All guidebooks that I've seen say to start Fantasy Ridge with the first two pitches of Joy and Tribulation. However, Fantasy Ridge was first climbed by starting just to the left of Melvin's Wheel. The original start is basically ignored by the guides (for some unknown and probably not very good reason.) Since we had just done JaT, we decided to do the original Fantasy Ridge, and ended up climbing the best two pitches of 5.6 that I've done at Lumpy Ridge.
The pitch two crack is readily visible if you step back from the base of MW. It is the prominent crack just left of the top of the first itch of MW.
Begin just left of Melvin's Wheel in an unappealing chimney. This is just down to the right of the start of JaT. The chimney is actually surprisingly fun with stemming and jamming, and protects well. Climb up to a horizontal handcrack and follow it right to the next crack system. Follow this up to where it comes very close to MW. Shortly above this point is a small ledge, possibly with a bail sling. You can belay here, but I climbed up a bit more to where the you need to step right to the main crack, and set a hanging belay.
Follow the stellar crack all the way to the top of the second pitch of JaT. This pitch is fantastic. It is loonnng and is definitely the best pitch of the grade that I've done at Lumpy. A fist-sized cam or two will come in handy at the brief wider section, and the upper part is sewn up with nuts.
There are a couple ways to finish this climb. The most obvious is to continue with Fantasy Ridge (5.9). You can also hop up to the big ledge and climb the last pitch of Joy and Tribulation (5.8). Or, if you're up to it, there is always Between the Sheets (11d). I would imagine that it wouldn't be too complicated to go past the obvious JaT chimney and get into the descent gully. There is a sling rap anchor right there that will deposit you just a short scramble from the bottom of the Left Book.
Having done both starts to Fantasy Ridge, I'd have to say that the original start has much more quality climbing. I'm including this as a separate route because if a descent into the gully leading to the Left Book can be worked out (or if there is already a descent from the large ledge), it would be the best route of the grade I've done at Lumpy (and you wouldn't have to deal with the crowds on the Left Book.
Standard Lumpy rack. A #3 Camalot AND a #4 Friend are nice to have.
Looking down from the top of the first 60 meters, ...
About 5m before the angle decreases, or about 50m ...
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jul 18, 2003
1st climb and lead of the season. The start is the closest crack to the Melvin Wheel start (at least that worked for me). The 1st pitch is approximately 100 ft and it protects fine. It does not get traveled and so it is bit dirty and covered by lichen. However, true to the description it is 5.6 and feet stick in the crack just fine - I recommend board lasted shoes due to pain factor. The 2nd pitch is as described - beautiful crack that if the rock would be steeper would be a 5.9 classic. This is a good introduction to Lumpy crack climbing for the fledging 5.6 - 5.8 leader. It is a long pitch with most of the big gear going early and the last part easily sewn up with passive gear. If you are new to leading don't shoot all your gear in the 1st 100 ft or you will have to set up a standing/leaning belay. The top of the 2nd pitch ends at the ledge and just 4th class over to the descent gully on the Whale Tail wall and it is 40ft rap to the descent gully or you can rap all the way down to the talus slope with 60 meter rope. If you have 2 ropes (we didn't) you can rap off right next to the top of the 2nd pitch if you bring a long sling for the boulder somewhat hidden in the bushes. My partner, not used to climbing cracks, thought it was sand bag 5.6 climb for sport climbers, since your feet are most of the time in the crack.
|By Doug Dakins|
Aug 9, 2004
The second pitch is a classic, for its grade. Too bad it is not steeper. A good warm up to the upper 5.9 pitches.
|By Charles Danforth|
From: L'ville, CO
May 22, 2006
In retrospect, this route was probably good for me.
Pitch 1 was a bit grungy, but not too bad. After a good deal of debate, I ended up starting in the left-most (widest) of the three cracks left of Melvin's Wheel as Mike notes in the directions. Awkward, but with good protection. Belayed on the ledge with a block with a rap sling (note, I wouldn't recommend rapping from this as the block is just sitting there loose; build an anchor in the plentiful cracks behind the block).
P2 starts easily enough, then becomes a continuous 5.6 hand crack with a few wider parts. The lower part is steeper, but the upper part is long, long, long. As cracks go, it doesn't get much better than this, but crack climbing is not my forte under the best of circumstances and on lead with weather moving in is definitely not the best of circumstances! I sweated, swore, grunted, and willed my way up what rapidly became the hardest pitch I've ever lead even though I've lead many non-cracks at a grade or two harder. With great relief, I laybacked a small bulge and found that the crack became much lower angle. I set up a belay and discovered I had placed everything on my rack with the exception of four small nuts!
P3 was a short jaunt up the low-angle cracks to a roof where underclinging to the left (blessed underclings!) lead me to a spatious belay below the upper part of the Bookmark. Scrambling down from here was not feasible, but a short pitch up a steep slab farther north lead to the second rappel from the top of Melvin's Wheel. Leads directly to the base of Beelzebub/Hiatus/White Whale. Slings and rap rings.
From: Grand Junction
Sep 19, 2007
Full dollar value for the 5.6 leader. We climbed the rightmost of the chimneys leading to the crack and it felt like 5.7 I wanted my buddy to hit this to work on his leading and was surprised to find how sustained it was for its rating. I'd say the second pitch might be the finest 5.6 I've ever been on. If you angle left at the top of the crack, a 70 meter rope will just get you to a belay before some 4th class scrambling and a 30-40 foot rappel which drops you off right next to Hiatus on the Left Book. If you've used up an extra foot or so in your tie in knots, your second may have to do a few feet of simul-climbing. This climb eats gear but the newer 5.6 leader will probably not like it, it felt more sustained than the neighboring 5.7s on the Left Book.
How we did it
Pitch one - take the right most chimney nearest to Melvin's Wheel up to an obvious belay, 35 meters.
Pitch two - head up the crack past the steep part, turn left 30 feet above this on a left trending crack/undercling then head up a short traverse to a spacious belay, 60 meters.
A 70 meter is recommended for a two pitch assault.
|By Bill Duncan|
From: Jamestown, CO
Jun 12, 2013
2 pitches to get to the 3rd class terrain. We started in the left-most chimney, and went up and to the right through some nice stuff and a switch to another crack, and went on until we ran out of rope (60m). Outstanding for its grade. The 2nd pitch takes you up and then left to the 3rd pitch of Fantasy Ridge, or to an escape over the shoulder to 3rd class terrain and a short rappel from anchors into the gully by the Left Book. You can see the crack to the climber's right in the link above.
I'd say this is a worthy route, even though the grade is not typically on your hit list. You should have some crack experience, however, although your feet may stay on the face most of the way....