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By fforcella
From Redding, CA
Feb 13, 2013
Palmreader, Joshua Tree

Anyone know what the conditions are like at the crags? I have gotten a few glimpses from I-5 over the past couple weeks and they look pretty tempting with all the recent sunshine. Thanks!


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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Feb 13, 2013

Uphill :P But no idea about the current conditions up there.

Link up with the Epicmasters climbing group, they are a chill climbing group that does a ton of weekend trips during the warm months and Ricky and the rest of the people have a ton of knowledge and are good teachers/ sharers of wisdom.


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By Hard Landin' Brandon
From Happy Camp, CA
Feb 15, 2013
Gneiss day for climbing in Western Massachusetts!  Time to put some scratches on that new #4 cam.

+1 for Epicmasters.

My wife and I will be there this weekend. Hiking is the plan, but climbing would be a great bonus.

I called The Fifth Season (www.thefifthseason.com/climginginfo.html) and Shasta Base Camp (shastabasecamp.com/) this morning. They said the climbing should be good, with warm temperatures today and tomorrow, cooling on Sunday with some increasing winds. Might rain/snow after Monday. It hasn't snowed in a while, so there's not much snow cover up there. North-facing slopes may still have snow. Descent on Cosmic Wall probably still has snow. There's probably snow at the base of Six Toe Crack.

Have fun!


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By fforcella
From Redding, CA
Feb 15, 2013
Palmreader, Joshua Tree

Thanks for all the info. Maybe I'll see you guys up there!


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By Hard Landin' Brandon
From Happy Camp, CA
Feb 15, 2013
Gneiss day for climbing in Western Massachusetts!  Time to put some scratches on that new #4 cam.

If you see us up there, stop by and say hi. We plan to camp Sat & Sun nights at the state park.


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By Hard Landin' Brandon
From Happy Camp, CA
Feb 25, 2013
Gneiss day for climbing in Western Massachusetts!  Time to put some scratches on that new #4 cam.

In case anyone's interested, here are some photos from that weekend. Saturday we hiked up to Castle Dome. Beautiful and warm, it felt like 70 degrees and sunny. Someone had just descended from Cosmic Wall (was it you?):

Footprints on the descent testify that pockets of snow on Mt Hubris didn't stop at least one party from climbing Cosmic Wall in the middle of February.  Castle Crags SP (2/16/2013)
Footprints on the descent testify that pockets of snow on Mt Hubris didn't stop at least one party from climbing Cosmic Wall in the middle of February. Castle Crags SP (2/16/2013)


Sunday we headed over to Six Toe Rock to see if the approach was doable. We decided it wasn't:
Six Toe Crack approach, steep and frozen solid. Castle Crags SP (2/18/2013)
Six Toe Crack approach, steep and frozen solid. Castle Crags SP (2/18/2013)

We went back to Newspaper Ledge and fooled around on TR on some easy slab in the sun.
60 degrees and sunny, near Newspaper Ledge, Castle Crags SP (2/17/2013)
60 degrees and sunny, near Newspaper Ledge, Castle Crags SP (2/17/2013)


On Monday we climbed on Bulldog Rock (snow at the base, but fine) and Super Crack Spire.
Looking down Super Crack at Castle Crags SP (2/18/2013).
Looking down Super Crack at Castle Crags SP (2/18/2013).


Around 3pm it started getting windy, and we headed back down before that night's storm buried it all under snow again. Not bad for a weekend in February! Hope you had a similarly fun weekend.

Oh, and we chased a mountain lion out of the park campground on Sunday night. It was a little spooky being the only campers that night. That cat had a lot of muscle.


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By fforcella
From Redding, CA
Feb 26, 2013
Palmreader, Joshua Tree

Amazing! I ended up sleeping in Castella but decided to go skiing instead. Thank you sharing your photos--will have to make it up there when there's another nice window of weather.


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By splitclimber
Feb 26, 2013

nice.

super crack looks really good.


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By Hard Landin' Brandon
From Happy Camp, CA
Feb 27, 2013
Gneiss day for climbing in Western Massachusetts!  Time to put some scratches on that new #4 cam.

Glad you liked the photos. Here's another shot of Super Crack:

Super Crack (5.9) on Super Crack Spire, Castle Crags SP (2013/2/16)
Super Crack (5.9) on Super Crack Spire, Castle Crags SP (2013/2/16)


The belay at the base is on a ledge, so an anchor's not a bad idea. I really liked the route. Good jams, stemming, and a couple of great mantles. Easy to protect (I used cams and hexes from 1" to 4"). There were no bolts at the top of the crack. I slung a horn, cleaned the route, then rappelled from chains on the right (east) side of the spire above what I think is "The Regular Route" (5.6). There was also a single good bolt on the back (north) side of the spire where I'm sure there's additional climbing. The left side of the spire in this photo is, I think, "South Arete" (5.6), 2 pitches starting from the bottom of the spire and ending at the top of Super Crack.


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