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Boulder Problem in the Sky 

YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 220'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: FA Diff Ritchie, Bob Rotert
Season: Spring-Fall
Page Views: 1,226
Submitted By: TomCaldwell on Jul 31, 2012

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Tom in the massive corner of BPitS

Seasonal Falcon Closure MORE INFO >>>

Description 

A unique route for Whitesides because it takes a plethora of gear. Unlike most of the face routes at Whitesides, BPitS is a crack/corner feature. This route stays dry due to the large roof cap. It also faces west, so it is great on summer mornings. The very large white left-facing corner is easy to spot from the approach.

From the approach trail, head near the base of the corner and rack up in the woods. Once racked up, make a step across a gully to get to a ledge at the base of the route. The start is a chimney that turns into a right facing corner. Climb up the chimney and corner, then make a tricky move left to get to the ledge at the base of the main left facing corner. Climb up using face holds and the corner with plenty of gear options. Continue until you reach a single bolt with a fixed nut and webbing anchor. Belay or rappel here or continue on.

Move straight up off the belay to get below a block. Get a good piece of gear here and sling it long. Step back down and make the tricky traverse left, do not continue straight up to the roof above. Continue traversing left to a piton at a stance. The pin can be backed up. Make a move up so that your below a small roof and your feet are at the piton. Clip the new single bolt that protects the crux. Get into the business by making the tough, balancy, and sustained moves up until you can step left onto the ledge. Continue moving across the big easy ledge until you reach some bolts at your feet. Continue straight up or rappel down. Rappelling here is recommended.

Continue straight up the corner feature until you top out in the bushes.

Location 

Rappel with one 70m straight down to your pack if you stop at P2 or rappel with one 60m down and to the left or continue to the top and walk-off.

Protection 

Single rack to #2 C4 with nuts and tri-cams. Bring plenty of shoulder length slings with maybe one 4' sling if you plan on linking P1 and P2. P2's anchor consists of 4 bolts linked together with some webbing and a piece of rope with rings. The rope was in good shape as of June 2012, but bring extra if concerned.


Photos of Boulder Problem in the Sky Slideshow Add Photo
Diff Ritchie leading on first ascent with Bob Rotert on GBM
Diff Ritchie leading on first ascent with Bob Rote...
Diff Ritchie and Bob Rotert on first ascent of GBM- Diff above belaying Bob on move
Diff Ritchie and Bob Rotert on first ascent of GBM...
Pitch 1 of Boulder Problem in the Sky, Whiteside Mtn, NC.
Pitch 1 of Boulder Problem in the Sky, Whiteside M...
Diff Ritchie belaying Bob Rotert on 1st ascent of Great Boulder Move
Diff Ritchie belaying Bob Rotert on 1st ascent of ...
Diff Ritchie leading on first ascent of GBM
Diff Ritchie leading on first ascent of GBM
Diff Ritchie Belaying Bob Rotert on first ascent Great Boulder Move 2
Diff Ritchie Belaying Bob Rotert on first ascent G...

Comments on Boulder Problem in the Sky Add Comment
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By s f
From: GA/CO
Aug 1, 2012

Nice description Tom. I once got off route to the left, missed the crux, and pulled a moderate bulge directly below the P2 anchor. P3 is fun but its anchor is awkward and ratty. The top-out sucks, at least when wet.
By Phoffmann
Oct 13, 2012

Nice description Tom! This route is a must do for sure. The natural pro is good and so is the rock quality. P1 is classic 5.8 in of its self. I will say that the fixed hardware is atrocious and is in desperate need of repair. The fact that it has not been replaced yet is an embarrassment. The crux bolt at the 5.11- crux is a time bomb. The belay at the top of P2 needs to be completely re-engineered. I understand that the bolts were placed on lead with a hand drill and hammering straight down onto the ledge is more efficient than hammering straight in the wall in front, but redesigning the belay with a power drill straight in the wall above and in front will provide a safer and better belay stance while eliminating the factor 2 possibility starting the third pitch as it is a "no fall" 5.9 move.
By s f
From: GA/CO
Oct 13, 2012

Coincidence- the crux is now much safer and less cluttered. One stainless bolt effectively replaced all of this:

crux fixed gear
crux fixed gear


The 5/16 inch bolt appeared to just be a machine bolt, hammered in rivet style. It was rusted in-half inside the hole. The new replacement bolt is located as to keep the rope out from underfoot. For giggles I tested the fall on roped solo. It is now super clean and G rated instead of a roll of the dice.
By TomCaldwell
From: Clemson, S.C.
Dec 18, 2012

Thanks for this update and all the others sf. I always considered that crux a no-fall.
By shannon stegg
Mar 30, 2013

There are three more routes to the left of "Vaporizer". "S.O.S. by Jim Corbet and its second pitch, "Rain Drop Traverse" which joins up with "boulder Problem in the Sky". "Hanging Gardens" 5.10 is a one pitch route originally done in two. This starts off a large detatched block and is a much better climb done in one pitch, two ropes make it a better lead. Just left at the end of the wall is "Lopper Land" 5.9 a one pitch route up a dirty corner, better and harder than it looks! Short approach and spectacular views makes this place one of my favorite. If you end up at the Southwest end do not miss N.C. most exposed hike! This one way romp is not to be missed. It ends at the start of the headwall about 450 feet off the deck. It is refered to as the Indian Ledges.
By Bob Rotert
Jul 19, 2013

One of my favorite routes in Cashiers. Rain was pouring down early in the day we did it. No bolts were placed at the first or second belay on the first ascent of this route. I remember being a bit terrified at this belay while Diff lead the moves off the ledge thinking if he fell we might both be going the distance. The commitment level was very high. Not uncommon for some routes back in those days. Fortunately he was calm and cool executing the moves without a hitch, elevating my already high respect for his climbing prowess. Those moves, off the ledge, are the "Boulder Problem in the Sky" and are what the route is named for. With the original no Bolts belay, doing them was high commitment. It doesn't surprise me bolts have sprouted since the original ascents.

Some aid and a sky hook were used to get to the 2nd belay ledge on that first ascent. I returned later for the first free ascent and freed what is now the technical crux moves of the climb on the second pitch with Bill St John a year or two later.

Interesting to see pictures of some of the gear that has been in the rock for @ 40 years.
By Diff Ritchie
May 30, 2014

I added some photos I recently uploaded of the first ascent of GBM with Bob Rotert on a rather cold winter day. Note I am in wool knickers and wool knee soxs and a wool sweater - and a new pair of EB's before they got all beat up. I believe Blair was taking the photos. I had gotten up to the roof with Peter Prandoni but rain and a very wet top turned up back earlier and Bob and I returned to complete the route. YOu can't see it but we were using millar mits the rock was so cold.
By Ben F
From: Benfield, Kolorado
Jun 18, 2014

Steggo,

Though Pappy Corbett first attempted SOS (not for "save our ship"), I got the FA on that. I have to spray about it so I can pick on Jim. He lowered-off, and I clipped his gear to his high point and finished at the first ledge. I returned the following weekend with Woody and did a proper lead on it (still so Pappy couldn't claim the FA). Woody and I believe it to be 5.9. I believe it was '98 when we did that. I chickened-out on your pitch. :)

I really don't climb as much anymore as I've become more of a misanthrope, but didn't get fat like Woody and Pappy. Ha. Hope you're doing well, man.