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Lug's Crack 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b PG13

   
Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 90'
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b PG13 [details]
FA: M. Brooks, A. Azoff, 1987
Season: Faces W/SW - sunny
Page Views: 140
Submitted By: Tony B on Apr 5, 2015

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  • Description 

    This route gets a star in the Levin book, which could easily be justified by the interesting climbing, yet the route has detractors sufficient enough for me to point them out.

    I frequently speak of certain obscure routes as "a good 5.9 for 5.10 climbers" or something to that effect, but this one is "a good 5.9+ for 5.11 climbers."
    Yes, it is a sandbag. It is runout in spots. There is also some bad/dubious rock.

    Buyer, beware! This write-up comes from a fairly choss-tolerant and runout-tolerant climber.

    Find the last of the route at the far right end of the buttress. I attempted to boulder out a more direct start at first and despite being fairly careful with weight distribution, snapped off 2 consecutive hand holds, and took a short grounder. There *IS* a reason why the route starts where it does.

    So start off on the right and head up and left onto a left-leaning diagonal seam and crack, heading for a right-facing open book. You will pass a pin placement that should be backed up with an alien or other small cam. This old ring angle is over driven, frozen by rust and levered. Nice to have, but not trust-worthy, and the nearby gear is actually good.

    Clip those, and head more directly upward in an open book (questionable gear here - I bypassed it) onto a nice ledge. This part of the climb was 5.9-ish.
    From the ledge, one can belay or continue. Considering what is to come, you might want to belay here (optional in the book) so as to minimize the rope you have out for the next crux, which is a complete sandbag and not too far off of the ledge.

    From the sloping ledge, go inward to a very steep (roof/bulge), right-facing corner, and look up to a small cam placement just out of reach. You will want that clipped before pulling the next few moves, and if you are short, that will be problematic. I reached into the sharp in-cuts on the left and toe hooked into the corner hard with the right foot to gain some height and place and clip that gear before coming down to rest, which was a good idea.

    Gear established, work your way up through this bulge and onto the rock above it. There are some slopers, some off-angled cracks, some sidepulls, a heel-hook, etc.... I am not sure how to do this at the 5.9+ level, so I can't give great beta. My shorter partner, a regular 5.10 to 5.11 trad leader in Eldo, fell several times before giving up and aiding that section. I thought that it was at least solid 5.10 and I was just having a bad day... (caveat emptor). Get established up there, get a little gear, then continue. A few more bulges clock in at the 5.9+ level (more honestly) including one up high which either goes on slopers or a strange/blind side-pull out to the right.

    Place solid gear before this, then top out in a brief section of offwidth through scabby rock and breath a sign of relief on top. A long cordalette around a boulder or some creative gear sets an anchor, but you have gone up, over, and down, and the rope will run through a small crack (rounded), so the stance in and of itself is probably sufficient for a belay.

    To descend, scramble up and northwest on the rising traverse of a slab, then back South to a juniper with chains and webbing. Rap 100' to the ground. A 70m works great for this rap with spare rope, and a 60m is fine if you watch where you want to land, so as not to go too far right.

    Location 

    This climb is at the lowest climbable section of the Kloof Alcove. It lies perhaps 30 meters downhill of the Kloof route itself. The route starts down on the right hand end of the SW fact of the buttress and ascends up and left into a corner system, past a ledge and roof, and up into a right-facing corner between 2 towers, a pointy tall one on the left, and a cobbled rotten round one on the right.

    Protection 

    Take a standard rack from small cams to 3.5" (blue Camalot). The crux protection was small cams (0.5-1") in a few spots.


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