperately thrutching up the crack all the while contemplating a 60 foot fall onto the slab below. It's really a memorable lead.
Most climbers rap from the bolts atop The Half Moon Crack. Three double rope raps will get you down.
Standard rack. A #5 Camalot will not fit in The Half Moon Crack. It's just too wide. I have heard that a Big Bro might fit, but I'm not entirely sure about that. The crack is about 18 inches wide.
Two ropes for rappelling. As always at Cannon, don't forget your helmet.
Dec 6, 2006
FYI- A blue big bro will work at two or three points on the OW pitch...barely. Unless you bring a few be prepared to be sketched out anyway. It is possible to lieback the entire way but doing so on lead would be a 10 on the Sphincter Pucker Factor Scale(SPF). This scale is used in climbing and many prisons around the world.
From: Denver, CO
Jul 21, 2007
Superb. And don't be intimidated by the offwidth. If you've got any offwidth skills, it's a cruiser. I've only done a little climbing in Yosemite, but I think it'd be rated a 5.7 Yosemite OW.
|By Woody Hoburg|
Jul 27, 2007
The second time I climbed this, I got in a #4 big bro halfway up the half moon, barely. #3 might fit better in many places. The placement felt sketchy - bumpy granite made it easy to twist and move around. I haven't tried, but I think a #6 camalot would fit in a lot of places. Might be a pain to pass though.
After the pendulum, I don't place pro. Make easy moves up to the fingercrack and make a good anchor; this allows the 2nd to just unclip and swing when following the pendulum.
This is one of my favorite climbs, anywhere.
|By John Peterson|
Jul 30, 2007
Leave the #6 camalot in the car - it's about .5" too small. Couldn't do a thing with it.
The big bros work just fine though. With a little patience you can find a bomber placement.
The whole thing is really pretty easy - I laybacked the entire thing and the only tough part was parking myself in the middle to place the big bro and switch sides on the layback. Probably about 5.7 in Yosemite.
And on P2, it's just what the previous poster said. Easy climbing after the traverse - don't place pro until you're above it and your second will be fine. I can't imagine doing this with a swing - I tried it that way and it was a total waste of time. It's a tension traverse all the way. You can belay just above the traverse without too much fuss. The section above is one of the best pitches anywhere.
|By Anthony Anagnostou|
Sep 6, 2007
i climbed from the ground, past the pendulum, to a decent stance in the corner far enough above the pendulum that my partner had a rope above him- all in one pitch that links comfortably with 60m doubles. (if you have double ropes, you can start putting pro in immediately after the tension traverse. just climb on one rope until the pendulum. you can be perfectly safe, and so can your partner). then another pitch that goes up to the not-so-awesome chains in the corner, steps right, and continues up to the base of the half moon in another frinedly link. I bet with 60s you could make it pretty close, if not all the way, to the rap anchors above the half moon from that belay.
i didnt find the #6 WC friend useful on the half moon crack, although i was happy to have another big cam to leave at the base to back up the manky bottomed-out pins (and one good small nut) that made up the anchor. (a #5 C4 camalot or larger would do fine here).
i thought the crux was definitely the fingery sections (which take small stuff. green aliens. tips jams). i was gripped starting up the half moon waiting for the epic, but it turned out to be quite reasonable. i could get gear in the back for the first half (.75, #1) and the upper section wasnt bad either. just more of the same. and then there are jugs at the top. and its only around 25 feet. on a slab. i agree with other posters that it would not be 5.9 in an area which has wide cracks and chimneys.
bring some gear up there with you.. its 25' of climbing from the top of the OW to the anchor.
we rapped from the anchor above the half moon to the chains in the left-facing corner (one rusted bolt with metolius hanger, one Al caving hanger, both have chains.. candidates for ASCA?). then from there to the ground on 60m ropes with a few feet of rope on the ground.
great route. splitter. definitely good with double ropes.
|By andrew kulmatiski|
From: logan, ut
Sep 17, 2007
Wow, bolts on the pendi? Someone decided to really change the character of the route.
There is a fantastic 9+/10- finger to hand crack about 30' left of the half moon crack that is fully worth doing (if you've already done the 1/2 moon). It has bomber finger locks in a bulging crack that splits a clean face three pitches up - awesome.
|By bayard russell jr|
From: Madison, NH
May 14, 2009
Its worth pointing out that the pendulum has been freed climbed a few times. It goes at about 12b, the crux section is really pretty short, but its fierce smearing. Tim Kemple did it in the early 2000's, I've heard vaugue reports of others doin it prior, my buddy Maddog even onsighted it one day. Its good climbing.
If you want a continuous challenge, at the bolt anchor at the top of the corner above the pendulum, don't traverse around the arete to get to the "Half Moon Crack", but stay in the corner. It becomes the third pitch of the Manhedral. It has some great climbing, I remember calling it 5.11c at the tiime, but maybe its 11d. That brings you right to the "Quarter Moon Crack" on Clausterphobia.
|By Dmitriy Litvak|
From: Pacifica, CA
May 27, 2009
Offwidth is too soft for Cannon ratings ...
Aug 19, 2009
For all those who want to protect 1/2 moon crack. Check Valley Giant Cam - it is made in 9inch and 12inch version.
|By David Aguasca!|
From: New York
Nov 14, 2009
I got stumped by the thin crack in the left facing corner, had to pull on a piece to get through.
The Half Moon is stellar! Moderate OW climbing on PERFECT granite, 300 feet up on an alpine wall. It protects pretty well with a #3 Bro. I placed mine about halfway up, where it starts arching back right.
|By Nick Weinberg|
From: Essex, NY
May 14, 2010
(Note: as of 5/14/2010 the rap anchors at the top of the 3rd pitch curved finger crack are in need of some work. One bolt looks decent, the other just has a very loose bolt w/out hanger. I moved a screw link from the old rusted out 1/8 inch bolt and attempted to equalize the loose bolt w/ it and a nut. Definitely not ideal.)
This climb is very good! Every pitch is unique and of high quality. We linked pitches 1 and 2 and pitches 3 and 4,which is easy with double ropes - this allows you to do the whole climb in 3 pitches. The last pitch Crescent Moon variation is really nice, even though it is technically the last pitch of Claustrophobia. It involves a well protected thin slab traverse to an amazing finger to hand crack -- it is beautiful up there! Yes, squeeze chimneys are fun to watch your friends suffer on, but doing the Crescent Moon pitch completes the climb with sustained, beautiful, and enjoyable climbing on all pitches in my opinion.
|By E thatcher|
From: Plymouth/ North Conway (NH)
Jun 19, 2010
I'm kind of surprised nothing has been said here of the pitches leading to the summit. They are typical of the cannon rockaneering upper pitches, but it's always fun to top out on this cliff, at least I think so.
Any ways, from the anchor after the half moon, traverse out the block and climb through the notch to the right of the belay. This is surprisingly easy, the book suggest 5.6. Including this pitch we sumitted with an additional 3 pitches. The final pitch that we found offered up some really fun and varied climbing.
From: New England/ Baltimore
Oct 11, 2011
The anchors at the top of the 3rd pitch are currently terrible (Oct 2011). Rapped off them this weekend and it was very sketch. Would recommend leaving a piece of your own pro behind. Given the popularity of this route, I'm surprised it hasn't been rebolted.
|By Silas Miller|
From: Harpswell, ME
Jul 21, 2012
Just climbed this rout and it was awesome! (07/20/12) We used the beta from Mountain Project and I though I could clarify some details that would have made the assent a little easier:
1. You only need ONE 70m rope to rap. There are rap anchors next to the first pitch, middle and top of second pitch and middle of third pitch. It was windy and our ropes got a little snagged a couple of times.
2. The whole rout is easily climbed in THREE pitches. and it's more like two.
P1: climb 5.6 for 60ft to a ledge.
P2:Up to the traverse, into the corner and climb all the way through AMAZING finger crack to the questionable anchors in the corner on a poor ledge. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE PUT A HANGER ON THIS BOLT? I will next time.
P3: Climb the Half Moon crack all the way to the top with one or two .75 Camalots in the back of the OW section.
Super fun climb with a rewarding finish.
|By Mike C. Robinson|
From: Rumney, NH
Jul 23, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a A0
Silis has it right!
The OW is 5.6 and there is plenty of gear
|By John Husky|
Aug 3, 2013
Both rap anchors (at the top of the crux finger crack, and above the OW) are still crap. Bad or loose bolts. I'll chip in towards replacement, but I don't know how to place bolts.
|By Matt Conroy|
Aug 25, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a A0 R
Just to kick a dead horse, here are my thoughts on the OW section. Yes it takes good gear up to about half way if you have .75 Camelots or yellow and red Link Cams. That said I felt that once I stopped messing with gear the climbing became quite easy all the way to the nonexistent hard pull out of the crack. Definitely 5.6 PG13... for me at 6' 165 lbs. My partner, however, who is taller and and burlier couldn't even reach the gear I'd so easily placed. He found his position in the crack to be tenuous at best and took more than one fall on his way to the top. Definitely 5.9 R for him. Thus the real question is not one of Big Bros being the right size but of the leader being the right size.
We also rapped down to the anchor at the top of pitch 3 of Union Jack which is far nicer than the lower Vertigo anchors.
Jun 12, 2014
Any news on the bolts on the anchor above pitch #3 (2 if you go all the way from the pendi)? Heading out there next week and it's on the list
|By Joe Gregoire|
Jul 22, 2014
We climbed Vertigo last weekend. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pitches were amazing! The mountain project beta is all accurate. Finger sized cams protect the crux, the half moon pitch isn't too bad (but it is R without a Valley Giant or Big Bro), and most of the belay anchors (old pitons etc...) need to be replaced. The rock quality on the first 5 pitches is superb.
If you do decide to top out the climb you can expect much lower rock quality and general shrubbery. 4 pitches from the top of the OW. We made the mistake of heading straight up (or even a bit left) from the top of the OW. Should have trended farther right. It looked as if there were better rock over there and the cliff is a bit lower so maybe you can top out a pitch early.
Next time we'll rappel from the top of the OW....
|By Beth McLendon|
From: Gunks, NY
Aug 3, 2014
We're thinking of climbing Vertigo later this week if the weather cooperates. If so does anyone know what we could/should bring to improve the rap anchors short of replacing bolts?
Aug 13, 2014
Did the first 4 pitches through the half moon the other day and thought I'd share my 2 cents. I found the thin arching crack in the corner on the 3rd pitch to be the technical crux. It involves sustained really thin finger locks or long reaches between better locks.
I felt somewhat sandbagged on the half moon crack by the comments on here. As suggested here you can get good 0.75 and #1 camalots in the back of the crack for the first bit. For me the half moon was sustained arm bars, chicken wings, and heel toeing. The climbing becomes more strenuous towards the top as the angle steepens. At this point a fall would be nasty. R-rated for sure, IMO. I've climbed some offwidths at the creek and I think I have decent OW technique. This one gave me that good old OW feeling like I might vomit when I reached the anchor.
The route overall is fantastic, the best route I've climbed on Cannon for sure. However, I would not recommend taking on the half moon crack unless you are solid on 5.9 OW. Definitely don't expect 5.6 or 5.7 climbing like some comments on here may suggest.
And re: the rappels, you can do 2 raps with 2 60m ropes, rap from decent bolts at the top of the half moon crack to another decent 3 (maybe 4?) bolt rappel station below and climbers right of the crux corner.