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j. The Yellow Wall (Airy Aria) - The Seasons (The Spring)
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Yellow Wall, The T 

Carbs and Caffeine 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 140'
Original:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: FA (crux): John Bragg & Ivan Rezucha - 1975
FFA (complete): Mark Robinson & Kevin Bein - 1979
Page Views: 14,938
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Feb 21, 2006

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Carbs and Caffeine onsight attempt on a crisp and ...


Another super-classic route in the Yellow Wall area. This begins just right of The Yellow Wall itself and shares a belay with Airy Aria.

P1: Begin on the arete just right of the OW corner of Airy Aria, and climb a left-diagonaling finger crack to a nice belay ledge out left. Belay here at two bolts. A decent, well-protected crack pitch. 5.9, 60'.

P2: Climb up and right off of the belay through a wild system of roofs. There are frequent places to rest -- including a no-hands knee bar immediately below the crux. Reach up and clip a bolt, then pull a difficult move (11a -- but I thought it was harder) to a tenuous stance on tiny holds. There's a second bolt here but it's a really difficult clip and the bolt is total mank anyway -- you may consider skipping it. A few more desperate moves up and right will get you to a thank-God stance and #2 Camalot placement in a horizontal. Climb up more roofs (successively pumpier), to a final ass-kicking, cramped, hand traverse right to a belay stance. This feels almost as hard as the crux move, but shorter folks may be able to cruise it.

Bolt was replaced in 2015 (see comment).


Standard Rack, two bolts, some pins, and a crucial #2 Camalot above the first crux.

It's 35m from the fixed anchor atop Pitch 2 to the ground. With care, it's possible to lower with a 70m rope; otherwise, walk back to the High Exposure rappel line.

Photos of Carbs and Caffeine Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Wow!  Wild, exposed roof!
Wow! Wild, exposed roof!
Rock Climbing Photo: Tony Bubb sets off on lead into the long and pumpy...
Tony Bubb sets off on lead into the long and pumpy...
Rock Climbing Photo: Way out there.
Way out there.
Rock Climbing Photo: pitch one
pitch one
Rock Climbing Photo: Tierd? No! After 15 pitches today at the gunks, I ...
Tierd? No! After 15 pitches today at the gunks, I ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The start of P2
The start of P2
Rock Climbing Photo: C&C Pitch 1.  Bring nuts!
C&C Pitch 1. Bring nuts!
Rock Climbing Photo: Chillin' at the crux!?!
Chillin' at the crux!?!
Rock Climbing Photo: Roofs?  2 down, ??? more to go. Tony Bubb expends ...
Roofs? 2 down, ??? more to go. Tony Bubb expends ...

Comments on Carbs and Caffeine Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 24, 2016
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 21, 2006
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13

The thing I recall the most was accidentally kicking out my gear down and left below me while I was staring at that crappy bolt. It should be replaced. Other than that, great route!
By Ivan Rezucha
From: Fort Collins, CO
Feb 22, 2006

The thing I remember most is falling off the final crux roof following Rich Gottlieb and shredding his new rope.

The first crux (on P2) was done on the FFA by traversing left then up and back right. Easier, but scary.
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Jan 30, 2008
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

After I eeked through the crux on pitch two, I was convinced that it was necessary to belay below the final roof (I may have read this in the guidebook or maybe I just made it up, I don't know). I would not recommend belaying here as the rock isn't that solid and the stance is less-than-comfortable. It would have been better to continue to the top of the cliff, as Josh's description suggests. The final roof, though intimidating, wasn't as hard as the lower crux. It was more awkward than hard.
By Tim Schafstall
Apr 24, 2008

P1 is a bit soft for 5.9 (new Williams' guide downrates to 5.8) and is a better option to start Airy Aria - a much nicer pitch than that sometimes wet, slick, offwidth on P1 of Airy Aria.
By Chris Beh
Jul 7, 2010

I led the whole thing in one pitch, from the ground, with double ropes in 1986. I had enough slings to keep the rope drag manageable even on the final roof. Which kicked my ass like other super, scruncy Gunks classics (Swing Time, Pork Roaster, Arachnias). I whippped off the last overhang 2 or 3 times, with rope stretch and an expert, Mileski style Joey split finger, dynamic belay by Stokey Baker, the ride must have been 40 feet. But I could get back on above the lower crux and I'd just yo yo up for another go.
By bheller
From: SL UT
Sep 29, 2010

70m rope just barely lets you lower off.
By Jeffrey Gagliano
From: Pennsburg, PA
Apr 9, 2012

Did this back in '99 or '00 one cold October day. My feet cut out on the traverse under the final roof. Campused for a move or two and did a wild dyno to a jug. Yikes! I haven't dared a repeat, though I do fantasize of it.
By msdubs007
Sep 7, 2012

Just did this route yesterday. A heads up to anyone trying the route, the bolts are extremely suspect. The first bolt is relatively new, however it's bent and not set it the hole well. I would't trust it to hold a big fall. The second bolt is a complete joke, don't bother even clipping it. It would't hold my cat on aid. The route in my opinion currently R.

By MojoMonkey
Sep 19, 2013

It's been a little over a year - anyone know if the bolt status is the same? Pulled out? Replaced? Sounds like there is no reasonable gear options for a while if the previous poster indicates it as R climbing...
By Jon Clark
From: Philadelphia, PA
Apr 19, 2014

The bolt at the 1st crux is good enough to protect the moves. The hanger isn't bent, but it is a spinner. The route is spicy, but not because of the bolt's condition. If you blew the 1st crux, the fall would be short (provided you'd already clipped the bolt). I also think 11a is a sandbag as an onsight. I thought it was in the same league, but not quite as hard as the third pitch of Enduro Man.
By fatum
Oct 7, 2014

Finally did it on an October weekend. I couldn't find the no hands knee bar before the crux. Maybe I am too short for this to feel secure (5 feet 9). Second bolt was completely a suspect. The #2 after the crux is critical. Without it you are looking at a long fall with big swing. There is actually a very decent rest stance before going up for the final traverse. Great route definitely.
By Sean McAuley
May 26, 2015

Some thoughts:
-The bolt is probably fine. If you blow the crux you'll literally have the bolt at your waist, but:
-It may be a good idea to clip the bolt with a 2-footer. The placement of the bolt leads to having your rope run hard over the sidepully flake just below the crux, and there is possibility for some core damage if you take a big fall and the rope gets loaded hard across that edge (maybe clip it with a beefy nylon sling as well). A 2ft sling may lengthen the fall, but it's all air.
-The climbing after the crux is not particularly hard, but is very delicate and has the potential for disaster if you blow it before the critical #2 placement.
-Make sure your second is up for the challenge. After unclipping that bolt, a fall would produce a big swing with some tiered roofs in the way. They also would have some difficulty getting back on.
-The upper crux (crab crawl) is only hard if you're tall, for one move right at the end when you need to scrunch up.

Overall an absolutely fantastic route and deserves both the accolades and the respect it gets. And I agree with the above, 11a felt super sandbagged for the onsite (I actually thought the Yellow Wall was easier because the moves are so straightforward on that climb).
By Bababata
From: Oakland, CA
May 28, 2015
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R

The 40 ft section between the 2 cruxes felt R to me - the only piece of pro is a very shallow #2 about 15 ft up and right of the bolt, then another 25 ft of delicate 5.9 climbing with no gear. A fantastic, varied route otherwise.
By Sean McAuley
Jun 8, 2015

Just did this climb again and I think the #2 is good (though it is a bit shallow, it's in solid rock and all lobes are within the horizontal). Also, there are good C3's in 2 seams (kinda shallow corners) above the #2. So I don't think I'd agree with 40ft of runout. However, there is definitely a lot of Rish 5.10 delicate climbing in must not fall territory (for the leader and the follower).

Also, I did this again just after No Man's Land and a week or so after my last time on the Yellow Wall and both me and my follower agreed this is the hardest and most intense of them all (also the most awkward). Can't beat the position on the traverse though!
By cliffmama
Jul 9, 2015

The Gunks Climbers' Coalition has just replaced that old manky bolt on Carbs and Caffeine!

Here's the old one:

Here's the new one:
By Jon Clark
From: Philadelphia, PA
Aug 4, 2015

It's a bit of a shame as it will take some excitement out of the route. I never thought the second bolt was necessary for a safe enough free ascent.
By GabeO
From: New Haven, CT
Oct 12, 2015

Sean is right, and Bababata missed a few good placements (I got a Ball Nut and a perfect blue Alien in two different cracks). I feel that section is probably 9+/10- PG.
By kendallt
Oct 20, 2015
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

So the bolts are replaced as mentioned, but also moved. Instead of both bolts being above the crux there's now a bolt to clip before moving up to the first crux, and another bolt after it. I agree that it's probably a less exciting lead, but also safer (previous option was to whip on a #1 c3 below your feet if you missed clipping the first bolt)... with the location of the bolts this route is definitely PG.
By Max Shaffer
Apr 19, 2016

Fantastic route. I on-sighted this route this past weekend, and I have to say that I thought P1 was a solid 5.10a. Delicate moves above RP's and black aliens. No gimme for sure. Oh, and P2 is awesome (obviously).
By Simon Thompson
From: New Paltz, NY
May 18, 2016
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Attempted P2 onsight last week. With the shiny new bolts this feels really safe and accessible at the 11a grade. The only runout part is when you diagonal up and right after bolt number two but this is on 5.8 terrain and probably the about the only low-angle part on the pitch. The fixed anchor at the lip of the final roof should be removed or replaced. The pitons are movable by hand and the static rope that comprises the rigging is incredibly sun-bleached. It's pretty easy to place a bomber piece after the lip and the jet up and right on easier terrain to the GT ledge rap station. If you want to make an anchor right above the lip for a TR there are plenty of gear spots. No need for a fixed anchor there imho. I thought the "traverse" at the end wasn't that bad even as a tallish person. There is a reachy move getting established in the roof that you could call the upper crux. Amazing route can't wait to go back for another dose, probably need more caffeine next time though...
By SethG
May 18, 2016

Reading your comment about the fixed anchor is giving me the willies, Simon. I spent a fair amount of time hanging off of that anchor in recent months! I did not realize the fixed pins were that bad.....

About the alleged runout: I don't think there is any runout. Yellow number two Camalot goes in right after the crux and then there is a little vertical crack to the left which takes a bomber nut. If you miss the nut placement it may seem run out.
By Jon Po
From: Mahwah, NJ
May 24, 2016
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Carbs would be a proud and difficult onsight! The loose piton in the fixed anchor is no longer there. The other gear does look okay still. Definitely worth replacing this anchor soon. I would really recommend going to the top of the cliff to the Airy Area Tree and rapping there for a 40 or 45 meter rappel until the preserve puts bolts over the lip. Who knows if that will happen though?? Josh's description of the crab crawl is hilarious yet spot on!

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