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Routes in China Wall

Left Handed Compliment, The T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b C1
My Way or the Highway T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Type: Trad, Aid, Alpine, 1000 ft, 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: Matt Hartman & Jared Spaulding -- 18 August 2013
Page Views: 922 total, 18/month
Shared By: Jared Spaulding on Aug 20, 2013
Admins: Mike Snyder

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This route winds its way up the west edge of the China Wall, likely joining an established route two-thirds of the way up on a large corner system. The hard climbing is concentrated in the first pitch. The C rating comes from the FA party sending it "free" by pulling on gear. C0 = one pull, C1 = multiple pulls.

p.1 5.9 C1 (40m) -- Climb a steep finger crack in solid, polished rock. Pass small pine tree and into a right facing corner system. Climb past one more bigger tree and then, further on, climb a finger crack in a corner and step left to a sloping belay ledge below a slabby corner crack. Maybe 5.11 free?

p.2 5.9+ (20m) -- Climb up slabby corner with occasional gardened out gear placements. Move up corner until below a flake that leads to a tree. Step right and belay below a finger crack through a bulge.

p.3 5.10- C0 (25m) -- Up finger crack through bulge, then up corner above. Move right around a small overlap and then back left, once above the overlap. Belay in a small semi-hanging stance below a roof with a crack/slot on its left side.

p.4 5.10- (65m) -- Ascend straight up and pass roof on its left to a good stance. Follow hand cracks up through steps, eventually moving left to a gravel filled gully, tread lightly on some loose rock and make your way up easy terrain, moving back left and belaying on a pillar 75' below a large tree and bench.

p.5 5.5 (35m) -- From belay travel third class terrain east and then move up towards shelf with tree. Climb off ledge on right side up hand and finger cracks in a shallow chimney to another bushy ledge. Continue moving east, then up to shelf below a face with several splitter cracks. Belay here.

p.6 5.0-5.3 (35m) -- Don't climb any of the beautiful splitters, but instead move belay east to base of leaning pillar. Climb up under base of leaning pillar then traverse underneath pillar. Au cheval down a wedged boulder and belay on the east side of the leaning pillar under a nice hand crack, that starts about 15 feet up.

p.7 5.9 (68m) -- Make some face moves and gain the hand crack. Continue upwards aiming for the corner created by the headwall and the rock on which you are climbing. This may involve a little traversing. Gain the corner and climb the hand and finger crack through small steps. Belay in the vicinity of a horn slung with old faded tat and below an obvious dihedral.

p.8 5.8 (45m) -- Continue up the corner over steps, move left and then back right to avoid some bushwhacking, then climb nice corner above. Exit left at top of corner, climb up slabby ramp and, if you rope drag is not too bad, take it to the top by passing a large roof on its left. Otherwise belay after exiting the corner and do one more pitch to the top.

Descent: From top of route scramble uphill to the summit ridge and enjoy the summit and position. From the summit travel roughly north along the ridge about 100+ meters until reaching a very obvious gully. Follow this gully east and down until it deposits you at New Fork River after roughly an hour or so of 3rd and 4th class terrain.


From the first crossing of New Fork River, climb north across boulders and through aspen glades to reach the gully that splits the China Wall proper with the smaller Knucklebuster Buttress to the west. The route begins on climber's right just as the gully turns into slabby and steeper bedrock. Look for a steep finger crack with a small pine tree twenty-five feet up.


A double rack to #3 Camalot, a #4 Camalot with an additional finger size cam or two. We had a double set of nuts and I found offset HBs (#9, 10, 11) to be useful. I used a #5 Camalot but it was not critical. A seventy meter rope allowed for long pitches.
Jared Spaulding
Central WY
Jared Spaulding   Central WY
Sam, were you able to free it? Nov 4, 2015
Sam Harney
Portland, OR
Sam Harney   Portland, OR
did this route with a party of 3 in july. it was hard. DO NOT leave gear at base if you plan on walking off back side! long day Dec 9, 2014
Jared Spaulding
Central WY
Jared Spaulding   Central WY
Hey all,

Sorry this isn't a timely reply. Folks, it is just climbing. I specifically stated what we did in the route description. I think my posting is accurate in that it states in what style we climbed it. I am aware of the varying interpretations of the aid climbing rating system and that is why I clarified our use. Eggman, the comment "went free by pulling on gear" is in reference to the departed alpinist Bjørn-Eivind Årtun.

It is just climbing. Go have fun, respect the rock and teach others to do the same. Aug 26, 2013
matt j hartman
Leavenworth WA
matt j hartman   Leavenworth WA
it has nothing to do with equipment. and is entirely subjective. if you are bad at placing cams, C1 will be C3 real fast....for the person climbing. the rock remains the same and equipment needs vary from location to location. With the rack and style we climbed, it was C1 on the first pitch and CO on subsequent pitches. No definitions, besides potentially your own, that I have ever seen for clean aid have gear included (other than no pins or hammer, some would say camhooks aren't clean on sandstone, it's all opinion). We had pins, a hammer and bolts, but didn't need them. It doesn't change the rock until you put one in, therefore it was C1. Some people may have wanted aiders, we chose not to bring them because Jared and I are good at french freeing (pathetic I know, but true), which is a standard "alpine" practice. I would say the way we described the ratings is pretty consistent with modern "alpine" definitions and practice, where many people do not bring aiders.

Your argument is based on your opinion, the route and subsequent description is based on ours. It contains all the information needed to climb the route in the style we climbed it in. One could free this route with an "alpine" rack (which is just a rack), you only need be a better free climber.

here is an entirely different definition of aid ratings, which would change the rating of our climb again. Crusher Bartlett states that anyone with opposable thumbs can place C1 gear.
Subjective: based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions. The ratings of this climb reflect that of our personal experiences and practices in the mountains, which along with gear beta, was described.

C0 Pulling on solid fixed gear.
C1 Easy aid, no risk of any piece of protection pulling out. Safe falls.
C2 Moderate aid. Short sections of tenuous placements above good protection.
C2+ May include easier C3 moves but is not hard enough to be rated as such.
C3 Hard aid. Involves many tenuous placements in a row.
C3+ May include easier C4 moves but is not hard enough to be rated as such.
C4 Runout, complex and time consuming. Many body weight placements.
C4+ May include easier C5 moves but is not hard enough to be rated as such.
C5 Serious, hard aid with huge falls and possibly lethal results. No bolts or rivets. Aug 22, 2013
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
No Matt, the difference is not completely subjective. C0, C1 means you need varying quantities and types of clean aid gear, i.e. offset cams, camhooks, etc. While A0, A1 etc. means "dirty aid", i.e. you need a hammer and various combinations of pitons, heads, and perhaps sawed off angles etc. The numbers do in general define exactly what is entailed. Its got nothing to do with "the number of pulls" on gear to French Free through a section. This is exactly why the first comment by eggman was posted. Anyway.... Aug 22, 2013
matt j hartman
Leavenworth WA
matt j hartman   Leavenworth WA
AO: Example of 3 pulls.
A1: Easy aid: placements straightforward and solid. No risk of any piece pulling out. Aiders generally required. Fast and simple for C1.

This is all subjective. It could fall into either. The A1 definition also mentions no special equipment. It also states that aiders are "generally required" and that placements will not fail if you have basic competence. It doesn't prove your point. Aug 22, 2013
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
Hi Matt,
I wasn't intending to be a jerk, so I can take down my post if you like. However the 'Big Walls' quote that you pasted above actually makes my point. The route entry by Jared defines C0, C1 etc. by the "number of pulls" to get through a section (french free if you like). On the other hand, clean or standard aid are both defined in terms of the quality of the placements and the number of such bad placements in a row. Those are very different definitions and I was just trying to point out what most people will interpret C0, C1 etc. to mean. In other words, if you enter the route as C1, many people will interpret that to mean that they need at least some clean aid gear beyond a standard alpine rack (perhaps offset nuts or cams etc.)
Cheers. Aug 22, 2013
matt j hartman
Leavenworth WA
matt j hartman   Leavenworth WA
A0: Also known as "french-free", using gear to make progress, but generally no aiders required. Examples: Half Dome regular route, sections of the Nose route on El Cap, the first two pitches of the West Face (either a quick 5.10, A0 with three points of aid, or tricky 5.11 c).
A1: Easy aid: placements straightforward and solid. No risk of any piece pulling out. Aiders generally required. Fast and simple for C1, the hammerless corresponding grade, but not necessarily fast and simple for nailing pitches. Examples: (clean) the non-5.12 version of the Salathe headwall, Prodigal Son on Angel's Landing and Touchstone Wall in Zion.
-Big Walls. Aug 22, 2013
matt j hartman
Leavenworth WA
matt j hartman   Leavenworth WA
The route was done with 'alpine" (whatever that is supposed to mean, we climbed in t shirts) aid techniques of pulling on gear to make it through hard (for us cruxes). No aiders......pretty standard french freeing. This goes on the South American alpine scale (if that even exists), which would call it C1. The first pitch involves about 7 or 8 points of aid and was very physical to lead or follow without jugs or aiders. If anyone ever want to put up free routes in the area, bring a hand drill, bolts, pins and some brushes. This crag would have potential for those willing to work for it.

"it goes free, you just pull on the gear".............overheard in a land far away. Aug 22, 2013
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
Hi Jared,

I know that you define what you mean by C0 and C1, but be aware that those terminologies already exist in the climbing lexicon and stand for varying difficulties of clean aid. Thus if you enter a route with a 5.xx C0 grade, most folks are going to think that it is easy clean aid (usually bolted if its C0). You may want to consider this and change your entry or at least consider it in future entries. Aug 21, 2013