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Routes in South East Face

Barad Dur T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Cerberus S 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Coligula T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b X
Coreolis Effect T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Morgul Vale, The S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
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Type: Sport, 800 ft, 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: Chris Fralick & Tyler Adams 2010
Page Views: 4,034 total · 135/month
Shared By: Erik Keever on Apr 4, 2016
Admins: Nate Ball, Micah Klesick

You & This Route


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Description

UPDATE: There is a new upper bolt line that goes all the way to the top

A brief history of Morgul Vale & link to topo:
oregonchoss.blogspot.com/20…
oregonchoss.blogspot.com/20…

Quoting:
"Wayne told us we should go up on Gigantor and add some more bolts and make it climbable. In its current condition it was surely a death route, not attracting any repeats other than Wayne him self. Now I normally wouldn't be too into fully retro bolting old routes but with the blessing of the first ascensionist, being his idea it seemed like a must do. Not even knowing and still not knowing where the actual route went made it basically a first ascent in its own right. So we created the eight pitch 5.9 Morgul Vale aka Gigantor V2.0."

The P2 anchor sits atop a giant ledge. Right of MV is Ian's Route which goes to the same P2 anchor. Left (on the start ledge's hump) is Gigantor which provides a scary runout path to same.

The Morgul Vale:
P1: 5.8, 6 bolts + belay bolt. Scramble up the left of the start ledge & around a hump to the belay bolt. [The left bolt hanger is upside down as of 6/3]
P2: 5.7, 4 bolts. Progressively wider-spaced bolts protect easier moves en route to the next ledge system. Pass the 1st anchor going up and right and you'll be directly under the P3 start.
P3: 5.9+, 7 bolts. The technical crux; Right hand clips are the order of the day (much harder, and very much dirtier, otherwise).
P4: 5.7, 7 bolts. An enjoyable, easy, and well bolted pitch.
--- The climbing gets more alpine above here
P5: 5.7, 3 bolts. Some 20 feet up, bolts with black hangers appear. After the third eases your nerves, shuffle left. A trad placement before one last nontrivial move will ease nerves.
P6: 5.8, 6 bolts. Your choice, up over or around under the boulder. Left, then up. Long slings help with drag. It is easy to miss the P6 anchor if you don't already know where it is. If you're well past the last clip, go right onto the "meadow" and look back for it. Don't keep going, you can't reach the P7 anchor from P5 even with a 70.

--- Original Morgul Vale line
P7a: 4th class/5.4, 1 bolt. Clamber up a series of big shoulders and onto a low-angle slab. Carefully pick your way toward the unmistakable U-shaped ramp/chute, unprotected. One bolt at the ramp entrance eases nerves (and redirects the rope) for a few 5.easy moves before the anchor. If you only have 1 rope, this is a point of no return (P7a is 150' long).
P8a: 5.7?, gear + natural. Trad placements are possible in the left crack (We used smaller cams & stoppers). The angle is low but the climbing is delicate and the edges friable. Escape out of the trench up to the hillside by the scrawny tree and scramble to a belay at a large tree. This pitch rains fist-size missiles when the leader leaves the channel.

From the lower tree anchor, scramble to a group of trees (incl a large white one), rope optional. Unrope and enjoy carefully clambering over person-sized blocks with excellent friction (but do avoid pulling any of them out...). At the lower summit, there is an anchor with two fatty hangars; This is for climbers scrambling up from the new Morgul Vale / Barad Dur.

After taking in the view, begin scrambling left (away from the river) along the ridge towards the true summit and the walkoff (see descent / descent topo below)

--- New Morgul Vale line
There is now a bolted line that ends at the same point as Barad Dur. I suppose this "Morgul Vale 2.0".

"P7b:" Walk 50 feet over an inclined meadow towards the ampitheater and find bolts at the first headwall.
P8b: 5.6, 3 bolts: A brief jaunt over the first wall to a big ledge introduces the style of the remainder of the climb: Big moves over alternate low-angle slab and steep faces.
P9b: 5.8, 7(?) bolts: A fun encounter with a dihedral leads to a crux finding holds and manteling onto a deluxe size belay ledge.
P10b: 5.8, 6(?) bolts: More block crawling includes a brief encounter with a harder corner and tops out at the northeast corner of Wolf.

Links with a 70: P1+2, P3+4 barely (length ~68m), P5+6 (boat anchor drag). P8b+P9b or P9b+P10b.

The new line is rappellable all the way back down. Trying to get from P8b start, over the side notch, back directly to the start of P6, is tempting but I don't think a single 70 will reach.

To summit: Traverse the summit ridge towards an intimidating rise ahead. A brief stint of easy but poorly protected 5th class climbing on crap rock goes up the right side skyline. Proceed with walkoff.

Location & Descent

Getting there:
Park on roadside at the Arch (unmistakable), hike up, turn right, walk under/past the arch, up a slope [which is eroding/worsening every year :(], to an obvious clearing and start ledge.

Rappel:
Up to P6, and at any point on the newer variation, you can rappel the route with a single 70.

It's close, but I do not think a single 70 will reach from the pitch 7 (meadow-walk) anchor, over the side, down to pitch 5. When pulling the rope off p5, whip it right or it'll likely get caught.

Walkoff:
From the new line, walkoff is as for Barad Dur; Traverse the summit ridge. Perform a final low-5th class scramble up the right side. There's a 1-bolt belay, and a horn to sling halfway for pro, and a 2-bolt anchor at top. This anchor is where the original line finishes. Resume summit ridge traverse towards the chute & the true summit.

From the true summit, go back down the unexposed chute (towards the river). From the bottom of the chute, follow worn-in switchbacks to relatively level ground.

Walk roughly a quarter mile south-west. Almost immediately you must pass an unnervingly narrow walkable path, between sand (and steep dropoff) left, and higher inclination to your right: I was unnerved enough to put my rock shoes back on here.

Trot southwest across a seemingly endless hillside, with the imposing summit ridge to your right and a series of immense gullies to your left. You'll eventually walk across a field covered in moss - if you haven't reached it, not there yet.

Eventually there will be one more big ridge ahead: Continuing southwest past this, the ground slopes downward into a bush-choked gulley. Stop. From the lookout point ahead, look southeast (left, towards the river sound & the road): This big ridge is the right side of the descent gulley; It will have a small and a big tower sticking up near its bottom.

Sit down and begin downmanteling about 1000'. The bedrock is solid, but there's a lot of loose pieces teetering at the top. The path gets cleaner as you go, as rain runoff sweeps the lower extent clean. At the base of the chute, a hiking trail appears. When you reach the exposed patch, go across the scree, not down. You'll pop out onto NF-15 a fair bit downhill of where you parked.

Descent topo including GPS coordinates:
mountainproject.com/v/11226…

The walk off from Wolf isn't trivial. It is not obvious on sight and there are no arrow signs. If you go down the wrong gulley, there is a very real chance of a fatal fall. It would be a good idea to first walkoff with someone who's done it before.

Protection

P1-6 are bolts.

Orginal line:
P7 is bolt (singular).
P8 is gear + trees.

New line:
P7b is a meadow stroll
P8b-10b are bolts.

3-4 slingdraws should be plenty. A 'biner of nuts might come in handy once or twice even on the new line.
Kevin MP
Redmond, OR
 
Kevin MP   Redmond, OR
 
Three stars for the first four pitches of fun climbing on solid rock.
One star for the last for pitches of wandering choss.
Four stars for the views, the summit, and the alpine feel of the route!
The first two pitches can be linked easily, just use long slings on most or all bolts (12 total including P1 anchors). I'd recommend single #1,2,3 camalots or something like that for the last pitch, that's about all the gear you'll need. Apr 30, 2016
HenryDietrich Dietrich
Eugene, OR
 
HenryDietrich Dietrich   Eugene, OR
 
my partner and i did it in 5 pitches with a 70m by linking pitches 1-6. Towards the top we found a solid tree to sling and then did a scramble to the actual summit. There were a few decent passive pro placements on the left side of the last pitch that would have at least slowed down a fall by the leader. The "crux" pitch is pretty heady and while leading it a foot that I stepped on disintegrated, raining down fist size chunks on the party waiting to get on the route next. The walk off is exposed escapade on bad rock and I regretted being in Chaco's at some parts. Sketchy walk offs, moss, bad rock, and lots of exposure, a fun way to climb the largest monolith in Oregon. Aug 7, 2016
Has anyone rapped off this using the three new upper pitches? An if so are they single (70m) or double rope raps? And i am presuming you just rap down the actual route, correct? Jun 29, 2017
Cypress Kappeyne
Eugene, OR
 
Cypress Kappeyne   Eugene, OR
 
Having a modest class 10 (arguably 11) pitch sport route 1.5 hours from Eugene is fantastic!

The route is visible from the top of the parking pull out. It ascends to the enormous lichen-yellow roofs and passes them on the left.

(As of now) I lead sport at about 5.10B-D. With a backpack pulling me off the vertical rock and having climbed a few hours the day before I got quite pumped on Pitch 3. The other pitches require much less forearm strength.

Pitches 3&4 were easy to connect w/ a 70m rope and I had several meters of rope left. It took 15 quickdraws.

We brought a 6 Black Diamond cams: C3 0&1, .Camalots 3"-.75" which made pitch 5 more comfortable for my partner who leads sport at 5.8-9.

We only saw 2 bolts on the very short pitch 8. Pitch 9 also felt short and I recommend linking them.

Pitch 10 is quite long and just barely linked with pitch 9. I skipped several bolts and extended many of the others in order to reduce rope drag. I wonder if a 70m would have reached if I hadn't done that.

After topping out on pitch 10 there is still a ridge scramble to a short 5.4ish somewhat loose 11th pitch to the summit. The horn to sling is low on the ridge and there's 1 bolt to clip midway.

We reached the true summit at dark and rather than find attempt to find the correct gulley to a switchback trail traversing scree slopes we followed the summit ridge until we were certain we hit the forested edge (first sighting of many trees 20-100 ft. away at/just below our elevation). From there we headed downhill trending slightly left from the ridge and then right again where we found the solid bedrock (feels super secure after so much scree) described in the walkoff notes. Jul 22, 2017
PortlandRob  
 
Did this last weekend as a 6 person party climb in 7 long pitches. My partner and I linked P1&2 of Ian's Route (5.10a, alternate start just right of Morgul Vale), and met our other 4 climbers at P3 belay ledge. They linked P1&2 of Morgul Vale traditional start.
We then all linked P3&4, P5&6, P7b&8b, and P9b&10b of MV2.0 finish. P11b (not listed in description...yet) is a 4th/5th class ridge traverse protected by a tree and a rock horn or two. We stopped at a single bolt before the ridge steepens using the bolt and an untrustworthy rock horn for an anchor. P12b (5.4-ish, also not listed in description) takes you past 2 bolts to the final anchors before you unrope and scramble to the true summit. I placed 1 nut and two small cams the whole climb (I think all on P5).
The walk off wasn't as bad as people made it out to be. We reduced the sketch by staying high and going north around the ridge (easy walk) instead of taking the "unnervingly narrow walkable path". Then just keeping going until the end of the ridge really, where things cliff out. Just below that point is the obvious lookout - a flat-ish rock outcropping about 50 yards down off the ridge line. Head down and left of the lookout and take whichever gully looks easiest. We split up into two gullies that met one or two hundred yards down - neither was that sketchy or difficult. The rest is easy down scrambling to the trail. Linking pitches was great and allowed our entire party to summit in about 6 hours. Though the P5&6 link was more rope drag that I'd prefer - I'd split that one next time. Great climb, but rockfall abounds after Pitch 5 - tread lightly! Aug 28, 2017
Brian Braunstein
Zürich, CH
Brian Braunstein   Zürich, CH
We climbed the original finish and did the walk-off descent. I'm guessing that climbing the new route and rappelling would likely be faster and safer, despite being longer.

The last pitch of the original route is loose and run out enough that I would not recommend someone that I like to do this. The bolted belay location was not thought out well, directly in the firing line, and there's no option for a trad anchor elsewhere. We had up to #1 but having something larger, maybe #3, would help reduce the run out, although the rock is pretty bad so the placements are not very comforting.

Finding the proper descent gully wasn't difficult, just get cliffed out above the tree filled south gully, walk back about 30 seconds and descend the obvious line. However, getting to that point was quiet delicate. The narrow walkable path was fine but shortly after this there's a large open slope that must be crossed with loose terrain which must not be done hastily. If there is a solid trail across it we did not find it. The above suggested idea to traverse the ridge proper sounds like it might be worth trying instead, more fun and maybe safer if micro-pitched due to potential terrain protection opportunities up there. Sep 11, 2017
Frank F
Bend, OR
Frank F   Bend, OR
Enjoyable climb. P.3 is well protected but bolt spacing varies widely on remaining pitches.
P.5 first bolt is 30-35 feet from belay.
P.6 start looking for the anchor after the 5th bolt (never found a sixth.)
P.8b only saw 2 bolts.
A rack of nuts was very useful. Oct 8, 2017
Christopher Gian
California
  5.9 R
Christopher Gian   California
  5.9 R
## Morgul Vale + Variation on upper pitches ##
Just going to outline the adventure we had.

## Conditions ##
- Party of 4 (1 Experienced Trad climber / 2 Experienced Sport Climbers / 1 Newbie)
- One party was ahead of us, so 6 people climbed this route that day. The party ahead of us caused some SCARY missile sounding rock fall. Especially when they were on pitch 6, getting to pitch 8 while I was following on pitch 4.
- 85 degrees, July 28, 2018: Sun was not too bad!
- Start time: 7AM
- Water: 1.5 liters per person

## Approach ##
10 - 15 mins, go right when you hit the head wall.

## Climb ##
took about 3 - 4 hours for both our parties to reach.
1 - 2: 8AM start, lichen covered, blocky climbing with occasional loose rocks -- I'd say heady 5.8 because of my first time climbing here and with the choss taken into consideration.
3 - 4: We moved belays from P2 anchors up a ramp to 3 anchor bolts, what I'll call P2.5. Crux pitch, then easy, well bolted pitch: Pretty dang fun, one or two loose holds.
5: Run out, 3 bolts. EXTEND with sling draws!
6: Awkward climbing. choss up high at the anchors, be careful not to rain rock!
7 (4th class to Variation): Go rightwards, nothing special. Be careful not to rain rock!
8 - 9 (New Variation): Actually pretty fun linking (5.7-ish). I sped through this and probably finished it in 10 mins.
10 (New Variation): Finished this at 12:30 to 1 pm. Overbolted. Nothing too special. Crux up top.

## Descent ##
3.5 hours, rapping instead of walk off. Our setup: two 70 meter ropes. Two of us simul rapped, two of us did standard rappels.

From P10 Anchors to 8: Watch out for cracks and notches where the rope can get caught. I had to ascend the ropes about 30 ft to free our ropes.
From P8 Anchors to 4 (not recommended): We rapped over the side: Very airy and exciting rap, but also scary, nerve wrecking because of loose rocks just sitting on various ledges -- resulting in rock fall. Even worse when we pulled the rope, if we got the rope caught we would've been screwed.. As of 8/29, there were two fixed rap lines on P6 Anchors if you go across the 4th class ( refered above as p7). I recommend doing that.
From P4 Anchors to P3 Start Belay Station (SHADE FINALLY!): Nothing special.
From P3 Start Belay Station to ground: Nothing Special.

## Thoughts ##
Definitely an adventure climb. I had to rely on my experience climbing long trad multipitches and the skills I've developed to be successful. For example: Managing rope, freeing stuck ropes, ascending a rope (I always bring my two ropeman1 mini ascenders on adventure climbs).
I probably wouldn't do this again due to dangers with rock fall. Jul 29, 2018
Christopher Canfield
  5.9+ PG13
Christopher Canfield  
  5.9+ PG13
A climbing partner and I just climbed this awesome piece of rock yesterday. Started climbing at 7:15, summitted around 1:30, back to the car 2:30. This was the second time I had been up so I got to lead the crux and the upper pitches. As others have pointed out, P1-4 are quality. The 5.9+ crux is pumpy and sustained and all of the climbing is enjoyable. P5 took a few cams, small to medium and a nut, but I was placing more gear than most would waste their time on. The rock quality starts to deteriorate from here on out until p8b. p6 was similar but make sure you don't trend left too far. The bolts for the anchor can be hidden if you are too low and left. We decided to take the new variation of the following pitches instead of the original. "p7b" is a meadow to the right that can be scrambled across unroped, but may be wise to at least lead the rope up to belay your second. The ground you're covering is loose rock and grassy patches all on top of slabs of rock. It requires a bit of precision to not dislodge the clumps of earth. You can see the anchors for the start of p8b if you look up and right across the meadow from the top of p6. They are on the rock at chest height just as the grassy meadow meets the headwall. You can also see the 3 bolts above that makeup p8b. We linked p8b and 9b which I recommend. Its awesome climbing. The rock quality improves and the style changes from the steep ledgy climbing of the first 4 pitches, and the poor quality rock traversing of p5 and 6. p8b, 9b and 10b all have fantastic bouldery moves with some thoughtful slabs thrown in. Several good mantles throughout. The 5.8 grade is right on point. Super enjoyable compared to the original variation of Morgul Vale. The downside is you are further from the summit than the more direct 8a-10a pitches. Getting from the top of p10b to the anchors on the top of the ridge was a bit challenging to figure out. I ended up going too far left and I lead some really loose corner up onto a dinner plate stacked rib, and eventually to the two bolt anchors. Very scary. I have a picture that I uploaded explaining the correct way to go so no one else has to experience the way I went. From there its mostly an easy scramble along the ridge to the summit. Still be weary of the rock quality but stay high and its totally doable without a rope.

On the way up we saw someones double rope rappel hanging from P6 anchors. I dont think you need a double rope to get to p5 from p6. Maybe they were trying to get all the way to p4 anchors? I think the rappel from p6 to p5 and p5 to p4 would be pretty challenging to execute without some serious hassle, but it seems people do it. There was another larger party behind us and they decided to rappel the route. I was worried about our rope getting stuck so we opted for the walk off as I knew the way.

Reading through whats already posted it seems well laid out how to get down by walking off but ill throw in what I know. After doing it twice I feel pretty comfortable going that way but its still a very mentally taxing part of the climb. The best part of the walk off is the time required to descend. It took us about an hour from the summit to the road, moving at a comfortable pace. From the summit go west along the ridge. Stay left and low around the first big gendarme, or go high on the right side of the gendarme. I have not taken the latter route. The former is a very exposed short traverse between unprotected rock and a steep cliff below. The path is on mostly solid rock that is covered with moss, choss, and grass. Step carefully. Once past that continue along the ridge, but don't waste energy climbing up higher. Keep moving until you get to a pair of short gullys that are separated by a rock rib with a medium sized cairn on top of it. These gully's eventually combine into one lower down the slope. Past the cairn and over the cliff to the west is the very last gully which is deep and tree filled. I don't recommend going this way. From the cairn on the rib It appears you can descend on either the skiers left or right side, into the gully, aiming for the water worn solid rock. The technique is basically butt scooting down for several hundred feet. Its surprisingly solid but requires some effort. It helps to clip your dangling stuff to your chest or put it in a bag so it doesn't trip you up. Eventually you come to a climbers descent trail to the left, nicely marked with blue tape the whole way to the road. Jul 29, 2018

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