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Routes in Gertch's Half Brother

Bastards with Ball Nuts T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Misfire T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
West Face T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
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Type: Trad, 450 ft, 5 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 69 total · 14/month
Shared By: Drew Chojnowski on Dec 28, 2017
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

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Access Issue: Placement of bolts/fixed anchors is prohibited in Wilderness Study Areas Details

Description [Edit]

This route starts on the W Face route, but deviates from that route following the second of two old pitons on the route. There is some vegetation that could be cleaned up on P3 and P4, but otherwise the route consists of a variety of climbing (crack climbing, face climbing, stemming) on good, solid granite.

The first ascent of this particular variation on Gertch's Half Brother is unknown, but could possibly be by Forrest Wilcox, Ian Harris, and I, 2017-12-23.

P1 (60 ft, 5.7): start in a gully midway up the west face of Gertch's Half Brother, at the bottom of the obvious line (right-leaning) of large huecos. Once past the 5.6 hueco section, do a few 5.7 moves to gain the obvious ledge above. There is an old rusty bolt about 6ft above this ledge, but we ignored it and built a belay anchor on the ledge, using some smalls cams and a nut.

P2 (60 ft, 5.9): From the P1 belay ledge, clip the old bolt and then make a move upward into the crack/dyke feature, where more pro can be found. After a narrow ledge, climb the crack up and slightly right until a ring piton is encountered. This is the crux of the route (5.9? 5.9+?). Clip the piton and then either look for a ball nut/tiny cam placement above. Eventually emerge onto the big ledge below the dihedral. Use a fixed ring piton and some gear for a belay.

P3 (100 ft, 5.9): head upward and slightly left from the belay piton, into a chossy-looking set of parallel cracks. After starting up the left crack, you're eventually forced to make an awkward stemming move (crux of this pitch) to get into the right crack. Above that, the grade eases but stays around 5.7-5.8, as you begin to trend left toward an obvious ledge on the NW ridge of Gertch's Half Brother.

P4 (200 ft, 5.6): whereas the W Face route would traverse back right toward the dihedral from here, we instead climbed a full rope pitch more or less directly upward from the belay. This starts with some slab/flake climbing until one reaches a large open book with some vegetation that can be stemmed over. Above this, numerous anchor options are available.

P5 (30 ft, 5.5): climb to the top of the wall, where a tree can be slung for an anchor.

Note: P1 and P2 can be connected as in the W Face description. We chose to split them up (as in the Southwestern Mountaineers topo) so that we could mutually investigate options from the first ledge.

Location [Edit]

To get there, follow the Gertch approach trail, but trend right once trees are encountered near the rock. Gear up and leave packs in the gully between Gertch and Gertch's Half Brother, then scramble up to the route start from there. The very last part of the approach involves a 4th class move up to a large tree. Some may want to rope up for this.

To get down, walk E/NE from the top of the wall until it becomes possible to scramble into the Gertch/Gertch's Half Brother gully. Scramble down the gully, past a tree that was once the rap anchor, and down to the next ledge below, where a pair of bolts can be found near the cliff edge to your (skier's) right. A double-60m rope rap reaches the ground from here. If you only have one rope, you'll probably have to do another rap off of a sketchy bolt midway down. Retrace your approach.

The approach is about 2 hours if you are an expert at following climber trails.

Protection [Edit]

Fixed gear: two ring pitons and a rusty bolt, on P2 and P2 belay. Otherwise plan on a standard Organs rack, i.e. doubles in 0.3-3" size, a variety of small cams, and a set of nuts. A red ball nut can be placed just above the on-route ring piton, further protecting the crux move.

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