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Dragons Of Eden 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a R

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 160'
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a R [details]
FA: Tony Bubb, Mark Ruocco, 10/06
New Route: Yes
Season: Faces South
Page Views: 468
Submitted By: Tony B on Oct 16, 2006

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  • Description 

    The name of this route is not random.
    In the landmark book 'Dragons Of Eden' (1970-something) C. Sagan wrote on theories of evolutionary psychology. Among the ideas expressed was that an innate fear of certain animals was evolutionarily bred into the human mind. The dangerous animals of the time, these 'Dragons Of Eden' became frighting creatures to man as a matter of biology not a matter of conditioning. This was later demonstrated in experiments with Chimps, by way of 'conditioning' the subject species to be fearful of both snakes and bunnies by showing mildly fearful reactions of other chimps to the stimuli. Young apes were easily conditioned to be fearful of snakes, but not of rabbits. The conclusion being that the tendency to fear snakes is innate, but not rabbits.

    For what it is worth, in the 21st century, Sagan Jr followed up on the book with more modern ideas and research tools and techniques with his book "Up From Dragons."

    This route was done to the left of its intended line, since on the FA of the line to the right I backed off, having seen one of my greatest fears in climbing, a nest of wasps. My own personal 'dragons.' As a soloist, the sight of them makes me shudder while climbing, as I know that my impulsive reaction to a mass attack could be fatal if it occurred while runout or unroped. Even the sight of a nest full of them makes me uneasy on the cliffs. They just look evil to me- the face, the body- all of it. I climbed the route all the while wondering how innate this is and how conditioned.

    The route...
    The first half of this route is the harder half, and is well protected. The latter half is significantly runout, but on good rock with secure holds.
    From a good stance on the sloping ground below a steep section of cliff, step up and left onto a slabby boulder and climb that to access the main face, then come slightly back right to the face above the small overhang. This accesses the set of cracks in the steep slab above. Climb with occasional but very good protection up the easy cracks to a point where the angle of the rock decreases and you can see a shallow, wide slot above you. Therein lies a wasp's nest, behind some flakes. Rather than encounter these 'dragons of Eden' directly, step left onto a beautiful face and start climbing up that on good holds, but scant gear. The climbing there is 5.4 or easier. Once above the 'slot', one can traverse back right and place good gear just before accessing the summit ridge, a necessity to protect the second from a swing. Clip the gear with a long runner, and climb the ridge to a belay on the summit.


    On the South Face of the Lost and Found Flatiron, perhaps 50 meters below the S.W. arete. The route climbs just left of a feature that gives the vague appearance of a shallow slot of chimney in a few spots.


    A standard light rack.

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