|The Pages Wall Area
This connector pitch covers very little new ground. It may appeal to the climber who begins the day on George's Tree, only to hear the little voice inside one's head whisper, "you know, what I really wanted to climb today was Fat City." I decided not to submit a star rating, despite the fact that I really enjoyed the entire pitch (it is on The Book, after all). The basic idea: climb from George's Tree to Fat City via the curving dihedral/flake that drops down from the left edge of Fat City's crux overhang.
Pitch 1 (140 feet): Choose any of several pitches that end on the Osiris/George's Tree first belay ledge, and belay on the right side of the ledge at fixed slings. You can do Osiris, George's Tree, Bob's Climb, or a mix of George's Tree and Bob's Climb.
Pitch 2 (80 feet, 5.11): Start up the more difficult right version of the 2nd pitch on George's Tree (awkward but excellent 5.10c; small wires), and then face climb right to reach the bottom left edge of the flake that runs all the way over to Fat City. Continue right for another 10 feet to a good stance -- Frisky Puppies is directly below your feet at this point. Our original plan was to keep going up the flake until it was possible to to step into The 44, and then onward to Fat City. However, the flake pinches off and appears to offer scant protection, and the slab beneath it is pretty bald. So we had to resort to plan B.
Down climb Frisky Puppies (5.11) for about 12 feet to arrive at a foot shelf that heads out to the right. For the leader, this is lab-safe top roping. It's a different story for the follower; more on that below. Now traverse right on the foot ledge, and then step down into The 44. Once established in The 44 crack system, much easier climbing (5.8 hands) leads up to the Fat City roof. The leader should be ready to run it out for 25 feet on bomber hands, because any pro placed in The 44 is only going to screw over your second. I placed a cam at the very top of the well-defined hand crack section, and then climbed 10 more feet to the stance below the slot that leads to the Fat City roof. Belay here (from a 3/8-inch bolt, and cams in the slot).
The remainder of the route follows Fat City. Because you'll be belaying in the middle of the crux pitch on Fat City, it's best to do this route on a quiet day -- otherwise you'll gum up the works for any parties on Fat City.
As noted above, the follower will have a decidedly different experience on this pitch. Upon reaching the stance above Frisky Puppies, the second must clear the protection, and then down climb the crux of the pitch. If you come off in this section, a long pendulum awaits. The farther down you make it, the safer it becomes. Douglas wanted nothing to do with an unexpected fall while performing the down climb, so I cinched up the rope as tight as possible, and he steeled himself for the big swing. He did just fine, through he was moving pretty fast by the time he came to a halt at the chain anchor on top of New Music's first pitch.
It may be possible to free climb the entire flake over to Fat City (in fact, I'd be surprised to find that this section would not go free). I'm guessing it would be R-rated (or worse) in its present condition. A bolt or two would do the trick, or a couple of fixed pins may afford good protection, but the problem with either of these options is that any additional fixed gear may impinge upon Daly and Lowe's bold route New Music. There once was a fixed pin on New Music, so perhaps if that were replaced, and another pin/bolt added prior to reaching New Music, a more logical pitch could be established.
Finally, if you want to lead this route with a good conscience at the end of the day, pull down a foot of slack prior to down climbing each move on the Frisky-Puppies-over-to-The-44 section. I just let my body weight pull slack through the system, and the snug rope probably helped a wee bit. I'm going to go with "couldn't care less" in this instance, but someone could certainly improve upon my style.
This pitch joins George's Tree with Fat City.
Bring a standard rack to a #3 Camalot, plus a good selection of small wires and/or RPs. An adept partner is also prudent.
|By Bernard Gillett|
Oct 30, 2010
If you have my guidebook to Lumpy Ridge, turn to page 70 (2001 version), or page 66 (1993 version). There you will see that I marked the more difficult version of the second pitch on George's Tree as "5.10c OW." I don't know where that came from (a blunder on my part), but that section is as far from OW as you can get (the crack does get wider higher up, so maybe that's my excuse). Scratch out the OW, and revise the description as well.
In any event, that section is a thin, awkward crack that I had never done before, until completing George is Phat. The protection is small but very good if you can hang around to place it (I got a huge leg pump sewing it up). I thought it was fantastic, engaging climbing -- it's one of the highlights on George is Phat.