WI4-5 M6 R
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|Type: ||Trad, Mixed, Ice, 8 pitches, 1200 feet, Grade IV|
|Consensus: ||WI4-5 M6 [details]|
|FA: ||November 29th, 2012|
|New Route: ||Yes|
|Season: ||Any time of year|
|Submitted By: ||Eric Wright on Jan 7, 2013|
Frank Robertson topping out Attractive Hazard.
Well, here we have another long route to add to the recent explosion of new routing on the walls around The Ribbon as well as downstream.
In 2012 there has been almost a half dozen new routes. This particular route in this local genre of "chossinerring" should/could have more ice than many of the other new routes. It is also unique in that the first ascensionists invested in bomber rap anchors. The rock quality in the first three pitches is pretty good (for the area) and gets worse up high, but as a general rule if the climbing is hard, the rock is pretty good as well as the protection.
From the trail, follow the gully up 40 feet to the start of the real climbing. There is a wet start and a dry start. If you are lucky and there is ice, you will see a mossy start covered in a bit of ice, M5.
If it's dry, choose the dry start ten feet to the left, in the decomposing yellow cake with the intermittent crack. It takes small cams and perhaps a tied off ice tool, D5. This first step in the first pitch is 30 feet. At its top is a horizontal crack on left wall. You are now deep in the gully and only halfway up pitch one. If you belay here, you can enjoy a nice seated belay to watch your partner climb the (low) crux of the route at M6. Follow the crack on the right hand side of the gully. When the gully narrows a bit, the left wall will have better gear. Look for three bolt anchor up right. This bomber stance might be in the line of fire. On the first ascent of the first pitch, in early December of 2011, the author was at the very steepest part of the pitch, which overhangs a little, when, as reported by belayer Frank Robertson, an avalanche came down and nearly ripped him from the wall. If he had been 15 feet higher at the choke point of the gully....
Frank said the avalanche was 5 feet high as it came through the choke point.
Step left off stance and head up steepening gully. If wet, it could have ice and snow top to bottom,WI4 or perhaps detatched and nearly unprotectable as Noah McKelvin found it in January 2012, that might be M5. If really dry, you get a knifeblade and one bolt, M5 or D5 or 5.9 and loose. 140 feet. The anchor at the top of this pitch is one of our early ones and our favorite, as it's a rock bollard, two strands of 10.5 backed up by one bolt...a nice, old school touch. Keep an eye out for the handy work of our 4 legged friends!
This pitch has enough bolts to keep you out of the easier gully to the left. The rock is the best on the whole route, though very compact. You can add to the fixed gear with your own cams and knifeblades. If it's wet, it's still unlikely to have much real ice, but maybe you will get lucky, M4. Dry, it's 5.6, 55 meters. There is a three bolt chain and tree anchor on the right at a stance out of the line of fire.
Climb easy, low angle gully, M3 if wet. Dry it's 5.0
55 meters. There is a three bolt belay/rap here; however, after nearly being struck by rockfall on several occasions, there is another safer anchor at same height just 30 feet left. It's on the edge of the gully. It has one lonely bolt and a nice crack that takes a mid-size cam or two. If it's wet, you might have to dig for this.
This is the psycho crux. This has been led by Eric Wellborn and Garrett Riegan with little or no gear. Garrett had a large foot hold disintegrate under him, nearly sending him for a ride. We have since added two bolts. If it's wet, maybe it will be all be frozen together, M4 R. If it's dry, it is 5.8 R, watch out for exploding holds. Look carefully for those two bolts they are on the right side of the gully. The anchor is 55 meters up on left wall of gully. It has three bolts and chain.
In January of 2012, Eric Wellborn and Noah were stopped here. After banging several knifeblades in to the rotten rock to build an anchor, Eric Wellborn climbed 20 feet to the get another pin in at the base of the detached ice dagger covering overhanging, mossy, very rotten rock. After pulling off a chunk of rotten rock, he took a 30 foot whipper. Noah sensible decided to avoid the same possible fate even though the climbing for both of them is well within their capabilities.
When Garrett, Frank, and I equipped the route, we did the route ground up. Garrett lead pitchs 4 through 8 onsight without anything but a bad cam or nut here or there. He soloed all of pitch 6, but that was in the summer in rock shoes after drinking way too much coffee and Red Bull. On another trip up the wall to hang more chain (chain, quick links and bolts are really heavy), I led pitch 6 and drilled two bolts on lead without hooks in my La Sportive Exum Ridges. If wet, this pitch is WI4-5 M6 R. If dry, it's 5.9 R. The anchor at the top of pitch 6 is in the far left corner out of the line of fire.
Follow gully up and right over yet another step. Keep an eye out for two bolts, one in middle of pitch out right and another on left wall 25 feet below three bolt anchor which is below a shallow outcrop of rock. If wet, this could be snow or ice, M3 R. If dry, it is 5.5 R, 55 meters.
Climb up to trees. Go up one more step of steep rock, though it could be avalanche prone snow. If wet, it is M3 R or steep snow. If dry, it is 5.6 R. There is no fixed gear. Belay and rap from trees.
The approach is the same as for The Ribbon. Follow the base of the buttress into the trees and go about 100 feet. It's the first deep gully one encounters.
Rap the route.
The anchors are established; however, this is a long gully system in bad rock. So, whenever possible, belay as if something will come down. A Bird Brain Blvd rack should do: cams, knifeblades, spectre hooks, long slings, short screws if it's winter, and 60 meter double ropes.
The last anchor is whatever tree you want. The rock is so bad that we used stainless steel 3/8" x 3.5". We used chain as the forest dwellers love to line their nests with hypo-allergenic, quick drying nylon.
The route received its name as a corruption of a legal term, wherein an attractive and dangerous situation has been created and (usually) children fall victim to it. We felt that there was some great adventure climbing to be done here but that the rock quality was so bad that the route would languish in obscurity if we did not create bomber anchors and reluctantly added just enough bolts to lure the climber (child) upwards. The third pitch has more bolts than any other and has steep, M4 climbing on good rock. It has these bolts to encourage one to stay out of the easy gully just to the left.
Frank Robertson on approach, with Attractive Hazar...
Wet start of first pitch. Dry start is 10 feet to...
Start of second step of first pitch. This is the c...
Looking down from top of first pitch.
Top of first step in first pitch.
Looking up start of of second pitch.
Noah McKelvin on 2nd pitch, photo by Eric Wellborn...
Close up of 1st 2nd and 3rd pitch.
Photo by Mike ...
Simul-rapping the first step of the first pitch. T...
Garrett on first step of first pitch, D5.
Garrett starting crux of route. Second step of fir...
Eric Wright starting 2nd pitch.
Eric Wright second pitch.
Garrett starting pitch 3.
Top of pitch 4.
Eric leading pitch 5.
I am passing what is left o...
Garrett leading pitch 6. The crux of the upper hal...
Eric Wellborn's boot and Noah McKelvin belaying pi...
Garrett belaying at the top of pitch 6.
Top of pitch 6. Garrett warm, happy, and getting c...
Half way through pitch 7. One more to go and we ar...
BETA PHOTO: Eduardo Ibaņez starting the second pitch of Attrac...
BETA PHOTO: Eduardo Ibaņez leading the fifth pitch. We found a...
BETA PHOTO: This is where we found those explosive holds we re...
BETA PHOTO: Belaying from top of pitch 7 looking down, Santiag...
BETA PHOTO: There was a lot of snow accumulation at the top an...
The crew from left to right: Santiago Ibaņez, myse...
Crux of second pitch.
Photo by Garrett R.
First step in first pitch as well as approach gull...
Don Carlos et sus comentarios.
Early May after melt thaw cycle:
Top of third pit...
Entire first pitch, with wet start. Our fixed rope...
|Comments on Attractive Hazard
|By Bryan Gilmore|
From: Your Mama
Jan 14, 2013
I admire your hunger for chossaneering, yet I am confused by the copious use of bolts. I believe this line was first done about 20 years ago and again (all but the last few meters) last season without any bolts - probably a few times in between too. Bolts on this wall are largely unwelcome and provide little more than a false sense of security.
|By Eric Wright|
From: Telluride CO.
Jan 15, 2013
You pose some excellent questions which I will attempt to answer.
I started ice climbing in the San Juans in 1979. Since that time, none of my partners nor I have seen, read or heard of anyone climbing this route. There is no who,what, where or when associated with that gully/chimney. We thought it was high time somebody got up there and put a route up. Ideally something that our friends in the ice climbing community would want to repeat.
Your new route is half as long, and as you point out, you have "stout trees" to rap off. There are very few trees even near this route. We wanted people to return down the route so that they are not tempted to rap The Ribbon as people now do after Bird Brain Blvd. There have been several close calls from that.
The other party from last winter, retreated 3 pitches from the top having failed to surmount the last crux. There is no evidence of prior passage. There are very few bolts. This is a R route. We would not like to see this wall covered with bolted sport routes any more than you. I think that is the heart of your concerns, and after you have climbed this route, we think you will agree that this is not a sport route. It's not even a PG route, but to create a repeatable route out of this particular part of this choss pile we elected to add a small number of bolts.
It's always hard to figure out just how much gear to add or subtract.
We have struggled with this. In the end, we chose to add what we did. Every new router has to make their own discisions. The one area we would not compromise on is that of the anchors. As that prolific authority Mark Twight writes in his well regarded book Extreme Alpinism, "the anchors have to be bomber".
We hope you can respect our creation just as we respect yours.
We hope you and many others will one day enjoy this contribution to our ice climbing community. Namaste
|By erik wellborn|
From: manitou springs
Jan 27, 2013
Well, I thought our Spectre/ tied off shrub on the 5th pitch was a "bomber" anchor. Just to clarify, Noah and I led all but the last 20 ft. of difficult climbing on-sight without bolts. A nasty fall and a bruised shoulder stopped us at that point.
Not sure if I could've led that last bit without a bolt, but to paraphrase Reinhold Messner, that would've been the murder of the impossible and that simply goes against my personal values regarding climbing in the mountains.
But...I think there is plenty of chossablities to play on around Campbird and room for both expressions of climbing. I see no issue with establishing bolted routes that reflect safety-convenience, along with bold run-out routes that emphasize freedom and adventure.
|By Eric Wright|
From: Telluride CO.
Jan 28, 2013
Dear Eric Wellborn.
Glad you are back safe from your Euro ice climbing trip. How's that bank balence now!
Just to clarify. I have owned and used 3 Spectre hooks since they appeared in the mid '90s. Your "hook" was a pecker with a wire swage. Garrett is probably standing on it right now. He is a house painter just like us. I am sure I can get it back if you want it, brotherhood of the trades and all that. Offer him a job painting for your painting company he is very good, as are you.
The "shrub" was a pine seedling with a circumference comparable to ones pinky. The baby angle was flexy, but good and I hope still there. That anchor you made was right in the line of fire from all the exploding holds one has to pull on to climb the crux of that pitch, not to mention avalanches and rockfall in general from the four pitches of climbing left to do.
Thank you for your generous words acknowledging the right of coexistence. Mind you, I am not promoting sport routes on the dark side of the valley by any stretch of the imagination. Frank, Garrett and I would be very disapproving of that genre of development. We are promoting routes. Remember if you will, when Frank and I started working on this route Thanksgiving weekend of 2011. You were making yet another lap on BBB, I believe. The Ribbon and the magnificent Bird Brain Blvd were the only routes getting climbed on that wall. There might have been other routes, but they rested quietly unvisited. Ignored. We thought we might at least see if we could get something to happen over there.
The sunny side of the valley had seen many new routes go up. We thought it was kind of embarrassing, in that with such a big crag and so little climbed, after so many years something ought to be done. We had no way of knowing that soon after we completed our project. That Steve House, Hydan Kennedy,Eric Wellborn, Noah McKelven, Phil Wortman, Beagle and Jim Turner would put up several new routes, on a series of walls that had seen nothing new in a generation. As to the question of style of development, always a thorny issue, we watched what our friends had been doing in the Ouray valley then modified that ethic to what we as new routers, thought might balance risk with interest. Our first goal was to create something that would get climbed and at the same time not dumb the route down so much that it would be a forgettable experience, if you will indulge me in a food metaphor. Something along the lines of eating raw kale not a (sport climbing) cookie, but not a route like Steve and Hydan's (Japanese puffer fish) Desperado. In short a route that might get some traffic on it. Hopefully dare we say, along the lines of BBB, which is now getting quite a bit.
This route is more of a choss pile though, much harder to protect up high. Perhaps one day a team will enchain, BBB, the Ribbon, and AH all in one day. Now that would be a big day on the hill, that combined with a walk back to Ouray and we might have a Eigerwand like level of work. You better than most could speak to that having climbed the Eigerwand in the '90s.
|By erik wellborn|
From: manitou springs
Jan 28, 2013
Eric, the bank balance is zero. Again. Time to find another house to remodel, again. The Spectre /pecker hook thingy is Noah's.