While remote, this route exemplifies a little piece of climbing history: the dawn of the sportclimbing era. It was the last route I drilled by hand, and the first route on which I set 3/8" bolts. It was established from the ground up, but is the only time I ever used aid from hooks on lead for the drilling stances.
Always the guy with the eye for obscure, remote new lines, it was Alan Bartlett who talked me into the walk up the hill. Formerly a climbing guide in Yosemite, he was doing a stint at Chockstone Press when I moved to Colorado. He scoped out the wall on one of his rambles, and lured me with tales of glorious first ascents. Thus bedazzled, I threw a drilling kit in the top of the pack and we were off.
After warming up on "Ohmer's Odyssey", the classic 5.9 crack splitting the middle of the wall, we got to work on "Nuts and Volts" to the left. An initial right-facing flake/arch took a couple of nuts, then petered out. Near vertical face-climbing on pockets and pebbles lead onward, but lacked anything remotely suitable for a free drilling stance. Out came the hook, followed by the drill and the hammer. Fortyfive minutes later the first bolt was in, and a couple hours after that the hard labor was finished and I had blisters on both hands.
After a quick trip to the deck and a drink of water, we pulled the rope, then relead the pitch to make it "official". We wrapped up the day by climbing everything else on the wall. A week later I ordered my Hilti and the world has never been the same.
Four bolts, gear for the start and the top anchor.
|By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett|
Jan 3, 2002
Great piece of history! Fairly good climbing, but way runout getting to the second bolt. Now I know why. Definitely worthy of an "s" rating. Maybe one star. About the only thing I recall was thinking that if you blow the second clip, (and you will be getting pumped here as the some of the hardest moves are getting to this bolt, and the holds seem kinda rounded) you actually may hit the ground. There is a flake crack low down, but either I failed to protect it properly or else it seemed hollow or funky/friable. Or maybe it is just miles below you by the time you get to the second bolt. All in all, both the 5.10 bolt routes on Split Rock are bolted so as to be dangerous; neither has the bolts where they will protect the cruxes. Sometimes bolts drilled from hooks/lead make for some of the best pitchesin Eldo (Doub Griffith, Pansee Sauvage etc), but here they seem like good arguments for rap-bolting.
|By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett|
Jan 13, 2002
Alan, that's a very well argued statement about differing bolting styles. Totally agree with all of it. One minor point is that all the rocks north of and including Cadillac are part of the Boulder Parks/Open Space, and are subject to their rules, which currently forbid all bolting.
|By Tony B|
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jan 14, 2002
Split Block does not see heavy traffic, which is Precisely why I was there on a July 4th holiday (and did not see a soul).
I felt that there were some complex moves, but none that were dominated by insecurity and an objective hazard of slipping. When I lead this route I felt that the spacing of the pro was part of its unique charactor. The route is different than other Eldo routes and, in my opinion, should be left that way.