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King Tut's Tomb 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

   
Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 700'
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Galen Rowell and Mike Covington (May 1968)
Page Views: 221
Submitted By: Bryan G on May 4, 2015

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Upper pitches of King Tut's Tomb

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>

Description 

This route climbs the right side of the 500ft tower located directly above Manana. It's dirty but has a couple redeeming pitches. The rock is mostly good and the climbing is mostly well protected. Gets morning shade. The Reid Guide calls it 5.10b, but doesn't list any info on the FFA. Galen Rowel surely used aid on his 1968 ascent, and the green Roper guide lists the route as 5.9 A1. So I don't know where the 10b rating comes from, but the crux pitch felt harder than The Sceptor (11a) to me.

We did a direct start by climbing a gully just to the right of Manana. It's possible to avoid these first two pitches by hiking uphill to the west and then cutting back left on 3rd/4th class ledges to reach the base of pitch 3. I'll describe the route as we climbed it, so the pitches will differ from what is in the Reid topo.

Pitch 1 (10a/b) Climb up the gully past a big tree and a ledge. The chimney pinches you out and you must make a couple big reaches between jams to get situated in the crack system above. Burly. Then follow the 6" crack a bit to the right and cut back left to belay on a big ledge.

Pitch 2 (4th class) Do a little boulder problem to get up on the next ledge, and then follow the broad ledge system along the base of the wall for about 80ft to the right. Scramble up some more easy terrain and belay at the highest ledge.

Pitch 3 (5.8) A short pitch following the crack system up and left. Climb the double cracks with some stemming onto a big 30-degree slab. Walk to the back of the slab and belay at the base of the corner. The anchor takes nuts and 1-2" cams.

Pitch 4 (5.9) Bushwhack past a small tree and then climb up the enjoyable steep corner. This would be a nice pitch if it were clean. This brings you up onto another tree covered ledge. You can belay here, or climb a bit further through a short steep section. There is a dirty crack a bit to the right which is undercut at the bottom and looks really hard to get into. I think this is perhaps the best way to go? I got off route here and climbed the crack just to the left which gains a long narrow ledge. The climbing above was hard and poorly protected so I followed the ledge all the way to the left near the arete and a small tree. I climbed up 20 ft and then traversed way back right on unprotected face climbing and features (5.4 R/X) to rejoin the route. My follower was able to climb directly up on toprope since I didn't place pro anywhere on my round-a-bout variation. Whichever way you go, there is a good spot to build an anchor (nuts and small to medium cams) at the base of the steep crack and a place to sit on the big ledge immediately to the right.

Pitch 5 (5.11a) Another pitch which would be really fun if it were clean. Climb up the steep hand and fist crack. It is easier than it appears thanks to several large features to grab and step on. This brings you to another ledge. It's probably a good idea to belay here if you didn't climb all the way to the base of the crack on pitch 4. Otherwise keep going into the crux "10b" pitch. This section is just as steep and dirty as the previous, but also much thinner and less featured. Continuous climbing in a right-leaning corner and crack with a very pumpy finish. Move left along the sandy debris covered ledges and belay by some blocks under a roof.

Pitch 6 (5.8) A short bit of insecure climbing up the thin crack and face reaches a horizontal crack below the roof. Traverse right to where the roof is split by a chimney and wiggle up to the top of the formation.

Descent 

I think the usual descent is to rappel from tree to tree down the Mummy's Revenge (a 5.9 gully climb further uphill and right of King Tut's Tomb). We brought 2 ropes with us and wanted a cleaner rappel so we opted to go down the main (northwest) face. We didn't find any previously established anchors, but it worked out great and got us down in 3 long raps. This is ideal if you did the direct start and left your shoes and packs near the base of Manana. From the top of the formation walk east to a large tree which is near the bottom of the forested slope. Make a steep rappel into the big gully which divides the left side the formation from the main wall. At the bottom of the gully swing right to a large oak tree on a ledge. This is a long rappel, close to 200ft so watch your rope ends. The next rappel takes you to the bolted anchor at the top of Manana. We only left one sling with one carabiner at each of the trees, so bring some extra webbing and rap rings for the descent.

Protection 

Pro to 4.5", nuts and extra cams from .5" to 2"


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Rock Climbing Photo: Reid topo modified to match this route description...
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