A fun three pitch line, unfortunately it seems that only the 3rd pitch gets climbed frequently.
The first pitch starts right of the cunning stunt area, it goes up a large block and climbs to the golden flake(obvious). Climb the left side of this until you can traverse right to the gm belay. (5.10)
The second pitch climbs a crack to the left of the dihedral, that is the 2nd pitch of gm. Climb the crack to a stance at the base of the arete. From here you traverse right to the gm belay via two options. Shorter folks will want to traverse low protecting this crux traverse with a solid black alien/grey tcu. Taller folks may want to climb up the arete to a fix pin before traversing right. Doing the higher traverse maybe wingspan dependent.(5.11-)
The third pitch tackles the classic heart of the country splitter hand crack, reaches a ledge and boulders up another short classic hand/thin hand crack. (5.10)
You can bypass any of the pitches by climbing the gm route since both routes share belays.
By Scott W From: Flagstaff, AZ May 27, 2008 rating: 5.11b6c23VIII-E3 5c
If you follow the guide books way of doing this route the first pitch is "10a-10d reach" PG...I tried it this weekend, it's hard for the grade and well covered in moss and lychen(only the crux, the rest is clean)...though a little bit less dirty now. The crux is really reachy, I'm almost 5'11" and was completely tipped out at the crux. At the very start, do the right side of the first pillar, it's a 5.8/9 chimney that's pretty fun.
i have been on this route a couple of times and have to say that a medium small nut(#3 WC rock is a perfect fit) works much better that any cam could in the seam/pod at the crux of the second pitch. it flares open inside so to get good camming action you have to pull the cam near to the edge of the crack causing the solid stem just before the axle(alien) to rest over the edge of the crack, back farther is no good as the cam is fully open. take some smaller nuts, fish them in on the right hand side of the pod and set them to the left, now you have bomber pro for the crux! this is a good pitch that deserves more traffic
Here's a BETA rich update on the first pitch of HOTC. Most people follow the line of "Fools Gold" after climbing the wide crack or flaring corner which is what is described above. HOTC pitch one actually goes as Scott W described above, traversing right.
Here's where it gets good: the 3 old bolts were chopped and 3 replacement bolts placed in locations that protect better. The moss and lichen have been cleaned off and what was underneath is FANTASTIC!
Gear & Beta: You can safely lead the left side of the flake with one or two #6's or just add some 5.4 runout spice. Alternatively you could climb the flaring corner with off fists and grunt to the top of the flake. Loop the top of the flake then continue on some balancy moves past 3 bolts trending right. Protect the undercling and move up. The moves from here are not as reachy as described by Scott W, but only because we removed all the moss and lichen discovering some workable holds. A person from our party is 5'1" and she did it static. The beauty about it is if you blow the crux, you WILL GET AIR. Have some hand size gear for the anchor. From there, continue up the crux pitch or ramble over to the GM corner anchors for an easier path to the top.
In its current state, I would give HOTC p1 a rating of 3.75 out of 4 stars. I drop it from 4 stars only because it requires some really big gear for protection that not everyone has. Go borrow your buddies #6's and get up this climb!
You're commenting on my opinion of the climb, not the climb itself. If you want to discuss my lack of logic as you see it, I'd love to. But let's remove it from this page and into a relevant forum. Putting it here is contrary to Guideline #2.