El Camino Real
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An old aid climb called Fair Weather Friends (5.9 A3), this is now an incredible free pitch, with technical, strenuous finger crack climbing, stemming and liebacking.
Start below the large dihedral of Howling at the Wind, climb moderate rock to the base of the outrageous overhanging crack in the right wall, and climb it. This requires fiddling with gear at the start of the hard part, then sustained and devious climbing all the way to the anchor. It is some of the best hard rock Lumpy has to offer. Continue with Corner Pump Station, one of the best 5.11 pitches at Lumpy, or rap.
A 3 or 4" piece in the corner, some wireds or RPs to get started, then mixed bolts and wireds and TCUs. Belay from 2 bolts. 60m rope rap requires a bit of moderate downclimbing.
Cody Scarpella sends.... This was his first trip t...
|Comments on El Camino Real
Jul 5, 2010
rating: 5.12d 7c 28 IX E6 6b
Are there still bolts on this pitch, as indicated in the guidebook and as it appears in the photo? I checked it out from the base on 7/3/10 and couldn't see any fixed metal up there other than the anchor, though the route was in full sun. If the two or three bolts are gone, is it scary spicy now or what? Does the pitch need gear more specialized than regular cams and RPs?
From: Fort Collins
Sep 7, 2010
This is a sport pitch. Once you step into the layback, all you need are draws and maybe a yellow TCU right before the anchor. There are 3 bolts and maybe 5(?) fixed stoppers.
|By Scott Bennett|
Apr 25, 2012
Super nice route, looks great, and climbs even better!
As Dusty said, it's currently a clip up (5 fixed wires, 3 bolts). No need for gear fiddling to add to your pump!
I wonder about the history? Were the bolts added during the aid FA? or placed for free attempts? Seems like there's plenty of good gear there....
Just to be clear, I happily clipped all the fixed gear and bolts and still didn't send. I'm not advocating removing any bolts.
But if anyone is looking for a fully rad trad onsight oppurtunity, they might enlist a friend to clean out some of the fixed wires and maybe have a go at this beast; ground-up, placing gear.
|By Bernard Gillett|
Apr 26, 2012
Hi Scott—the bolts were added after the aid ascent. It used to be an A3 pitch, the first pitch of an old aid route called Fair Weather Friends done in 1980 by Bob Bradley and Aaron Walters. I became interested in a free attempt in 1992, and led the route on aid to some fixed gear on Corner Pump Station, which is the 2nd pitch of Fair Weather Friends done free; we rappelled from there. We placed (and cleaned) a few pins on the aid ascent (KBs and LAs), and encountered one fixed pin, a solid LA.
Convinced it may go free, I returned a few days later and top roped it, hanging all over the place, and assessing gear placements along the way. I knew I wouldn't be willing to free climb past the A3 sections on lead attempts—this was the hardest pitch I had ever attempted up to that time, and the gear through those sections didn't look good to me—so I placed the three bolts you saw on your ascent on my next visit, and I also placed the rappel bolts on the little stance ten feet below Corner Pump Station. I left one fixed wire at the very base of the crack, a #3 Rock that was tricky to slot into the best placement. I think I also left another fixed wire about 10 feet higher; if I remember correctly, I was worried about hitting the slab below while fiddling in that wire, so I left it fixed.
After several visits over 2-3 weeks, I finally redpointed the route (two weeks before my wedding), placing all the remaining gear on lead, which amounted to a half-dozen wires and hexes, plus the pieces I used to reach the base of the crack. I believe the fixed LA that was there on my ascent has since fallen out.
I agree with you that an ascent without using the bolts would be pretty cool. I'm thinking you'd have to risk some bigger lobs through the technical crux (first two bolts)—could be wrong, but I'm not seeing bomber placements through that section in my mind's eye. Perhaps some of the gear available today would make it more reasonable.
Hope you redpoint it next go; the last moves to the anchor shut me down on the two attempts prior to my successful bid (monster pump that rendered my arms useless).
|By Scott Bennett|
Apr 28, 2012
Hey Bernard! Thanks for the great history and great job on the ascent, not to mention all your super-useful guidebooks!
It sure is one pumpy pitch. When I was there, my friend Cody fell just at the last hard move on his second attempt, saying he just couldn't hold the core tension anymore. It must have been heartbreaking to fall there twice, I'm glad you had the persistence to finish it off.
I would be really interested in going back and checking the gear, or maybe getting some local hard-person stoked on a ground up trad attempt. It would be impressive to see such an awesome pitch climbed in that style.
Jun 17, 2013
rating: 5.12d 7c 28 IX E6 6b
HEADS UP: if you are counting on all the fixed wires being there, they are not. The fourth "fixed" wire before the first bolt fell out as I pulled up slack to clip the bolt. The other wires looked about as OK as fixed mank can look. This thing would be so much harder and scarier without the bolts. I, for one, appreciated them. As for the wires, I might prefer placing my own, so I know what I'm clipping instead of having time bombs occupying the key placements. That said, the first fixed piece that protects the moves into the crack off the slab is very nice, since it would be a blind placement in a weird pod above your head otherwise.