Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Right Side Gully

Adaptive Expectations S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Capitalism & Freedom S 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Classically Liberal S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Consumption Dysfunction S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Free to Choose S 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Invisible Hand S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Natural Rate of Unemployment S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Permanent Income Hypothesis S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Rose T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Type: Sport, 180 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Romain Wacziarg & Matthew Fienup, November 2006
Page Views: 3,724 total, 28/month
Shared By: Matthew Fienup on Dec 1, 2006
Admins: andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route


37 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do

Your Star Rating:


     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:


-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
    -none-

Description

Free to Choose follows one of the most obvious lines in the Fortress--2 pitches of airy and aesthetic arete climbing.

Pitch 1 (95 feet, 5.6/5.7) follows 9 bolts up a unique, 3-feet wide knife-blade arete. Cross the gully and belay from bolts.

Pitch 2 (85 feet, 5.8) follows 8 bolts up the ever-steepening arete to a dihedral and finishes on a ledge with bolts.

2-rappels with a 60-meter rope will get you down.

Location

Free to Choose climbs the left-hand arete of the right-most slab at the Fortress. See photo for location.

Protection

All bolts are 1/2" Rawl-style expansion bolts (except for two 13mm Fixe Triplex bolts)
Trevor Roberson
Oxnard, California
 
Trevor Roberson   Oxnard, California
 
A fun route that can be done in one pitch with a 70m. Use some runners, specially the last 2 bolts of the first pitch before the dirt ledge. We rapped down to the base of PIH. Maybe 5.9? May 29, 2014
Maidy
  5.9-
Maidy  
  5.9-
I agree this is an excellent intro for The Fortress. The first pitch is 5.5-ish but was surprisingly fun and the rock is great. I don't agree that it is "contrived" since it is the logical route to access the next level and is not something most people would want to solo. The bolting seems fine considering this is an easy moderate with a potential for an ugly swing if you come off. Kinda want to take a broom up for the little traverse next time.

Pitch 2 has great exposure and fun climbing. I agree you need to be very wary of loose rock. Following, I cleaned a dinner-platter guillotine flake off that literally landed directly on the belay stance but that hazard is gone now. I also noticed some hollow stuff at the top, but it's easy to pick and choose solid holds if you keep a cool head. Extra bolts seem warranted on a climb like this which is still "evolving" (putting it in nice terms).

All in all still gets a good rating in my book in spite of it's flaws. A worthy adventure with a great summit.

Edit to add: We actually just rapped directly from the summit to the gully/base of PIH for our second climb. Some loose rock, bushes and dirt off that side, so use caution if there are people below. Jun 24, 2013
Didj
ojai, ca
  5.9- PG13
Didj   ojai, ca
  5.9- PG13
Nice intro climb into the fortress. Great site. Fun approach. My partner and I were stoked to learn about this area from Mountain Project a month ago. There's a bit of loose rock up at the top of the 2nd pitch so it may be nice for the belayer to wear a helmet. 2nd pitch is when things get a little more challenging. Once I got to the third bolt it was like sticking my head in a wind tunnel. Was tough to communicate with my belayer. Overall it appears to be a bit more cleaned up now. It was over 100 degrees so the wind felt pretty good but it did dry us out a bit. Aug 20, 2012
Matt N
Santa Barbara, CA
  5.8+
Matt N   Santa Barbara, CA
  5.8+
I believe the reason for the close bolts is to protect the leader and follower as a swinging fall off the arete wouldn't be too fun. I liked all the bolts, but still don't like the rock. The crux is trusting your holds; I kept telling my belayer "watch out when/if I step on this hold". Feb 11, 2012
John Knight  
 
Only climbed the first pitch since we were headed over to PIH. This was a nice introduction to Fortress Climbing. I thought P1 was more like 5.7 but it was my first climb at the Fortress so it's hard to tell. It is a bit weird climbing with an 8' drop on your left and a 40' drop off to your right.

The first pitch is clean and solid. Bolts were available whenever you needed them. It certainly has value as an approach pitch to PIH. Note - The traverse over to PIH is a bit exposed and loose but easy. Jan 19, 2011
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
  5.7
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
  5.7
Can easily be climbed in a single, 140' pitch with no rope drag. The first 60' of climbing is no harder than about 5.0, but the last 80' is good. The bolting is excessive in my opinion. Dec 24, 2009
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
 
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
 
The top of this route is equipped with Metolius Rap Hangers--thick, oversized hangers that are designed to have the rope fed directly through the hanger for rappels. Aug 17, 2009
Climbed this route on sunday 8/16/09. Very fun climb. Must have seen some traffic as it has cleaned up very nicely, with little loose rock and lichen. The second pitch is great! More difficult (5.9?) than the first pitch. There is a scary big block on the right at the top of the second pitch. It is literally hanging off the face of the arete. Within the next few years, or maybe just one heavy rain season, it will surely topple down the mountain. I just don't want to be at the base when that 2-ton bomb comes crashing down. Aug 17, 2009
Slater
  5.9
Slater  
  5.9
I lead the first pitch and thought it was contrived. I didn't like being 50' off the ground on the right side, but 3' off the ground on the left side, but I was keeping an open mind. Then my nephew lead the 2nd pitch. 5.9 for sure. Was starting to like it but then ran into the last 30' of the route. The whole right side of the route is ready to fall off on the top part. It shuddered, shook, vibrated, made that hollow sound, and then the belay was set on top of a pile of loose blocks. I like adventure climbing, so I can accept it, but I'm hoping there are better routes at this crag. May 26, 2009
Rob Chaney
5.9+
Rob Chaney  
5.9+
Climbed this on 4/14/2008, now that part of the second pitch has broken off clipping the 4th bolt is very barndoor'ish lack of a good left foot makes this clip very intense, blowing this clip would result in a pretty serous fall. add 1/2 a grade just for clipping this bolt. 9+ Apr 15, 2009
Ryan Kosh
Los Angeles, CA
  5.9
Ryan Kosh   Los Angeles, CA
  5.9
Climbed this last weekend. Be mindful of rockfall as this route is still a bit loose. Lead both pitches and agree on a 5.9 rating for the second pitch.

Great rock that dried out from the recent rain quicker than the wall at Potrero. Dec 1, 2008
Romain Wacziarg  
  5.9
With a broken hold midway up the second pitch, this may now be a 5.9 climb. Sep 29, 2008
Romain Wacziarg  
  5.9
Jeff - you might be able to rap down P2 with a 50 meter rope - I have not tried, but there was quite a bit of rope left with a 60 meter. However, to rap down P1 a 60 meter rope will just barely get you down to terra firma. Dec 20, 2007
Jeff Mahoney
Santa Barbara, CA
Jeff Mahoney   Santa Barbara, CA
Yes, cleaning up nicely. Fun and balancey. I'd say 5.8+ because the holds are there, it's just a weight shift issue through that second pitch crux. (Are you sure you can't do this route with a 50m rope? Seems a lot shorter.) Dec 3, 2007
Diego Hellewell
Culver City, CA
  5.9
Diego Hellewell   Culver City, CA
  5.9
I felt like the 2nd pitch was a little above 5.8 as well. Classic arete, climbs smooth, but the 5.8 is misleading. Jul 30, 2007
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
 
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
 
I climbed this route today for the n-th time. It is really cleaning up nicely. I must say though, the second pitch feels like it is getting harder. The moves through the fourth and fifth bolts felt like 5.9 to me. Jul 29, 2007
Eileen
Ventura, California
  5.8
Eileen   Ventura, California
  5.8
I've lead the first pitch of this twice now (2nd outing we just did the first pitch to get to the other climbs). It's gotten a little bit cleaner between times so it should just continue to improve and I think it will end up being a nice beginner lead climb. Apr 20, 2007
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
 
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
 
As one might expect, Free to Choose will take some time and traffic to clean up perfectly...but it will. This is some of the hardest and best Central Coast sandstone I've climbed on. Until then, there is still lichen and a little loose rock. Dec 1, 2006