Ralph Fickel following the headwall. Who says NC ...
Laurel's newest and quite probably hardest route! Originally begun years ago by Ralph Fickel and Burton Moomaw. See topo and photo for visual description and here is what Arno reported on the CCC site: Defective Sonar (between Fathom and Forbidden Fruit through an obvious right-angling crack at about 200' height) FA info: Ralph Fickel, Arno Ilgner, Shannon Stegg 8 pitches, rated IV 5.11a, C2 - On June 16 we completed this route that Burton Moomaw and Ralph Fickel started back in 1991. Their high point was three and a half pitches up, through the crack and into the bulging face climbing. - I went back in July with Shannon and freed all the moves but haven't yet redpointed it. The third pitch is a 130-foot diagonalling crack that has "challenging" pro and I think it is the crux of the route, although the next pitch is pretty cruxy also with a iron cross move to a blind hold. - The climb has much variety on it, from thin slab climbing on the first two pitches, difficult crack climbing on the third pitch, "interesting" face climbing on the fourth, beautiful groove climbing on the fifth, thin/technical face on the sixth, deep groove climbing on the seventh, and easy slab on the eight. -
The diagonal crack eats pro - lots of offset small cams make the protection much more straightforward to place, but it could be done without for sure. You can leave much of the rack at the 3rd pitch belay till you rap back down. I think the 4th pitch has the hardest moves. The poorly protected 5.10- climbing 15 or 20 feet above the 1st pitch belay is the only part of the route that is scary. Certainly one of the best long routes if not the best in the state.
I took the second pitch and I recall that section off the belay being a bit runout but Burton was at the belay saying things like "just link moves together", etc. I couldn't concentrate and after I placed a bolt I just came down and let him finish the pitch. I never did like people giving beta from the belay on a route nobody has ever been on. TK