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Basalt Therapy 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a PG13

Type:  Trad, 162'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a PG13 [details]
FA: Some combination of Mark Thomas, Tom Wezwick, Karl Kiser, and Chris Kessler
Page Views: 574
Submitted By: Jason Halladay on Mar 20, 2010

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If you've done everything else on the Winter Wall and are looking for some spice and adventure, take a look at this route. ~170 feet of gear protected climbing with three supplemental bolts up rock that doesn't see much traffic should get your attention.

The climbing is actually quite nice with potential to be better with traffic but the protection isn't the greatest requiring a cool head and lots of hold-testing.

Start up about 15 feet left of Pale Face where it looks reasonable to head up towards a roof about 25 feet up. Choose your poison to tackle the roof--the left crack offers good protection but hard moves while the right crack looks to be a bit easier but has virtually no pro. Maybe even stay to the right of the roof altogether as shown in the RC:NM book? We chose the left crack.

Above the roof work your way up and into the right crack getting pro while you can and eventually enjoy a big sigh of relief when you clip the first of three bolts. Above the bolt, enjoy the climbing up the very shallow dihedral on steepening rock placing some gear when you can and clipping two more bolts.

More fun but cautious climbing continues up the shallow corner through some small bushes and dirty rock to a small roof. Beverly's Jemez Rock book shows the line going left past this roof but you don't want to do that unless you like hard and unprotected climbing. Instead, turn the roof to the right being careful not to pull off the very big block that forms the bottom of the roof. Easier climbing above through another small roof takes you to the two-bolt/chains anchor. You won't see the anchor until you're about 20 feet away.


Start about 15 feet left of Pale Face where it looks reasonable to head up. We started a bit left of that on some steep but positive rock directly below the roof 25 feet up.


I appreciated a double rack of camalots from .4 to #2. Two #3 camalots would not go unused either. A set of small wires and some draws for the three bolts. Two 50m ropes required to rap the route.

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By Karl Kiser
Mar 21, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13

Chris Kessler led the pitch first without the bolts (mas macho). We added the bolts later to make the route more friendly. The climb is closer to 160 feet. Two 50m ropes will reach the ground. We definitely protected where possible and went around the top roof to the right. We cleaned the route well initially but most do not climb the route and care must be taken on low traffic climbs at Diablo.
By Jason Halladay
From: Los Alamos, NM
Mar 22, 2010

Thanks for the history and additional details Karl. Chris' lead of that line without the bolts is mas macho. Indeed it is the nature of the Winter Wall that it exfoliates a bit each season and with this route seeing little traffic, folks should expect it to potentially be looser and dirtier than others. I only pulled off one hold and I was kind of expecting it when I started pulling.

The climbing is pretty fun and I'm sure if this route had more bolts it would see more traffic (that is not to say I wish it had more bolts). I liked the adventure.

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