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Camera Obscura is a worthwhile climb that runs through all the sizes, from tips to wide. Climb a low-angle, left-facing corner for ~50' to a bulge with a hand crack, surmount another bulge (offwidth, easy), and finish up the steep, right-facing corner that attracted your eye in the first place.
It sounds ok, right? As it happened, this end-of-the-day quick pitch turned into one of those enormous PITA experiences that had us both wishing we'd just headed down for beers in camp instead. Essentially, the crack you are climbing is formed by a flake which you then climb over, down, and behind (the Camera Obscura
), leaving the rope running over your gear in the crack to cause all manner of mayhem when belaying up the second. Hassles we experienced included cams flipped around in the crack, rope wedged in finger crack, the leader rapping down to free the flipped cams, a free end tossed down to the second to tie into whilst unwedging the original line
and that was before the descent shenanigans began.
None of these issues likely arose back in the day when leaders solved the problem of wide cracks with tube chocks and huge run-outs. Today, however, most folks lack access to these sack-enhancing tools and are forced to resort to the use of camming units, which are prone to flipping round, getting stuck, pinning the rope, etc. etc. A modern solution might look as follows: Put an anchor on top of the route.
A couple ringbolts on the pillar up and right of the topout would eliminate the cam-flipping, rope-pinching and descent shenanigans. I make this recommendation in full cognizance of the loss to the modern climbing community of the hairy virtues of route-finding, problem-solving, and subsequent practice of rescue techniques afforded by the nature of this route. This weekend I noticed a couple of handy two-bolt anchors replacing the crafty cable anchors atop Whimsical Dreams
and Turkey's Delight
: bringing the Turkey Rocks into the 1990s, kicking and screaming! I love it. Thanks, folks.
It is the leftmost worthwhile-looking line on the north face of Turkey Tail, identifiable by a right-facing corner up high.
Descent: a) downclimb 5th-class chimney on east end of formation, b) locate rappel bolts on opposite (S) side of formation and complete two raps, to ground near Journey to Ixtlan
before hiking back around to your stuff. A 70m ROPE is MANDATORY- bolts on blank slab, knots in ends, swinging with leash in hand...the whole bit.
Tips to wide: at least two or three wide pieces (old #4, old 4, and a new #5 would do) plus some teensy stuff for the pinch, plus the usual kit for a single-pitch crack.