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A Little Nukey 

YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 750'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Greg Vernon, Mike Baca and Hollan Holmes, 7/88
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Page Views: 5,360
Submitted By: Dave Daly on Dec 14, 2007

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BETA PHOTO: To find the start of A Little Nukey (5.9), look fo...

Description 

Pitch 1: (5.8) Follow a line of bolts (8 total) straight up shallow dishes and edges. After the 3rd bolt, the rock becomes more featured but the climbing is just a tad bit steeper. There is a 3 bolt belay (with rap rings) at the end of the pitch (50 meters). NOTE: A fourth bolt is located 2 feet above the belay and should be used for the next pitch opening moves.

Pitch 2: (5.9-, 5 bolts) Head directly above the 1st pitch belay anchors. A few move of 5.9 are encountered in between the 2nd and 3rd bolts. Continue straight up to a small black roof (4th bolt on the lip of the roof) and surmount the roof. Once over, head left and up by following the remaining 2 bolts to the belay station (3 bolts with rap rings). NOTE: There is a set of belay bolts 30 feet below ALN's 2nd pitch belay. This station is the 1st pitch belay of 'Aplodontia' (5.9R).

Pitch 3: (5.8 or 5.9, 1 bolt and pro to 1/2") One can either head straight up to a right facing corner (5.9, pro to 1/2") or head up and right, underneath a bus-sized flake. The first option takes you straight up to the 3rd pitch belay. Both options are short in distance to the belay, but this is the shorter option pitch. The second option goes to a bolt (30 feet from the belay), which protects a 5.8 move, and continues to the right facing corner of the flake. Continue up the flake (5.6, pro: 1/4 to 1"). Once at the top of the flake, head left out onto the open face for 20 more feet to the belay bolts (4 bolts with rap rings.... and an epoxy sealed carabiner?) NOTE: 3 out of 4 bolts at this belay should be considered suspect! One is an old 1/4" rusted buttonhead and the other two are spinners (3/8" buttonheads). Be sure to back up your belay!

Pitch 4: (5.9, 2 bolts with solution pockets for pro) From the belay, traverse right 15 feet along a small foot ledge to access the first bolt. Pass two bolts (5.9) and head toward a black water streak above. Twenty feet past the 2nd bolt., the climbing turns down to 5.5 or 5.6, following solution pockets (recommended Tri-Cam placements.....a few can even be threaded!!). The water streak becomes a bit steeper but good holds abound. Once over the steep section, head up and right to a 3 bolts belay or continue 60 feet further to a 4 bolt belay (rap rings) that falls directly below an easy right facing corner.

Pitch 5: Head up the right facing corner (5.6, pro to 1"), which slants left, to a pine tree with slings (rap rings). 4th class to the summit.

Descent: Walk off the east end of the dome and back down to the parking area or continue up the road, past the spillway and back to the gravel turnout.

Location 

'A Little Nukey' is not only a popular Courtright multi-pitch route but the easiest route upon the northwestern face of Power Dome. This dome is located in the Helms Creek Gorge, just below Courtright Road. Additionally, it is the first dome seen on the right when driving into the Courtright area.

There are two ways to approach this route and the dome itself:

1) Park at the PG&E road entrance (gated) just before you get to Courtright Reservoir (a gravel turnout on the side of the road, 200 yards before the reservoir). Hike down the paved road to its terminus. Leave the road and head directly toward Power Dome by going under a large tunnel aquaduct, then up a short rise. Once over the rise, head down small broken terraces to the creek. Cross over the creek on rocks to the base of Power Dome. In the early season or during peak hours, the creek may be difficult to cross. Use caution! Once across, locate a ramp next to the base and head up to the top of the ramp (level at the top). 'A Little Nukey' starts near the top of this ramp.

2) The second choice is to drive past the reservoir spillway/dam and park near the north side of the dome (small turnout on the right side at the left hand turn). From here, head toward the dome directly and then down toward slabs above the creek, requiring assiduous route finding. Initially, one needs to drop midway down to the dome and then traverse a series of ledges and dishes upon its northeastern shoulder to rap anchors (or downclimb 4th class, trending down and right). Refer to this photos: Photo #1 while heading to find the rap anchors. Once at the base, all routes can be accessed via a bit of 3rd class scrambling.

Protection 

- 60m rope
- (9) draws
- slings w/ biners
- Pro to #1 Camelot (moderate rack).


Photos of A Little Nukey Slideshow Add Photo
First Pitch of 'Little Nukey'....Rumoured to be th...
First Pitch of 'Little Nukey'....Rumoured to be th...
A sea of white granite and Fall colors in full eff...
A sea of white granite and Fall colors in full eff...
Photo showing the "cat walk" prior to th...
BETA PHOTO: Photo showing the "cat walk" prior to th...
Topo showing A Little Nukey (5.9PG13). I would giv...
BETA PHOTO: Topo showing A Little Nukey (5.9PG13). I would giv...
This pulled back view makes the climb look intimid...
BETA PHOTO: This pulled back view makes the climb look intimid...
My solution to not having tri-cams for the solutio...
My solution to not having tri-cams for the solutio...
Jill all racked up and ready to rock. This is abou...
BETA PHOTO: Jill all racked up and ready to rock. This is abou...
View of the rap route from the base of the rap. Af...
BETA PHOTO: View of the rap route from the base of the rap. Af...
A Little Nukey
A Little Nukey
fun granite smearing
fun granite smearing
Pitch 1 - A Little Nukey
Pitch 1 - A Little Nukey
On the Power Dome, circa 1999. Photo: Simon Middle...
On the Power Dome, circa 1999. Photo: Simon Middle...
Clipping the first set of bolts on the first pitch...
Clipping the first set of bolts on the first pitch...
The best way to approach is to rap in to the climb...
BETA PHOTO: The best way to approach is to rap in to the climb...
up high on the climb
up high on the climb
Starting the cruisy 4th pitch
BETA PHOTO: Starting the cruisy 4th pitch
from Rock and Ice #30
BETA PHOTO: from Rock and Ice #30

Comments on A Little Nukey Add Comment
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By Cory
From: Boise, ID
Jul 7, 2009

This route is great fun. There is pro just where you need it. The only scary part is getting to the first bolt via thin moves over what would be an awkward landing if you came off. We approached via the gated road on the opposite side of the drainage. We carried everything we had with us on the climb so that we could walk the road back to the car instead of doing the sketchy 4th class descent. This turned the walkoff into a casual 20 minute stroll.
By squiddo
From: Mountain View, CA
Oct 3, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Done the approach now twice and both times I've avoided rapping and anything sketchy for that matter. Rough directions: Park at the geological exhibit and approach as per the noted rappel. Instead, cut out towards the right (rock left) looking for cairns and aiming for the edge. A couple hundred yards from the car you should hit a sandy ledge which traverses away from Power Dome to allow one to access another ledge system below. Eventually you make it down to lower ledges, cutting back on them towards Power Dome. Perhaps 35-40 mins from the car. The best part is NOT doing this at the end of the day and avoiding walking up the the PG&E road. Savor the beers at the car, 15 mins from the summit.
By Kyle Queener
From: Monterey, California
Oct 7, 2013

Instead of ending the third pitch at the 4 bolts way out left another option is to build an anchor while still in the crack which leaves the 4th pitch a straight shot up without any traversing involved. There is a good stance here and is not awkward one bit. We didn't feel like we needed tri-cams on the 4th pitch. We placed a few cams, a nut, and threaded some holes and stayed pretty safe.
The approach from the geological site was definitely the crux of the day. We did the raps with one 60m rope and angled climbers right to a ledge about 95 ft down on the second rap and then walked this 3rd class until a few 5th class downclimb moves which led to a scramble up to the main ledge system. It seems there are numerous approach options, none seem that great.
By Eric "Pig" Varley
Oct 24, 2013

Kyle, in the King's Canyon guide book, it actually shows the third belay anchor on the giant flake as you describe. I have done the route both ways, and it definitely makes more sense to build a natural anchor at the top of pitch 3 rather than continue up to the bolted anchor.

The approach can be tricky. Double ropes make the rappel much easier. Once you get down to the creek, the key is to stay low and hug the creek. Make your way through a notch between large boulders (look up at the crazy huge chockstone too). If you travel up instead of through the notch you'll get up on a ledge that accesses the start of Welcome to Courtright (among other routes). The down climb from that ledge is not super fun. Once you pass that ledge system, you'll pass an uphill gully full of vegetation. Make your way to the far side of the vegetation and scramble up a boulder to access a lower ledge system. Follow this ledge down until you find yourself underneath the massive flake on pitch 3.


--Update after climbing on 8/2/14--
I would recommend combining pitches 2 and 3 with a 60m rope. DO NOT go up to the bolted anchors at the top of the flake. This is technically off-route, skips a 5.9 crux through 2 bolts, and adds an awkward traverse. I made an anchor about 1/3 to 1/2 up the flake at a fairly nice stance (.75, 1.0, and 2.0 for the anchor). Also, on pitch 5, instead of following the ramp up and left to the tree, head straight up after traversing under the roof on easy terrain with more solution pockets. This will let you access the top of the from the top of Pitch 4. Otherwise, you can rope up for the summit from the tree, or free solo it, depending on your comfort level.
By Kash Dierksheide
From: Atascadero, California
May 28, 2014

By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Sep 9, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Great route. In particular, the solution pocket pitch is about as cool a pitch as I have led in a long time. The route is pretty well documented here, but I have a few minor comments.

First, I would agree with Kyle that it makes more sense to build a natural anchor in the flake before the bolts at the end of pitch 3. I set my belay low down at a small foot ledge (lots of gear between 0.75-3 Camalots) so that I could get in a piece of gear to protect the belay before running up the slab to clip the first bolt on the 4th pitch. Second, and this is a minor comment, contrary to what is written in Mr. Daly's description, there is about 40 feet or so of low 5th class climbing before you get to 4th class terrain when leaving the tree belay ledge at the top of the route.

Finally, Mr. Daly mentions in his description that the belay at the top of the 4th pitch has a 3 bolt belay and then another 4 bolt belay 60 feet further right (directly below the 5th pitch corner). This is not quite right. When the solution pockets end, you will reach a nice little ledge with four bolts. Only one of these bolts is solid because the next best bolt is a 1/4" button with an SMC hanger and the other two are utterly rusted 1/4" buttons with Leeper hangers. Fortunately the good bolt is a new bomber 3/8" bolt (looks to be SS). The second set of anchor bolts that are further right (probably only 25 feet, not 60 feet) are classic Sierra 5/16" pound-ins (my guess is that this is the 4th pitch anchor for Esto Power). I am usually pretty okay with 5/16" bolts, but this pair is particularly beat up looking, so I opted to belay at the 4 bolt nest and then simply clip the second set of anchors as my first gear on the next pitch. If and when I come to do this route again, I will try and remember to bring my hand kit along and add a second good bolt to the primary belay, but if someone else is looking to do some community service, it would certainly be appreciated if that anchor was updated.

Cheers.
By Ben Parsons
Nov 19, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a