Belaying from bolts on Block Route. The route can...
Like most of the approach climbs for the main South Face, Block Route is a fun and extended route worthy of climbing even if you're not just trying to get to the Tree Ledge. If you want to get a feel for what it's like to climb high above your last gear at Stone Mountain, this is a good place to start. Block Route actually has ample pro placements for good stretches, and the runout sections are easy climbing. The somwhat tenuous block move toward the top is probably the only reason the guidebook gives this a 5.8, and it's well protected.
If you want to do Block Route in two pitches, there are belay anchors halfway up. But unless you're using a 50-meter rope (not a great idea anyway), there's no reason not to combine pitches and save yourself some time.
Starting below the left end of the overlap that extends just below the Tree Ledge, follow a grassy vertical crack and other seams up to belay anchors at a small tree. Belay here, or clip the anchor for pro and continue up to a left-facing dihedral. At the end of the dihedral, make a big move up and right onto the block, then finish to the tree ledge on easier ground, ending at the base of the Great Arch.
A bit of history: Block Route was originally considered the first pitch of the Great Arch.
Block Route is the furthest left of the Tree Ledge approach routes, about 30' left of U Slot. Rap on two ropes from the U Slot anchors; if these are busy, use one of the other bolted rap stations further down the Tree Ledge.
Cams and nuts up to #3 camalot or equivalent. Bolted belay anchors halfway up; sling trees for an anchor at the top.
Its all been said, definitely the simplest way up to tree ledge as well as the best protected. However its still worth a go with the a crux move that leaves the first timer tickled.
By Jay Shultis Administrator From: Blacksburg VA Nov 7, 2011 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c PG13
Great route with varied climbing through crack, slab and the mentioned mantle/stem move. Must do as a Stone Mountain first timer, due to it's direct link to the base of the Great Arch! Three BOMBER pieces below the crux! Keep in mind that there is a ~35 foot run-out on easy ground between gear. Not recommended as a first lead, confidence on slab will make the run-out seem small. Aside from the crux, it's probably ~5.4 or less the whole way.
By Will Wilson From: Morganton, nc Feb 11, 2013 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c PG13
The first time you pull the block it feels scary as hell. i like putting a locker on my pro below it.