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The Painted Wall
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Terrible Tadpole, The T 

The Terrible Tadpole 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a Hueco: V0 Font: 4 WI3 M4 R

Type:  Trad, Boulder, Mixed, Ice, 2000', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a Hueco: V0 Font: 4 WI3 M4 R [details]
FA: Stanislav Vrba, Josh Wharton, and John Dickey
New Route: Yes
Season: Winter and early Spring
Page Views: 1,329
Submitted By: j wharton on Mar 11, 2015

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From John Dickey Instagram.

2016 Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>


Looking for a winter adventure? Well, the deep, nasty gash to the right of the Painted Wall might be exactly what you're hoping for...or your worst nightmare. It is four stars, or a complete bomb depending on your point of view. Think of it as the "Walk of Shame," aka the Cruise Gully, on steroids.

I assume we did the first ascent, but a lost kayaker or a very sad Painted Wall climber may have been there before us.

Although the gully looks like it's mostly a hike (hence the "Tadpole"), there's actually some "Terrible" passages with little bits of awkward, tricky climbing. The route has a distinctly alpine feel - lots of walking interspersed with technical steps, thorn bushes to simulate snow mushrooms, occasional icefall, and of course tons of loose rock. I think it's a shoe-in for Extreme Canyoneering Magazine's coveted drainage of the month.

There's some cool ice climbing potential high in the gully (on the backside of the Porcelain Arete), but this was melting out during our ascent in early March.


This is located just right of the Painted Wall's Northern Arete. Begin up a short 5.0 step to access the gully.


A single set of cams and a short rope will do.

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By phil broscovak
Mar 26, 2015

Kudos, dudes, on a wild FA. What a grand adventure. Someone may have woefully wandered that wicked way but never in Winter.

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