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Major Tom 

YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 75'
Original:  YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: John Steiger, Allen Sanderson, July 2012
Page Views: 206
Submitted By: John Steiger on Aug 16, 2012

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
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Major Tom, KW on lead.


Major Tom is the attractive two-part arête to the left of Le Rap et Tap, offering excellent rock and some of the best exposure in BCC. The first part is protected by three bolts up to a ledge. The second part begins by stepping right off the ledge to avoid a severely undercut section of the arête, and then moving back left past the fourth bolt to regain the arête above the undercut. A small cam with a runner protects the move to clip the fourth bolt. Above, one more bolt protects exciting climbing (take a deep breath) to the large belay ledge shared with Rear-View Mirrors, Le Rap, and Wealth of Nations. Really a sport route, but calling it trad to keep off the draws-only crowd.


Approach as for Le Rap et Tap and Wealth of Nations. Major Tom can be led from either the ledge and pine tree at the base of those routes (consider using longish draws on the first three bolts) or, less comfortably, from a small footstance and cams near the base of the arête (which would require some exposed third or fourth classing to reach).


Five draws for the bolts, and a few finger-size cams and long runner. Lower or rap chains.

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By tenesmus
Sep 17, 2012

This is pretty dang fun. Cool arete surfing with gear where you don't have bolts or to move safely between them. Careful not to get yourself too bunched up in the crux. Nice moves on great rock.
By Landon McBrayer
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 30, 2013

This route has some cool arete climbing. That said, here are some concerns:
-Belaying from the tree/ledge belay for WoN/Le Rap seems like a REALLY bad idea (even though I did it, regretfully). You have 40 feet of actual climbing (5.5 ish) to clip the first bolt; if you fell you would be seriously injured or die. Worse, the arete from bolts 1-3 is RAZOR sharp, and given the placement of the bolts (on the other side of the arete), your rope will likely run over it as some point. If you fell between bolts 2-4, you could be seriously injured or sever the rope/die. The only preventative solution is to runner those first three bolts long, but falling on any of them might produce the same result. You can cut weighted dyneema with a butter knife.
-The fourth bolt (just above the flat ledge) is the hardest clip on the route. You can place a high finger-sized cam from the ledge, but, nevertheless, if you blow that fourth clip you can kiss your ankles goodbye; you'll hit that ledge pretty hard.
-there are 5 bolts (and one gear placement) in a full 30 meters of climbing (my 60m was used up). That's a bolt every 20 feet on average, so some of the falls off the arete would be pretty nasty.

To sum up, this route is a great find with some fun climbing, but the bolting is super unnerving.
By John Steiger
Sep 5, 2013

You might have a point about belaying from the tree, Landon. So now there is a stance about 20 feet below and slightly left of the arête, marked with a new bolt (supplement with a hand-size cam and/or sling around a horn); that should eliminate the concern expressed in the first part of your post. As to the other concerns, I repeated the route again and just don'’t agree. The only way you'’d catch an ankle on the ledge before the 4th bolt is if the leader botches the cam placement or the belayer is asleep. However, I'’m willing to consider adding another bolt in lieu of the cam to straighten out the line -- I'’d like to hear what others think first. On your last point, nothing personal, but I have to say that inferring that there are 20 foot runouts between bolts is silly. I realize this is largely subjective, but the bolts are close together when they need to be and not when they don’'t. Ain't the net fun?
By Landon McBrayer
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 22, 2014

John, You're probably right since it's your route and I've only climbed it once. However, I didn't infer that the bolts were 20 feet apart. I gave an average based on route length and number of bolts. That's not subjective, but empirically obvious. There are very few places on this climb that I would be comfortable falling. Maybe I'm just a weenie.

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