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Routes in Birdie Cracks

Center Birdie Crack T,TR 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Left Birdie Crack T,TR 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Right Birdie Crack T,TR 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Description

While driving from the Pit campground to the Happies or Sads, one is likely to notice these small cliffs sitting at the rim above Chalk Bluff Road. Most just stick their head out the window as they drive past. I would like to say that those few climbers who brave the 10 minute scramble up the talus are rewarded with a little slice of Indian Creek splitter heaven, but unfortunately that is not quite the case. The Birdie Cracks are what they are, and what they are is very short, very steep, very sharp, and a little bit chossy.

Perched up in the air on a 3rd class ledge you will enjoy all day sun and excellent views of the surrounding area. It is a 5 star hangout with 1 star climbing. The climbs, while steep and thrilling, are not as conducive to running laps as one would hope. Even with good technique one must sacrifice chunks of flesh to the sharp edges and constrictions of these volcanic cracks. An excellent place to sunbathe and drink beer, but only a mediocre place to climb.

Most will choose to toprope these climbs and for that you will need a handful of pieces from 1.5" to 3", some long webbing for extending the anchors, and an extra sweatshirt or something to pad the somewhat sharp lip of the cliff. For the Left Birdie Crack and the 12a variation to the Right Birdie Crack, you will need to place directionals. Obviously the routes can also be led if one is so inclined. And before you think about hauling a bunch of crashpads up there I will point out that although these routes are shorter than many highballs in the Bishop area, they overhang a narrow 3rd class ledge and a fall from near the top would put you over the edge and into the steep talus below.

Getting There

The Birdie Cracks are easily visible from Chalk Bluff Road. They are located north of the road about half way between Pleasant Valley Rd and the parking area for the Happy Boulders. From the P.V. Pit campground drive north on Pleasant Valley Rd and then turn right on Chalk Bluff Rd. Drive 1.9 miles and park on the right in a small dirt pullout. If coming from the east, turn left onto Chalk Bluff Rd from Five Bridges Rd and drive for 4 miles (1.8 mi past the Happies) and park on the left.

Scramble up the loose talus field below the cliffs, approaching the 3rd class ledge from the left side. To access the top of the cliff for setting topropes, scramble up to the left.

3 Total Climbs

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