Scramble up the gully east of Onoclea. Pellaea and Onoclea (named for two genuses of ferns) are separated by a deep notch, but this dies out into a crack at the base of the east face which is only a few inches wide. It is easy to hike too far, because it is hard to see the tops of the formations through the trees.
Start the climb either up this crack, or up the face to it's right. This is the most unpleasant pitch of the climb as there are many pine needles on this face. I climbed up a scruffy face (over a dead log) about 20' right of the crack. After about 80' you come to a tree where you can belay.
Here the route becomes more obvious, you should see the separating crack widening to your left (if it is to your right you are off route on Pellaea!). Follow the crest up easy low angle rock past several small trees. In one section there is a smooth slab (crux!). Finally you will arrive at a small tree under a short, steep headwall. Walk left and crank over this headwall easily on big holds. Pass another tree, and wander on up to the summit.
To descend, scramble down the northeast for about 75' to a tree and rappel 25 north to the ground. From here you can hike east and back down the gully you came up (very easy and simple), or head west through the second notch north of Onoclea. From the notch, you should look down onto a huge chockstone and the top anchors of the two sport climbs "Rads for Rookies" and "False Gods, Real Men". You can rap these routes to the Fern Canyon trail, or continue north to the summit of the Nebel Horn.
Warren contemplating the crux on Onoclea.
Mark and Warren on the upper, juggy section of Ono...
|By Warren Teissier|
Dec 17, 2002
I climbed this route today. Really nice scramble.
We were soloing it and I felt that the crux was rude to solo: the exposure is severe and you need to friction your way up a steep slab with not so good holds (at least I couldn't find them today).
After a serious case of the "chicken shits" a rope was made available to me and instantly the difficulties subsided... Funny how that works.
Anyway, great rock, great setting.
Aug 1, 2010
To find this route, don't turn off the main trail before the trail narrows--else you will be climbing Fiddle Head. Also note, the route is significantly run out in many locations, more than the typical Flatiron. I found that the headwall mentioned in the description to be best climbed up the middle, not the left. At least the middle had some protection which really affects my rating criteria. The crux slab is runout--I hit it up and then transversed left and up. I thought the multiple headwalls made the route tougher than 5.3, but maybe that was due to my frustration about the route be runout with out being labeled as such. The scramble down to the rappel and the rappel tree are fine.