Avg: 3.3 from 13 votes
|Type:||Trad, 375 ft, 4 pitches|
|FA:||Ray Ringle, John Steiger, 1983. 2nd pitch dir: Jim Waugh, Eric Rhicard, 1988|
|Page Views:||3,482 total · 33/month|
|Shared By:||John Steiger on Sep 4, 2011|
|Admins:||Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick|
Vying for the hardest multi-pitch climb in Arizona in the early 1980s (Coming to Grips onto the Sound of One Hand Thrashing may have had a more fearsome reputation), RR and I made a number of attempts over several years before putting it together. Part of the reason, besides the sheer intimidation of the Sea Gods' overhanging red walls, was figuring out how to protect the thing -- RR at one point came up with a home-made 4-5" cam (the largest Friend we had was a no.3) to protect the first pitch. The cam was ungainly looking and had a tendency to tip out, so climbing past it took a certain amount of sacking up, particularly knowing that the next piece was a ways up and the pump was coming. I think that part of the climb is protected by fixed gear now, but I bet it's still an exciting lead.
(1) Gain and climb an overhanging groove/crack to its top, then work right along and past two small roofs (the second protected by a bolt) to a sling belay at a pin. This pitch overhangs by about 15 feet in 100' (5.11c/d). (2) Link features past two pins to a face protected by 3 bolts (the bolt protected face is Jim's variation, which EFR says is superior to the original route; the original went left to a loose, right-facing corner, then traversed back right to the line). Above the bolts, climb up and right past two more pins to a ledge system. Parsifal in the Climbing article said of this pitch, "a bizarre series of overhanging face moves, dancing on toetips in a frozen pirouette against a backdrop of granite." Goes with the lycra, I guess. (75'; 5.12a, maybe harder in light of the direct). Someone should combine pitches 1 and 2 to eliminate the sling belay -- making the climb really "free" -- but thoughtful use of runners, or double ropes, will be key. (3) Layback up the left-facing, left-leaning corner above to its top, then hand traverse right past a pin to a three-bolt belay off a small ledge. (60'?; 5.11c). (4) Follow a right-diagonalling crack to near its end in the vicinity of a pin, then work straight right past a bolt to easy ground and the summit. (60'?; 5.11b).
Some of the pins may not be necessary in light of today's gear (i.e., microcams and offsets). If they are crucial, I'm sure RR would agree that if someone wants to replace them with bolts (but with an eye toward retaining the climb's character), please do so -- they've had nearly 30 years of freeze/thaw now. In case you're wondering, "Ma'adim" is the Hebrew name for Mars.