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Balbaak means, "better than it looks" in an obscure dialect of ancient Vedauwoo-ese. Many climbers come sniffing around these parts of the Nautilus in search of the first pitch of Captain Nemo (an excellent 5.8 pitch), and walk underneath this classic muttering droll comments about nightmarish wide cracks. Nonsense! This is a worthwhile little gem with varied climbing and a nice finish.
Located right of Bug Squad, Baalbek begins in a chimney sort of an affair with a wedged chockstone. Calmly stem and chimney up to the block, then awkwardly surmount it, and resume chimney detail. A few strenuous moves above lead into a nice finger/hand crack, and eventually a set of new anchor chains. Catch a toprope on Bug Squad (use a lower set of chains on climber's left as a directional, which incidentally will commit you to completing the TR).
Good climbing, nice shade until early afternoon, and reasonable protection.
Wireds, TCUs to a 3" cam (I don't think you need anything bigger). From time to time a sling appears around the wedged block.
Jon does a sort of dyno and grips the chock for al...
About to sling the surprisingly solid chockstone.
Moving up into the upper corner crack.
|By Ben F|
From: Benfield, Kolorado
Aug 30, 2001
Darn it Steve, I was going to submit this route today, but I've actually been working. I did this climb almost 3 years ago (Labor Day Weekend '98), so my recollection may be fuzzy. I remember some bomber stoppers on this baby - at the start of the stemming section (4 or 5 Wallnut) and at the cruxy finishing section (a big fat stopper). I think I used a blue tricam as a stopper between the main crack and the chock stone. This climb is better than it looks and I agree with the 2 star rating and if the bottom was a bit better, it would get 3. Moving past the chock stone is great.
Jun 24, 2005
Well worth doing despite appearances to the contrary.
Nov 5, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a
Block is "solid" but looks as if it might fall out any minute. Fun climb.