Monday, July 21, 2008

Mt. Stuart Direct NW Face

Just becasue the author of the guidebook had the FA doesn't make it a "classic" route. This route has moments of greatness coupled with miles of loose, mossy, rope drag, 4th class simuling that makes it just not really worth doing. I'll come back to Stuart's NW face but it will be covered with snow and ice when I do.

Here I am on the second pitch... the beginning of the crap. We apparently missed the first pitch which is supposed to go at 10+, it felt like solid 11/12 though I mostly did it at C1.

Here's the money pitch. The perfect corner is just that, but very short. We linked three pitches into one with a 60m rope. Your on the perfect corner for less than half of it. Don't go too high. I ended up a solid 30-40 feet above my last piece of pro which was not solid and an additional 10 feet from a solid cam. The crack completely peters out, the climb revs up a notch and it makes you scared and not happy. Managed to wiggle in a marginal RP and down climb back to safety. Most of Kearney's pitches are only 15m long!

James following the second pitch.

We ended up doing the route in 18 hours car to car. Could have moved a tad faster, could have carried less, but a decent time all told. Thankfully we summited so we don't have any compelling reason to come back to this route.

Finger of Fate

The Finger of Fate East Face was so good it deserved its own entry. On our last day James and I went to do the FOF car to car. The route gets no hype what-so-ever but it really deserves some. The first two pitches are the business ringing in at mid 10 and mid 11 but they get five stars out of four. Perfect hands, perfect corner, perfect gear, it has it all.

The roof on the second pitch.

The route takes the right facing open book.

James following the spectacular first pitch.

James nabbing the best part of open book route, the double cracks.

James "holding up" the summit block.

Poco's Sawtooth Sandwich Extravaganza

After a seeing a soggy forcast for our intended Picket's trip, Chad, Donn, James and I headed instead for a week of alpine rock in the Sawtooths, ID.

Donn had a score to settle with Warbonnet Peak that included an injured climbing partner and a $10,000 rescue. We spent a day approaching Warbonnet, a day on the climb, and a day out. A nice and easy schedule. Everything went perfectly except for Chad's new boots which rubbed his heels raw.

After getting out... and maybe indulging in a few, James, Donn and I went to climb the Stur Chimney on Mt. Heyburn. It's one of the Sawtooth Classics at only 5.4 and a worthy route, though only two pitches. Best part is the blue TCU I snagged without a nut tool mid-route.

The spectacular 5.6 finish to Warbonnet. You get a bolt that wouldn't hold your hat and a pin that even sweet baby Jesus-lying in a manger watching his Young Einstein developmental tapes, learning about shapes and colors-couldn't make hold a fall.

Donn on the summit of mighty Mt. Heyburn.

Approaching Warbonnet.

The best part of the Sawtooths (besides a Poco Sawtooth sandwich, Chad)... the boat ride.