|West Ridge - part C - Pony Express to Long John
|Type: ||Trad, 4 pitches, 350', Grade II|
|FA: ||D. Hare & S. Woodruff, 1978|
|Page Views: ||250|
|Submitted By: ||Tony B on Dec 12, 2003|
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This description is for the route as we did it. The existing information is somewhat ambiguous and it was not absolutely determinate how [far] we were to follow existing pitches (particularly on P2 of Ignominity) so we jumped off route as soon as possible to create a more [independent] line, or one AT LEAST as [independent] as intended.
This climb is a 1* or 2* climb, depending on how you look at it. It certainly has 2* sections, Is that enough to make the climb 2*, or do the 1* sections make it just 1*??? I guess 1.5* is good.
To find this climb, hike up the West Ridge to the Base of Long John Wall, and then just a shave further to the base of Ignominity.
P1: Climb the first pitch of Ignominity (5.7), and continue up onto the second pitch for perhaps 15' (5.8) before taversing right below the first roof. This deviation goes around a bulge to the right and onto a slab, which is climbed DOWN and to the right to a shallow corner (5.10a). You will probably belay here due to drag. The belay is on #3 and #3.5 Camalot, + a few TCUs and/or a tricams.
P2: Climb up in a light colored crack that has a little resident chalk. This crack is shallow & a little flaky in spots, but it protects OK with a 1.5" or 2" cam. Continue up a very steep face as the crack disappears (5.10b). Pass a rotten band on some sidepulls (the gear is poor here, so don't fall (5.10a) and then step left to get a few SOLID nuts in a horizontal. Continue up the system of cracks for about 80' total to the ledge below Long John Wall's 3rd pitch.
P3: Climb up the "inset" (stemming) of the 3rd pitch of LJW for perhaps 15 feet (5.6) until the inset disappears and you can see a flake with a 2" crack to your right. Step right onto this flake and jog upward and right on it (5.4?) before it terminates at a tiny left facing corner below a bulge. Go onto the corner and then left into a slot below the bulge. [Protect] overhead and climb the right hand of two crack through the bulge, using the one on the left as you please. This will bring you into a 5-foot wide "inset" with a crack on each side (left = thin fingers to seams, right = thin hands to wide fingers). Stemming this section is as nice as anything on LJW and is a great alternate pitch (5.9). Continue up on this to a broken ledge, being mindful not to drop rocks on your partner from the ledge. You will see a fixed rap station overhead, with blue webbing and one each, quicklink and rap ring. This is on a tree [which] is rooted behind a frightening looking flake. It is probably best to avoid this (death) rap. Big cams can be used to set a nice belay up and right of the top-out point, although you can find here and there placements for about anything.
P4 as we did it was not [previously] documented and had no recognizable signs of prior passage. It may be a First Ascent- if it is, we will call it "Quick Silver" but this is not known. If anyone has previously done this, please contact me with names and dates.
P4: "Quicksilver" (5.9+) Here is where you get to use the big gear if you brought it. From the ledge previously mentioned, below the [death]-rap-station, climb up to the right and towards a 4-6" crack though the roof at a right-facing dihedral/overhang. There is a Death block teetering here, but it can be easily avoided. It looks to be about ~ 4' x 3' x 1' it is perhaps 8 [cubic] feet due to it's non-square shape, I figure this would weigh about 2000lbs. The point is, that it WILL KILL OR MAIM SOMEONE if you knock it off. So don't. [Stem] up past the flake and to the roof/crack. You can protect the roof at the base with a #3 Camalot or 3.5" piece in a narrow spot (solid gear) and then stem higher and get in a solid 3.5"-4" cam. Protect, then pull up and left to the corner and over the roof (5.9+). During this crux, a #4 Camalot is optional, but the last [piece] is at your knees anyway. Continue up on easy hand-to-fist cracks protecting with 3" gear, if you saved any (5.5) and up to a ledge and to the top of the ridge, now 20' right of the top of LJW. Belay after slinging a [huge] boulder, or walk the ridge to the "slot" above LJW and belay as per that climb.
Descend as per LJW.
A good sized rack with A set of nuts, and cams from small TCU to 3.5" A double of #3.5 camalot or a #4 camalot is optional for the [extended] finish we did.