Type: Trad, 90 ft
FA: FA - Trevor Bowman, FFA - Nate Sydnor
Page Views: 259 total · 50/month
Shared By: Nate Sydnor on May 13, 2019
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route


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Access Issue: Raptor Nesting Climbing Avoidance Areas - now open 10/11/19 Details
Access Issue: RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek Details
Access Issue: See main page for raptor info. Details

Description


"Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody dared to cross his path; for he was as cunning as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant. But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down."
— Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book

All credit and respect goes to Trevor for finding this route and putting in the anchor. I saw it years ago before the anchor went in and of course did nothing about it, assuming from the ground that it was too thin and too hard to reach or someone would have done it already. Trevor intrepidly went up there and opened up the possibilities.

On a random day last Fall I went up it because it seemed like a fun adventure to explore something unknown. Seeing the anchor gave me the courage. What I found was astounding. This is without a doubt the best finger crack at the Cat Wall. I chose the name because Bagheera is the beloved, civilized, yet savage black panther from the fable we all likely know. He escaped his human bondage and became one of the most feared and respected creatures in the jungle. The black shield of varnish that holds the crack, paired with the other nuanced aspects of the climb, make me think the name is fitting. Of course the fact that it also sits at the top of the Cat Wall food chain contributes to the theme.

After my initial foray I did some more sleuthing and I finally figured out that it was likely Trevor's route. I'd seen anchors like this one at Bioturbation, and Trevor put up a route with my late friend Hayden at the Donnelly Canyon Wall with the same configuration. Doing that route (Twitterpated) as a celebration of what would have been Hayden's birthday was the final piece of the puzzle, so I reached out. Trevor graciously emailed back and forth with me about the route, stating that circumstances had kept him from ever getting back to actually free this line. The siren song was too great for me, and with Trevor's understandably reluctant permission I returned another random day and led if for what we believe to be the first free ascent. If anyone has done this thing before this Winter please speak up as you could likely have been the first.

Luckily for the character of the climb it's protected by a gatekeeper series of moves at and above a lone piece of gear; some sharp fangs that will likely ward off unprepared suitors. One could likely place more than the single BD #4 that I did, but there's only so much space in there and you need it. Blowing the final series of the opening moves could land you on the ground so watch out. You can hang right at the piece but if you're going for it you're going for it. An expert belayer could keep you off the deck but be ready, this ain't your Puma or even Johnny Cat or the like. This is the Jungle Book. There is a tiny piece that one could fiddle in just above the initial box but it's in the middle of the hardest move and it could rip out, possibly making for a worse fall than if one chose to skip it. Being taller will also make these moves feel much more reasonable.

After the opening boulder problem easier climbing leads you up and right with another cool move or two to the main crack. Once you reach this, unbelievable finger crack climbing leads you to the anchor.

Location

Besides the opening moves I think one of the factors that led to this route being overlooked is that the trail goes under the initial overhang, making it hard to see the route without stepping back to look up. It's to the right of the Trip to the Vet zone and left of the Burl Dog zone. The initial roof is identifiable with a lone box to put both a cam and your hand into.

Protection

The initial move protect with a perfect BD #4, and I fiddled two #1s and a #3 with some runners into some inobvious places before reaching the crack proper. Once the crack is reached you'll need a collection of .3s and mostly .4s for the majority of the climbing, with a green Alien or similar close to the anchors.

Photos