Bloke On The Side
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The first pitch is total crap- a bomb, no good, dangerous, etc... both my partner and I broke holds. The route would be crap except the second pitch (which can be reached from a walk-up ledge) is good, however.
Just prior to reaching the Pony Express area of the West Ridge, quite some way up the hill are the routes Chick On The Side
and Bloke On The Side. The easiest way to find these is to hike up to the Pony Express area and then head back downhill past a large ledge (from which Handcracker Direct
starts, or the second pitch of Bloke...) until a small overhanging left-facing dihedral is seen. There will be some chalk in the sharp flakey holds of this route, Chick On The Side
Just down and right of Chick
... about 10 to 15 feet is an overhanging pile of pebbles and lichens resembling rock (5.9+). Put on your helmet and check to insure that your belayer has done the same, get a good spotter and then crack the bulge up to a slab. Protect with... shoot, just hope you don't fall, OK? You can get some poor nuts in if you really work at it, but the rock won't be great there either.
You will reach a slab of reasonable rock after 20' or so, and some welcome protection. Although the climbing is easy at this point, wandering up and left on a slab, you should place pro to save your partner and the rope from a slashing-pendulum, should the rock fail on second.
At the top/left corner of this slab, there is a very nice corner system that becomes a nice crack, just a few feet right of the first pitch of Handcracker Direct
. This pitch is solid, well protected, fun and 5.8+ - (edit, 5/10/07 = This is only a varriation I have been informed. The origional route is described below in a comment by Steve Levin.)
If you were really smart, you walked up and over the ledge to start as for Handcracker Direct
, and skipped the cornflakes first pitch.
You can continue on Handcracker Direct
The route is S not for its lack of pro, really, but for its lack of good rock. The first pitch feels like a bowl of cornflakes and protects equally well. Wear a helmet and get a spotter. After pulling the bulge on P1, you can fiddle in some gear, but you only need it to keep your partner from swinging. The second pitch is a great pitch to walk up to and do, it is fun and solid, and it protects with standard gear however you like.
By Mike Munger
From: Boulder, Colorado
May 11, 2007
I have to disagree with your evaluation of the protection on the first pitch as I found the protection to be adequate and the pitch well protected.
May 11, 2007
Pitch two is the crux. It is to the right of the 5.8 pitch described above. Climb an overhanging shallow corner past a downward-pointed flake, up a broken R-facing corner, then left at a ledge. This pitch protects okay and is worth doing.
The 5.8 2nd pitch is a variation finish to Chick on the Side, also worth doing.
By jack roberts
Oct 19, 2007
I found the gear and protection to be fine on both pitches. The rock quality could be a bit better, but overall it's fine.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Oct 20, 2007
Sounds like I got P1 wrong. Peter and I both tore holds off of it and thought it was hard. Could someone post a comment with a good description of P1 or mail it to me, and I'll edit the route?