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West Ridge - part C - Pony Express to Long John
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Practice Wall 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Cast of Thousands
Page Views: 4,784
Submitted By: Mike Sofranko on Jun 2, 2001

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Practicing more stemming on p2. When the friendly ...

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  • Description 

    This climb begins just to the right of a rotten chimney area a hundred yards or so downhill from Positively Fourth Street. It is identified by a RF dihedral that leads to a roof with a thin crack through it. This route is a combination of the first pitch of Practice Climb 101 and the second pitch of Sidewall.

    Scramble up the bottom 10 or 15 feet of the chimney and situate yourself on a ledge/bench below the dihedral. Climb the dihedral (11a) passing a tricky crux towards the top. The holds are well chalked, but I found they generally face the wrong way. I ended up using an obviously unofficial (unchalked) sequence, but still felt the overall effort was around 11a. There is a bomber large RP placement in the corner in the middle of the crux. At the top of the corner, clip a fixed nut (or place your own) and traverse right to the double bolt anchor at the top of the first pitch of Sidewall.

    From this anchor, head up and right in to the obvious dihedral. Crank through the thin stemming (11a) well protected with small nuts, and head for the obvious hand jam. Continue more easily up the line to an anchor at a tree. Two single rope raps back to the ground.


    SR through hands. RPs and nuts useful.

    Photos of Practice Wall Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing through the crux on P1, great route.
    Climbing through the crux on P1, great route.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Ivan practices back step stemming on P1 crux.
    Ivan practices back step stemming on P1 crux.

    Comments on Practice Wall Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 1, 2016
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Feb 13, 2002
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    This route offers excellent protection (bomber overhead nuts at the crux). The first pitch is very height-dependent, if you are shorter than 6'0" you might find it hard. The second is a stemming problem and felt easy at its grade. Finish on 'Muscle and Hate' for a 3rd consecutive pitch at a similar grade.
    By Charles Vernon
    From: Tucson, AZ
    Apr 29, 2003

    Just did this today, leading the first pitch and following the second...while the pro is excellent, I would have to disagree with Tony that there are "bomber overhead nuts" on the first pitch (although this may be true of the second pitch)--it seemed the hardest (and reachiest) move came with the gear a little below the feet--then you get another good placement for the remainder of the crux section.

    Whatever your mileage, this is certainly a 3-star, must-do route--absolutely classic Eldo stemming.
    By Luke Clarke
    From: Golden
    Jan 1, 2004

    I am looking for information on a possible variation to the second pitch of this route. In the first photo below there is an obvious dihedral above and to the right of the climber. It's just to the right of [Practice] Wall 101 and the left of p2 of Practice Wall (or Sidewall). Anyone [climbed] it? Know the difficulty, gear, etc.?
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jan 2, 2004

    Luke- sounds like the 2nd pitch of False Prophet. See Rossiter guide... I think it says something like, "a stupendous route with poor protection".
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jan 2, 2004

    Yep, that's False Prophet, 5.11d. The runout climbing is getting to the hanging corner, which can be done from more-or-less directly below, or (better) coming in from P2 Sidewall on the right; either way not great gear and a little heady. Once below the corner, the gear gets good, which is nice since the crux move on this route is a real bear. Excellent route and another of the many fine lines plucked by Alec Sharpe.

    It is curious that the vast majority of climbing done in this nice little cirque is restricted to P1 Practice Climb 101 and Sidewall. Just left of Practise Climb is Warp Drive Overload, an overlooked sport climb with some redeemable climbing. False Prophet is an excellent pitch, especially if you can get your partner to lead it. To the right of Sidewall, both Quiet Desperation and Court Jester are worthwhile climbs, and are relatively safe if you take the time to find the gear (something that can't really be said for the desperate Human Factor, which, although it has excellent climbing, is truly a dangerous pitch).

    This compact area is sunny and protected from the wind, so is an excellent winter climbing destination.
    By Ivan Rezucha
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    Jan 3, 2004
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    Agree with Charles that the pro on P1 is not perfect. You could easily fall off after the first hard move with the gear about a foot below your feet. It's pretty stressful getting the high piece, since you have no hands to speak of. Tony and Charles say nuts for the high piece. I used a blue Alien (which holds--I know).

    P1 seems much harder than P2, although both are rated 11a. Perhaps it's that P1 is intimidating due to the initial stand up with no hand holds to go for. Or perhaps it's that I suck at stemming (but then P2 would feel hard also, so that can't be it).
    By Shane DeMars
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 11, 2004
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    Stellar route! Agree with Tony that the P1 crux may be height dependant, or as my partner and I found (both of us being about 5'9") beta/ sequence [dependent].

    I'd disagree with some about the pro though. I found great pro that never ended up below my feet. I did see the blue alien placement and used it just before I greased off a sloper. There is also a good #1 DMM wallnut placement about 1" below that. I was quaking in my harness going way way above tiny pro on Aerial Book, but felt completely solid on this. Translation: solid pro helps my head. SD
    By Phil Lauffen
    From: The Bubble
    Aug 19, 2010

    I thought that P1 was much more difficult than P2. Being shorter (5'9"), I found it impossible to place a high nut before committing to the move. I wasn't sure if I was gonna bounce off that small pedestal at the base of the crux.

    I found P2 significantly easier to protect, easier climbing, and more fun:)
    By Tommey-James
    From: Boulder,Colorado
    Jul 11, 2011

    Only did pitch 1. Thought it was fun, a bit short. The gear is all good. You do a decent move (10+) 4 ft above great gear, then you get a good stem. I put in a green C3, Tony says a nut works too, which I had put in say a 5/6 RP instead.
    By Kevin Gillest
    From: Arvada, CO
    May 30, 2012
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    Great route!
    Better gear on P2 no doubt, More consecutive harder mover on P2 also. P1 at the base of the corner has a slightly desperate move to the fixed nut, but agree with the other comments about it NOT being run-out. P1 move to stand up in the corner before the fix nut, real exciting.
    By Jeff McLeod
    Oct 27, 2015
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

    This route was really fun - two full-value pitches that require good technique, the first relying on stemming moves followed by a somewhat desperate bouldery crux, the second again requiring some stemming and powerful laybacking.

    I'm just about 5'9", and for me, the first pitch felt at least a letter grade harder than the second, due to its virtual lack of decent holds through the dihedral. If you are pretty short like me, also make sure your belayer is paying attention. You have to do a very balancy, tenuous stand-up move that is just a few feet above a platform, with the only piece (that I found) that could keep you from bouncing off of it being a small offset brassy (believe the smallest one that is still rated for a fall). Then, there is currently a fixed nut that you can clip that will be within reach once you make this move, and you can back it up with a tiny cam.

    On the second pitch, the protection is excellent, and any fall would be into thin air, which makes it super exciting. There is a well-chalked crimp hold that I used for the crux which flexes when you pull on it - I imagine if/when it breaks this pitch will become somewhat harder.
    By Alex Vidal
    From: Boulder, CO
    Feb 1, 2016

    The protection on P1 leaves something to be desired. P2 is stellar, albeit a bit easier (even for me, at 6ft).

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