This is an 80 foot line that starts out easy for first 10 feet to a big ledge, then it goes straight up on hands towards the bottom to tight fingers and nice, but spaced, finger locks with delicate feet. The crux is a big flake at 70 feet that must be turned (small roof) and above this flake is really thin up to the anchors (the topo says 5.8 for this, but it's not too hard). It has good protection with stoppers and small-medium cams...the anchor/belay is a big tree with chain and slings 80 feet up. You can then toprope an 11d (s) just left of Mesca-line, Iron Horse, fun but delicate and hard.
Definitely get a piece in before the undercling moves. There isn't anything great once you are above. Last year when I was on Pony Express, I watched a guy take a thirty-footer trying to top out. He was caught by a stopper that was much further down. Since this route is not as vertical as it may appear, I was not surprised that the falling guy sprained his ankle on a tiny, slabby ledge on the way down.
I really liked this climb! Nice and pretty sustained throughout. The crux, I thought, was just above the first little bush, about 20 ft. off the deck. After that, lots a' fun! The roof isn't too big and not too pumpy at all. Wouldn't recommend taking time to place anything at the roof (unless, to the left of the flake). Does anyone know the name of the route two over from Mesca-Line--is a short, 5.9 crack?? Whatever it is called--also A LOT of fun!
did this great line a few months ago. this is definately the best 7 on the west ridge, and one of my favorite 7's in the canyon. after reading the comments here (Aaron's) i was kinda skeptical about the route (ie. protection), but found it very well protected. nearing the flake towards the top, i was able to plug in a piece every 5 or 6 feet. and im not sure what Zach is talking about, you should definately plug in that cam beneath the flake--this will protect you for the crux. the stance is perhaps a little pumpy to place the piece, but you'd face a pretty good fall if you lopped off after pulling this move. there is good gear after this flake if you hang around to place it, cause the anchor is still 10 feet away.
By Casey Bernal From: Arvada, CO Sep 9, 2002 rating: 5.75a15V+13MVS 4b
I completely disagree about the 'cam in the roof/flake'. I have fiddled around with this placement and it sucks - the rock is not solid sandstone (oxymoron) and it is flaring, a good combination for a piece to rip. There is a placement at your feet and you can get in some small gear, I think a bomber stopper, at shoulder height or up higher - I can't remember exactly. Anyway there is good gear nearby, but the cam in the flake will only be mental if anything. The whole route protects well, is sustained and challenging for the grade and is probably my favorite one pitch 5.7 in the park.
[Casey] makes a good point--i remember now that the cam placement is [definitely] flaring, but in solid rock for what its worth. sure it may only be pychological, but i enjoy that when pulling through a crux. [I'm] gonna have to jump on this climb again to rekindle my memories.
I don't know what you mean about the #3 cam placement at the crux being PPP (purely psychological protection). It was bomber. I just climbed this last weekend, and my placement looked like the picture in my mountaineering book as to how a cam placement should look. I did notice I tried a couple spots before it was good, but is was definately good.
well, since we're still talking about this...i went back and climbed this; the cam in the flake is good--theres a perfect pocket for a textbook cam placement in the flake, as AC describes. it will walk out of position with rope drag, but thats an easy fix. as to the other AC--no, i didnt bounce test it either, this isnt aid climbing (perhaps we should just put a 3-inch BONG in there?). for the anti-cam: this stance/move can be protected by a bomber stopper at torso height, though when through the crux, will be below your feet. maybe next time im gonna have to huck off after the flake and test that piece.
By Ernie Port From: Boulder, Colorado Sep 30, 2002
The flake has a bomber right hand pocket above it. I used that to rest and start the layback around the flake. The #3 cam placement is good, not flared.
By Ernie Port From: Boulder, Colorado Sep 18, 2003
I was on this again recently and IMO the crux is a move about 10' below the flake. There's sketchy feet there, but with a good finger lock up high, which I used to smear up to a better stance. I inspected the flake closely and determined the best placement for the #3 is in the right side (as it is flared in the middle). Although not demanding, this route is very cool and one of my favorite moderates.
So much fun. It isn't as steep as it looks and there's almost always a hold where you need it (if rarely more than that). I found this climb to be fairly sequential. I'll also repeat the warning to get a piece in before you head over the flake. I expected a rather mellow trip to the anchor after passing the flake, but there's still some business. The hike up to the climb is quite a burn from the streamside trail.
I hadn't climbed this for quite some time and had never lead it and perhaps it was because I was rusty, but this felt hard for a 7. After doing this I lead the first pitch of Pony Express and then Sister Morphine and felt much more solid on both of these. Perhaps I was just warmed up, and/or perhaps they are very easy 9's., but still. I thought there were at leats 2, maybe 3 crux's, all requiring some attention.
Or perhaps this is just another 3-star 7 in Eldo, and thus feels stiff for a 7. Of course it's devinitely not 7+ because that equals, what? 9, 10a in Kor-land.
2 stars since it is only 1 pitch and I wouldn't do the hike just for this one line.
Great route. Probably a litle thinner than it looks from the bottom. I found the hardest part about 10-15 feet below the supposed flake crux. Fun and sustained.
By Surlyman Jul 24, 2005 rating: 5.7+5a15V+13MVS 4b
Definitely place a piece under the flake before the crux. I slotted a 4.5 cam there today but hung around too long after placing it and [peeled]. The cam held rock solid and there was no indication by sound or anything else that the flake was anything but solid.
When I climb Mesca-Line again I will take something smaller like a 3 or 3.5 so that I don't have to move so far right to find a placement. After the fall I finished by just climbing straight up the crack and I think it is less strenuous and more stable than liebacking on the right.
Good line for the West Ridge. I found my crux the same as in Gary's comment - about 10 feet below the crux.
By Julius Beres From: Boulder, CO Aug 29, 2008 rating: 5.7+5a15V+13MVS 4b
I agree with the previous comments. The crux is 10 feet or so below the flake. I would say the flake is 5.6 at most. 10 feet below there are some very reachy moves on just friction footholds (maybe if you are tall the flake is the crux...). It is very well protected though and a fun but short climb.
By AOSR From: Wherever we park! Mar 31, 2011 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c
This felt harded than Sister Morphine to me. I thought both were 5.8.
I normally don't post this kind of beta, but given the fact that the grade of this climb will attract people who could use it, I will make an exception. Instead of placing a cam in the flake, you can get established into it, and when pulled around the left side there is a little pod/crack that takes a medium-sized nut very well and is very solid if placed correctly.
By Crag Dweller From: New York, NY Sep 22, 2012 rating: 5.7+5a15V+13MVS 4b
I agree with others who've posted...the crux was, for me, between the little tree ledge and the flake. Once at the flake, the moves are somewhat committing but they're much easier than the ones you just did.