Type: Trad, 750 ft (227 m), 5 pitches
FA: Ed Webster & Chester Dreiman, 1982
Page Views: 15,904 total · 64/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on May 15, 2003
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

You & This Route

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Description Suggest change

This route is awesome! Perfect stone, great position, spicy, thoughtful climbing, and, most of all, a ridiculously improbable looking line make for an incredible, albeit shorter, afternoon in the Black.

Start: Head down the Cruise Gully. Shortly after the second rappel, the gully opens up briefly and an obvious climber's trail splits off left. Follow this for a short while (minor bushwhacking and scrambling) until it turns sharply left up to the wall and to the base of a long 20-30' wide right-angling ramp.

P1 & 2: Climb this ramp for two pitches (mostly 5.6 with a short section of 5.8). About 100' up you step left into a short, vertical dihedral, and then continue up on more rampy terrain. Belay at the end of the ramp at the base of an ugly squeeze chimney and directly below a huge flake that actually forms a nifty arch over your head (this flake is half-way up the wall and easily visible from routes across the gully and the rim). These two pitches probably total 250', but I highly recommend leading them in one with some simul-climbing.

P3: Head straight right out the steep slab using underclings and then disappear around the corner and onto a steeper slab: make sure to look down at the nothingness below your feet! Continue around the corner, clip a fixed pin, and head up a short crack (5.9) and face to the apex of the lower half of the wall. Belay here at a nice stance about 15' down and right from the long, intimidating, right-facing, right-leaning dihedral/roof.

P4: Make tricky, unprotected face moves above your belayer's head until you can stretch up and place gear in the obvious chalked up underclings of the dihedral. Work your way up this dihedral for 100' (calf-intensive 5.10) to a stance below where the dihedral arcs sharply right. Place a piece up high (long runner!) and step left around the arĂȘte and out of the dihedral using small face holds (crux?). Scary but wonderful. Clip a fixed pin and face climb up and left for 35' to an obvious stance for a semi-hanging belay. This pitch has the potential for a violent fall if you blow it before clipping the piton.

P5: Run it out straight up for 25' to a new Metolius bolt (5.9+), clipping a fixed pin on the way. Continue up 20' to a roof, place a #1 Camalot, and head right for 20' under this roof, once again using underclings and smears (easy 5.10). At an obvious weakness, pull over the roof (exciting!) and onto the face above. Head up and left on the face at easy 5.9 for about 50' (with occasional marginal pieces of gear) until you reach the nice ledge that transects the entire wall. Walk off left (passing the top of Maiden Voyage), or head right and up a final 5.9 pitch to the summit.

Protection Suggest change

A single set of cams up to 3" with some smaller stuff (TCUs or Aliens) and a set of stoppers should suffice. Shoulder-length slings. Ed Webster sent me this email some time ago about the lone bolt on the climb:

Dear Joshua,

It was nice of you to write; thanks and sorry it's taken me quite a while to respond. We did the FA of Checkerboard Wall with NO bolts. I've only done the route that once [21 years ago], and I never
repeated it, but I heard through friends that someone (I don't know who it was) placed a bolt to protect that bit of dicey face off that exposed upper belay, and getting up to the big horizontal overlap on the second-to-last pitch. I was quite dismayed to hear about that bolt, and I take great offense to it, as it ruins the original quality of the route. I led the entire route when we did it; and it took me a lot of concentration to figure out those thin face moves where the bolt is now, and to get up the nerve to do them, right above the belay (and as I recall, a peg behind a flake for pro) to reach the big overlap and plug in a Friend under it. So, I would be very happy if you went up there next spring and removed that bolt. Hack saw it off, carefully hammer the stud into the hole, and epoxy it over with some rock dust to hide the hole if you can.

Thanks again for being in touch. And by the way, I'm living in Maine now; I moved away from Boulder 2 years ago. With very best wishes,

sincerely, Ed Webster