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Possessed, The T 
Post Mortem T,S 
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Recluse T 
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The Big Plum (the Girdle Traverse of Cathedral Ledge) 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b A0

Type:  Trad, Aid, 33 pitches, 3200', Grade V
Original:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b A0 [details]
FA: Henry Barber Paul Ross (var leads) October 19 & 20th 1973
Page Views: 916
Submitted By: USBRIT Ross on Jun 18, 2014

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Barber on P3 of The Pendulum FA The Big Plum. 1973


The first free Grade V in the East(excepting some pendulum rappels)The route has had some repeats.The first ascent took a total of 18 hours climbing time.

P1)Climb first pitch of Recluse 5.10d 80'
P2) Scramble up and left over ledges to base of inside corner,2nd pitch of They Died Laughing (3rd class) 90'
P3)Travers left and up cracks to large ledge,move to left of ledge 5.3 80
P4 Hand traverse left off ledge to a good ledge top of Karens Variation 5.9+ 50'
P5) Go along the ledge and down climb to the top of P3 Diedre Direct 5.3 120'
P6)Climb up crack at start of Diedre Direct and hand traverse left to to pendulum piton. Pendulum down to ledge on the left 5.8+ 50'
P7) Rap left to end of hard pitch of Last Temptation 60'
P8)Traverse left,up and around corner to top of 2nd pitch of The British Are Coming. 5.2 70'
P9)Rap to ledge and move to left end for belay(top of 1st pitch of British are Coming) 80'
P10 Climb out to left at the top of 1st pitch Remission 5.7+ 85'
P11) Climb pitch 2 and 3 of Remission to the chock stone in the chimney,then move left to belay.5.8 150'
P12)Move left along ledge for about 40'(top of pitch2 Angels Highway.
P13Rap off tree to the left of 2nd pitch of Repentance crack.135'
P14)Step back into crack and climb for 30' until one can move left onto Abrakadabra. Climb the strange crack-block system to the left and tree belays. (Junction with 3rd pitch of Antline) 5.7 120'
P15) Move left along the ledge for about 40'.
P16) Rap and tension left to Bonfire Ledge 90'
P17)Continue 50' along the ledges to junction with the large crack of Cathderal Direct.
P18)Rap and climb down left to the ledge around the corner at the end of the 2nd pitch of Pendulum. 75'
P19) Climb the 3rd pitch of Pendulum (excellet pitch) . This was FFA of this pitch. 5.10 140' Note the FA party reached this point on the first day. Then went to the pub.
P20)Climb 4th pitch of Pendulum (old route).Move down from the left of the ledges to a small inside corner,up thi to another ledge.
P21)From the left end of the ledge rap 75' and pendulum across the slab to an obvious crack up this to a long ledge and belay 5.8.
P22)Climb to the extream end of the ledge and pendulum off a bolt just left of the Modor Wall cracks. This awkward pendulum above some overhangs ends with a tension traverse to a very small ledge,named Freak out Ledge 5.8+ 85'
P23) Rap down to the left until a flake (Grand Finale) leads one to to ledges to the right of Standard Route. 100'
P24)Move left and climb up Standard route until it is possible to cross the face and reach the belayat the end of the traverse on P2 of Thin Air. 5.7 130'
P25). Traverse left on Thin Air to belay top of P1 Thin Air.5.5.
P26) Continue traversing slightly until one reaches a large tree on The Big Flush. 5.4
P27) Up the tree (strenous!)then down the easy ledges and corners passing the start of The Prow until one comes to a stance midway up P1 of Recompense. 180'
P28)Follow Recompence,up lef tto start of The Beast Flake . 5.7 130'
P29)Climb to the top of the Beast Flake.5.9 75'
P30) Rap off the Flake to the Refuse ledges.130.
P31/32. Scramble along the long tree filled ledge to Nutcracker.
P33)Climb Nutcracker to finish 5.10a.

The above is the original discription from the Guide book "A Rock Climbers Guide to Cannon Cathedral Humpreys and Whitehorse" 1978 by Paul Ross and Chris Ellms

A few modern variations of this traverse can be found in the new guide book "North Conway Rock Climbs" by Jerry Handren.


Cathedral Ledge .. See Guide Book :- North Conway Rock Climbs by Jerry Handren.


Single rack to 4" Two 9m ropes were used.

Photos of The Big Plum (the Girdle Traverse of Cathedral Ledge) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Henry following to Freak Out ledge .. FA ..The Big...
Henry following to Freak Out ledge .. FA ..The Big...
Rock Climbing Photo: Billy Barber 1972
Billy Barber 1972
Rock Climbing Photo: Henry Barber racking up on the day of the first as...
Henry Barber racking up on the day of the first as...
Rock Climbing Photo: Paul Ross . FA The Girdle of Cathedral Ledge "...
Paul Ross . FA The Girdle of Cathedral Ledge "...
Rock Climbing Photo: Henry Barber starting the hand traverse of the 4th...
Henry Barber starting the hand traverse of the 4th...

Comments on The Big Plum (the Girdle Traverse of Cathedral Ledge) Add Comment
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By john strand
From: southern colo
Jun 18, 2014

This is a very demanding route..sustained, varied and you get to use all the tricks.
To do this onsite, in a day, would be difficult to say the least
By Russ Keane
Sep 28, 2015

All I can say is .... Wow.... This is quite an accomplishment

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