Dariush of Balanat
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This is a long route with some good climbing but some detractors. This certainly has an old-school charm, and the cleanliness of the route may depend upon the last time it was done before you more than anything else. My partner and I cleaned it up a bit in fall 2011. A little bit of everything from slab to face to crack will be encountered.
While the topo in Hubbel's book might help you locate and route find on this climb, one can not take anything therein literally or you may not be able to find the route or its pitches with any certainty or speed. Imagining that topo as a 'generality' will be a better way to go, or else follow the description below:
P1 (5.7+ awkward, 90'): Climb the right-facing corner a few feet up to a stance where multiple flakes and cracks will accept gear. The right side will take a few consecutive pieces of hand-sized gear in bomb-proof rock. Struggle through some awkward moves in almost a chimney-style (5.7+) and up and into lower angle terrian. Place gear as needed with long slings and head up and right to a large shelf, passing some greenery. Belay off of gear below a roof formed by a large boulder overhead. The horizontal crack is bomber for belay gear.
P2 (5.9, 110'): After undoing the first belay, move over and right and re-stack the rope below a slightly left-leaning crack and flare that goes up to a roof that goes up and right. There are some small plants and grass in the flare that make it hard to see what gear is needed, but some appears about every time you want it and certainly every time you NEED it. This may be PG-13 due to the awkwardness of protecting it, but it is not R. Hubbel's topo for this pitch is somewhat unclear, so don't take it literally. The crack does come all the way to the ledge and is is NOT near the right edge of that wall (there is a lower angle broken system to the right of it that is not likely the intended route). Climb up the crack and flare, protecting whenever possible to a crux not long before the crack ends. Step up on lower angle rock and solid /secure holds into an undercling (thin hands) roof. Place gear on long slings and work out right on that roof to the edge, then over it, and back sharply left to a good belay ledge. There is an excellent body-sized horn of rock to belay from on a cordalette, almost directly below the bolts of the next pitch. If you do not have any drag after negotiating the roof below, you could probably just continue on P3....
P3 (5.8, 90'): Climb up and right and then step left to clip the first bolt 6 meters up (5.5). Do another easy move or two (5.5) to reach and clip the second bolt before doing the crux moves of this pitch in the area of the 3rd bolt (5.8). Go slightly right and up to a more distant 4th bolt (long sling) before heading left and up a crack and flake system to a good ledge. Optional gear, mostly medium cams, can protect the flake, which is easy terrain (5.4?). Go slightly right on the ledge to a solid belay on a very large horn of rock.
P4 & P5 (link these) (5.9, 200'): From the belay, you will see an "arch" of a flake above you like a tall, narrow doorway. There are two options. Go left from the belay up its left side and left past 2 bolts of face climbing (5.9), then back right to merge with the rest of the line, or go right and around a vague corner passing a fixed pin before placing solid gear and coming back left around a corner (5.8). Both options merge in a moderate, common crack system (5.5-5.7 mostly) with good holds, good rests, and good gear. It is however a little scruffy. Follow your instincts to stay on the line even though it is not entirely clear. After 190', you will reach a sloping ledge. At the back of that ledge is a large, solid belay tree slightly to the left. To the right, there are a pair of more scraggly looking trees. Between the two lies the next pitch, which is both the crux and the best on the route.
P6 (5.9, 100'): Hubbel's book is misleading here. Don't look for the bolts as shown on this pitch, because they are not where they are shown. Look for an inset of rock back to the right of the belay tree. The inset if about 6 meters wide and is a solid face. To the left is a right-facing corner with some OW terian potential, which is not the route, but is within reach. An intermittent crack just right of this gives way to good face climbing and 5 bolts, the first of which is 10+ meters up; they are not very visible from below. Climb the face just left of center above the ledge (5.7, protected by a spotter) to a good stance and place gear, now a body-length above the ledge. An intermittent crack can be used for holds and protection for this climbing (more 5.6-5.7). Eventually the climb will become more vertical and several #4-#7 stopper placements will be available. Place a few and head up and slightly right to the first of 5 bolts. The crux moves (5.9, thin) are protected by these stoppers, so check them good. Climb past the first bolt into sustained 5.9- moves for a little bit, then up on gradually easing difficulty to the top. The bolting here is far from sparse and the bolts are good. Finish up and find a long walk-off to the North. Take some shoes for that.
This route starts in a wide, right-facing corner on the low-point of the rock. The first pitch both climbs and protects better than it looks.
A standard long-route rack consisting of a set of stoppers, a double set of cams to 3" + a 4" cam, and lots of slings will enable you to both place plenty of gear and/or run a few pitches together if desired. Wider gear could be placed, but is not necessary. We carried a new-style #5 Camalot and while we placed it on several occasions, it was mostly so the leader could stick the second with carrying it, not to reduce leg-shake.
The bolts on this route are all 5/8" and seem to be largely solid.
Take a good pair of approach shoes and some socks for the walk-off.
Sep 29, 2011
I think the spelling is 'Balanat'. The story that I heard is that CT's brother Darius was a dancer in the Balanat Troupe, and that the route was a memorial route.
I haven't done the route, thanks for posting it, Tony. I'll have to check it out some time.
By Jason Haas
From: Broomfield, CO
Oct 13, 2011
I don't know about the origins of Dariush, very well could be CT's brother - might be cool to find out.
But, Bal Anat (two words) is a type of belly dancing, which would line up with what Slim said about the dancing.
By Jason Haas
From: Broomfield, CO
Oct 17, 2011
Actually Slim, you were right. I talked to Hubbel. The route was named in honor of CT's brother who passed away and was a dancer.