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North Face
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Hammerhead 

YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b R

   
Type:  Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 150'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: John Bissell, Dave Field, and Ernie Moskovics, 1987
Season: spring through fall (north facing)
Page Views: 278
Submitted By: slim on Jul 21, 2010

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Description 

This route should be called hammertoes, cause your feet are going to get crippled. Now that I think about it though, it will hammer your head while you contemplate cratering from several difficult locations.... Hopefully it won't hammer your body if you actually do cut loose at an in-opportune moment.

Make your way up to the first bolt on fairly easy climbing, clip it, tighten the velcro on your shoes, and launch upwards. The next 2 bolts are a good distance apart with brutally sustained climbing on thin edges and smearing, with serious crater potential just before clipping the 2nd and 3rd bolts. It felt like I had climbed 500 feet, with all of the wandering around looking for a path of least resistance, but when I looked down it was probably only 50 feet. After this, it eases up a bit but is still very continuous. Near the 4th bolt there is one last minor crux, which doesn't feel very easy to your blasted feet.

I thought this was substantially harder than any of the 10s on this wall, and pretty even to the 11b on this wall. If it was in Boulder Canyon, it would probably clock in at 11d or so.

Great route, great stone, great views, this is South Platte slab climbing.

Location 

This is the 2nd route from the left on the north-facing Grey Wave Wall, up the rock gully.

Protection 

4 good bolts over 130 to 150 feet, very continuous insecure climbing with major crater potential. If this was bolted on lead (which I think is probably the case), that is damned impressive. The stances for drilling weren't that great for the most part, and I didn't see any ovbious hooking possibilities.

Hubbel's book shows bolted anchors (not there). There is a juniper directly at the top (needs webbing and rings) or old buttonhead/Stardryve bolts 30 feet to the right. Also, you can hike off to the left via the ledge.


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By Ernie Moskovics
Sep 7, 2012

FA summer 1987 by John Bissell, Dave Field, and Ernie Moskovics (aka the Jersey Gnarlers BITD). You are right, Slim - this route was drilled on lead, actually onsight. We each took a turn at the sharp end to push the line up to the next drill stance. I drew the short straw and drilled the 3rd bolt from a hook, I recall resting my chin right on the slab - like a lizard - to try and see any minor divot or foothold to get in a bolt as I climbed up way past the second one. Soon after this, we switched to rap drilling, it didn't seem possible to keep going in this direction for long, and in fact I took a bad 30 footer lead drilling off a hook a few weeks later putting in a route down the gully around the front of the slab - the unfinished "South Platte Action".

At that point in time, it felt like 10b, but we were comparing it to glassy Toulomne routes. We didn't think to rate it R, the runouts were part of the game, and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have taken a grounder, but who knows?