Balls of Fire
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Balls of Fire is a not oft done face climb squeezed in between Disguise and The Metamorphosis. It probably doesn't get done too often because of it's serious reputation, but there are quite a few solid placements - I would have only called this climb S, but Rossiter and my partner say VS and that seems fair. Gear [definitely] is tricky and the climb is run out, but the fall appears to be pretty clean - moreso than it's neighbors.
Begin about 15' up and left from the [LEFT-Facing, RIGHT-leaning] corner of The Metamorphosis at the first obvious place to pull over the roof (on a lichen-covered jug). Right under this roof is a hidden, bomber gear placement. Pull up to a stance on the lip of the roof, then continue up the face with sparse pro, heading generally straight up, then slightly right to clip the bolt at the optional belay of Metamorphosis. From here, head straight up then cut left before the Ur-ine Trouble corner system. The crux is at an overlap with some downwards-pointing flakes. This is well protected with a few small wires, but they are pumpy to place.
Finally merge with Disguise and belay at the tree. Having done most of the climbs on the upper section of this wall now, The Metamorphosis is the hands-down classic, Scotch & Soda is pretty good Disguise and Balls of Fire are kinda junky.
TCU's or Aliens. Small/Medium Wires. A #1 Camalot.
|Comments on Balls of Fire
|By Tony B|
From: Around Boulder, CO
Sep 13, 2004
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b
I believe the 10c, VS rating. Where I [initially] pulled the roof before going back down to get the green alien below the flake you mention was the line ... in the guide. This move was insecure and unprotected and a fall from this crux would have been a disaster on lead. That line also does not go as far right as the line you took, and thus would skip the only decent pro possible on the first 30 feet of climbing. Don't forget the ledge 10' below the start, because you'd hit it quite hard... I think that the pro up higher was OK, [including] the good stopper near the second crux, but the second stopper came back under after the crux, at knee height from an insecure an pumpy stance- it would have been pretty hard to place on lead and I believe that I would have skipped the placement.
As for the quality of the climb itself- a little dirty, a little loose in a place or two, and I imagine a little frightening on lead. The moves are more insecure than they are hard...