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Looney Binge is an absolutely classic endurance testpiece on the underside of the Eldorado Roof. It is way less thuggy than it appears, and makes for a wonderful climb.
Begin just left of center on a pile of cheater stones at a weakness in the wall. Climb up past an initial undercling crux (12a) to a no-hands rest. Continue up the short dihedral to the second crux below the roof (12b) which gains a crazy flake system. Follow this off to the right for many clips to a difficult section around a bulge, and then more easily to an intermediate anchor. Recover here and keep going! Three or four more clips on interesting, vertical face climbing/traversing leads to the anchor on Towering Inferno P1. Lower off with a 70m cord.
18 chain draws.
|By Tommy Klinefelter|
Nov 11, 2008
The FA included a large team, as the route was an almost industrial undertaking. Alf, Jeff Schoen, Raleigh Collins, et al.
Jan 9, 2009
I saw the dolphin shaped flake of loony binge in the afternoon light as I walked the road on the other side of the gorge. The scrutinizer, Raleigh and others assured me that it was impossible. I insisted on trying, so a large group started leading up. We used a pulley on the back of our harness. If somebody got far beyond the last bolt, a helper on the ground pulled the power drill up to them. The leader drilled as much bolt hole as they could before dropping off onto the previous bolt. The drill took it's own whipper onto the pulley.
Upon reaching the middle of the flake, I inserted a long crow bar behind it, and fixed a rope to the end of that. 3 of us bounced on the crowbar. The flake did not flex much, so we continued. It was a lot of fun, with plenty of yelling and long falls. At one point, I dropped off while drilling, and the previous bolt popped out too! It was a marvelous, long swing.
Marty Lewis, the local guidebook author helped finish up the bolts to the anchor. for perhaps a month, the route resisted our best efforts. Finally, I sent it one afternoon during the full of the moon, grading it 12d. Although not my hardest lead, it was certainly the hardest first ascent.
John Bachar got on it soon after, and I awaited the result with trepidation. He was prone to regrade one's route as much as 2 number grades lower depending on his experience. He could solo as hard as any of us could lead. I liked and respected John, so it was no problem that he would decide the final grade. He only downgraded the route to a 12c!
I returned recently, to find long black chains and fixed biners on the bolts. I ask that these be removed, leaving only the hangars. A young climber told me that he found it too difficult to hang quick draws. Now that I have described the routes beginnings, and my feelings on the matter, perhaps someone will be kind enough to remove the equipment. It's OK if loony binge becomes the only route in the cave without fixed draws.
|By Tommy Klinefelter|
Jan 15, 2009
Nice story, Alf. This is the essence of Mountain Project, I think. History.
|By trying hard|
From: East side Sierra
May 1, 2011
thanks to whomever put the chains up. I could not imagine this route being cleaned easily. Mad props to FA team but, again thank you!!! for the chain draws.
|By Morgan Patterson|
Feb 14, 2013
Al that's an absolutely ingenious idea with the pully and the drill... Thanks for sharing... cool story and an amazing looking route.