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Machete Direct 5.10b/A1 or 5.9/A1: This climb offers six pitches of mixed aid and free climbing. This climb is suitable for a solid 5.9 climber with some aid experience. You will be much more comfortable (and efficient) if you can pull off a couple of reasonably well protected 5.10b free moves. The aid portions are short but often require you to step out of your aiders and make a few free moves. The second pitch is “only 5.7” but is pretty runout (3 bolts in 130”).
Retreat: It is possible to retreat with 2 ropes by rapping the route but you risk knocking rocks down onto the trail below. At the top of Pitches 3 and 4 you can bail out right by heading toward the Badman Mezzanine. Two ropes make it easiest to bail but it is possible to escape with only 1 rope. If you only have one rope, be sure to study the Badman Mezzanine topo carefully or you will rap off the end of your rope!
P1: 80’ (direct start) - The original start chimneyed up the tree and worked its way along the ledge to the start of the aid portion (5.8/A1). The preferred start is the direct start. Two bolts protect the moves up to the aid section (5.10a/A1). The moves to the first two bolts are around 5.9. Bring a stick clip if the move up the first bolt spooks you. The crux of this pitch is between bolts 2 and 3. There is a mandatory free move off the last bolt before you reach the anchor. I found it a bit spicy after being in the security of the aiders to switch to free. You’ll need six or seven draws (I always bring an extra in case I drop one!) to protect the direct start. Bring many long slings if you do the original start.
P2: 130’ - Three bolts protect about runout 5.7 climbing. I’m glad I didn’t have to lead this pitch!
P3: 130’ - Two old bolts are supplemented with small to medium cams on this fun 5.2 pitch.
P4: 140’ – Six bolts on mixed free/aid climbing (5.9/A1 or 5.10b). You’ll need to make a couple free moves between the bolts if you plan to aid the 5.10b section. The upper section in the waterstreak is super fun and only a tiny bit runout (5.7PG). This was my favorite pitch.
P5: 120’ – Seven bolts supplemented with cams protect this mixed free/aid pitch (5.8/A1). There is a bit of 5.8 free climbing above the aid moves. Bring long slings for the cams in the gully. There are several very large and very loose chockstones in the gully. The crux on this pitch is NOT stepping on the loose rock. About 10’ below the anchor, there is a bolt out right that protects one 5.7 move. Note – the Brad Young topo is NOT correct in this location.
P6: 160’ – Two (or three?) bolts protect fun, easy moves under a HUG corner. One recently replaced bolt protects a 5.6/5.7 move above the anchor. The rest of the climb to the top is around 5.3. Watch out for pigeons exiting the crack!
Optional P7: 80’ – Two bolts protect climbing up to the top of the Middle Tower. Rappel back to the top of P6 after summiting the tower to do the “Standard Machete Descent”.
Descent: To descend, rappel off the backside of Machete (away from the Balconies) and do the “Standard Machete Descent” (4th Class). Study the topo and info. carefully in the Brad Young book before you do the descent.
Optional Pitches: From the top of Pitch 6 you can reverse the Machete Traverse and add 3 more pitches. P1: 5.2 – Work your way westerly (unprotected) up and over a small tower to the base of the rappels. There is one bolt and ring at the top of the tower to protect the easy downclimbing. P2: 5.3 - Fourth class your way into a gully protected by two bolts. Belay at a pine tree. P3: 5.5 – Move the belay up past a manzanita then do a boulder move down a short wall (7’ or so). Belay (unprotected) as your leader works up to a single bolt then traverses under a headwall (on the leader’s right). One bolt protects a 5.5 move to the top of a waterstreak. From the anchor, rap down “The Hideout” then 4th class your way to mother earth. Mostly 3rd Class back to the base of Dos Equis then back down to the climb.
More Info. and Pics: For more info. and pics of the route, check out my blog: centralcoastclimbing.blogspot.com/2010/11/pinnacles-machete->>>
Located left (or east) of "The Arch". Starts directly off the streambed and is visible from the trail. Look for two bolts up high (about 15' to the first bolt with a Leeper Hanger) for the direct start.
Gear: Bring a light rack with small to medium cams, one 3” cam helpful, 6 quick draws, 5 shoulder length slings (24”), and 2 double length slings (48”). No nuts needed. All anchors are bolted.
Looking down from Pitch 1.
Start of Pitch 3.
Start of Pitch 5.
Coming up the HUGE corner on Pitch 6.
Looking up at the long runout on Pitch 2 (5.7R).
Looking back on the easy traverse (5.2) on Pitch 3...
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