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Zeke's Wall
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Cheeky Monkey T 
Flow T,S 
Leanne's Ledges S 
Mortal Coil T,S 
Pigs Can Fly S 
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Suffering Bagpipes T 
Unknown T 
Unknown 5.10 T 

Mortal Coil 

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

Type:  Trad, Sport, 6 pitches, 500', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Eric Hirst, Fitz Cahall, Oct 1, 2008, assisted by Erik Neumann and others
Page Views: 1,507
Submitted By: Eric Hirst on Sep 19, 2009

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Drilling on pitch 5.


5-6 pitches, mostly bolted. Weaves an unlikely path of least resistance up through some stunning terrain. Protection is generally good to excellent throughout, and was well tested on many occasions before the final successful ascent. There is some brittle rock; helmets and common sense advised.

The first two pitches make for one of Zekes' mellower outings, and are easily linkable as a nice long warmup pitch by anyone thinking of going further.

After that, it gets hard. Although I've managed a handful of 5.12- sport routes, I had to dig deep to free this one, and lean hard on some amazing and patient partners. The most useful bit of beta I can offer based on my experience is to take advantage of the comfortable ledges and the winding geometry, which makes it very easy to lower a bight of rope down to the second and haul a pack up pitches 3 and 4. There's basically no reason not to start pitch 5 fully hydrated and arguably fresh.

Pick a cool day and go for it.

Pitch overview:
p1 5.10c Bolted slabby face with gear needed in easier upper section.
p2 5.10a/b Straight up short crack, clip bolt and step R to ledge. Easily linked with p1.
p3 5.11d Follow bolts up and L (5.11+), to reach huge roof then undercling/jam (5.11-) back R to ledge below huger roof. Short pitch, easy to haul pack.
p4 5.12a LFC to crux undercling (gear) out roof. Then bolts to the anchor. Short pitch, easy to haul pack.
p5 5.11c/d Bolts up and L with increasing exposure. (See descent notes; you won't be able to rap the route if you do this pitch.)
p6 5.11a/b Bolts up short clean dihedral to top.

Descent: a single 60m rope will easily get you down from any point up to top of p4, but a 70m rope is nicer if you do the whole route.

From top of p4, rap the route.
From top of p6, either bushwhack off R, or:
(1) Rap straight down to top of p5, 20m. (DON'T GO LOWER, even with 2 ropes, unless you at least clip the p5 anchor as a directional. It's a steep wall.)
(2) Rap straight down into the void (autoblock recommended, have your daisy ready). Bounce to reach Fixe rings in a giant triangular cutout halfway down the spectacular white headwall, 20m.
(3) Rap to wide open slab, then angle gently R (toward the base of the route) to reach final set of rings on a small slab between brushy ledges on far R edge of the big slab, 30m. (Variation: with 70m rope or a bit of scrambling, it's also possible to reach the top of p1 from here. This may be a safer choice if you're not sure your single 60m will reach the final rings.)
(4) Rap bushy, somewhat loose, terrain to ground, angling R toward start of climb, 30m.


From the waterfall/creek at the base of Flow, cut straight back into forest, then traverse E (climber's R) around the base and up a very rough trail (partially blocked by blowdowns as of spring 2010) for ~10 minutes until you reach a ripply bolted slab. Now look up. See the undercling crux on P4? You're here. In spring or early summer, you can continue to bash up through the woods for another 5 minutes to reach an idyllic mossy spring flowing from the cliff wall. Otherwise, set your pack a little uphill from the base and start climbing.


Single 70m rope recommended. A 60m will also work if you're careful.
1x Camalots, #0.5 (purple) to #3 (blue)
1x #1 (blue) Metolius
2x #2 (yellow) Metolius
2x #3 (orange) Metolius
Optional additional small cams, and 1x #4 (red) Metolius, if you expect to aid pitch 4

Photos of Mortal Coil Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Erik Neumann on one of many work outings.  The cru...
BETA PHOTO: Erik Neumann on one of many work outings. The cru...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back at the start of p5, on a solo cleanin...
Looking back at the start of p5, on a solo cleanin...
Rock Climbing Photo: The initial slab pitch
The initial slab pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Fixed lines during the cleaning and rehearsal phas...
BETA PHOTO: Fixed lines during the cleaning and rehearsal phas...

Comments on Mortal Coil Add Comment
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By blakeherrington
Jul 16, 2015

I thought P3 (.11+) was harder than P4 (.12-) but the first is a slab foot traverse with no hands, and the other is a finger crack traverse with no feet. Good route!
By Ben Gilkison
Jul 24, 2015

Great route. Route breakdown to me felt like (10+ linking P1 & P2), 11d/12a, 12a, 11c, 11b/c. Hard to compare pitch 3 and 4 since they are polar opposites, one being balance and the other more power, IMO. P3 seemed like if you nailed the beta 11d...but other various (albeit harder) sequences could yield harder results. P4 was definitely easier to read.

Wrote something about our ascent here:

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