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Upper Tier - Right End
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Bungasana S 
Chockstone (aka:Captain's Crack) T 
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Hippie With a Hand Grenade S 
Mal Bouche T 

Mal Bouche 

YDS: 5.12- French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

   
Type:  Trad, 110'
Original:  YDS: 5.12- French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: John Bouchard May 1974 FFA Herb George, Bill Pelkey 1980s
Page Views: 695
Submitted By: Greg Kuchyt on May 20, 2014

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  • Description 

    A route that almost has it all! Mal Bouche takes the obvious finger crack out the large roof system that bisects the majority of the Upper Tier. Below the roof is incipient crack/face climbing reminiscent of Gunks face climbing. Above the roof is a fantastic moderate off-finger to thin-hand crack.

    Climb the incipient crack system (small gear, tricky placements) with increasing difficulty into a small right-facing corner which leads through a bulge to a bolt and an overhang. Collect yourself and breakthrough one more overhang to easier terrain, a stance, and a fixed anchor. Lowering off this fixed anchor makes this pitch 5.11a with G/PG gear (i.e. the gear is good, but it is tricky to place and it is comprised of tiny pieces).

    If you elect to continue, you're faced with a roof finger crack boulder problem to turn the lip of the roof (crux). Once established on the face, enjoy the pleasant crack to the top of the cliff and a fixed anchor.

    Alternatively if you feel like a puppet caught up in your strings trying to pull through the roof, consider the "Happy Puppet" variation which moderately bypasses the roof and climbs enjoyable face climbing to the shared fixed anchor.

    Var. "The Happy Puppet" 5.8+ G: From the mid-point fixed anchor. Traverse right under the roof 20' feet to the right end of the shrubby ledge. Gain the face and climb up and left past some left-facing flakes to a glue-in bolt (run-out, but easy). Fun technical face climbing past two more glue-ins leads to the top of the cliff and the shared fixed anchor.

    Location 

    Start: 20ft left of Chockstone (aka:Captain's Crack) at an incipient crack/seam system that meanders into a short left-facing corner that breaches a bulge under two small overhangs.
    Descent: Rappel from the fixed anchor.

    Protection 

    Gear: RPs, micro cams to 1" (.75 Camalot). Double pieces in the .5-.75 Camalot size range would be helpful for the upper moderate crack. If using the mid-station as a point of protection, prudent extension is necessary to prevent significant rope drag at the lip of the roof once above the crux.


    Comments on Mal Bouche Add Comment
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    By Greg Kuchyt
    From: Richmond, VT
    Sep 14, 2014

    The "Happy Puppet" variation allows you to by pass the stiff crux at a moderate grade, though this is still guarded by the first pitch which is somewhat more approachable.
    By Seth Maciejowski
    Sep 15, 2014

    Did the Happy Puppet variation yesterday. Nice pitch, too bad you have to pull hard 5.11 moves to reach it! One of the bolt hangers on the anchor is loose and we didn't have a wrench to tighten it down...
    By Derek Doucet
    Sep 16, 2014

    Where are these "hard 5.11 moves" of which you speak??? Not between the ground and the anchor, that's for sure!
    By Seth Maciejowski
    Sep 19, 2014

    Derek,
    Let me correct my comment for you :
    "...have to pull hard, 5.11 moves..."

    I find 5.11 moves to be hard whether they are 11a or 11d.
    I'm pretty sure the heel hook to sidepull move above the old bolt on Mal Bouche is 11a. Felt that way to me.
    By Peter nichols
    Apr 19, 2016

    Got on this today. Broke a foot hold off even with the bolt and took the whippy doodle. Got back on and placed a blue ball nut for nerd points. Real small cam would probably also work, couldn't figure a good nut. The bolt is hard to clip for the vertically challenged, has two cheater links on it now.
    That roof crack sure is motivating. Some day I'll probably get all excited and dog up it.
    Cheers
    Peter
    By Greg Kuchyt
    From: Richmond, VT
    Jun 25, 2017

    After a couple failed attempts to take the crack on directly, I revisited this recently and opened my eyes to the other options and was surprised to find a much more moderate way to breach the overhang. One crux move gets you past the lip and then a fun and engaging exit keeps the excitement level up. I really feel like the full routes is one of the better routes in the Bolton Valley crags with great climbing throughout. While the crux is quite short, it's still a fair bit of climbing involved and the lower pitch isn't exactly a walk in the park. The pleasant upper crack nicely rounds out the route as it's just technical enough to warrant thought, but not be challenging.

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