Hotline, commonly thought to be the first 5.12 in the Valley (though this is not actually the case), is a fantastic crack system that has the "feel" of a cragging route even though it's technically 7 pitches long. It takes the obvious roof to splitter system on the left side of the main face of the giant pillar on Elephant Rock. This system climbs along the margin of a rectangular orange scar of rock -- many people incorrectly assume that the beautiful splitter of Fatal Mistake which is visible from the road is Hotline, but Hotline is actually just left of this.
P1: Climb up a corner system up and into the obvious roof. Pull this roof at 5.10 and then continue up the crack to a single bolt belay (supplemental gear is available). 5.10. This pitch is easily linked with the next one (recommended) if gear is well-runnered under the roof.
P2: Continue up the crack system on increasingly difficult jams that eventually lead to a stretch of 5.11+ finger stacks. Near the end of the crack, bust a finger-traverse right along a horizontal dike at 5.12 all the way to a nice bolted anchor. There aren't many good options for doing this traverse, unfortunately: If your last bit of pro is before the traverse, you're looking at a swinging fall, but the only other option is to climb up past the traverse, clip a fixed wire, then downclimb to the traverse (strenuous and it makes things scary for the second). A single bolt along the traverse would have made this section much nicer for both free climbing or aiding your way through.
P3: Splitter 5.10 hands forever. Belay at the top of the crack.
P4: Climb a 5.9+ corner -- a short pitch, easily linked with the next.
P5: Climb another 5.9+ corner to a bolted belay.
P6: Option one goes straight up then pulls the strenuous roof at 5.11d. Option two goes up, skirts the roof to the right, and then goes up a very weird chimney system. Somewhat reminiscent of the Wilson Overhang, this interesting pitch requires some contortion and has less than optimal gear, but is significantly less difficult than the roof. However, if you do the roof you can link this pitch into the next one, thus reducing the climb to four pitches.
P7: Climb the short face past a lone bolt to an anchor. The Reid guide gives this 10a, but I thought it was closer to 10c.
Rap the route with two ropes.
Double set of cams to #2 Camalot (possibly three #2's), one #3 Camalot. A few wires and slings.
From: San Jose
Nov 1, 2007
Is it possible to bypass free climbing of P2 - 11+ crack and of P3 - 5.12 traverse by aiding end of p2 and than make a tension traverse to beginning of P3 to 5.10 hand splitter?
Or/And the other option available - to rappel from top of Pink Dream to beginning of Hotline p3?
From: Petaluma California
Mar 30, 2008
I aided the 12 a section.
A fantastic route. The bolts on the last pitch are old button heads. If one blows you're in real trouble.
From: San Jose
Apr 27, 2009
You can do this approach to this climb from Hw.41 any time of the year. It is harder, longer, but you do not need to wait low water in Merced river. Hot Line in the shade up to 3pm.
p1 - 90 ft, p2-40ft ,p3- 130ft ,p4-70 ft, p5 80ft
|By Rob Dillon|
Sep 5, 2009
Thanks Josh T. for taking care of those last 3 bolts- they're bomber now.
Then go check out the relics at the top of the chimney.
Does anyone really think that traverse is .12a?
From: San Jose
Aug 28, 2012
I checked the relics on top of the chimney- they still can not be removed by hands. [ this is not Hotline bolts, but top bolts of WorstError Left side]
Also first time checked 10d bombay flare second to last pitch.
Rare type of climbing and very brutal.
You basically paste your knee at one wall and feet and shoulders on opposite one. But configuration of the flare, its angle and absence of holds/features on the walls make upper progress very difficult. And when you move one knee up you feel excruciating pain on the other even with knee pads. The pitch is relatively short , but take a lot of skin away. There is opportunity for good gear placement in the corner, but it is not continues line and it has some gaps.
And take rope gun for last pitch with now has new bolt