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Routes in Pillow Wall

Chlorox T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Crack-a-Pogo T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Davidson Dihedral T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Geekus Amongst Us T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Ivory Snow T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Marilyn Chambers Crack T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Panza Roja T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
Pillow Case T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Pillow Fight T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Pillow Stuffing T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Pillow Talk T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Type: Trad, 55 ft
FA: Paul Davidson
Page Views: 6,240 total, 44/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on May 24, 2006
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick

You & This Route

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Davidson Dihedral is the aesthetic open book directly across from the Davidson Wall. It is the line to do on the Pillow Wall and supposedly received it's name before it was climbed, because local climbers thought that Paul Davidson was the only one who could lead it. He wanted to call it "Pillowing", but Davidson Dihedral stuck.

The route is mainly tight hands and fingers, but is quite pumpy because the crack is flaring and insecure. Pro is solid, but not mindless to place, and this can add to the difficulty.


This clean dihedral sits sandwiched between Pillow Talk and Pillow Fight routes.


Mostly small to medium cams.
Jeff Gicklhorn
Tucson, AZ
Jeff Gicklhorn   Tucson, AZ
Great pitch, too bad the crux is so short! Chuck's OS rack was spot on, well protected the whole way, might bring one extra 0.3BD. Definitely easier (for me) than Mutiny, no question there (1 move crux vs. ~15ft on Mutiny), but both are four star routes for sure! Jun 18, 2012
Seriously Wa3lt? Sounds as though I hit a nerve. Feeling guilty about a hang somewhere ?

If my mentioning the ethics of the Flagstaff area, which were ethics we were taught by those from before us, sounds like whining to you, then I'm more than happy to wear that label. You make so many spewing assumptions that your posts are basically laughable and you end up sounding like a grumpy old man out of touch with the reality of the thread.

The fact is that many climbers (often young and just starting out), when they learn of the original ethics and understand the issues around the potential increase in errosion that comes from TRs, do indeed listen and pay more attention to where and how they top rope. If you have a hard time following that logic, read Mr. Wyckoff's second post, he got it. (Xander!, you related to Ralph G. of Xray and Crystalography fame ?)

I have a bit of personal experience with the issue of errosion at the Forks, having watched it increase dramatically over time. Some climbs at the Forks lend themselves to TRs that promote errosion and some don't. Pretty simple really.

Usually I could care less how or what someone climbs and in what style. But when a style promotes errosion, then it's time to discuss that style. Errosion was and is a real issue at the Forks and many other climbing areas. As you so astutely pointed out, climbing has gotten much more popular.

Climbing is nothing but a game and the rules you choose to play by have a lot to do with what you get back in return. My experience has been that climbs I only TR or TR first and then lead later have left me feelling unsatisfied. Climbs I have worked ground up until I got them have left me feeling satisfied. Often very satisfied. I think it took me three tries to lead Pillowing, giving it a shot once or twice a season. The day I hit the upper jam and stuck it is still quite memorable, even some 30 years later. The times I have climbed that on TR, following someone else's lead, all fade into a grey jumble of moves. Like most things, you get out of climbing what you put into it. How you choose to climb is your choice. Just sayin...

For the record, bongs, at least the kind you pound on, were never used at the Forks and EBs had been replaced by much more advanced foot wear like PAs. There may be one exception to that statement about bongs. Larry might have used one as passive pro on Supercrack. [I should perhaps point out here, to those of you like Wa3lt that get so steamed by perceived slights that they can't see the tongue in cheek nature of some posts, that PAs really sucked.] Mar 28, 2012
Tucson, AZ
Geir   Tucson, AZ
Hmmm. I think I understand where you are coming from. Good to hear that you were part of the EB / Bong generation.

I guess when I hear people talk about the TR and chalk in this area, I don't view it as being whiny. I lump this in with other proactive solutions for reducing impact. Just two different reactions, I suppose. Feb 17, 2012
My point, Geir, was not that the Forks sucks and should be trashed. It's that the complaints about toproping and chalk are just dog whistles for the "We were here first with our bongs and EBs" (full disclosure, I owned EBs and have placed bongs...) crowd.

There are lots of crags with no crowds, topropes, or chalk. But you gotta hump it for half an hour or longer. The Forks has been popular for years, in large part due to the easy access, and no amount of complaining will stop people from toproping or using chalk. The world of climbing has moved on from those debates, for better or worse, and continuing to whine just makes you look grouchy and out of touch at best, or NIMBY-ish at worst.

There are proactive solutions to lots of environmental issues - many of which involve significant human impacts in building sustainable trails, or installing bolt anchors on popular climbs to minimize the general stomping around and tree-tying-off of various TR freds. I'd love to see energy go that way, rather than trying to re-fight the battles of 30 years ago. Feb 16, 2012
Tucson, AZ
Geir   Tucson, AZ

The increasing popularity of climbing is precisely the reason we should be trying to minimize our impact. The forks is an amazing place, I think most people want to see it stay that way. Feb 16, 2012
You guys are hilarious. I bet you drove, in a 2000+ pound automobile, on a 40 foot wide, miles-long stretch of asphalt that was built by mechanically digging/blasting/flattening, to the crag that you're so concerned about people toproping and using chalk at. In fact, I'm almost positive this is the case, as I myself have gotten to the Forks that way many times.

Am I saying you should live in a yurt and eat berries, and walk to the crag with your hand-woven leather rope? No, of course not. I own a car too. But if topropes and chalk really are this big of a deal to you, I have to assume you're just being elitist dicks. Climbing got more popular in the last few decades, in case you hadn't noticed, and if you want solitude you're going to have to walk a little further. Deal with it. Feb 16, 2012
Tucson, AZ
Geir   Tucson, AZ
Well said.

I had the pleasure of meeting Paul a few days ago. He's a great guy and I really respect his thoughts on climbing style. Apr 15, 2011
Xander Wyckoff
Xander Wyckoff   Tucsies
I think I was in a bad mood when I made that comment...

I agree that ascents should be ground up and chalkless.
I guess that what was really troubling me was that I was indoors, writing a paper on Shakespeare instead of climbing in Paradise.

My point, which I think was valid, was that offending top-ropers do not know that they are offending, which, now that I consider, is obviously why Mr. Davidson made his post. My apologies.

When it really comes down to it, the Forks is just not a place for beginners. There are no bolts, very few easy routes, and ethical standards that should be respected. That said, when I went as a beginner, everyone I met was friendly and accommodating, and I learned a lot. I simply hope that those who know the area will help others less familiar with its standards to understand its ethics, rather than quietly resenting their topropes.

And fuck chalk. Apr 14, 2011
Tucson, AZ
Geir   Tucson, AZ

I didn't read Paul's comments as disrespectful toward novice climbers. I'd venture a guess that Paul would be completely supportive of individuals learning to climb trad protected by a toprope.

Paul advocated for a ground-up, chalkless ethic as it helps preserve the surrounding environment. For those who are able to do so, doesn't that seem reasonable? Apr 7, 2011
Xander Wyckoff
Xander Wyckoff   Tucsies
All due respect (and I think plenty is due), Mr. Davidson, but fuck that. I lead my climbs now, but when I was starting to climb a year ago, I knew there was more to life than slimy sport climbing at the pit, but had no trad rack, no friends with trad racks, only the desire to climb beautiful splitters. So we set up top ropes, and learned, and now we lead. To me, that seems a reasonable progression. We were respectful of others and the area, actually spent much of our time on sunny, unpopular walls (3 yogis in July, sans chalk, incidentally), and were immediately inspired to collect the gear necessary to climb at the forks in a way that seems indisuptably right and proper: ground up.

But we cannot deny that top roping is a part of climbing culture, and that it has in important place for climbers to develop confidence and prowess. We can only hope that those with experience and gear support and encourage those without to climb in a way that you espouse. Hell, set up their top ropes for them if you don't want erosion at the top, but don't ostracise them for something that they don't know is wrong, something, in fact, that you would probably be hard pressed to prove wrong to an intimidated novice climber. Change is inevitable, and disrespect often stems from benign ignorance or miscommunication. Apr 5, 2011
Markguycan are you serious about a single star? Really? Well done Paul, representing the old school in good style. Sep 2, 2010
chuck claude
Flagstaff, Az
chuck claude   Flagstaff, Az
Paul, I guess its all what our strengths are . For me I find Davidsons Dihedral pretty easy having lead it twice in a 20 minute period, but I would be wasted if I tried to lead Mutiny twice in 20 minutes Jul 30, 2008
This is definitely stout. I've only been able to lead it once, after multiple attempts with multiple falls and that was only with a fair amout of peer pressure from Dr. Dave and the Pinche and claims that the conditions were ideal for my style i.e. there was mud in the crack and water trickling down, but low and behold I fired clean.... now if only I could do that when its dry and sunny! May 22, 2008
Personally, I thought this lead was 12a.
But I was a wimp climbing in orange PAs (ok, with Brand X rubber.) TCU's were still a few years away but I sure did like having those #1 and #2 Friends. And it never crossed any of our minds to even think about trying this on TR.

Many climbs have been downgraded over the years due to advances in gear, added pro, Beta, etc... Not to mention that sport climbing has brought a whole new outlook on things. Queenfolia was uber steep when we put it up. Now it's laid back by gym standards. Such is evolution.

Every time I go back the Forks, I'm just amazed by the TRs everywhere. Not good for the erosion on the top and certainly not in keeping with the original ground up ethics.

We were often accused of keeping this area secret just so we could bag all the firsts. While there is a hint of truth to that, it was more about keeping the area pristine. We knew others would not respect the local ethics of ground up, chalkless ascents. Funny thing, we were right about that.

Imagine what this beatiful place would look like with out all the chalk or the erosion on top. Think about sitting on top of the Prow and hearing turkey in the silver canyon, a kingfisher in the gold and watching a black bear ramble down canyon toward Sycamore. Sigh...

I imagine some are still fortunate enough to experience the unique solitude of the place. Viva weekday climbing.

Oh, and I thought this was much harder than Mutiny.
Of course, oddly enough, I seconded the first on Mutiny before I led it so I knew it was just a running lie back to a good rest.
Hmmm..... May 16, 2008
chuck claude
Flagstaff, Az
chuck claude   Flagstaff, Az
On lead it slimy but really not THAT bad, actually pretty soft for a 5.11d especially as compared to Mutiny on the Bounty on the Prow Wall. No nuts are really necessary. A suggested rack for an onsite attempt (which will leave you with ample gear choices) rack is 2x0.3 microcamalots (blue), 3x0.4 microcamalots (grey), 2x 0.5 camalot jrs (maroon), and 2x0.75 camalot jrs (green). Its super fun and I will usually lead it every or every other time I'm at the Forks. Apr 27, 2007
If your not leading it, your not rating it!!! and your definitely not down rating it.
Everybody's captain gnarlo on the TR! Apr 4, 2007