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Echo Rock - South Face
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British Airways 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c R

   
Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Randy Vogel, Charles Cole, and Darryl Nakahira, 1982
Page Views: 2,041
Submitted By: C Miller on Jan 1, 2005

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Climber on British Airways. 2 climbers at the top...

Description 

Located on the far right side of Echo Rock, this is the first route right of Pope's Crack and requires a bit of scrambling through talus to reach the base.

Start 15' right of Pope's Crack behind a clump of yuccas, and climb the left-facing flared corner with an intermittent crack/seam in it's back (5.10) to it's end - pro is decent but the 1st placement is quite high. Above, continue up a steep slab with two bolts that passes along the right edge of a small roof. The climbing in the upper section (5.11a) is characterized by thin edges that require both delicate footwork and thoughtful movement. A bolted anchor/rap will be found at the top to return you quickly to your pack.

A good route in a sheltered location that gets lots of sun for those cold and windy days. The somewhat runout nature of the route means it gets led infrequently, but a toprope is easily rigged by climbing Pope's Crack as the rappel for that route takes you right over this route. Three stars out of five.

Protection 

2 bolts (3/8"), pro to 1.5" (mostly thin), bolted anchor/rap


Photos of British Airways Slideshow Add Photo
Another one of climbers on British Airways, Pope's...
Another one of climbers on British Airways, Pope's...
Mony pulling the small roof on British Airways. su...
Mony pulling the small roof on British Airways. su...
Mony S. on British Airways
Mony S. on British Airways
Pope's Crack Area
BETA PHOTO: Pope's Crack Area
Nearing top of British Airways
Nearing top of British Airways

Comments on British Airways Add Comment
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By C Miller
Administrator
Jul 16, 2002

So named, because on the second ascent (done the day after the FA) a certain well-known British climber took a winger on the route.
By Randy
Jan 18, 2003
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Having lead this route on several occasions, I find the crux, both technical and mental to be above the last bolt where you have to get your feet high on some pretty greasy holds. BTW: this is where Jonny Woodward (being rather inattentively belayed by Maria Cranor-think large half-arc of slack) took the famous 35+ foot whipper. The name for the route became immediately obvious.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jan 5, 2004
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

The runout section at the bottom is considerably more easy than the top of the route, maybe 5.10a or b?. I TR'd it though. The 2 cruxes are the changing directions move above the 1st bolt and the last move on the high step. I did this move in quite could weather and would not have described it as 'greasy.' Josh 5.11a face climbing is challenging for me. I got on this route on TR expecting 11d as printed in the Vogel book and kept waiting for a crux. One never came. I lowered off shaking my head and told my partner it felt like 11a. Only upon cross-referencing the index did I descover that it was indeed a simple misprint.
By Bo Johnston
Feb 6, 2005

We top roped this route after climbing "Pope's Crack". The Vogel guide has it rated 5.11d but I'd side with the 11a rating; only for the fact that I was able to climb it!
By Randy
Dec 3, 2005
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Lead this route last weekend again. The rock on the lower section is quite solid (so many TR ascents) and it is a 3 of 5 star route (imsbo). At about 20+ feet up the botton section you can get an excellent 1 - 1.5 inch cam placement. Just below the 1st bolt are thin nut/cam placements. Still runnout at the beginning and the top is thin and greasy.

The rating in the old guide was a typo (it was originally rated 10d).

By Jon Clark
From: Philadelphia, PA
Nov 18, 2011
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R

you can get a 1/2" cam in about 15+ feet up.
By MikeP ROWCC
Feb 19, 2013
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R

I followed this one. Be solid climbing 5.10b to get to the first gear placement. Fun little step crossover above first bolt. Crux comes after the roof and last bolt. Two little smearing edges for your feet and thin finger tip holds. Moving off of those was tricky.
By Drewsky
Dec 27, 2013

I finally decided to lead this last year. I'd toproped it in the past but always wanted to get it on the sharp end. I felt really solid but it was still pretty exciting. The top of the climb is certainly the hardest part and I remember a thrilling moment as I teetered into a slightly off-balance thumb press in the final moves of the crux. It's slippery up there, precarious and all the while an exciting runout looms below! The beginning, while easier, is still 5.10 and sports a giant nolina waiting to potentially skewer you should you slip off the initial section at the wrong time. First protection is good but as others have said, only arrives after 15-20 feet when the climbing eases back to 5.9 or less. A little dicey, definitely 'R', but pretty classy and a satisfying lead.

Once it becomes available, protection is good in the initial crack. Perhaps superstitiously, I placed a smallish cam with a medium sling in the small roof overlap for good measure. The bolts are fine, but it sometimes pays to double down on gear.