Eyeless might be the perfect sport climb. It's long, but not an endurance nightmare. It has cruxes, but the route could not be considered bouldery. It has a few heartbreaking moves at the top that don't seem that bad when you're fresh, but when you're pumped, it's a whole different story. In other words, you have to consider yourself a true sport climber to send Eyeless.
This might explain the shenanigans that went into sending this route. Climbers attempted this route for a few years before it was bolted. They used dubious pro, including pins that were pounded in behind some of the thin flakes that make for great incut edges for handholds. Between every attempt, the pins had to be pounded back in because the force of the fall loosened them. The route was eventually clandestinely bolted and sent, proving that Eyeless was always meant to be a sport route, despite the predominant ethic of the day.
To find the route, locate the beautiful orange, slightly overhanging wall with a line of flakes leading to anchors at the 60 foot mark. To start, climb up a strange dike for a few feet and then head right onto a mini-slab and then up the face. The technical crux comes early, at the third bolt, and involves a tenuous lock off to reach a small flake sidepull. The pumpy moves continue as the angle is unrelenting.
You might find it surprising that the redpoint crux is clipping the final bolt (or you may have before reading this). The hand holds are just slopey enough to make you want to move on, yet there's that pesky issue of clipping the bolt. A sequential move or two and a powerful move up into an undercling leads to the anchors.
Eyeless, like many other routes in this area of the cliff, stays dry in the rain. If it's raining, don't lean out too much while clipping the anchors, as you might find meaning to the term "Splash-pump."
Aldous Huxley's 1955 classic novel, or an Avant Guard band by Martyn Bates. Not sure which this name refers to.
By lee hansche Administrator From: goffstown, nh Apr 20, 2007
The first time I tried the route I fell only once, at the crux.... Since then, I've tried it a few more times and done worse every time.... I can't explain it, but I'd like to send it sometime....
By Chris Duca Administrator From: Havertown, PA May 30, 2007
Here is some climbing lore and little bit of information that will help demystify heresay and speculation:
The route name was taken from a book of the same title authored by Aldous Huxley.
After a conversation with Nick Yardley, who was present during the first ascent, he alluded to the fact that the route name is a bit of a double entendre. He comments: "Eyeless was one of the first true sport climbs in the area and so was sort of blind to the trad traditions of the area, especially as Chris (Gill) and I had been trying to establish it ground up on gear."
By Ladd Raine Administrator From: Plymouth, NH Jun 14, 2007 rating: 5.12b7b26VIII+26E5 6b
Excellent description of the route Jay.
Bolt to Bolted it 1st go, took a 18 footer going to the undercling at the last move 2nd go, and took another good sized fall on my third and last go of the day...this one is still on the tick list.
By Ladd Raine Administrator From: Plymouth, NH Aug 29, 2007 rating: 5.12b7b26VIII+26E5 6b
This climb really is the best 5.12 I've been on to date.
" This might explain the shenanigans that went into sending this route. Climbers attempted this route for a few years before it was bolted. They used dubious pro, including pins that were pounded in behind some of the thin flakes that make for great incut edges for handholds. Between every attempt, the pins had to be pounded back in because the force of the fall loosened them. The route was eventually clandestinely bolted and sent, proving that Eyeless was always meant to be a sport route, despite the predominant ethic of the day"
"Eyeless was one of the first true sport climbs in the area and so was sort of blind to the trad traditions of the area, especially as Chris (Gill) and I had been trying to establish it ground up on gear."
Holy shit....Nick was never one to let the truth get in the way of a good story...but this one's a ssssttttrrrreeeettttcccchhhh..
Late October 1987. Chris starts on Eyeless. Rossy, Nick and I TR up to Chris's highpoint, a dodgy pin right at the hardest move. Next day Chris stretches up and gets a hook in what used to be a sharp little hold (now that flat and glue filled hold after the crux reach) . Hangs on the hook and places the bolt. Two more pins in the flakes on the right and the attempt grinds to a halt. Chris heads out west, Rossy and I head for Spain. Nick is stuck guiding ice (poor bastard) April 1988 Duncan and I rap down take out three pins, add three bolts, one to replace the dodgy pin and the other two above the highpoint. (in those days we still placed gear low down on the route) All of us had been placing bolts on rap for the last couple of years. Pretty much everyone understood that on the steeper rock of the outback cliffs ( as opposed to the slabbier stuff on Cathedral and Whitehorse) that ground up bolting meant aiding, and amongst the people who were active doing this sort of stuff, Bob Parrot, Myself, Chris , Nick, Andy, Stevie, Jim etc, most of us were putting the odd bolt in on rappel.
These activities are usually confused with the big flap over Peter Beals route on Cathedral..Room with a View.This was more the result of the fact that a lot of locals felt that those slabbier types of route should be left for ground up style ascents, especially since guys like Strand and Callaghan were still very active doing this sort of stuff. That was the rationale behind taking the bolts out of that particular route, while so many other rap placed bolts were left alone. Not taking sides here , just stating the facts.
Eyeless was never a controversial route. All the guys who worked on it before we rap bolted it were more than psyched to work on it after the bolts went in.