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Moonage Daydream is an ice route that forms in a gully on the North side of the Watchtower. It is the longest route in CA that forms almost every year (there are longer routes, but they usually do not form, or form for very short weather windows).
Original rating is 6-7 pitches, 1000ft, WI4. After climbing it, I believe the length of the route is about 700-800 ft. We did the climb in 5 pitches. The slopes above the climb are prone to avalanches, so checking the avy conditions before doing this route is a great idea. Stay safe, have fun!
Pitch one: The ice was not touching down all the way so I took a variation on the right. Watch for two piton bail sling, clip it, and climb up a 20ft or so left facing corner. Ice could be better at other times, but for me this was an unprotected section (ice was too thin). There is a fixed nut that you could clip after you climb to the top of the corner. If you do not feel like bailing yet, the crux of the route is climbing further up and transitioning to the water ice on the left. Keep in mind that after you reach the ice, it is likely to be thin for a while, watch out for a big pendulum fall.
If this pitch is in, than it will be WI 3-4 depending on how it forms and which variation the leader takes.
Pitch 2: WI 3+. Climb up the ice passing a small bulge and going up some slabbier terrain before it starts getting steep again. Find a spot with solid ice for an anchor
Pitch 3: This pitch could be anywhere from about WI3+ to 4+ depending on variation you choose. Climb up and make an anchor somewhere on the big snow slope to belay your partners up. Than hike to the base of the next ice step to belay 4th pitch.
Pitch 4: WI2+. Climb the slabby first step (WI2), and continue part ways up the final slabby ice (wi2+ish). Try to go as far as possible.
Pitch 5: Climb the remainder of the ice to the top and belay from the tree. This section is about WI 2 or 2+ and when we climbed it had beautiful ice! By this point our calves were burning. :)
External links: vividrea1ity.blogspot.com/2013... summitpost.org/moonage-daydrea...
Take the trail out of Lodgepole and follow it till you you spot the Watchtower to your right (south side of the canyon. The ice forms in an obvious gully. Assess conditions of the route before continuing to the base.
Screws depending on the comfort level (12+ if you want to built 3 piece anchors and do the climb in 5 long pitches)
Set of cams from little to .75 size if the bottom pitch is not 'in', makes the variation on the right protected.
From: Visalia, CA
Feb 23, 2013
Great addition Vitaliy.
Word has it the snowfield above this climb slides easy, so everyone watch out for high avalanche danger after storms!
Mar 22, 2013
rating: WI4 M4-5 Easy Snow
+1 on the avi danger - no troll. We learned the hard way on the last pitch, got caught in the outer edge of a slide coming down off the granite slabs above that were toasty in the sun. If in doubt, skip it.
By Hamik Mukelyan
From: San Francisco, CA
Mar 29, 2013
Here's a little video from Moonage in March 2013.