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Grotto Wall Traverse
Trad, 3 pitches,
Avg: 3.2 from 27
FA: A. Carter, H. Carter
> Independence Pass
> Grotto Walls Area
> Lower Grotto Wall
This is a wonderful journey across and up the Lower Grotto Wall. The belay after the 2nd pitch is one of my favorites on the Pass, and the 3rd pitch will have you smiling from beginning to end!
P1: Climb the awkward, often wet, chimney to the slab above and traverse left towards the corner. You will find 2 bolts about 10' from the corner. This pitch is forgettable and can easily be skipped by walking around to the right and traversing back left on the slab to the same belay (starting high and going climbers left on the slab then down-climbing the corner is probably the least risky method). The chimney does has some mildly interesting moves however. 5.8. 50'.
P2: From the anchors, traverse left across a small ledge, ascend a blocky crack to another ledge before reaching the sloping dihedral crux (5.8) below a large birds nest. Be sure to protect your 2nd after completing these crux moves. Traverse hard left, ascend another blocky corner, then scoot around an arete to a black-painted 2-bolt belay on a small ledge. 100', lots of rope drag.
P3: From the belay, walk climbers RIGHT across out on the "diving board" and then up steep but juggy terrain into a right-facing corner. Go above this, traverse right and into a left-facing corner to a 2-bolt belay at the top of the cliff. Incredible pitch! Around 60', some rope drag.
Descent: Your best option is to walk off to the west (climber's left). Two 70 meter ropes will reach the ground as 1 rappel, but because of the overhanging nature of this section of cliff, multiple raps with shorter ropes is not possible.
From Cryogenics, walk right along the base of the cliff past the smooth shield of rock. The first pitch chimney starts just after the trail turns steeply uphill.