Learning to Crawl
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Face climbing in the desert! Watch out!
This is the leftmost detached tower in the Bridger Jack group. Kind of looks like a thumb, has a twin called Sparkling Touch just to the right. The trail along the bottom of Bridger Jack is obvious - go all the way left. The route starts in the obvious wide crack that leads to the left arete of Thumbelina. We belayed below the third class leading to this wide crack, but whatever works best for you. If you have a 50M rope, you probably want to get right up to the crack to belay.
The route is very obvious - follow the arete and bolts to the summit. The initial wide crack goes at 5.6ish, but the face to the right is climbable as well. As the leader I felt more secure wedged in the crack. The route has many rests and several bouldery cruxes. Two cruxes in particular will probably get your attention. The lower crux (10+/11-) was slightly burly but had positive holds and a nice new bolt just below. The upper crux is the business. Most people describe it as quite desperate. Personally, I describe it as A0, but my partner got it without a slip. This crux is at the last two bolts - one of which is bomber. Once past this, head left then up right to the final mantle onto the summit, or step right to the obvious steep crack and follow that to the summit mantle. If taking the steep crack, maybe include an extra hand sized piece or two in the rack.
Soft and precise shoes will undoubtedly help the struggle. Good luck.
1 each cams blue TCU to #3 Camalot, 1 set nuts, 8 2 foot runners, 8 QDs
Double rope rap off summit.
Looking up from the base.
Ian McAlexander on the crux.
Ian on top of Thumbelina with the tops of the othe...
Todd Gordon on Thumbelina.
Pete Takeda on Learning to Crawl.
Photo by Todd Go...
Todd Gordon near the top.
Photo: Todd Gordon colle...
"Learning to Crawl" is an album by The Pretenders.
Todd Gordon and Pete Tekada on Thumbelina. Photo@...
The crux of Learning To Crawl (5.11c) Indian Creek...
The wide section at the bottom. We climbed it in t...
On top, looking toward the Bridger Jack Towers - S...
|Comments on Learning to Crawl
|By Joe Collins|
Jul 29, 2002
The crux of the route is fairly desperate and the hangers on the two bolts inspire little confidence. Clipping the second bolt at the crux section is extremely balancey. I thought it was a pretty tough call whether to clip in the rope or to actually grab the draw. Stick in there because the climbing eases off pretty quickly.
Double rope rap but stand well back from the tower for the pull as the crack at the top of the formation is a definite rope snagger.
|By Stan Pitcher|
From: SLC, UT
Nov 7, 2002
If you do the 5.9 handcrack finish (which is great), be careful using the flake just before it - its quite loose. Bring your slabbing shoes!
|By Scotty Nelson|
May 1, 2006
Would recommend #00 (grey) TCU.
|By John Dubrawski|
From: Santa Monica, CA
Apr 4, 2007
Goes free, quite well. Exciting move though.
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 13, 2008
take small nuts or a tiny cam to ease the runout. spicy desert slab arete is super classic!
|By phil broscovak|
From: Boo-older, Co.
Feb 9, 2009
I did this route a loooooooong time ago. I remember it being outstandingly fun. But when we did it there were no established anchors on top. Which made getting off more of s concern than getting up. I have nightmares about the marginal mank we rapped off. Has there been permanent anchors established?
Oct 13, 2009
Abseil is ok. There are 3 bolts connected by a multitude of slings for that.
I put a summit register on the top of thumbelina.
|By Ol' Toby|
Mar 29, 2010
I thought this impressive line was both technical and a tad spicy. While I'm short, the bottom crux felt harder than 10+ to me and the upper crux somehow managed to be thin, reachy and powerful all at once. I used the same beta in Josh's photo, but had to throw twice with the left hand to reach that hold.
A thin (3 or 4 BD) nut or C3 would have been welcome to protect moves before the bolted crux.
The drilled angle anchor on top of the tower needs an upgrade. There is better rock below the summit kitty litter that would accept steel. Contrary to the comment above there are no bolts on top and one of the drilled angles is in poor rock.
|By Matt Toensing|
Mar 7, 2011
I agree with using a #3 or #4 nut before the crux. I didn't expect as much exposure and hugging the arÍte was way awesome. The top anchor is fine and the tat has collected some newer looking spectra.
Overall super great climb
|By Michael Ybarra|
From: on the road
Apr 5, 2012
Contrary to the topo in the IC guide, there are three bolts, not four in the second crux section. A drilled angle, a crack that takes a HB #6 nicely, a good new bolt (easy to clip), then a star drive.
If you're a chicken, like me, you can clip the top bolt, then retreat to the stance to figure out the moves. Although if you blow it, you'll be testing the star drive.
Tenuous, technical crux--but cool once you figure it out.