You've looked at the Ravens from Rap Rock and wondered if anyone ever climbs up those ominous chimneys between them. The answer is yes, occasionally, and this one at least is really fun. Plus it goes to a cool summit.
I'll do this climb again, and I was tempted to give it 3 stars. Also, it stays nice and cool even on the hottest days in Tucson.
Pitch one (crux) chimneys up past the overlaps, then angles over left (west) to a group of 3 chockstones for a somewhat enervating belay. There is some ancient webbing here and some manky cams available, but slinging one of the big stones and/or wedging yourself securely is probably the best option. This pitch has very little pro.
Pitch two is easy, and spectacular. Climb up and slightly left (facing Raven C), avoiding a chossy corner and reaching better rock on the outside edge of the chimney (this is about 20-30 ft right of "If you bolt it they will come"). Continue past occasional gear placements until the chimney ends, then hop onto Raven C and climb an easy ramp to a tree belay. This is a long pitch.
From the tree, continue up the groove (one tricky move) to the summit.
(Note: SQL II is a bit ambiguous about the location of P2, but Steiger's guide clarifies that it exits the chimney on the west side of the Ravens. Based on what we did, this seems correct.)
This starts in the middle of the chimney in between Ravens C and D, most easily reached by dropping down the east side of the Ravens. This is the chimney that you walk through to access "If you bolt it they will come" and other sport routes. As you enter the chimney from the east side, the sport routes "El Cuervo" and "El Curvo" are visible directly above on the left and right of the chimney, respectively.
You could start any number of places; we started in the middle of the chimney under some diagonal striations or overlaps (perhaps these are the "lightning streaks"?). The first belay consists of 3 chockstones that are up and left (as you face Raven C) from here.
To descend, rappel west as for Luke Slingwalker. We descended the east side and I do NOT recommend this.
Light rack. The route doesn't have much pro; I placed 5 or 6 pieces total on the chimney pitches and I wasn't skipping any placements.
|By Karl Groll|
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 11, 2014
John Wu and I climbed this yesterday. It's a fun line, in an amazing position with a cool summit. We may be the soft ones, but we both felt this line could merit a soft(?) X rating. We'd both still recommend doing it, but make sure you're comfortable with some basic chimney technique and more importantly, can keep your head on tight. If you're looking at climbing this route, you're probably looking for an adventure and might choose to ignore my gear/route beta below. We placed only three pieces on the whole route, like Charles - not skipping much.
Looking up from the middle of the chimney you see the group of three chockstones, and then another slightly lower and to the right. We left approach shoes here. I started under the rightmost one, and then trended left once getting almost to it. There's a gear placement (.75-ish size, lots of options) about 10 feet off the deck, but this is mainly mental pro, as there's nothing else I found for the next ~35 feet until getting up to a rail by the chockstone. You will absolutely deck if you blow it in here, pinballing your way down. Fetal position probably the best way to go. You could place a .5 in the rail to keep your follower from swinging a bit if they fall, but it's not totally necessary as you're pretty much at the belay by now. I slung the first big chockstone, and belayed just on the other side of it.
John led P2, continuing up and west. Though slightly easier, this pitch felt equally commiting. I was spooked just belaying. There are two #1 placements as you climb beside the chossy corner up to the chimney. You're well above them by the time you chimney, and I think you'd be looking at a high consequence fall if you freaked out here. I don't think you can quite see any more pro at this point, but have faith, there's a bomber (but tight) #2 placement to be had as soon as you pull easy moves onto the face of Raven C. Looked like some smaller cams would also go in just above or below this placement. From here it's an easy run up the ramp. John built an anchor in a horizontal crack here, with a #3 and some smaller stuff. You could continue to the tree, but this spot seems like a much cleaner and more comfortable belay. From there we unroped and scrambled with our stuff to the summit.
Our descent beta: We were able to make it down in three easy, single rope raps with a 70m. From the bolt anchor on the west side of the summit (facing the Oriface), we rapped to the southwest, back towards the chimney and If You Bolt It They Will Come. You'll end up just left of where you exited the chimney on P2. This is a full rope rap with less than a foot to spare - tie knots. From here it's 2 more raps. Rap straight down to another anchor that you probably can't see from your current location. Think it's about 60 feet? Then a final pull to the ground. Kiss the earth and celebrate being alive.
|By Charles Vernon|
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 11, 2014
Glad to see that someone else got on this crazy route! Sounds like you guys had a good adventure. More people should do this route.
I hope I didn't sandbag with the pro rating. Since chimneys are commonly run-out to begin with, I guess it seems like it would take a lot to get an X-rating. Like, both poor/no pro and insecure climbing. I felt that the first pitch was pretty secure. But you are absolutely right, it IS possible to fall out and you would probably hit the ground if that happened. The second pitch seemed to me less secure, but easier, and a bit better protected.
Also, thanks for adding better beta about the descent.