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Celtic Cracks 

YDS: 5.10a/b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 19 British: E2 5b R

   
Type:  Trad, 8 pitches, 1300', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10a/b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Karsten Duncan, Andrew Gomoll - March 16, 2007 (St. Patrick’s Day)
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 3,052
Submitted By: Karsten on Oct 19, 2007

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Andrew follows the Shamrock roof.

Description 

This route is a beautiful line with a several spectacular pitches. The most notable is the shamrock roof pitch which goes out a huge roof. The pitches above the roof in the groove have similar rock and climbing feel as the wide pitches on Crimson Chrysalis minus the bolts. There are no bolts or fixed anchors on the route. The time to climb the route itself is probably an average grade III but with over 1000ft of approach pitches and a very involved descent you will probably be getting a grade V type of effort.

The R rating comes from the wide upper pitches which may be mitigated with wide gear. Anywhere the climbing is difficult the protection is good.

Pitch 1: 5.9 170ft
Begin climbing the right side of a small red pillar moving past a small roof on the left. Move right out of the mini-roof into the tan rock and up a mossy crack. Follow this crack up to a small ledge with a bush for the belay.

Pitch 2: 5.8 120-160ft
Move up and left from the belay and climb to a long ledge. Traverse on the ledge to the right through bushes to reach the base of a large dihedral with the spectacular sweeping Shamrock roof above. Belay in cracks or continue up to stance in the dihedral above.

(Optional)Pitch 3: 5.10a 80-170ft
Climb up the corner using the crack and features on the face. Belay at the last stance before the roof on small ledge or link with next pitch.

Pitch 4: 5.10b 90ft
The Shamrock Roof. Climb up the corner and out the spectacular sweeping roof. Belay in good vertical cracks just past the edge of the roof.

Pitch 5: 5.9 200ft
Climb straight up past a bush in a dihedral. Just past the bush move up and right on a slightly overhanging wall with big holds turning the outside corner and climbing onto a featured face (5.9). Continue climbing up and right on the face until you meet up with a crack that widens into a chimney (5.6). Belay in a notch.

Pitch 6: 5.8+R 195ft
Continue up the chimney/OW and belay at a stance.

Pitch 7: 5.7+R 175ft
Climb another long pitch up the chimney/OW to a nice large ledge (a bush can be seen about 25ft above through the crack)

Pitch 8: 5.7+ 205ft
Continue up Chimney/OW again until it tops out as a finger crack.

Location 

Climb any of the numerous climbs to reach the ledge system atop the slabs.

The route starts just to the right of a striking off-width in red rock. It begins on the right side of an attached red pillar.

Descent:
Scramble down the opposite side of the formation into a gulley using a few easy 5th class moves. The gulley requires one single rope rappel from slings on a tree and lots of 4th class scrambles. Once you reach the bottom of the gulley continue east and head down the 2nd obvious gulley to your left or north. Scramble down generally trending left. This will lead you to a narrow gulley with a huge block wedged in it. Squeeze under the block and slide down an unlikely but easy offwidth. You will come out on a ledge with a large forked tree. From here traverse west (left) along a ledge system until you are at large dead tree very close to the wall with rocks stacked around its base. Just before this dead tree carefully scramble down to a medium size pine tree on the left side of the gulley with yellow rap slings. Take a two rope rappel back down to the ledge system (there might be other possibilities for a few single rope raps that would be worthy of exploring). Traverse the ledge to the left (west) to reach the base of the route. Descent from this ledge requires scrambling down the gulley to the east of the sunset slab route and either 2 single rope or 1 double rope rappel from close to the top of Rising Moons.

Protection 

Standard rack of nuts and a double set of cams up to #6 Friend! Extra cams in the large sizes or a few big-bros could remove the R rating for the upper pitches.


Photos of Celtic Cracks Slideshow Add Photo
Andrew at pitch 5 belay with wide cracks stretching above.
Andrew at pitch 5 belay with wide cracks stretchin...
Celtic Cracks <br />- The bottom of the first and last pitches cannot be seen.
Celtic Cracks - The bottom of the first and last p...
Andrew Gomoll styling the delicate moves of the Shamrock Roof on the first ascent.
Andrew Gomoll styling the delicate moves of the Sh...
A picture of a picture - the upper pitches - yes that is a #6 friend.
A picture of a picture - the upper pitches - yes t...

Comments on Celtic Cracks Add Comment
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By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Mar 9, 2008
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b R

A very good route. I found the rating to be 5.10a/b, with several very good pitchs. Several with varied climbing that required me to really think them through.
I'd par the rack down a bit as well, here is what I'd suggest:
Nuts: 1.5 sets.
Cams: Single's from Green Alien to Red Alien. Double Camalots #.75 to #3. 1 Each #4 and #5 camalot. Also EITHER an extra #3 or #4 camalot, the pitch you need it on would allow for either.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Mar 9, 2008
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R

Very nice route- thanks to Karsten and Drew for finding this gem up on that monster wall.

Interesting, varied climbing- well protected where its difficult, and while run-out in places, its never so much so as to be unnerving.

I'd call it .10b and agree with Josh on the rack- although if you're not an experienced wide climber, a #6 camalot may relieve some stress in a couple of places- but its certainly not necessary if you climb comfortably at the grade of the route.
By Kurt Montgomery
Mar 23, 2010

This is a striking route with an incredible position. The rock quality and commiting nature of the route make this avery serious outing.
By Robin like the bird
From: mountain center ,CA
Sep 3, 2012
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b R

Climbed this yesterday and it was an adventures outing.

We learned a couple new things. It seems that in the summer month this route does not get entirely into the shade until early afternoon. Also, there are several good spots to nap as you wait for this route to go into the shade.

It took us about 45 mins to simul-climb up to the start of the route, via lucky lady.

The climbing is good and I feel it will get better as this route gets traveled. Expect cracks to be mossy, sandy and face hold can be tender. I wonder how much traffic this route sees? On the first pitch, there was a couple blocks that just needed to be touched the wrong way to send them hurdling down at your belayer

We pitched it out a little different. Climbing a full rope length to the very bushy base of the left facing corner. Second pitch ending after the first little 5.10 bit. Pitch three finishing the crack and roof. I would love to see a pitch that steps out right onto the face just over the roof... Whoa . I found myself climbing the face more on the next three pitches then in the crack. Even with a number six the climbing will be run out.

For the most part the decent was shacky and Rap stations could use to be replaced. Getting to the boulder/offwidth was not as straight forward as we wanted it to be. After the first two raps, and getting down into the first? large gulley we headed back up and left north around a tower. kinda of u turn as we scrambled down to the boulder. Finding the next rap station was diffuct, but it was dark. We where Able to rap this with one rope. making an anchor right be for a tree for a second rap. A little sketchy, but it got us down. As we were looking for the yellow slings, we climbed into the gulley climbers left of the yellow slings that might be a better option for a two rope rappel, but not sure if you would be able to traverse back to your packs.

Over all it we left are camp at 4:45 and returned at 10:45ish and takeing a 5 1/2 nap In between
By Derek Doucet
Oct 25, 2013
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13

A really fun adventure route.

Some notes:

P1: A decent, fun pitch, and not as mossy as I'd expected. 5.9

P2: The only junk pitch on the route, but at least it gets you over to the main corner system. Belay on finger sized cams on the right, and a #4 on the left if desired.

P3: Starts scruffy but becomes a nice 5.9 or 9+ corner to a small stance. The anchor here takes a bit of fiddling but can be made bomber.

P4: The Shamrock Roof. Even with its sometimes sandy, sometimes loose rock and sharp calcite veneer, this is a simply stunning pitch. I'd call it 5.10 and leave it at that. Amazing position. Belay takes fingers to off fingers sized.

P5: Psychological crux. Casting off up and right is steep, exposed and intimidating, but only briefly. After the first 40-50', it becomes a pleasant romp in the sky with adequate pro.

P6-7: Even with Camalots 4-6, these pitches will feel run out if one is not accustomed to Red Rock wide cracks / chimneys, but I'd agree that they are no more so than other more heavily travelled pitches of similar character. What makes them heads up is the sometimes brittle rock. Whatever, the climbing is great and very secure.

P8: After a final brief wide section, this pitch eases to hands and fingers- fun. It's a bit over 200' however, so a brief bit of simulclimbing might be involved. Depending on the gear you've placed on the lead, it could be tricky getting an anchor in as well. There are plenty of options, but the best are hands and fist sized, which you've probably placed already! Note also that if you end up simulclimbing, your second will be on the crux of the pitch immediately, so care is warranted here. It is also certainly possible to split this pitch if desired.

Descent: We found the descent to be fairly long but not especially complex. The beta in Handren seemed spot on and easy to follow to us. Both Handren's and Dow's (summitpost.org/celtic-cracks-5... descent routes begin down the same gully behind the climbing formation with some bushwacking, down-climbing, and 2 short raps. The biggest hazard here is loose rock near the second rappel station just waiting to fall on your head. The descents diverge at a large and obvious flat area at the base of this initial gully. From here you can either take the first gully on the left (Dow's "water worn gully") or continue straight ahead over a small rise to the top of the second gully on the left as described in Handren. Both gullies eventually lead down to the same traverse ledge. I can't comment on which is preferable except to say that Dow's reportedly involves 2 raps, and Handren's can be done either with a single short rap or a bit of rather challenging down climbing at the end to reach the traverse ledge both descents describe. From there, the two descents are identical, so it's really just in the choice of gullies (both of which work) in the middle of the descent that the two routes vary. Having done Handren's, I can attest that it is quite reasonable.