Type: Trad, 200 ft (61 m), 3 pitches
FA: Isao Fujita & Jon Nelson (p1), Nicola Masciandaro & Jon Nelson (full)
Page Views: 1,420 total · 9/month
Shared By: Jon Nelson on Oct 2, 2011 · Updates
Admins: Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Zachary Winters

You & This Route

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Description Suggest change

The easiest route up the Cheeks formation and featuring an interesting range of climbing, including passing through a chimney.

The first pitch is short, but steep, with the crux (~10a) being awkward hand jamming over a bulge. Despite the appearance at the bottom, you do not chimney here -- the start has a layback flake on the left side of the chimney. Ends just below the chimney, or continue by linking it with P2.

Pitch two goes through the chimney (that is "through", not just up -- you kind of vanish inside of it). When you exit above the chimney, follow the fist-wide hands crack (crux) to a ledge in a corner system.

For pitch three, follow the corner to the top.

Descend either by rappel via the gully between the cheeks and the Upper Town Wall, or use the recently installed anchors on God's Bones. If you do the latter, remember to swing into the rock at the end, otherwise you'll be left dangling.

Location Suggest change

Starts near the end of the Perverse Traverse.

Protection Suggest change

Full range of sizes, up to fist-sized cams.

Some history Suggest change

I met Isao at the U of Illinois, and after I returned to Seattle in 1989, he would occasionally come visit me for a day or two of climbing. Only once did our trip end in success, and it wasn't on this trip.

On this trip, ~1991, it is raining. No worries though because (I say) I know this line on the Cheeks that would be dry. It probably wasn't until we got across the Perverse Traverse did I let on that this was a new line that I had never checked it out before (rain or shine). Moreover, it was a crack climb, and Isao did not have much experience with cracks. (Where can you practice cracks in Illinois?)

So, I spot a good start for the route and start up. Luckily, the rock is dry. I layback a hidden crack in a wide channel at the start, and then do a few awkward handjams over a bulge to a ledge (~5.10), just below the main chimney. Here, I set a few nuts, and lower down for Isao to try.

He struggles from the start, but through pure determination gets to the bulge. I figure he'll give up right away on the awkward jams at the bulge, but he refuses to stop trying. But the cool, moist weather and heavy exertion take their toll, and soon he is starting to heave. I'd never seen a guy do that on a route. But he stays cool with it, though eventually lowers off and we leave.

A few years pass, some warm, dry weather comes along, and I show the line to Nicola. He leads up to the old nuts, and then I lead up into the chimney. I exit the chimney and the crack necks down to fist size and becomes dirty. At one point, it is so choked with dirt that I just yank on a large cam to get into another jam pod. After reaching a ledge, I belay Nicola up. The next pitch is short, but cleaner. He leads, and then we rap the gully. I steal the route name from from Isao. He had scribbled it on a weird postcard sent years earlier. Other gems from that postcard include Roadside Floral Curtain, a route at the Inner Walls.