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Mithril 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 90'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Richard Rossiter, Joan Johns and Bob D'Antonio
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 78
Submitted By: Richard Rossiter on Oct 2, 2005

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  • Description 

    Mithril, as any JRR Tolkien fan knows, is the legendary chainmail armor of the Elves worn by Frodo in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. You may find such armor useful on your left arm as you jam the overhanging off-hands crack of the second pitch. Above the off-hands crack, ascend a narrow chimney to easier terrain, arrive at a big ledge with a big pine and belay from the tree. Bring up your partner and rappel 90 feet to the road.

    Protection 

    Pitch 1: 2 bolts only, gear anchor.

    Pitch 2: Gear up to 3 inches with 2 or 3 pieces in the fat-hands range.

    Top: Rappel 90 feet from a big pine. May need slings and a rappel ring.


    Photos of Mithril Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: At the crack.
    At the crack.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Mithril.  Pitch 1 climbs past two bolts on the rig...
    BETA PHOTO: Mithril. Pitch 1 climbs past two bolts on the rig...

    Comments on Mithril Add Comment
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    By Bernard Gillett
    Oct 2, 2005

    Hi Richard - I can't let this one go without a friendly comment from a fellow JRR Tolkien fan. "Mithril, as any JRR Tolkien fan knows, is the legendary chainmail armor of the Elves worn by Frodo in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. "

    Mithril was mined by the Dwarves; it could be found only in Moria ("Moria-silver, or true-silver as some have called it: mithril is the Elvish name. The Dwarves have a name which they do not tell." (1)) "The Elves dearly loved it, and among many uses they made of it ithildin, starmoon, which you saw upon the doors."(2) Gandalf is speaking in both of these quotes, and the doors to which he refers are the east doors of Moria, which were inlaid with ithildin.

    It may be that the Elves used mithril for chainmail (though I doubt it), but the mithril coat that Frodo wears was definitely made by the Dwarves. Thorin gave it to Bilbo in "The Hobbit". Bilbo then gives it to Frodo in Rivendell, just before the Company leaves on its long journey to Mordor. Frodo loses it in the tower of Cirith Ungol (Shagrat gets off with it), and then Gandalf takes it from the Mouth of Sauron at the Black Gate ("Dwarf-coat, elf-cloak, and blade of the downfallen West..." (3)). It is returned to Frodo in the Field of Cormallen ("Then Gandalf came and in his arms, to the wonder of Frodo, he bore the sword and the elven-cloak and the mithril-coat that had been taken from him in Mordor." (4))

    Mithril, then, is not chainmail armor; it is only used to make it ("...the Dwarves could make of it a metal, light and yet harder than tempered steel." (5)). It really isn't "of the Elves," either, because the Dwarves mined it (and likely traded it or gave some of it to the Elves). At the time of the story, most of it was in the hands of Sauron: "Of what they [the Dwarves] have brought to light, the Orcs have gathered nearly all, and given it in tribute to Sauron, who covets it. Mithril! All folks desired it..." (6))

    When the climbing companies get some mithril, we can all expect stronger and lighter biners, though that [presupposes] they will be able to locate some dwarves who can help them forge it correctly. I'm waiting for the day when we can purchase Elven rope (leading the Diamond on a lithe 5mm rope would be sweet). Of course, free climbing standards will shoot through the roof if the scientists can locate some Gollum DNA and bring him back to life.

    (1) (2) (5) (6) -- See "A Journey in the Dark," Book II, The Fellowhip of the Ring (3) -- See "The Black Gate Opens," Book V, The Return of the King (this quote tells you it's a dwarf coat, but you already learn that in The Hobbit) (4) -- See "The Field of Cormallen," Book VI, The Return of the King

    You might also want to change the spelling of one of your routes on Watermark (on this site and your own). It's "Minas Tirith," not "Minas Tireth."

    Nice route names, though. I just put up "The Sword-that-was-Broken," (5.3 **) and "Ring of Power," (5.4 *) with my girls a few weeks ago. These were inaugural FAs for the kids, and Katie (my 8-yr old, who finished The Lord of the Rings last spring) suggested the names, so I went with them. (Anyone who wants a friendly place to climb with the kids: you'll find these routes on the slab left of Git-em Up Scout on Scout Slab, opposite Scout Rock in SSV Canyon -- these landmarks are all listed on this site. Very close to the road, so super short approach, but far enough away from the road that traffic is not a danger. Two bolts and gear on the left line to hidden chains at 60 feet; the right line -- Ring of Power -- goes to the same anchor and can be led or top roped, with a 5.6 R/X variant finish on the arete. The kids didn't do the arete finish; it'd be 5.11 for them due to lack of reach. There's a ratings debate this site hasn't seen yet: how to rate climbs for six year olds who are 41 inches tall).

    Bernard Gillett===========
    By Richard Rossiter
    Oct 4, 2005

    Bernard, thanks for clearing this up. Everyone needs an editor and I much prefer to be accurate. I have gone through the Trilogy three times starting in 1986 and The Hobbit once. Looks like I should have read The Hobbit three times too. While I was writing (too late at night as usual) "of the Elves" I was suspicious that I may have had it wrong. Minas Tireth is just a typo, I took it right out of the book.

    I didn't know you had girls (two?). That is great and I am sure you are a great dad. It is good to hear from you, even indirectly.

    Kindest Regards. Richard Rossiter
    By Bernard Gillett
    Oct 6, 2005

    Hi Richard. I've read the Hobbit only a couple times as well (I'm embarrassed to admit how many times I've read LOTR; it's been pretty much an annual ritual since I was a young lad), and I looked at it again to seek out the first mention of Bilbo's mithril coat (having already found one reference to Thorin's gift to Bilbo before I wrote the previous post). In "Not at Home," it says: "With that he [Thorin] put on Bilbo a small coat of mail, wrought for some young elf-prince long ago." So we know at least one elf wore a mithril coat at some point (which means you're off the hook!).

    It's clear it was wrought by the Dwarves in any case (per LOTR). I've always regarded The Hobbit as separate from LOTR: it was written many years prior to LOTR, before Tolkien had figured out his mythology. Tolkien actually revised a few crucial passages in The Hobbit so that it fit in better with the history in LOTR (and unless you find a 1937-8 printing of The Hobbit, you've read the revised edition). Thus I'd look to LOTR for the definitive word on mithril.

    Re: "I didn't know you had girls (two?)." Would you believe four girls and one baby boy?!!? It's been a while since we've crossed paths (was I even married last time I saw you?), and we've got enough at home to field a hockey team. Imagine climbing with Raoul and 3 of his buddies, and you'll get the picture.

    I'll put Mithril on my to-do list next time I'm in Boulder Canyon -- sounds like a good route. I've always admired your gift for picking out strong lines; it's nice to see that you are still so active on the new route scene.

    Bernard========
    By Richard Rossiter
    Oct 12, 2005

    This is a response to Bernard, but will serve as useful data for anyone. MITHRIL is a very good climb, but is really too short. Were it two or three times its length it would be a north American classic like Reed's Pinnacle. The quality is there. You will just wish that fat hands crack went on forever, or at least another 80 feet. But don't despair, the other routes on this crag are really good...and longer.

    By the way, I started reading LOTR again. It is surely one of the greatest stories ever told. - Richard Rossiter
    By Ron Olsen
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 14, 2005
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    A fun climb; too bad the wide hand crack is only 15 or 20 feet long.

    The climb starts with the same 2 bolts as the easier start to Excalibur, up blocky ledges on the right side of the face. At the top of the first pitch, I got an anchor in the corner with an orange Alien, #1 Camalot and #4 C4 Camalot.

    I protected the wide hand crack on the second pitch with a #3.5 Camalot and a #3 Camalot. Using the finger crack in the corner and working the left hand and arm in the wide crack kept the difficulty at 5.9. Above, an easier chimney led to the tree at the top of the crag.

    On October 14, there were two yellow slings and a locking biner for a rap anchor at the tree. If you can't see these slings before you start up, bring slings and rings of your own.
    By Jay Eggleston
    From: Denver
    Apr 24, 2014
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    I added webbing and a biner to the tree today (there was none there). I only had one sling to leave. The climb is fun, but the crux is really short. I used a #2, #3, and #4 Camalots in the crux area. I placed a #1 both above and below. You can easily do the climb as one pitch.

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