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West Ridge - part C - Pony Express to Long John
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Sooberb Lite 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 250'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Ament & Dalke, 1965
Page Views: 2,476
Submitted By: Nick Wilder on Mar 16, 2011  with updates from Carl Schaefer

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (45)
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BETA PHOTO: The sustained, steep 5.8 corner above Sick Flake.

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  • Description 

    Although this climb is just the first couple pitches of Sooberb, it is worth listing separately. By skipping the ~10 feet of 5.10c on the last pitch, the moderate climber has another great option in this area. Pitches 1 and 3 are forgettable, but pitch 2 is great.

    Go past The Unsaid area, past Long John Wall, and start where the trail meets the wall with several terraces, down and to the right of Side Wall bench. You could skip the first pitch by scrambling on top of the bench.

    P1. Ascend a 10' finger crack to a large, right-facing corner. Easy slab climbing leads to a bulge just below the "Sick Flake" and a large tree. Belay at rap rings on a slung tree. 5.7.

    P2. Surmount the Sick Flake by either chimneying inside (easiest, and the only way to get pro) or laybacking the edge (great moves). Once on top of the chimney, climb the steep, left-facing corner. The holds are mostly huge, but it's steep and can give you a pump. Belay at another set of bolted rap rings below a tree in the rotten band. 5.8.

    P3. Move slightly left, just above the tree and climb moderate cracks over an overlap. Choose a path left across a nice face with large features and easy moves, but not much pro. Belay on a huge ledge in the next rotten band. The final pitch of Sooberb will be just above you - a 5.10c overhanging crack. 5.7.


    Standard rack, up to #2 Camalot.


    Easily walk 20' down the rotten band to the small trees. Rappel 80' from rings to the end of P2. With a 60m rope, you can rap from here all the way to the Side Wall bench (barely - careful!) and scramble to the base of the climb. Or you can do two rappels straight down the route right to your packs.

    Photos of Sooberb Lite Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Sick Flake.  The 5.8 crux is surmounting the chock...
    BETA PHOTO: Sick Flake. The 5.8 crux is surmounting the chock...

    Comments on Sooberb Lite Add Comment
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    By mark felber
    From: Wheat Ridge, CO
    May 9, 2014

    I found a #3 Camalot good to have on this route, in spite of what the description says. I think I used a #4 as well.
    By Jim Amidon
    Jun 2, 2014

    Very nice route, well worth doing....
    By Mathias
    From: Loveland, CO
    Nov 23, 2014

    This was my first trad lead of technical climbing. I combined P1 and P2. P2 was fun, challenging, and scary for a new leader. Not being able to get behind the flake due to wearing a backpack, I ran it out from the tree to the top of the flake by climbing the arête. Upon looking down from the top of the flake and seeing my last piece of protection; a sling around the tree, I realized that was pretty foolish. If I do it again, I'll let the second take the pack and get a piece or two in there.

    I found the most challenging section to be the dihedral at the end of P2. Trying to find good stances, placements and the right gear was stressful enough that I had to temporarily back off and downclimb to the ledge below, before going back at it. The slight overhang at the top of the dihedral and the inclined section of fist crack with (IMO) few good foot or hand hold (for the grade) was tricky climbing by the time I got there, but it was an extremely rewarding climb.
    By R Sather
    From: COLORADO
    Apr 6, 2015

    I really enjoy linking pitches 1 and 2, but I do have to agree it is probably not best for a new/ beginner leader. I have linked pitches one and two twice now without placing anything near or by the sick flake (not sure why one would place anything in the sick flake), but once the flake is surmounted and one is under the dihedral if everything is slung correctly and the the rope drag is minimal, it makes for and amazing pitch of free climbing. I tried to get my GF to lead this thinking it would be a good pitch to link up, and it was a bit of a sandbag. The leader should be comfortable leading above sick flake, but the climbing is secure.
    By Chris Zeller
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 18, 2016

    I wouldn't recommend linking P1 and P2. I found P1 a bit easy for 5.7 which makes it tempting to go ahead into P2, but it's really best to protect the move around the flake from the belay stance directly below. That way the belayer can clearly see the climber and there is less rope stretch. Most climbs with a distinct crux have a good belay just below the hardest move for just this reason. I do think turning the corner from the chimney to on top of the flake with the accompanying exposure was the hardest move on the climb. There was also a great cam placement at the top of the chimney that makes this move much safer. Overall a great climb with this move as the best part.
    By D. Snyder
    From: Golden, CO
    Oct 2, 2016

    We linked all three pitches with a 70 in one looong pitch with about 10' of easy simul-climbing. Great fun!

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