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Coming up the HUGE corner on Pitch 6.
Machete Direct 5.10b/A1 or 5.9/A1: This climb offers six pitches of mixed aid and free climbing. This climb is suitable for a solid 5.9 climber with some aid experience. You will be much more comfortable (and efficient) if you can pull off a couple of reasonably well protected 5.10b free moves. The aid portions are short but often require you to step out of your aiders and make a few free moves. The second pitch is only 5.7 but is pretty runout (3 bolts in 130).
Retreat: It is possible to retreat with 2 ropes by rapping the route but you risk knocking rocks down onto the trail below. At the top of Pitches 3 and 4 you can bail out right by heading toward the Badman Mezzanine. Two ropes make it easiest to bail but it is possible to escape with only 1 rope. If you only have one rope, be sure to study the Badman Mezzanine topo carefully or you will rap off the end of your rope!
P1: 80 (direct start) - The original start chimneyed up the tree and worked its way along the ledge to the start of the aid portion (5.8/A1). The preferred start is the direct start. Two bolts protect the moves up to the aid section (5.10a/A1). The moves to the first two bolts are around 5.9. Bring a stick clip if the move up the first bolt spooks you. The crux of this pitch is between bolts 2 and 3. There is a mandatory free move off the last bolt before you reach the anchor. I found it a bit spicy after being in the security of the aiders to switch to free. Youll need six or seven draws (I always bring an extra in case I drop one!) to protect the direct start. Bring many long slings if you do the original start.
P2: 130 - Three bolts protect about runout 5.7 climbing. Im glad I didnt have to lead this pitch!
P3: 130 - Two old bolts are supplemented with small to medium cams on this fun 5.2 pitch.
P4: 140 Six bolts on mixed free/aid climbing (5.9/A1 or 5.10b). Youll need to make a couple free moves between the bolts if you plan to aid the 5.10b section. The upper section in the waterstreak is super fun and only a tiny bit runout (5.7PG). This was my favorite pitch.
P5: 120 Seven bolts supplemented with cams protect this mixed free/aid pitch (5.8/A1). There is a bit of 5.8 free climbing above the aid moves. Bring long slings for the cams in the gully. There are several very large and very loose chockstones in the gully. The crux on this pitch is NOT stepping on the loose rock. About 10 below the anchor, there is a bolt out right that protects one 5.7 move. Note the Brad Young topo is NOT correct in this location.
P6: 160 Two (or three?) bolts protect fun, easy moves under a HUG corner. One recently replaced bolt protects a 5.6/5.7 move above the anchor. The rest of the climb to the top is around 5.3. Watch out for pigeons exiting the crack!
Optional P7: 80 Two bolts protect climbing up to the top of the Middle Tower. Rappel back to the top of P6 after summiting the tower to do the Standard Machete Descent. Descent:
Rap off the backside of Machete Ridge into the gulley. Then rappel 3-4 anchors (all bolted on the right) within the gulley until it opens up. Stay right on a Class 2 trail this whole time and avoid any of the cliffs to the left.
Once the gulley opens up walk right on a faint trail across a 4th class traverse above slab until you find trail again descending right down a dirt path through trees. Optionally anchor on a big tree for traverse.
Once the dirt trail disappears and you find yourself among huge boulders go left. Look for a metal rail in the shape of an upside down "U". This brings you into 'the caves' trail. Walk left through 'the caves' until you reach stream bed. Retrace your approach trail to parking lot.
Optional Pitches: From the top of Pitch 6 you can reverse the Machete Traverse and add 3 more pitches. P1: 5.2 Work your way westerly (unprotected) up and over a small tower to the base of the rappels. There is one bolt and ring at the top of the tower to protect the easy downclimbing. P2: 5.3 - Fourth class your way into a gully protected by two bolts. Belay at a pine tree. P3: 5.5 Move the belay up past a manzanita then do a boulder move down a short wall (7 or so). Belay (unprotected) as your leader works up to a single bolt then traverses under a headwall (on the leaders right). One bolt protects a 5.5 move to the top of a waterstreak. From the anchor, rap down The Hideout then 4th class your way to mother earth. Mostly 3rd Class back to the base of Dos Equis then back down to the climb.
More Info. and Pics: For more info. and pics of the route, check out my blog: centralcoastclimbing.blogspot....
Located left (or east) of "The Arch". Starts directly off the streambed and is visible from the trail. Look for two bolts up high (about 15' to the first bolt with a Leeper Hanger) for the direct start.
Gear: Bring a light rack with small to medium cams, one 3 cam helpful, 6 quick draws, 5 shoulder length slings (24), and 2 double length slings (48). No nuts needed. All anchors are bolted.
Looking up at the long runout on Pitch 2 (5.7R).
BETA PHOTO: After the second rappel, getting ready for one mor...
View of the balconies while climbing
Optional P7 to Middle Tower, I think I spotted a b...
BETA PHOTO: Descent after rapping into the gulley. Remember to...
BETA PHOTO: Approach to Machete. Balconies show up on your lef...
BETA PHOTO: Start of the route from the stream bed. If you rea...
Looking back on the easy traverse (5.2) on Pitch 3...
Looking down from Pitch 1.
BETA PHOTO: Topo and Beta for Machete Direct.
By Chris Bersbach
From: Arroyo Grande, CA
Feb 2, 2015
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b A1 R
Pitch-by-pitch, as of 2/1/2015:
P1: We did the 10b A1 version. Climbing and pro was as described/shown in the Brad Young topo. FWIW, I didn't think the free moves were that bad at all. than again, it was a cold, cold morning, and I could barely feel my fingers.
P2: Bolts are good, if far apart. My partner Eric felt that both bolts 2 and 3 had a fairly committing 5.7 move right before each bolt, so full value on the "R".
P3: Easy climbing, bolts appear newer than indicated in the route description. However, the supplemental gear placements were... suspect. (Welcome to Pinns.)
P4: Probably the best overall pitch, the way we did it. An interesting back-and-forth combo of free & aid, providing you're aiding and not just crushing through the harder free sections.
P5: More consistent aiding, a la P1 (again, unless you're crazy strong), followed by the chute shown in the topo. There's an old (suspect) bolt in the chute, but we never found the bolt in the route description, above (10' below the anchor, protecting the 5.7 climbing). Made the last bit of the pitch a little spicey for my partner.
P6: I found three bolts - two very close together right before the 5.6/5.7 section, and one more about halfway to the top. All the other placements I found on this pitch were in highly-suspect rock. The climbing is easy, but the entire portion of the pitch under the corner was covered in mouse/rat crap, and the rock quality was not confidence-inspiring (to say the least). I guess this is why people call it "adventure" climbing, but to me, this pitch was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
For the descent, there are three new rap anchors installed in the descent gully (after the initial rap off the back side of the ridge, opposite the balconies). As I understand it, these were installed to limit erosion from climbers butt-scooting down the gully, and they're marked with a little bit of red tat on each, to make finding them easy (a nice touch!). All raps are spaced perfectly for a 60m rope, but tying knots still isn't a bad idea, due to the slope of the gully.
By Vlada Matena
Mar 15, 2015
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a A1 R
My son and I did the route yesterday. I agree with the previous comment from the party on 2/1/2015, with the following exception: the 3 new rappel anchors in the Upper Gully are spaced a little more than 30m apart. Rappelling with a single 60m rope will not reach the next anchor. This is not a problem however because getting to the next anchor from the end of the rope on each rappel is an easy walk (3rd class at most).
The 3 new rappel anchors will get you to the obvious oak tree in the meadow. We rappelled with two 60m ropes straight down from the oak tree (you need at least two 60m ropes for this rappel). From the end of this rappel, we scrambled down through bushes (some of them poison oak!!) and down-climbed easy boulders to the trail. The route finding on the descent definitely added to the adventurous nature of this route.
By Kyle Queener
From: Bishop, California
Mar 24, 2015
rating: 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a C0 PG13
In regards to the free climbing on this route which hasn't been mentioned yet, the two 5.12 pitches feature extremely short sections of hard climbing. The first pitch free is about 5.12a if you stay on the right line of bolts, I'm not sure if the left side goes free, I've never tried it. Pitch five features one move that's maybe 5.12b followed by mellow 5.11. The beauty of this pitch is the stark contrast between a 5.12 bolt ladder and the remainder of the pitch being mostly 5.6 through a bushy gully crack featuring natural pro until the anchor. I don't think there is any other pitch in Pinnacles that features such diversity.
Mar 26, 2017
Climbed this last weekend. Tons of lichen on the route after the wet winter. I'm new to aid so I found the bulging sections harder than I expected. The first bolt on the direct 10a/b start is a bit high and a little heady. Bolts all looked in good shape except the rusted out pin head atop P5 which I backed up.
Descent straightforward until the gulley opens up. Will request an update to description.
Wrote up a trip report: