Ivan starting the crux traverse to the P1 anchors....
A very exciting and fun route and one of the best face climbs anywhere. Bring gear for the crack on the third pitch. There are just enough bolts to make the climbing sane, but a fall in a number of places could be bad news. Make sure both leader and follower are solid 5.10 climbers as the traverse at the end of pitch one is serious for both. The 2nd and 3rd pitches are easily linked and in fact recommended.
The route starts from atop a large boulder on the left side of the northeast face of the North Astro Dome.
P1) An incredible pitch!! Face climb up and right 30' to the first bolt (easy, but don't screw it up). From the bolt climb up and right to an insecure high-step move (crux, a fall could hurt) and continue up with sustained climbing past 5 more bolts (9+/10a). Traverse straight right for 30 feet past one set of anchors (don't belay here; it's an 80' rap to ground from here) and continue with wild climbing (5.10b with big swing potential) to another set of anchors (belay here; 95' rap to ground from here).
P2) Climb straight up past 1 bolt (5.9) to easier, but runout climbing. Belay at a ledge below the finishing corner or, better yet, link this pitch with the last pitch.
P3) Climb the left-facing dihedral to the top (5.9, gear necessary).
The descent options are thus:
1) Walk off (poor choice).
2) Rap off the left shoulder of North Astro Dome with one rope in two single raps. The first station is just down from the summit, and the second station is located slightly down and left from the first station. This series of raps will put you just up and left of your packs.
Regarding the added descent beta above: rap anchors could not be located on the summit in January, 2002. Please post more specific info on the rap route instead of just "left shoulder." We looked everywhere. In any case, the walk-off is easy, though still 4th class-ish.
By C Miller Administrator Jul 9, 2002 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-19E2 5b
This may help in locating the first rap off the North Astro Dome- From the summit of the formation walk west (this would be towards the South Astro Dome) and then down towards the edge of the formation. This may be where the problem exists, because if you don't head down far enough you'll never spot the anchors. This photo may help in locating the rap anchors.
By Bart Fay From: Redlands, California Aug 1, 2002
A generous leader would take along a cordalette, climb up, andclip it into the first bolt on the second pitch, belay through thatto give the follower a safer ride when they blow the crux sequence.Not sure how much added length is needed to achieve this. Thatbolt is the better part of 10' up.60m - long pitch + bolt = cordalette ?
Rap station is easily found just a little way down, on NE of NorthDome, located so that two raps would take generally down justout of the chimney between the domes, to the base of the route.Clear ?
Don't get suckered into stopping at the first belay on P1as I did last weekend! There is a second belay station around the bulge that you can't see.
There is a newer route that is 5.10c R/X that goes off the first belay (three bolts - 2 with rings). I saw a bolt above and just went for it, but a fall will be disasterous as youwill take out your belayer as the climbing is straight inline with the belay. Also, the rock is kind of sketchy so you stand a good chance of going for the ride. I luckily made itto the top without incident, but I was being ultra cautious.
If you do this P2 variation, you get no gear except forthe bolt about 25' up from the belay.
By C Miller Administrator Jan 25, 2005 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-19E2 5b
A true classic and absolute must-do route for both locals and visiting climbers. Make sure to be solid on 5.10, lest the climb become more exciting than necessary. As mentioned it's best to combine the last two pitches into one; a light rack to 3" is all that is needed besides draws & slings. All bolts and anchors have been replaced and are bomber. Five stars out of five.
There's a variation to the finish that I think is better than the left-facing dihedral in the description. When you're almost to the base of the dihedral you'll notice a lone bolt up and left. Friction out left past this bolt to a tips crack on the blunt arete. Follow this to the top. It's a bit more exposed than the dihedral and is great climbing.
By C Miller Administrator Feb 13, 2005 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-19E2 5b
The variation is called Go Figure (5.10b R) FA: B. Gaines & S. Cosgrove, and climbs straight up from the first belay of Figures past a single bolt to finish in the thin cracks above (there was a pin or two I believe). Runout, but on good rock.
This very crimpy route would be 11a @ owens river gorge. Overall good solid rock with big air potential.
By Paul Rezucha From: Alameda Jun 5, 2006 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-19E2 5b R
This route is probably mentally the hardest route I have ever done. It is exciting and difficult from the first bolt all the way to the first belay and very continuous from the start to the beginning of the first traverse left to right. Bolts are set quite far apart with hard moves consistently several feet above bolts. At the beginning of the long left to right traverse, get a good rest as it's hard to get a rest at the beginning of the hard and final traverse moves to the P1 anchors. I may have just been too tired to get a good rest at the first set of bolt anchors. Although I was able to get a half jam using meat of thumb in the flakes there is definitely not a no hands rest. I was suckered into the low traverse (wish I read carefully this thread first...) as I didn't think my chances were too good and psychologically (and incorrectly) I figured the fall wouldn't be as bad. This way turned out to be a very thin, delicate traverse with a precarious balancy move to get hands finally on belay ledge and then an exciting high step and tenuous mantle to end the pitch. Would anyone comment on whether the upper traverse is more straightforward and/or easier? The second pitch is also very run out but a letter grade or two easier. Third pitch is a fun and secure steep corner with good gear the whole way. Definitely a 5 star and must do route!
Amazing route! Demanding and rewarding. It's not "R" though, not even close.
By Brad G From: Yosemite and else where Nov 10, 2007
The best route I have ever done in Jtree. I lead both pitches and the scariest part of the climb for me came after the bolt on the second pitch. It got kind of runout for a little while. A severe fall if you mess it up. The fist pitch never got runout and was very memorable. *****
I have it on good information that the FA data is incorrect. This is actually FA: John Yablonski, Matt Cox 1976, sans bolts. This bold statement has never gotten the press it deserves. A later ascent, by some talented but misguided climbers tainted this pure expression of boldness. Every time the bolts are clipped, something is taken away from us all.
By Bart Fay From: Redlands, California Apr 22, 2008
By Randy Dec 4, 2008 rating: 5.10b/c6b20VII20E2 5b PG13
Had the distinct honor and pleasure to repeat this route with Dave Evans -- 30 years after our first ascent. The climb has great sustained moves and still demanded our respect. We felt pretty good still being able to climb this -- for a couple old guys.
Using a long runner on the 5th bolt (before making the long traverse right) certainly helps with potential rope drag. No need to put a long sling on the left hand belay bolt (as suggested above). Instead, having the rope clipped to a draw up high on the left bolt provides a good TR for the follower at the crux.
As the great shots above demonstrate, bring a camera on the route.
By Adam Stackhouse Administrator Jul 29, 2009 rating: 5.10c6b20VII20E2 5b R
Classic story of how that Vogel dude used the nasty (aka AID) in the FA
By A. Wolaver From: Golden, CO Apr 1, 2010 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
Perhaps the best pitch of bolt clipping that I have ever done. The movement and aesthetics of the line are unparalleled. Not sure if the R rating is necessary.
I will add my side of the story on this route soon Dave has the story mostly right, but a disturbing error on his part changes everything
As Dave says this: ""Spencer, Craig and Randy had started the route a week or two before and placed the first two bolts on that day.""
It was really: "Craig and Spencer had started the route a month or two before and placed the first two bolts on that day, not Randy"
so when Randy went off and finished it with only him and Dave, he had really Hijacked the Route from me.
By Randy Feb 1, 2011 rating: 5.10b/c6b20VII20E2 5b PG13
Day 1: I was there and as I now recall made the easy, but unprotected traverse, and drill the first bolt. You then lead the funky moves up and right and drilled the second bolt -- even recall thinking that you were tall and wondered if I could make the same reach. That was all there was time for that day.
Day 2: We (DE, you and me - no Spencer) came back later and after DE drilled a couple bolts up to under the small overlap. I lead up to the high point, pulled over the overlap and drilled the bolt before the traverse. After scaring myself trying the crux off that bolt and a poor stopper behind a flake, I drilled the infamous "hanging belay." We bailed from there as that was all there was time for that day. You did not drill or climb that day.
Day 3: It was only final and third day that you weren't there. DE lead up to the belay. I lead the crux drilled a bolt off the ledge (now the site of the new belay). I continued up from there drilling one more bolt until reaching the belay ledge below the final crack. DE lead the final crack pitch to the top. No anchor drilled up there. We down climbed the NW side of the formation (standard descent then).
An Observation: It seems very important to you to make this into more than it is (was) and remake history accordingly. Does it matter that much to you? Kinda sad.
The actual first ascent of Figures on a Landscape was long age, mostly forgotten, but the controversy still goes on. My story seems to cause the biggest stir, since its omission can easily be written and rationalized in guide books and Josh history for all time to come.
The story starts with me and Spencer Lennard, as we worked on the first ascent on Such a Savage on the North Astrodome. I looked over at the blank orange face on the South Dome and could seen small features, just like we were climbing on Such A Savage. Later, that day, I walked over to the base for a closer inspection. The face was gorgeous, sort of polished with a golden veneer. There was a line, but it was really steep and there was obviously very few bolt stances, and big blank spans where no holds could be seen from below. Maybe we can piece it together, maybe not, but we should try.
So a couple of weeks later, I mentioned it to Spencer, “what about that face on South Astrodome”, Spencer says “I looked at it, is there a route there”, I confirm, “lets go”. So we hike out there and put in the first bolt, and Spencer put in the second, the rock is excellent, the moves; fun and challenging. For some reasone, we stopped that day, maybe too worked to put anymore bolts. But looking up was ominous, we knew this route will take a lot more than one day of work, many days will be needed to finish it if it goes at all. Unfortunately, Spencer is moving to Santa Cruz next week, so he must abandon the project.
(Here is were the memories differ, Randy says he was there the first day. Neither me, nor Spencer remember him there. Why did we only put in two bolts the first Day? Even if he was there, Spencer has confirmed that the route was 100% my project idea, I brought him there, I had the bolts, the plan, just like "Such A Savage", and it was team project, and I was the team leader)
A couple of months later at Josh, it’s the typical campground scene, everyone moping around trying to think of something to do; “which routes should we do”, “lets just go bouldering”, “lets not do anything”, blah, blah. I say to Randy Vogel and Dave Evans “Lets go work on this route me and Spencer started on the Astrodome, it could be the best route at Josh”. Randy says he’s looked at that line, “will it go” he asks. I reply, “I don’t know, but lets go”.
As we hike, Randy informs us that we cannot taint this ascent in any way, not like “Such a Savage” was tainted by Me and Spencer by using hooks to hang on to place bolts. I’m not sure why Randy thinks he is the Authority to make rules for this route, but I don’t say anything and just agree with “whatever”, so we can get on with it. Further discussions reveal that Randy has decided that if anyone uses a hook, “we” will pull them off the lead. “Sure Randy, why not” we say.
DE stats up and puts the third bolt in. I put the fourth bolt in, and then climb up a little more, I can see the next bolt stance, up and left about 15’. But I’m toast by this time and lower to the ground. Randy is next to lead, he goes past my bolt and slowly makes it that manky stance, its small, but Randy gets a bolt in. He says he going to keep going, he tries going straight up and right, buts its too blank, we yell “traverse right to the big scoop”. He works a traverse straight right, it starts out OK, but soon get harder and harder the farther he gets from the bolt, finally, he can’t go anymore, he tries to get a nut in behind a flake. He fumbles around for a while screaming about how “it looks really hard, I can’t a bolt in here, its really a long way back to the last bolt”. We yell ”put in a bolt”.
All of a sudden, we hear tap,tap,tap, me and Dave are relieved and relax. We yell up to Randy, “how’s it going, you look like you found some big holds to stand on”, no response. Dave says “I think he’s hanging on a hook, Yes, he IS hanging on a HOOK”. He must have had the hook in his pocket, just in case of a “so called RV emergency”. So Dave and I start discussing how we have to pull him off, for his own good. We yell to Randy ”we are going to pull you off now, get ready, here it comes”, he screams “nooo…, I’ll die, Please no, don’t pull”. “But we have to, you told us the rules, you would pull us off if we were up there, right”. Randy comes up with a rationalization that “since it’s a hanging belay, its OK, you have to hang anyway”. We yell back “the belay is supposed to be on the big ledge, 10’ farther to the right, not right smack in the middle of the crux section with no holds”. I say "we can fix it when we come back, we will move the belay to the ledge"
But unfortunately Randy spent most if the day on his section, the sun was going down, and belay or not, the route work is over for that weekend.
The next weekend coming up is my last chance to study before finals, so I talk to Randy about when we can go back and finish the route. Me and Randy went to the same school (CSFU) and I saw him almost everyday, so I find him and let him know that we can’t go next weekend because I must stay home and study for my finals, and shockingly, he tells me that he’s going back next weekend, with or without me, the route must be finished as soon as possible. He does not care about being a team player, it is his route now.
And to my astonishment, no pleading with Randy will dissuade him, he and Dave will go anyway. The rationalization goes something like this; ”its just as much as his route as mine, he put 2 bolts, Craig, you only put in 2 bolts, he also saw the route sometime in the past, so it was as much his as mine”. My only hope is that they might not be able to finish it, and we can finish the weekend after.
Well they finished the route, the original name “Monkey On My Back”, which kind of a turned into a dig at the Randy hypocrisy. The name “Figures on a Landscape” is definitely a better name, but the question of what “monkey” gets lost too easily.
The controversy comes up every time the first ascent story is broadly published, and all fans of the route heap the praise on Dave and Randy for their vision, courage and being able to put up such a great route. And then I claim that the route was “high jacked”.
Since then, me and Randy have had many a heated debate on the particulars, he remembers it differently, at one point he did not remember me doing any work on the route, and as he claimed, "the route was all his and Dave’s work and sweat", he also claims that he "wasn’t sure if I could even be able to climb the route", low blow.
But to me, the debate has no consequence for me; it can go on and on, why should I ever drop it. Why?
Just because a couple people don't want to hear about it again, not good enough. Everyone else loves a good story
I just wanted to thank Randy and Dave for their vision, boldness and drive to get this great route installed and ready for the appreciative masses. It is one of the best routes anywhere and deserves all possible thumbs up. Nice work you two!
Craig, with all due respect, the top of this page it lists Randy and Dave as the FAists. Mountain Project is pretty thorough with its research on these sort of things, and since MP is now the permanent written record of our sport, I must defer to them on something this important.
By Adam Stackhouse Administrator Jun 14, 2012 rating: 5.10c6b20VII20E2 5b R
Worthy of all the hype. There is only 1 bolt on the second pitch, not two as listed here and in the guides. The biggest runout on route is on the 5.9+ second pitch. 1 bolt for the first 50+ feet of steep edging.
A Real Classic Line! Beautiful moves in a Beautiful place on Beautiful Rock! What more could you ask for! The R Stands for REAL FREAKING FUN!!
By Nelson Day From: Joshua Tree, CA Jan 21, 2013 rating: 5.10b6a+19VII-19E2 5b R
First bolt is loose. Not confidence inspiring. Ross tried to tighten it up following with a nut tool without much luck (the Metolius with the bolt head holes stamped in), but it really needs a crescent wrench turn or two. Or just replacement? Also, the bolt at the belay at the top of pitch one is also loose (not the anchor bolts, the bolt off to the side that you clip to lead the second pitch). The hanger was rattling against the rock in the wind as Ross led the second pitch... The rest of the bolts were good.
Route was really really cold in the shade. We started around 12:00 and got to the top around 3:00. Fingers were numb the whole first pitch, and I was shaking at the belay. Ambient temps in the sun were around 60, which didn't matter much since we were in the shade the whole climb... Lots of wind, too, which seems typical for this face. Make sure you work out a communication scheme with your partner in case you can't hear them from the top. We did this route in two pitches; rope drag was not an issue.
As Randy notes above and in his green book, there are 5 bolts before the traverse. I *believe* the topo we were using--must have been from the Miramontes book--showed 6 bolts. Don't waste time hunting for #6; it's not there.
The fact that this climb is in the Wonderland vastly adds to its appeal. It wouldn't be the same on Intersection Rock.
First bolt is dangerously high, but easy to get to. The rest of the climb would just involve big air, maybe a little scraping.
I used a yellow c4 at the start of the ramp on p2, then a blue (bumped up once), red, and yellow in the corner, in that order, I think. A 2nd blue would be nice if you don't want to bump up the first.