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Matt near the top of the pitch.
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The route is one of the best I have done anywhere. Immaculate rock and beautiful finger and hand jams will leave a smile on any crack climber's face. The finger crack crux comes early, but the real challenge is the sustained nature of the climb. It gets wider and easier as you go up, but there are few rests on this route, so I found the crux to definitely be avoiding getting pumped at the top of the route.
This route is immediately left of Hollywood and Vine, and four cracks to the right of the old stake ladder. The approach is a little tricky. Follow the Durrance approach to the start of the third-class ledges. I recommend racking up and leaving your packs there. Follow the approach to Soler to the outside corner of the third-class ledges (approximately the apex of the turn of the third class ledges). Do not climb all the way to the base of Soler. Instead, climb up exposed third and fourth class blocks to a series of ledges with trees. Follow these around right until you encounter a short fourth class ramp to a sheltered alcove at the base of the route. If the moves are Class 5, you're off route -- but many people will still want a belay for this fourth class approach.
Walt Bailey is long and sustained, so bring plenty of protection from small nuts and TCUs to about a #3 Camalot, with doubles (or even triples) of everything up to a #2 Camalot. The crack has many constrictions, so nuts and hexes work well. A 60 meter rope is highly recommended, as we didn't have much rope left at the top of the pitch. You might be able to stretch a 50 meter rope to the top, though this might require some simul-climbing. There's a good 2 bolt anchor at the top, but it is not set up for a rappel station.
This is one long pitch, but it does ease up near t...
Scott F. filming me on Bailey.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Sep 4, 2004
The best 5.9 in the entire USA!Climb it to find out how hard 5.9 really is.In Yosemite or Colorado this would be rated 5.10a.Finger locking good!
|By john walker|
Sep 4, 2004
In eldorado canyon this climb would be rated 5.9 or under, ask Larry Dalke. I agree this is a must do, a great route and really fun. 5.9 is a fair grade for WB.
Jul 12, 2005
Phenomenal. High quality fingers to hands. A plate under one of the anchor bolts says "crack eat e rope." This is a measure to keep parties from rapping from the top of the pitch although folks obviously do. Be careful when pulling your rope if you do rap from here.
|By Tim McCabe|
Oct 15, 2006
Before the bolts got put in there used to be two pins with rap rings but no one used them because the crack is a real rope eater. However once I got a pair of 180’ ropes not only was it easier to lead as one pitch you can also rap in one pitch. The key is to move way left or west as you rap and then walk farther west as you pull. The rope falls cross ways and stays out of the crack. I used this several times before the bolts went in but haven’t been there for years. It was a great way to avoid the crowds rapping right of Soler one long rap and you are on the ramp.
Feb 5, 2007
Sustained, but eases up a bit toward the top. 100% bomber pro and a phenomenal climb all around! Much better than the grunt fest that is the Durrance Route, in my opinion.
|By Ken Leiden|
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 1, 2007
As good as it gets at the Tower for any grade. Also, who would have thought that you could get to the top of Devils Tower in one 5th class pitch!
|By Rob Hritz|
From: Cockeysville, MD
Apr 20, 2010
Amazing, still dream about this great climb.
Rock is nice and sticky, just remember to stay plum lined.
|By Ryan Strong|
From: Franklin, Wisconsin
Sep 30, 2011
Probably the best 5.9 pitch i have ever climbed.
|By Dani Goodson|
Mar 22, 2012
Seems like most people found it eased up near the top...for small hands the crack got rather wide and I found the top more difficult. Definitely a sustained and beautiful crack climb! Good protection if you bring enough gear. Probably my all-time favorite Tower climb.