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Amber is a great but little-known route. I got beta from someone who had been on it. i went out and climbed it, had a great time on it, and pass what I know on to you.
The first pitch is shared with Wholesome Fullback, so approach as for that route. The second pitch is classic, with sustained crack to face to layback/chimney moves, and is a four star pitch in my book. The upper two pitches are easier but more serious feeling than I had expected- the top pitch in particular, which turns an exciting roof on absolutely huge horns/jugs which may or may not break off one day, and then tops out on the furthest right tip of the Wholesome Fullback buttress, smack dab in the middle of Black Velvet. Views of the whole canyon, from Triassic to Epinephrine, make the summit a neat spot to hang out before rapping the route on double ropes.
I've made a topo and pitch by pitch beta, which I'll submit as a route photo, so that should clear up any other questions. And finally- perhaps someone who knows of the FA will chip in at some point and tell me what bogus info I'm unwittingly dishing out.
Anchors are good double bolts with rings. Face cruxes are protected with good bolts. Rack: tiny to big nuts, with emphasis on small/mediums. TCUs and aliens, cams to 1.5", doubles to 3", and a 3.5. Midsize tricams would go into huecos and might make the upper pitches a little more comfortable.
BETA PHOTO: Amber photo w/ superimposed route
BETA PHOTO: This is the inspiration for the climb. Be afraid b...
BETA PHOTO: The rock has broken away from one of the bolts fro...
Jonny placing a nut on lead.
WF's- pitch one.
Jonny on pitch one of WF.
Jonny higher up the crack after a few roller skati...
Andy dancing up the second pitch of Amber.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at Amber p2.
John Kear and Derek Doucet on the 3rd pitch of Amb...
|By phil broscovak|
From: Boo-older, Co.
Apr 11, 2005
No bogousity here Ant. Good topo. I will attest to the 2nd pitch (left hand variation) being 5.12ish.
|By logan johnson|
From: West Copper, Co
May 26, 2008
Philo should know- he did the FA (without bolts.)
|By Andy Laakmann|
From: Bend, OR
Oct 14, 2009
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a
Worthy climb! P1 is the sweet finger crack of WF. P2 is fabulous and very well protected. It felt 10a to me (I thought both cruxes of Wholesome Fullback were harder), but YMMV. I got inside the chimney... well protected and good fun. Not sure why the bolt is there... perhaps for laybackers? P3 is fun 5.8 with decent rock and is worth doing. I won't be repeating P4. The rock is scary (I had a foothold break on me while pulling the roof.... eeeeeks!) and there are only a few good moves. More importantly, the top anchor is now dangerous. The rock by one of the bolts has cracked. Hopefully John Hegyes (my partner) will post a photo of the bolt. I rapped first and was blissfully unaware... he had to rap with full knowledge. Gulp.
For a perfect day, climb P1-P3 of this route... rap to the top of P1 and finish on Wholesome Fullback, and then fire up the top pitch of Our Father on the way down!
Gear: nuts from small to large, double set of cams from small to #3 camalot, one #3.5 camalot.
|By Tim Wolfe|
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 18, 2010
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a
The crux is the 1st pitch. The second pitch needs a LOT of long slings and back cleaning on the initial crack but the moves were all easier than pitch 1. The third pitch is somewhat different than the topo suggests - it goes up the cracks for awhile and then goes RIGHT past 3 bolts before stepping left one move to the belay. The final roof is huge jugs, above that is some fragile runnout face. Unfortunately the final belay is quite bad - actually dangerous so I would skip this pitch unless a new belay gets established.
Sep 2, 2012
Top anchor has been replaced thanks to your local ASCA fairies, but you've still got to have a major screw loose to burn time on that last pile of a pitch with all the other amazing splitters nearby. The pitch stars go down as well as the rock quality, with every belay that you reach. 1+2 are pretty cool, though 2 is oddly hardwared from my perspective. P3 is decent, more loose rock than the 2nd, but okay. The view from the top of P4 is great but you have to really be psyched on choss to get excited about three fun moves and then another 125 ft worth of ultra-rotten exfoliating onionskin. The anchor is safe for rappeling now, for those twisted souls who have it in mind to top out on this one, be sure to bring some webbing for the top anchor (it gets sun) and wide gear for the crack on the left the guide suggests to avoid. It's got the only good gear you get on the second half of the pitch; my belief is that holds are going to break on some less-experienced sandstoner and someone's going to get really busted up when they pull off some huge dinnerplate climbing that rotten, way runout face. My thought is do 2 or 3 and rap, finish off Wholesome and enjoy the rest of your day. The .12 thing looks really, really weird to me.
|By John Wilder|
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 14, 2013
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b
Really good route- at least the first three are worthy. The fourth is obviously not worth doing- even from the ground.
The top of P1 is probably not the best belay- better to belay down on the ledge below rather than have that weird traverse to start the pitch. Which actually means you dont need to use that anchor at all, as you can just touch the ground from the top of 2 (its 200' plum line, although its probably 240' of climbing).
Pitch 2 was super fun- and very long (180' or so), lots of drag. More runners than not is a good thing- i'd say 12-14, with at least one or two double length runners for the top. The bolt in the chimney isn't necessary if you climb the hand crack- i didnt use it.
Pitch 3 was very enjoyable, but definitely climb light- i'd also recommend climbing out left when approaching the belay, as the rock out right is very crispy!
All in all, a great climb. Well worth doing.