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Air Express 

YDS: 5.11d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 25 British: E5 6a R

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 110'
Original:  YDS: 5.11d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 25 British: E5 6a R [details]
FA: Taylor
Page Views: 97
Submitted By: Nathan Fisher on Jul 8, 2005

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (6)
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BETA PHOTO: Air Express

Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed MORE INFO >>>


In between the obvious Cheap Thrills right-facer and Altered States thin crack/groove, is a bolted line that surmounts the roof. The romp up to the roof wasn't protected, but the roof is well protected, with a 1/4" buttonhead (lol). Above the roof, you might get some of those trad pieces to stick in the grooves, otherwise keep on moving on those rand smears. The crux did not seem as hard as 5.11d, as there were just enough edges to keep you from giving in to total despair. (The mark of a "despair" climb is usually 5.11d, IMHO).


5 bolts and a pin protect this with a two-bolt anchor midway, as well as at the top. The top one has slings still and will need chains (my next trip). Also you might be able to use a couple of small cams or medium nuts.

Photos of Air Express Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Air Express and Altered States w/o line
BETA PHOTO: Air Express and Altered States w/o line

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By tenesmus
Sep 23, 2006

This is a really great TR. Leading it would be a pretty big deal. You can traverse in from the left and do it at .11a. I like how you're smearing for so many consecutive moves. A 70m rope barely reaches straight down from the anchors of Altered States.
By bheller
From: SL UT
Apr 25, 2010

This is a quaking, amazing lead! Basically a 5.8 solo at the start. Reach the roof 20 feet up, clip the 1st bolt, now climb the roof above at tricky 5.11. The crux lurks above the 2nd bolt...fall at the worst time, and you'll go a skidding, bouncing 30 feet. Looong runouts, two more bolts, and one final pin get you to the anchor. Its 125 from the base to the anchor, with 4 bolts and 1 pin. 125/5= pro about every 25 feet- yikes.
By Jim D
Oct 24, 2010

Great toprope for most mortals. A ballsy lead. Clean, but looooong falls possible.
By Gary Taylor
Nov 20, 2015

A historical perspective:
Air Express is a direct variation of Walk on Air 5.11a. I'm not sure that Walk on Air can still be done. A massive rockfall eliminated Cheap Thrills 5.7 and at least part of Walk on Air. The photo on this route shows a large section of lighter rock to the left of the Air Express line. This was all exposed by the rockfall possibly 10 years ago. I estimate the block that fell was probably 15 feet by 15 feet by 70 feet. The long runouts were unavoidable in order to bolt on lead. I wouldn't have considered placing bolts any other way especially on a variation of an existing line. The first bolt was actually placed after the first ascent to replace a loose copperhead that was part of the Walk on Air pro.
By BrokenChairs
From: Seattle
May 11, 2016

Last night a large block came off the wall when we were rapping down Betty's. The rock looked like it went straight down this route. There is a possibility of damaged fixed gear so be prepared if you're going to do this route. It was dark by the time we got back down and were not able to inspect for damage ourselves.

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