Avg: 4 from 12 votes
Routes in The Black Wall
|Ant Farm, The T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R|
|Cannonball Corner T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b|
|Cary Granite T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a|
|Coffee Achievers T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b|
|Emerald Highway, The T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b|
|Escape Route T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c|
|Espresso T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c|
|Good Evans T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b|
|Harry Cary T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c|
|High Variance T 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b|
|Old Rappel Route T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b|
|Parallel Universe T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A4 R|
|Phil-a-Guster T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c|
|Rainbow Highway T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b|
|Road Warrior T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b|
|Rusty Dagger, The T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R|
|Seven Sins (linkup of S.O.A.S into H.V.) T 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13|
|Sinners On Sunday T 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a C0|
|Undertow T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a A4- R|
|Undertow (free) T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a|
|Unnamed Bolted Face T,S 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c A1-|
|Type:||Trad, Alpine, 500 ft, 6 pitches, Grade IV|
|FA:||Shaun Reed & Brad Wilson|
|Page Views:||2,909 total, 71/month|
|Shared By:||Shaun Reed on Jul 18, 2014|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
DescriptionThis is the free version of the aid route Undertow. There are only a couple variations, one at the beginning, which avoids most (if not all) of Cannonball Corner by cutting right and mantelling up large ledges to a short handcrack. The other variation is called the Undertoad Variation, which avoids the A4 roof by following an undercling/handcrack to the right out of the roof (instead of going left for the A4), pulling the lip, then making an unlikely traverse back left under another larger roof.
The following is from my post for Undertow after sending the route:
After two seasons of cleaning, replacing bolts, and fighting wetness in the later part of the alpine season, I was finally able to free this gorgeous line with Brad Wilson last Saturday (6/23/12), with both leader and follower freeing every pitch. The whole route is probably no harder than 5.11+, but as it is very sustained and at high elevation, it sometimes feels harder.
The majority of the route follows the aid line, except for half a pitch that completely avoids the A4- roof traverse. The rock has cleaned up well with maybe only a few suspect rocks that may come off with a crowbar. The climbing is tenuous, sustained, fairly sharp, and gear is sometimes tricky to place (a green/yellow Alien offset cam is really nice at the top of pitch 1!). However, the entire route takes great gear with clean falls, has no runouts, and sinker finger locks are to be had throughout. As Ken points out, even though the upper pitch is often wet, the rest of the route stays dry.
The pitches break down like this:
Pitch 1: 5.11- (130 feet). Start the route as Ken says on a ledge below the large dihedral of Cannonball Corner. Climb up easy ledges up and right to a small hand crack that leads you to the start of the main Undertow dihedral system. Clip a good piton and climb the sustained dihedral through some cool flakes (a green/yellow offset Alien is very helpful here) and up to a stance on a small ledge. The anchor takes finger-sized gear.
Pitch 2: 5.11+ (40 feet). This pitch could be combined with pitch 3. Continue up the dihedral (crux), pull around a small bulge to a ledge with a bolt. A finger-sized piece or two can back up the bolt.
Pitch 3: 5.11- (50 feet). Continue up the dihedral, past a thin flake that I couldn't pull off despite several attempts, and up into the 35 foot roof traverse (pumpy!). Belay at the lip on a small ledge. The anchor takes hand-size and small cams.
Pitch 4: 5.9 (110 feet). Climb straight up the fun hands and fingers corner to a good ledge. The anchor takes finger-sized cams.
Pitch 5: 5.11 (50 feet). The Undertoad Variation. Continue up the corner to the roof. This is where the original A4- traverses left under the roof. Instead, stay in the crack, which cuts through the right-side of the 10 foot roof. The lip of the roof is very sharp, so the trick is to back-clean as much as possible before the roof, and from a good stance under the roof, place one or two medium-sized cams in the middle of the roof on VERY long slings (we used 3 shoulder-length slings clipped together, which worked great). Undercling the roof to the right (avoiding the A4-), pull the lip, clip a fixed yellow Alien (the wires broke, so I couldn't get it out, but it's a good piece), and finally face climb a couple moves to the left under a massive shelf to an amazingly exposed, hanging, bolted belay on the arête.
Originally, I set a natural belay at the fixed yellow Alien, although this required the next pitch to traverse around the very sharp arête. Not only was this very dangerous, but it didn't allow the pitch to reach the summit. The face moves getting to the arête and keeping the rope off the sharp lip of the roof is the reason it's key to have the long slings under the roof. It was considered to place one or two bolts on the face to keep the rope off the sharp lip instead of the long slings under the roof; however, using the long slings was completely safe as you can get good gear in at the lip.
Pitch 6: 5.10 (70 feet). This is sometimes wet. Traverse left from the arête under the shelf for a few moves and join back with the original aid line. When the shelf becomes a manageable bulge, clip a high bolt and face climb up to the aid line belay ledge. Continue up past two more bolts to a big ledge, which is where the collected water drips from when it is wet. Climb up and right past a piton and finish in the chimney or on the arête to the left. Traverse left on big ledges to gain the summit and belay bolts.
A big thanks to Will Butler for conceiving of freeing this route and his hard work the last two seasons trying to make it safe and climbable.