Hourglass Direct climbs the blank face just to the left of Birch Tree Crack. Though a far less asthetic variation starts by climbing to the alcove on Birch Tree and then moving left to the face, the direct version (starting right off the ledge) presents a more inspiring line.
Start on the ledge and look for the holds. Now, look closer. They are there, but they are very small. Pull up and go. This start is V4ish and is all about how hard you can pull on non-existent crimps. This is classic vertical, technical, nightmarish 5.12 DL climbing.
The holds get bigger, then smaller, and then bigger toward the top. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the route derives it's name by the "thinning" nature of the holds in the middle. Anyway, if you want to experience hard Devil's Lake crimping, here's your route.
Toprope. I would be surprised if this has been led without putting gear in Birch Tree.
This may be because I want to have sent this, but I think that the blocks are on as long as you only use the ones that are truly left of the crack, and not the ones that are actually sticking out of the alcove. Since the blocks are really just a higher part of the starting ledge, eliminating them seems kind of arbitrary, especially since you need to use foot chips only a few inches above them. Thoughts?
There are blocks all over the base of the climb. Take your pick. The point is the direct start has a couple of hideously small holds off the deck which has you immediately aware that the clock is ticking; which I think is the point of the name.