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South Face Direct 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b R

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 220', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b R [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 205
Submitted By: Ken Trout on May 1, 2017

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  • Description 

    Imagine falling off a slippery slab hold, over a roof and cleanly into space, then miraculously coming to a nice soft stop a few inches off the ground, like a Falcon 9 Rocket?

    Start with Black Crack, a smoke-stained hand crack a few feet left of the 5.12 Gill Crack. The crux is laybacking, with dynamic head and right shoulder scumming, to get out of the crack and onto a good foothold a mile out left. From the taxing foothold rest below the roof, place a big steel RP back right, clip the pin off tiptoes, pull the roof and belay (5.10, 15 meters). Black Crack is a bit harder than pitch two of Outer Space on The Bastille. (FA note: the belay bolts showed up about 1999, driller unknown. I do not believe second pitch was ever led before the belay was added.)

    From the first bolt belay, place a small cam, tiptoe up (5.9), and then traverse right on run out and devious, but almost-restful, friction knobs to the thin crack of the South Face's second pitch (5.8 R/X). The first chance to get protection is blind. If the gear fails, then the very clean looking fall will likely result in hitting the ground (estimated via "thumb survey" from across the creek not by actual falling). The second bolt belay is just a few meters above this crucial gear (10 meters).

    The third pitch is the same as for the South Face/Jackson's Wall Direct, 5.10a, PG-13, 20 meters. It has excellent rock and moves... but not the pro so much!

    The first three pitches end at relatively new bolt stations, so a rappel descent is now possible. Also, it is nice to climb Jackson's Wall, 5.5, to the top anchor and then toprope everything while rappelling!

    The fourth and final pitch starts with dodging a roof (15 meters, 5.6). The descent off the summit, towards the highway, is 5.2 or harder.


    In case you took a divergent route to get here on the worldwide web: Castle Rock is in Boulder Canyon, Colorado; a couple miles east of Nederland.


    I don't like to advise on gear, because people vary widely in preferences. I'm the guy who wants a #6 Friend behind the big flake on pitch three. Also, you can get both a #3 and #4 C4 at the crux of pitch one, just above the old bolt hole.

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