Zig Zag Man
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Early morning light finds George climbing on Zig Z...
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An exciting lead for my first time at Tres Piedras! Though it felt a little run-out for my standards—perhaps not so bad for Tres Piedras standards. Not to mention I was just getting used to this type of climbing after not being on it for some time. Rope up at the base of a right facing dihedral that arches up and right. This is a bomber crack with readily available protection. Follow the crack up and right until it connects with another crack that goes straight up and over a roof. Once gaining the roof, step right and you will come upon another easily protected crack that will lead to a few easy moves. I had a little difficulty with route finding at this point in the route. At a second roof if you look right you will see a small finger crack, this is not the way! Or, at least it was not the way I went as it looked nothing like 5.9. Though you can protect the bottom of it, a fall from the slab above might leave you with a painful ankle should you hit the low angle slab at the base of the finger crack. I spent a good 10 minutes here contemplating it until I looked out to the left and eyeballed some easier slab climbing. So, climb to the left of the finger crack (which is in the left facing corner). You can protect in a horizontal seam. Continue up through some low grade and slightly run-out slab to underneath a small triangular roof. Here you will traverse right until a horizontal crack runs out. Place some gear at the end of the crack, and enjoy a spicy slab, run-out traverse to some giant chicken heads that will lead you to the near the summit of South Rock. We protected a short second pitch to gain the summit and south end rap anchors but the climbing was not difficult.
Descent: Rappel from summit anchors to the north or south end. The north anchors are at the top of Surface Tension
(5.11-), which you can top rope after descending if you wish.
From the description in Taos Rock (Foley), we had some difficulty finding the route. Using the descriptions in both Taos Rock and Rock Climbing New Mexico (Jackson), we were able to find it more easily. The climb is on the Southwest end of South Rock. If your looking all the way on the west facing end of the formation, you have gone too far. Look at a large, right arching dihedral at the southwest end of the rock and follow it all the way down to the start of the climb. At the base of the climb is a pointed rock. The crack at the beginning of the climb is deep and accepts good pro, so if otherwise you are not at the right place.
Double set of cams to #2 with one #3. Use abundant slings as the climb wanders (I used 10!). Slung some cordalette around a rock for an anchor.
By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Aug 15, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Howard Snell and I broke this into two pitches, setting the mid-belay about 20 feet up and a bit right of the roof - worked well.