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Too Many Darts (Free Ascent) 

YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

   
Type:  Trad, 7 pitches, 780', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Tony Bubb, Maxime Couture, Sept 2016 (F8, A1 ascent: B. Schnieder, T. Auger, 1972)
New Route: Yes
Season: Late Summer, when the falls are low and wind is still.
Page Views: 403
Submitted By: Tony B on Nov 22, 2016

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Rock Climbing Photo: Here is a fully annotated to...

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>

Description 

A long free climb with only 2 semi-hard sections, and otherwise mostly 5.10a or less.

P1/P2 (200+', 5.8-ish):
Start just left of a giant “bookmark”. This huge brown flake extends upward for well over 100' and divides the base between the falls side on the right and the 'dry' side on the left, provided that the falls are low and the wind is right… (to the right). A shrub lies just back from the start at climber's right. (and can be seen in the topo pics.)
Easy climbing leads up an initial low angle corner. At every opportunity stay to the right. The intersection of the flake to the wall as a left-facing flake will be on your right, a system that later becomes (as they separate), a right-facing corner and open book will be on your right. (5.6?)
A potential sloping belay ledge is reached at 100' (pic 4502). We skipped this and continued on a 70m rope. A 60m rope probably would have worked with a few feet of easy simul-climbing for the second.
Continue on past steeper corners into darker stone, starting to get into black stained areas of rock (still solid). The grade here might be 5.8(?) for a few moves (pic 4613).

When you reach the eventual belay, you can look over and left 50'+ and down maybe 15' to the sling belay atop P2 of Bridal Veil East.

P3 (150+?, 5.8-ish):
The next pitch continues up that same crack system for quite a way, about ½ rope length. You eventually break a small bit left and pull up onto a low angle, white slab (Pic 4614). The rock there is great, clean, and fun. The climbing eases back to about 5.5-ish for this slab (pic 4617) Belay on the second good 'shelf' on the right side of the slab (pic 4620 – partner on that belay). You are now in a position pretty much directly above the top of the “bookmark” flake at the base, and ~350' over the ground.

P4 (120'?, 5.10-?):
Get ready for more interesting climbing and break out the 4” gear. (Pic 4619)
Climb up and stay right of the huge roof system that now looms overhead. Several bulges in the 5.9 to maybe 10a range lie ahead, but there is not much subsistence to it. Just a few awkward moves. We did this with a double set of cams to #3 camalot + a #4 C4, and were were OK, but I was glad to have the #4. Strong climbers won't need it, but might still like to have it. I'd take it if I did the route again. Climb up the initial overhang above the belay and into easier territory before coming to a second bulge ½ way up the pitch. Get out the #4 and climb that thing. The rope will go behind it, but runs smooth. A 5” piece would be needed to sew it up (old-style #4 camalot or a #5 C4.). Belay on s slightly leafy ledge below the tree pitch.

P5 (100+?', 5.8?)
Here's the not so fun part. Scamper up a few feet of wide climbing to reach a parallel crack (Pic 4621) and then a low angle corner that passes ½ dozen small trees, staying to the right side. At the end ofhte pitch there is some more vertical terrain, and is again in a wide corner (Pic 4631). Belay on a ledge with the 'Michigan Mitten' flake. (Pic 4630).

P6 (100?, 5.11+? )
Now it gets interesting. Directly above the belay the climbing is a bit insecure and has some loos soil to boot. Gear is not exactly forthcoming everywhere. The climbing there is probably 5.10, depending on how dirty/wet it might be at the moment. It was dry but loose in our case. You can step left sooner or later to avoid the nastiness, and the sooner, the better. Don't worry, the crux is still to come. Climb up and slightly left to a single medium tree ("The ant tree"). Pass that tree quickly, as the ants in it are nettlesome and actually somewhat aggressive. Luckily their bites are not painful, just distracting. However, one crawled into my hair and then deeply into my ear. I could not figure out how to remove it so it was bothersome but not painful at all, making scraping scratching sounds for the remainder of the pitch. I guess it come out on its own good time later. My partner made it through the area freely and without any attention from the ants, having been warned to move quickly through that section.
Once above the tree, you come back into the main corner and look up into a black 'inset' chimney. I refer to this as the 'Tibia Chimney' due to it's width. The inset width slightly increases as you move up, and the difficultly of progress is inversely proportion to the length of your lower leg. When you can't cam that anymore, it gets awkward since the movement upwards is most easily achieved by feet on one side, knees on the other. As the width comes closer and closer to the length of that bone, progress becomes slower and harder. Very small people might be able chimney the thing easily, though... dropping the grade for them again. The crux of this section might be 10+/11- at my height, about 5'10”. The protection in this slot is solid, provided you have a few very thin cams (Blue and then Black alien). I did not have such gear however, making for a slightly more enervating experience and forcing me to commit to free it. Had I gear, I might have been tempted to sit/rest on it. At the exit to the chimney, the climbing reaches it's hardest yet (11-) for a move, though gear is available near the lip of the cap of the slot. Make sure you place this piece solidly. (.4 or .5 camamlot) As you exit the chimney, and the climbing gets harder for a move or two. The route's true crux follows, with hard to place gear from bad stances up under a flake to the right a few feet out. The fall would be clean if you skip this though. Move up and right through insecure feet and bad hands, up to a downward pointing flake (gear behind this and a pinch hold) below the overhang, and then up and back left into the corner. If you clipped the gear (~.4 camamlot?) on the right to protect the crux, un-clip it to prevent drag after getting through the crux, and also to avoid pulling your partner out and right-ward at the crux. A few mellow moves later, you are up on a big ledge below the final pitch. Nothing dangerous here, as the falls appeared to me to be clean the entire time. With the crux behind you, you are nearly there!

P7 (70', 5.10+? )
The hard part is over but for a few really fun moves through the lip of the roof now looming above you. This pitch could be done a few different ways, but the rock to the right is flaky and the rock to the left solid. We came in from the well protected left, then moved right under the roof. 2” gear protected the left crack, then as I stepped from left under the roof to the lip on the right (crux) a #3 camalot placement was obvious. Place this gear and move up into the jamcrack and out right to get established on the slab around the corner/lip of the roof. This is a jessery-oriented move that might feel something between 5.10 and 5.11, depending on how you pull it. I came out of a kneebar up into the lip and pulled into a sloping layback, thinking 10d. My partner thought it was tough, but perhaps easier with the benefit of a TR and the beta, or I could see it feeling harder if you got it wrong. Once past this lip, move up and right on easy terrain to belay on a tree maybe 25 feet down below the end of the slab above to provide a close belay... or place a few pieces of protection and continue up the slab if you are certain your partner isn't going to fall/hang on you (and swing outward).

Top out and head for the gunsight to descend.

Location 

This is the furthest-right route left of Bridal Veil Falls. We know of a few unsuccessful free attempts on the upper sections, but none free prior to this time. Prior ascentionists aided P6 & P7 or traversed to the right on the 'Aqua Traverse' to the 5.7 escape near the falls.

Protection 

A rack of stoppers and cams from tiny to 4". Be sure to bring 2 tiny cams. (Black alien) if you want much gear at the first crux.


Photos of Too Many Darts (Free Ascent) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back down P5 at that next wide section up ...
Looking back down P5 at that next wide section up ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Landmark 'Michigan Mitten' Flake at th...
The Landmark 'Michigan Mitten' Flake at th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Maxime wedges in a left shoulder and gets feet on ...
Maxime wedges in a left shoulder and gets feet on ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Maxime topping out on P4.
Maxime topping out on P4.
Rock Climbing Photo: Good flakes and edges mean that the steep, wide pa...
Good flakes and edges mean that the steep, wide pa...
Rock Climbing Photo: Maxime looking up P4 and contemplating the wide se...
Maxime looking up P4 and contemplating the wide se...
Rock Climbing Photo: Maxime follows P3, getting established above the c...
Maxime follows P3, getting established above the c...
Rock Climbing Photo: Maxime follows up the combined P1/P2 for 210' ...
Maxime follows up the combined P1/P2 for 210' ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Here is a fully annotated topo pic for Pitches 3-7...
BETA PHOTO: Here is a fully annotated topo pic for Pitches 3-7...

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