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BETA PHOTO: Looking up from top of Pitch 3. The top-out is alo...
Queen's Gambit is located between King Me and Green Thumb. It follow line C on the old Checkerboard topo. The top pitch is said to be the original Circus Finish, but this name has since been applied to another route. It is basically a slab climb with a featured chimney for a topout.
Pitch 1 is shared with King Me. To get to it, scramble up the gully above the end of trail (left of Cross-trainer). Rocky gully is followed by slab on the left and then short section of vegetated gully to a ledge/groove on the left. Pitch 1 goes up past a horizontal crack and up the slab with three bolts to a two bolt anchor. (Protection for this pitch is basically two quick draws.)
Pitch 2: Start up the shallow, heavily featured corner (same as King Me for the first 10 feet), but continue up and left part a bolt, up on the featured right side of a roof. Climbing continues past another bolt, then mostly along the right side of the column for most of the pitch. Three more bolts protect this section, which ends at an easy traverse to the left close to the the level of the trees on the left. You can build a gear anchor or use the rap anchor at top of Green Thumb to belay from.
Pitch 3: (and Pitch 4) stay on the same section of rock delineated by two deep chimneys/gullies. Pitch 3 heads right to a more featured terrain but gradually shifts left again and ends at a two-bolt anchor.
Pitch 4: go directly up from the bolts along thin crack. Terrain will soon become much easier. Head for the alcove left of the large green bush/tree.
Pitch 5: The crux. Top out by climbing the chimney, past some chocks. Exit left below the roof onto a narrow but comfortable ledge. Take this left to a nice layback flake. Follow that up to easy ground hanging generally somewhat left and up the slab to a belay among the boulders.
Chimney-free alternative for Pitch 5: start up the wide zig-zag crack on the left to an arete. Step onto the boulders left of the chimney and follow the tops of them to where they reach the chimney about half way up to the roof (above any squeezy parts). Continue up to the roof and left as before.
Where the trail to the Checkerboard reaches a slab go up and continue left up the groove/gully leading to King me.
Use Cross-trainer as a rap line. To reach it, go down to the right along the ridge line of Checkerboard looking of a good size bush close to the edge.
Trad climb with two bolted anchors - top of Pitch 1 (shared with King Me) and Pitch 3. Additional bolts on Pitch 2 make the climbing less dangerous but still fairly heady.
BETA PHOTO: The line of Queen's Gambit shown from near the top...
By Daniel Rossi 1
May 15, 2016
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13
Very fun and sustained route. Defiantly need to be a solid 5.9 slab climber to enjoy this route as some of the more crux slab moves are higher above the protection.