The top 10 routes of your life
I don't care that top 10 lists are silly, I'm starting one. When you think about climbing, which routes stick out in your memory above all others?
Here is my list:
10. Little Tufas, Wall Street, 5.10- I'll probably get some crap from the Moab hardmen / women for this, but I had a lot of fun on this one. It's a little short and sandy but has a move or two of nearly every type of climbing. Face climbing, flaring hand crack, heel hook, offwidth, and finger crack, all in about 50 feet.
9. Flash, Pictured Rocks Iowa, 5.11b I had to get at least one midwest route in, and this would be a classic anywhere. Really steep jugs with a crux at the top, in a nice shaded setting - pure fun.
8. Snooze Button, Boulder Canyon, 5.10b Was part of one of my first climbing trips, and was a really fun route in a secluded and spectacular setting.
7. First pitch of Salathe, Yosemite, 5.10c God I wish I had time to keep going on this one. Stellar finger cracks on the most famous wall in the world. I'd probably rank it higher if I had lead it.
6. Toxic, Smith Rock, 5.11b A personal best, and really fun route. One of the steepest routes at Smith that isn't insanely hard, and the view and exposure are excellent for a relatively short route.
5. Moons of Pluto, Smith Rock, 5.10d Smith at its best - near vertical, very technical nubbins with small crimps but enough footholds to keep making upwards progress. Until you pump out at the very top going for the arete. And just enough space between bolts to keep it interesting, without being dangerous (just don't fall before the first bolt). I'm sure stronger climbers than I have better examples, but to me this is the quintessential Smith route.
4. East Buttress, Middle Cathedral, Yosemite, 5.10 While the rock was not always perfect, this was a really fun adventure with scenery that can't be beat. Lots of moderate moves with a handful of harder ones here and there.
3. Wherever I May Roam, Smith Rock, 5.9- One of my first multipitch routes, and I'll never forget experiencing the exposure on the 4th pitch for the first time. The climbing is fun, tame, and the views at the top are absolutely stunning.
2. Central Pillar of Frenzy, Yosemite, 5.9 When I think of climbing, this is what I think about. The perfect, near vertical finger cracks on the second pitch. The scary looking roof on the 3rd that is actually surprisingly easy. And the increased exposure after that, once again, with spectacular views.
1. West face variation to Monkey off my Back, Smith Rock, 5.8+ There may be better routes from a technical perspective, but this was probably the best adventure I've ever had. The first 2 pitches are fun in themselves, a mix of solid hand cracks and nubbins. The feeling of drifting away from the wall while ascending a free hanging rope on the steep bolt ladder was pretty insane. And leading the steep jugs over the shear drop on the last pitch as the night fell, well that is just something you have to experience. Perhaps this stands out as an adventure because none of us had lights.
I'm looking forward to hearing your stories and seeing the areas people love!
In no particular order because they cover a range of styles, all valid.
Davis-Holland/Lovin Arms at Index, 5 crack pitches of varying styles with a slab crux and a bonus face pitch.
The Split Pillar at Squamish, Just the most perfect ever widening crack with a layback topout and a million dollar view.
The Price of Complacency at Tieton, The quintessential left handed Basalt arête, hope you got it cause its gone now, RIP
Remorse-Psycho-Iconoclast at Leavenworth, The vicious brother of the more famous Outer Space.
Dreamer at Darrington, I've done this 6 times with 6 different people, remote and such high quality stone
Zebra-Zion at Smith, At the last belay on the Lions chair you will feel like a god above the multitudes far below your feet!
Fiddler on the Roof at Red Rock, The absolute limit of how scared I want to be on thin face with questionable pro.
Manly Wham at Hercules #2, The best 11a warmup west of the Missisippi.
Rainy day Women at Little Si, It was still 12a when I redpointed it.
The Land Down Under at the Tieton. overhanging tiny horizontal basalt columns, my proudest onsight.
1. Dracula Right, Frankenstein Cliff NH. My boldest ice lead.
2. Moonlight Buttress, Zion. My first aid route. I followed, so it was J1 all the way.
3. Petit Grepon, RMNP. Good bivy. Gorgeous area. Narrow summit.
4. Pinnacle Gully, Mt. Washington NH. Camped outside of Harvard Cabin. Great snow/ice conditions. Mild summit conditions.
5. Complete Exum Ridge, Grand Teton WY. Bivy at the moraine field. Alpine start. Simul-climb of Upper Exum.
6. Royal Arches, Yosemite CA. Long fun day. Committing rap descent.
7. Stettners Ledges + Kieners, Longs Peak CO. Stayed at the Hilton bivy. Snow storm at the summit.
8. Triple S, Seneca Rocks WV. Burly single pitch trad.
9. East Face of Wolfs Head, Cirque of the Towers WY. Remote. Spectacular. Got benighted. Bivy at 12,000 ft. Cold. Glad I had my belay puffy!
10. Without Reason, Frankenstein Cliff NH. Tr'd this at an ice clinic given by Mark Synnott.
Feel pretty fortunate for a weekend warrior from Ohio!
1. Ecstasy 5.7 Seneca Rocks WV.
2. Solar 5.7 SR WV
3. Triple S 5.8 SR WV
4. Greenwall 5.7 SR WV
5. Tomato 5.8 SR WV
6. Pleasnat O 5.7 SR WV
7. Otter Cliffs in Maine
8. Couple of routes in Eldorado Canyon, CO
9. Followed a route in Yosemite
10. The Burn 5.8 SR WV