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Climb the crack with a variety of thin fingers and face holds to the top of the crack, traverse left, go up and back right. Tricky and sequential, and tough to protect on the lead. You'll need every trick in the thin crack book. I am a bit embarrased to be posting this since after many tries I only managed to do this once during the mid 90's shortly after Ken Nichols had made his 1000th ascent of the line! I gave it the traditional 5.11 grade, but let me say this is a SOLID 5.11. One might whisper sandbag...
On the right side of the Amphitheater area is a large, left facing corner where Squirrel Cage is located. Dol Guldur is the thin crack system on the face to the left. To the left is the obvious overhanging jam crack of Cat Crack.
RP's, stoppers, small cams
|By andrew kulmatiski|
From: logan, ut
Dec 8, 2007
This route has been led (by Ken Nichols). It has also been climbed over 50 times in a day (also by Ken Nichols - that's over 4,000' of 5.11+ climbing). This beautiful crack splits a slightly overhanging face for about 65' until ending at a small roof. There is one crux about 15' off the ground, another a few feet later. Continued strenuous climbing brings you to the final sloper above the roof - easier 15' to the top.
At the overlap near the top, you can get a kneebar in and climb straight through the roof via a small sloper - this is a more asthetic (and difficult) finish than moving left then right to avoid the roof.
From: Middletown, RI
Sep 1, 2008
This was a strenuous and very sustained crack. So far I have yet to lead this beast. That might be a little while.
From: Golden, CO
Nov 30, 2008
I thought the gear was excellent and would even give the gear rating G. Although you would not want to fall before placing the first piece. But otherwise, the gear was great and not too strenuous to place. Given you knew where each piece went(a bit of a cop out for any purists out there wanting to climb it ground up which would be considerably harder and much more mentally challenging.) I thought this route had the perfect amount of committing moves and runouts above bomber gear and gave a great combination of a physical and mental challenge. I think this is one of the best single pitch traditional routes I have ever done.
|By Nick Votto|
Dec 18, 2008
That's right Vuono, can't believe I missed it.
|By Nick Votto|
Dec 18, 2008
Just to clarify, Dol Goldur is in the Ampitheater, not on the Merrimere Face with Thor's Hammer.
|By Rusty Reno|
Aug 10, 2009
I have fond memories of leading this monster in the late 1980s. I remember stuffing my head into the overlap after the crux to try to get a rest, and then launching out on the final 15 or so feet with utterly flamed forearms, crying as I lunged from hold to hold. Bruce Dicks was belaying, and I recall him saying that he wished he had a tape recorder to capture my melt down. Classic traprock -- epic.
From: North Kingstown, RI
Oct 30, 2009
This is a route that doesn't need a bolt. Getting to the first piece is 5.9. If you can't do that what are you doing leading a 5.11 and a sandbag at that? I'm estatic just to make it up it.
Mobley, This climb is not just a TR. It has been led trad many many times.
From: The land of steady habits
Nov 12, 2009
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- E4 5c R
Brian, thanks for the info. I consider a route that gets TRed 999 times + for every one lead a TR though. Maybe I need to go back and look a little closer for good gear, I do know if you blew it before the first piece went in you may end up at the bottom of a very steep rocky hill after pounding into a ledge.
|By christopher adams|
Feb 25, 2010
With the exception of the start, the gear is very good on this. If you can't handle it.. just don't lead it.
|By Kino Gee|
Mar 1, 2012
Dol Guldur was led by Ken Nichols for his 10,000th clean ascent of the route on 2/26/2012. Ken's 10,000 ascents on Dol Guldur equal approximately 162.9 miles with an overhang of 7.6 miles.
A video of the ascent may be viewed here and can serve as beta to climb/lead this route:
Mar 7, 2012
Great line. climbs much more like a face than a crack. Pumpy. Someone should bring a supersoaker up there and hose er down. Know what I mean?
Jul 31, 2013
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- E4 5c PG13
The gear on this route is fine - especially by CT standards. Sure, it's a little dicey down low - but you can always squeeze in a slider nut and then downclimb and rest if you want. And the "direct" finish (ie the logical finish) is far superior.