|Picnic Lunch Wall
What to Expect
Oregon's first big wall now offers great free-climbing to the top of Smith Rock's most intimidating wall. Expect a first rate soft-rock adventure that delivers 5 distinct pitches of mostly solid rock and protection. Hard cranking, mega-exposure, and surprisingly classic climbing will be encountered while scaling this Cathedral of mud. The ability to confidently climb over questionable gear is a pre-requisite.
Pitch 1: The crux comes 12ft off the ground with an arguably un-protectable boulder problem that cranks a poor finger lock while surmounting an awkward roof (V5). Continue up banged-out peg scars that offer some pretty fun, and pumpy sport-type climbing and reasonably decent gear. Climb past a couple of bolts, and then enter the ugly. A section of dirty, broken rock, with a sweet guano fist jam through the worst rock and climbing on the whole wall. It was cleaned extensively, but how long do you spend polishing a turd? Skip the rap-hangers to the left of the crack, and above the rock and climbing improve considerably for the pitches' ending. Clip one historic pin (an angle, leave it for nostalgia!!!) and end at the great belay stance with updated, bomber anchors. 180' 5.12
Note: freed mid 1980's by Bob McGown the morning after a rageing wedding party. Alan Watts hid and watched from a distance to validate the ascent! 12a has become 12c from repeated nailing- no more nailing!
Pitch 2: The Muddy Traverse: head straight right across the obvious shelf, clipping a couple of updated bolts, and then placing cams in the peg scars in the roof's underclings. When the foot shelf disappears and the exposure heightens, updated bolts appear for the clipping. The pitch culminates with an amazingly exposed boulder problem that cranks the roof with 200ft of overhanging air tugging you toward the Crooked River below. With the right beta the move isn't too bad (V5ish), but with out it, c'est tre engage. Pass a couple more updated aidin' bolts to another sweet b-lay stance. 85ft traverse 5.12c.
Pitch 3: The Clean Corner: Looking at this section of rock from the ground below, I would have sworn this was going to be a vision quest pitch, au contraire! Nice creamy stone (like on Monkey Face), plenty of bolts and a bit of gear see you through a truly enjoyable pitch of stemming and arete grabbing. Crux at the end- watch the little ledge fall- again, ends at a sweet belay stance with rap hangers. 85' 5.11d
Pitch 4: The Airy Vari. to the High Tech Corner: On this pitch, the corner immediately above the belay was mostly an aid bolt ladder, and the pin scars that did exist were worthless powder, so I did what any free climber would do: I found a variation :) Climb right from the belay onto the red face with some delicate climbing and cool features that protects with 3 added bolts that don't affect the original aid line in any way. Rejoin the corner about 20 feet higher. The corner is clean, hard stone, with super stemming, technical footwork, and cranker 1 finger locks in pin scars. A couple of beautifully updated bomber bolts are your buddies here. Power and finesse your way up to the 4 foot roof above, pull the roof into the above corner and then traverse right on some beautiful red stone to a semi... well, mostly hanging belay with ASCA hangers. The belay was placed here under a little overlap to protect the belayer from any potential falling rock, and still allow visual contact with the leader for the final pitch. 85' 5.12c/d
Pitch 5: The Mud Butt Traverse: Decipher a section of 5.11 past a couple of updated bolts, and then reach a surprisingly clean crack in the right-facing corner that protects well and clocks in at about 5.10-. Natural gear for 60 feet or so, and then right when the rock starts to turn evil, its time to get off this wall- traverse right for 25' on a very delicate muddy face with knobs and crimps- a casually exposed 500 feet off the ground. Don't shit your pants! Four 1/2" by 8" bomber glue-in bolts have replaced their ancestors on this traverse. Sneak around the corner to a belay in the trough. 100' 11d- You just climbed the Picnic Lunch Wall!
No bolts were added to the aid line. 21 bolts were replaced, many un-needed junk bolts were removed, and the anchors have all been updated. This wall should never again be nailed. Go free, go clean, or go home:)
The route begins left of center at the base of the tallest section of the Picnic Lunch wall. A right-leaning seam with banged out peg holes and a roof at about 10 feet marks the start. From the top of pitch 5, scramble up and right for a 4th/5th class exposed gully finish. Decend down the Misery Ridge Trail.
Doubles of small to med nuts, doubles of cams from yellow metolius to hand size, optional 1 big hand and 1 fist cam. Draws and many slings for the Muddy Traverse Pitch. Many bolts. Leave any fixed gear you encounter (some nuts were fixed). A 60 meter rope is fine, but 2 60m and some back- clipping are needed should you need to rap and bail up to the 5th pitch.
From: Morrison, CO
Jul 12, 2010
Damn Brad, nice work!!
From: SL UT
Jul 14, 2010
Thanks Mark! It did take a lot of work to prep this thing- at least 40 hrs! I destroyed a crowbar ripping out so many antique bolts! Ryan Lawson really helped me. It always takes so much longer than you expect. I've enjoyed and repeated some of your Zion walls, I hope you can climb this next time you're in the Park!
A big thanks to Metolius for donating the hangers used for the bolt upgrades!
|By Peter Franzen|
From: Phoenix, AZ
Jul 15, 2010
This sounds awesome!
Any hope that it will clean up significantly after a few seasons, or is it always going to have flaking/muddy/kitty litter sections?
From: SL UT
Jul 17, 2010
Certainly it will get cleaner, but its good to go, today, right now! It's a Smith Rocks wall...perfection is a state of mind.
|By Ian Caldwell|
Apr 5, 2011
Has this been free climbed? The description makes it appear that it has been free climbed but there is no FA listed. There are conflicting rumors.... please set the record straight.