Avg: 2 from 1 vote
|Type:||Trad, 700 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III|
|FA:||Mike Nelson, Jim Scott, 1997|
|Page Views:||1,417 total, 15/month|
|Shared By:||Charles Vernon on Jan 31, 2010|
|Admins:||Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick|
DescriptionRocktology was the best day of adventure I've had so far in Southern Arizona. The two star rating is given for the fact that it is a steep and exciting route, with great movement, that takes a devious path up a beautiful wall. As the name implies, the loose rock, bird shit, mediocre protection, and copious amounts of lichen detract from the quality, but certainly add to the adventure.
A word about lichen: Kerry's guide says to bring a wire brush, but we didn't take this seriously. BRING A WIRE BRUSH!
The description & topo in Kerry were more than adequate--if you want the full adventure, stop reading now.
Reference p. 125 of the guide for Kerry's route description, which I've annotated below. climbaz.com/Backcountry/pag…
The approach beta is perfect, except that simply starting by hiking on the bike trail makes more sense. It intersects the approach drainage. Instead of reversing the approach, we descended the gully between the Shark's Fin and the main wall. This was quick and offered great views of the whole wall, but had some bushwhacking, and a fixed rope rappel at one point.
The anchor bolts and occasional lead protection bolts all appeared to be in good shape, but protection is poor on several sections of 5.9 or 5.10 climbing. For that reason, plus mediocre rock in places, I think the route deserves an "R" rating.
P1: The left side of the pillar is the obvious way to go, but we climbed the right side which was far less vegetated.
P2: Very obvious. Don't get discouraged by the loose rock at the beginning, as the rock gets better (but the bird shit gets worse). Fun head-jam move (save # 1.5 or 2 friend) at the top to a crappy hanging belay.
P3: An intricate, exciting pitch. After clipping the lone bolt, do not move into the more obvious cracks 10 feet to the left. Step left from the bolt, but then work up and slightly right to the alcove mid-pitch. The pro is poor but the climbing never gets harder than 5.9. (At least one climber took a ~50 foot fall off this pitch, resulting in injury and retreat, when a hold broke and pro pulled.)
Above the alcove I deviated slightly from the topo, essentially climbing the right-leaning ramp shown on the topo(a fairly indistinct feature), to gain the left-leaning ramp. This worked out well. The 5.10 crack-to-face variation looks high quality.
P4: If I did this again I would belay from a crack at a good stance below the bolt protecting the (really cool) crux roof, and then combine the remainder of P4 w/P5. Among other things, this would eliminate rope drag on the slabby, "thought-provoking 10a moves" which were the mental crux of the route. I put in 4 pieces above the bolt but didn't like any, and here the route is buried in lichen rather than merely covered in it.
P5: short and chossy.
P6: due to time constraints, we unfortunately did not do P6. It looked pretty straightforward, at least to start.
LocationThe first two pitches are very obvious down to the right, once you come around the corner at the top of the Shark's Fin. The first pitch starts up the obvious, huge detached pillar, and the second pitch climbs a prominent right-facing, right-leaning corner above.
Descent: Kerry describes rapping the route (2 ropes) from the top of P6, though it is undoubtedly possible to continue to the summit. From the top of P3 we made it all the way to the top of P1 w/60 meter ropes. The anchor are good bolts, but the slings we found were ancient--we replaced the ones we rapped from with good slings.