For now, this is essentially a toprope, and as such it may well have been done previously. I TR'd it with Ridge Dorsey in November 2002 and then led it while placing gear that December but I took one panic hang after the crux. I've pretty much given up on leading it cleanly. I'm posting it for anyone who wants to try headpointing it, or just to make people more aware of a terrific toprope.
This is the blank-looking face and prow between the first pitches of Break on Through and Chianti. From the top of the pointy flake on the rotten band below the face, step onto the face, protect low and left, and balance up to a short, thin, right-flacing flake. Fill this with gear (5 pieces can be placed in all!), then do the crux face moves straight up. From a good handhold, move right a few feet to a stance on the prow, place gear at your feet (very balancey), then do 5.9 moves to the lip of the first wall. Place more gear in the bottoming crack in front of your face, being careful not to block the crucial pebble hold, and then do a 5.10 mantel up and left. (On my only lead attempt, I hung briefly from the wire before this mantle.) Easier climbing (and pro) leads to the second headwall. Angle up and left toward a crack and tiny tree at the top of this wall, about six feet right of Break on Through -- quite scary if you don't cheat and protect in Break on Through. A fun crank past the tree with good pro gains the top.
This is definitely VS for the onsight, but with knowledge of the gear it is surprisingly well-protected -- perhaps S+. I bounce-tested each of the pieces protecting the crux after I placed them on lead, and I had previously tested the higher pieces -- the trick is placing them just right while on the lead. Ask me if you want the piece-by-piece beta. Or, this could be a relatively safe (S) lead with pre-placed pro. Or, simply toprope it. That's what I'm going to do from now on....
RPs, three #1 wires (straight-sided), blue Alien, red (#2) ball nut, two #4 Rocks (one of them extended), small cams for second half, slings, double ropes -- email me if you want pro details.
The headlines would be: Rolo Flashes Rictus-Second Unable to Follow. We were inspired today by Dougald's excellent beta and after I toproped it, sort of, and sussed out the gear we pulled the rope and Rolando Garibotti led it. It took a bit of seduction, a few reversals, and plenty of gear fiddling. The piece I had the most faith in, as a belayer, was a sling behind the top of the flake. Rolo committed to the sequence and then forsake the "gear placed at our feet" episode in favor of upward momentum. The mantley move was fairly dramatic! I was unable to do the crux on any of my numerous attempts despite breaking off the top 2" of the flake when I pulled the sling off. It is no longer possible to slip a sling behind it, which on hindsight is just as well. Although I failed to follow Rolo's inspired lead we agreed that this is a great route and a good time was had by all. Thanks Dougald!