Worth the Effort
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BETA PHOTO: Bob Almond on the first pitch
Two pitches of good climbing including an exciting off-width crack that escapes under a roof. The first pitch has a deceptive start: the first crack is 15ft off the ground and it isn't immediately obvious how to gain the crack. Couple this with an awkward fall into a scraggly tree if you don't get gear into the first crack and you might be intimidated. The moves are no harder than 5.9 and by making an awkward reach (easier if you're tall) you can protect the first moves before taking any big risks. Once in the crack cruise up another 70ft to a natural belay beneath a roof.
The second pitch tackles the off-width crack exiting the roof to the right. Once around the roof the crack continues for 40 ft gradually narrowing until you reach a small overlap. An exposed move at the overlap gains easier climbing to the top. An easier variation to avoid the 5.10 off-width is to traverse to the left side of the roof and exit up a 5.8 off-width.
This route is on the south-western end of the Checkerboard wall. The start of the climb is reached by scrambling up a tree-filled gully. The route is directly under a distinctive but small roof with the off-width crux clearly visible.
The business section isn't terribly long, maybe 30 ft overall with the crux being the first 15. I recommend at least two #4 camelots and for those who struggle with off-width, a #5 camelot is also good to have in order to place a piece right at the crux lip.
A fixed hex is right under the roof and can supplement the belay. Alternatively, the 5.8 variation has a bolted anchor at its base, which can also be used to top-rope a direct start variation at 5.11.
By Karl Kiser
Jan 5, 2013
The FA was Mike Head and John McCall Spring 1979 (Screaming Yellow Zonkers). The bolted anchor was added later. After the first pitch there was a choice of finish (both left and right) and I remember them both to be harder than 5.8.