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Areas in Mortal Earth

American Beauty 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Burning Spear 0 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Classic Rock 0 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
Dark Side of the Moon 0 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Gateway Rock 0 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Psychedelic Rock 0 / 15 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
Rock of Ages 0 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Sea of Joy 0 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Stone Temple 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Watchtower, The 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
X-Crack Crag 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1

Description

Mortal Earth is a *mostly* newly developed area at a slightly lower elevation than the main Fins climbing area. The area was known as the Burning Spear area and there were 6 routes on 3 different crags mostly developed in the late '90's and early 2000's. Despite excellent stone, a few good routes, and tons of new route potential; the area did not receive a lot of traffic and there was no established trail to the crags and the climbing.

Development in the summer of 2017 by Chris Barnes, Vernon Phinney, and Mike Engle opened up new crags and new routes at a rapid pace. After consulting with Dave Bingham (route developer of 5 of the existing 6 routes), Dave agreed to the proposal that the new route developers could re-name the area Mortal Earth.  Burning Spear is now one of 11 major crags in the area.  Route development is continuing at a rapid pace.

There is now an established trail from the parking. There is a fork after a couple hundred yards and the trail makes a complete loop through Mortal Earth.  The parking is accessible by 2 wheel drive vehicles.

The routes in Mortal Earth are on vertical to less than vertical grey limestone with the occasional small roof, bulge or overhang. In general, these routes tend to be less steep than The Fins and as a result the climbs are of a more moderate nature. Climbs range from 5.6 to upper 5.12 with most of the routes in the 5.10 to easy 5.11 range.

Each crag has a different character to the rock but in general you will find shallow pockets, sometimes deep pockets, pinches, rails, crimps, runnels and some amazing Chert pinching. The rock is of high quality and ranges from very clean to having some lichen. btw, Chert is a hard, dark, opaque rock composed of silica (chalcedony) with an amorphous or microscopically fine-grained texture. At Mortal Earth, the chert provides a large variety of small to massive positive holds.

Routes tend to be long single pitch or 2 pitch climbs (75' to 250') with the average bolt count being around 10-12 bolts per pitch though some pitches can have up to 18 bolts. Typically, the climbing is characterized as thoughtful, technical, and sustained. The route developers are building safe routes with lots of bolts and usually the clips are right where you want them.   It is recommended to bring 20 quickdraws and 6 alpine draws to Mortal Earth as many of the 2 pitch climbs can be led as one long pitch requiring many, many quickdraws and rope management to minimize rope drag..  

A 70 meter rope is recommended though nearly all the routes can be descended with a single 60' meter rope (with the 2-pitch climbs requiring 2 rappels or one lower and one rappel). There are a few single pitch climbs requiring 2 ropes to get down.  Sometimes on the long single pitch cllimbs, a 70 meter rope will get you down but a single 60 meter won't quite make it.  Often it's possible to lower or rappel to another routes anchors and get down with a 60 meter.  Most of the route descriptions have specific beta for the descent in the protection section but pay attention, don't make assumptions, and knot the ends of your rope.

Anchors are either sport anchors consisting of an open cold shut and a steel carabiner for convenient lowering (and are not meant for hanging belays!) or in the case of multi-pitch routes, the top of the first pitch usually has chain anchors consisting of two lengths of 3/8" chains and quick links.  The top of the second pitches are often sport anchors or sometimes chain anchors.  

Important:  if the top anchors are sport anchors, you are meant to lower back to the ground or in the case of multi-pitch, lower back to the chain anchors.  Chain anchors usually mean rappel to get down.

Note: On many of the 2 pitch climbs at Mortal Earth, with a 60 meter rope, it is possible to combine the two pitches into one long lead and lower off the sport anchors back to to the pitch 1 chain anchors.  Then you can belay your second to the top of the pitch 2 and  lower them to the chain anchors or back to the ground.  Then you pull the rope, thread the chain anchors and rappel to the ground.

Getting There

Start your mileage at the turn off of Highway 33 onto the gravel FS 557 road. Continue up the main road to The Fins for about 3.3 miles. The road to this point is accessible by 2-wheel drive vehicles. Park near some powerlines and signs warning of buried power cables. If parked smartly, there is room for about 10 cars. 4-wheel drive is strongly recommended if you want to continue on to the main Fins and the upper parking.

There is a trail that contours the hillside up to Mortal Earth. There is a fork after a couple hundred yards and the trail makes a complete loop through Mortal Earth.  At the fork, stay left for Gateway Rock, Classic Rock, Burning Spear, Psychedelic Rock and Rock of Ages.  Take the right fork for X-Crag, Stone Temple, Dark Side of the Moon, Sea of Joy, and American Beauty.  The approach is 10 to 30 minutes depending on the crag you're headed for.

The developed crags of Mortal Earth are visible from the parking, see the beta picture.

Check out the aerial overview for trail and crag location.

79 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Mortal Earth

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 3
Freebird
Sport 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 8
You're So Vain
Sport 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 3
Fire & Rain
Sport 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 5
Maneater
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 5
It's So Easy
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 5
Octopus's Garden
Sport
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 3
Free Falling
Sport
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 5
The Joker
Sport
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 4
Magic Carpet Ride
Sport 2 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 3
Sweet Emotion
Sport
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 5
Go Your Own Way
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 3
Purple Haze
Sport 2 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 6
Slow Ride
Sport 2 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 5
Highway to Hell
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 3
Tiny Dancer
Sport 2 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Freebird Dark Side of the Moon
 3
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport 2 pitches
You're So Vain Rock of Ages
 8
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport 2 pitches
Fire & Rain American Beauty
 3
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport 2 pitches
Maneater Classic Rock
 5
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
It's So Easy Rock of Ages
 5
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Octopus's Garden Rock of Ages
 5
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Free Falling Classic Rock
 3
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
The Joker Rock of Ages
 5
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Magic Carpet Ride Sea of Joy
 4
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport 2 pitches
Sweet Emotion Classic Rock
 3
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Go Your Own Way Rock of Ages
 5
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Purple Haze Rock of Ages
 3
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport 2 pitches
Slow Ride Rock of Ages
 6
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport 2 pitches
Highway to Hell Psychedelic Rock
 5
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Tiny Dancer Stone Temple
 3
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport 2 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Mortal Earth »

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Photos

Fantastic area! Thanks to everyone that has been developing up here. I can't wait until I can get back again. Keep up the excellent work! Oct 9, 2017

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