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Jerry I and Karl K readying for Karl's lead of P3,...
This excellent line offers fun slabbing, stemming, and a few jams on great stone. The last pitch is a bit runout at the crux, so beginners may want to look elsewhere or, rap off from the top of the 2nd pitch. This route is a bit bushy, but I did my best to clean the worst offenders, so it should be a bit better now.
1. 90', 5.6. Begin in a large left facing dihedral. Slab up ledgy, black rock, with great edges just where you need them. At the top of the dihedral clip a fixed purple stopper, then work right up ledges on easy terrain, ending at an old-ish looking two bolt anchor.
2. 80', 5.7. Head up and then right into the left facing corner. Cerebral crux stemming and mantles lead up the corner to an easy section of detached flakes below a 5 foot roof. Exit the roof on the right side (may want a 2" piece here), then continue with surprising difficulty up the shallow chimney. Veer left at the end to a 2 bolt anchor on the rounded arete.
3. 80', 5.7. Head straight up the slab to a Tuolumne-like flake and cram in whatever TCUs you have available. Head up to the small (eight inch) roof, and try to get some more gear in, as the next section is runout. Turn the small roof on the right, then delicately work up the slab with no gear towards the large dihedral. Just below the dihedral head left on easy terrain and sling the big horn. Locate the rusty chain anchor atop "Revenge of the Elderly" 20 feet to your left. Traverse the slab to this anchor, being sure to place a finger-sized TCU AFTER the traverse for your second.
DESCENT: One 150' rappel straight down reaches the 'cave' belay atop the 2nd pitch of Revenge of the Elderly. From here rap 105' from webbing slung around a block. This second rap has been done with one 60m rope and some easy but exposed down-climbing.
Furthest right route at the Gemstone East. Begin just left of and below a giant coffin shaped boulder.
Gear to 2 inches, with many finger-sized pieces. Bring two ropes to rap if doing all 3 pitches. The first rap is 150 feet, the second is 105'. The 1st and 2nd pitch anchors are both two bolts, so it would be possible to bail at any point if you bring some webbing/cord and some lowering rings to rig a lowering station from the bolts.
Jerry I belaying Karl K - mostly through the busin...
BETA PHOTO: Opal, 5.7, I, ***
By Chris Wenker
From: Santa Fe
Apr 18, 2008
Very rattly hangers at both belays' bolts. Easy enough to back up with gear at the first belay, not so much at the second.
By Karl Kiser
May 23, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
The issue with the 3/8" belay bolts is the age (placed about 25 years ago). There is one additional bolt at the second belay. One might bring a wrench and place the rap chain on the newer bolt. There are black painted rap chains at both bolted belays.
The route is an alternative to ROTE but sees less traffic so it is a bit dirty (bushes and dirt filled cracks). The first pitch contains no fixed nut, simply climb the path of least resistance to the anchor. The third pitch climbs fine on the left of the upper small roof.
By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Sep 18, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
I agree with Karl that the third pitch climbs fine on the left of the upper small roof. Another aspect of this climb (at least for me) was that it gets a little more spicey with each pitch.
By Howard Snell
From: Belen, New Mexico
Oct 28, 2012
The last couple of times I've been on Opal I've noticed that the large flake / horn on climbers left of the start of P1 is loose. It's a pretty large chunk of rock and if it was to come off while someone was climbing over it, your day would be spoiled. I recommend avoiding it.