After finding that a couple of the other lines that we'd been eyeing had already been done, or at least partially, we settled on this one... and it turned out to be quite an excellent route! It doesn't climb the main section of Warbonnet, but it's nearly as long as the routes that do because of the lack of required 3rd/4th class scrambling at the start. Pitch 3 and 5 are as good as any similar style pitch that I've encountered on my fairly limited ascents of El Cap. I would highly recommend this route!
P-1 This pitch is not the highest quality, but it's not too bad either. It's the only logical way to gain the wall above. Climb up some flake systems interspersed with a short face section to a belay below the prominent orange colored short left angling corner. 5.9 ~ 180'
P-2 Climb the left facing/angling hand & fist crack to a short double crack system. Follow the right one to a ledge and belay. 5.10 ~ 80'
P-3 Climb past flakes and into a fantastic left facing corner ("Drop Of A Hat" diverts left here). The majority of this pitch is wide and requires at least one #5 camelot size piece to protect (if you walk it along like I did). The last portion of the corner is not OW and protects with a normal rack. Good face holds will appear at just the right time... Belay on sloping ledge. 5.10 ~ 90'
P-4 Climb out right onto boulder and continue up the easy corner to a nice flat ledge in the large corner system. 5.8 ~ 60'
P-5 This is an excellent and exciting pitch! Climb out left onto the double crack/flake system that splits the headwall. The flakes are a bit hollow sounding in spots but protect fairly well. Belay on a small flat ledge. I would have had a perfect onsight of this pitch but I opted to clip into a piece in an attempt to pull off a loose flake. 5.10 ~ 120'
Note: It is also possible to bail off right at the start of the crux section; this is what we did the first time up due to the scary flake that I couldn't remove. This variation follows a seam and ends up in the large corner system on another route. Don't go this way if you wanna continue the route.
P-6. Climb the excellent groove/dihedral to easier ground and a belay in the grungy ramp (that leads to top) at the rap bolts. 5.8+ ~ 190'
Finish up the chossy ramp system that leads to the "top" and the standard descent or take the new rap route listed below (better option).
Edit: We developed a rap route down this thing in Aug '12, making it a great half day outing. However, be advised that the rap route does not follow the lower portion of the climb, only the top 2 pitches - see photo.
From top, rap from bolts to top of P-5 and 3 stainless stoppers. Rap from here almost 200' down and climbers right to a set of bolts on another (undocumented) route. From here a shorter rap onto the ledge/chimney feature slightly to climbers left. One more rap from 2 nuts and 2 chockstones to the ground at 200'. Adjust your knot over the edge at this last rap anchor.
On the left side of wall. Start at the highest point of the talus slope.
Standard rack of nuts and double cams up to a #5 or #6 camelot. We had only one #5 camelot, but an older (slightly larger) one would have been perfect on pitch 3.
Pitch 3 corner.
wide pitch and traverse below
The thank God stance at the top of pitch 3.
BETA PHOTO: This shows most of the route.
BETA PHOTO: The route in yellow with the rap anchors locations...
BETA PHOTO: P-5 headwall flakes in center of photo
The wide pitch!
BETA PHOTO: Sam leading the wide crack (P3).
|By matt j hartman|
From: lander, wy
Sep 6, 2011
I was climbing Black Elk the days these guys put this route up and watched them after our descent. Well done. It looks like more good rock!
From: western NC
Sep 7, 2011
Mike, thanks, and nice job on black elk. I remember seeing you guys while we were up there. We were actually on the easy upper pitches of what was apparently an older undocumented line that probably went to the top (who knows -- lots of tat hanging). We ended up doing what was a really good 2 pitch variation that has yet to be freed (redpointed). Unfortunately I cannot get back out there very easily since I live in the east, but hopefully my friend can get it done.
Anyway, "weather or not" is to the left of where you guys saw us, and is (I thought so anyway) an excellent line! We did it a couple days later after some "trying" weather...
|By Nick Stayner|
From: The Magic City
Jul 11, 2012
Looks really good guys. I'll definitely be hitting it up if I make it in there this summer.
|By matt j hartman|
From: lander, wy
Jul 30, 2012
Did this route the other day and it is a nice addition to the wall. It is solid at the grade and felt as hard, if shorter as Black Elk. The wide pitch felt surly and licheny, but a few more ascents should fix that. I brought a 4, 5, and 6 camelot. I would bring another 5. The six would not fit till past the roof and bumping that five felt very insecure (you cloud leave the six behind, I certainly placed it). Needless to say I yarded a few times thru the roof till I was more comfy. The 5.10 pitch 5 is excellent and very different climbing from the rest of the route, which tends to be steep and punchy. I would do this line again. Obviously put up by a strong team from the East Coast!
From: western NC
Sep 5, 2012
Thanks Matt, glad you enjoyed the route. We were back out there again this year. After climbing the line our first day in, we established a rap route down that part of the wall. I edited the route description to reflect the changes.
Jul 8, 2013
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b
You should give yourself more credit, Nathan! Every pitch was memorable. What an amazing climb!! It deserves 4 stars, not 3. We had a set of stoppers, 2 sets of purple TCU - #3 Cams, and a #3.5 (I thought it was useful for the 2nd pitch), an old #4, a new #5 and an old #5 cam for gear. Two 60m ropes to rap the route.
Jul 9, 2013
Thanks for the perfect route description and work you put into this route- nice find! Mostly clean rock and cool cruxes. Would definitely do this route again.