|East Bell Tower
|Private Property now at the entrance to Bells Canyon. MORE INFO >>>|
East Bell, usually ignored compared to its more popular neighboring Bells Towers lower in the canyon has had no recorded new activity since the early 70's. It has retained a "dirty reputation" to this day. We felt like boll weevils while cleaning this beauty into shape.
Pitch #1: Climb past 3 bolts up the blunt arete passing some intermittent finger cracks to more fun slab to a two-bolt belay. 5.9, 25m.
Pitch #2: Continue up past some blocks to a steep and puzzling struggle of an undercling well protected roof (perhaps a one V4 boulder move?) to a finger crack that shallows and widens. Pass some fixed pitons and 2 bolts to a two-bolt belay. 5.10+, 30m.
Pitch #3: Climb yet another nice crack until it ends and move right to a great hand crack to a two-bolt belay. 5.8, 30m.
Pitch #4: Climb 3rd class through a clearing in the "jungle"staying on the arete, pass the roof on the left and then move back right to a bolt protecting the slab until reaching intermittent horizontal hand cracks. Pass a fixed piton while trending right up more hand cracks to a two-bolt belay under a roof. 5.8, 35m.
Pitch #5: Climb nice chickenheads past a bolt turning the roof on the right. Continue up and left to a final step up a pleasant crack system to a two-bolt belay on the "pine tree ledge". 5.7+, 30m.
Pitch #6: Another quality and unique pitch, but tricky! Pass a bolt on the slab to another intriguing and unforgiving overhang (with maybe another V5 boulder move:)), underclinging, and mantle to small ledges, sling a monster knob, and chickenheads to a corner. Pass 3 bolts to a sloping faint ramp to a two bolt belay. A register was left here. 5.10+, 35m.
Pitch #7: Typical exfoliating cruxy slab protected by 2 bolts (5.7/8 grit) to a dirty groove leads to 3rd class in a long pitch to the tower top. No fixed gear left at top. We down climbed and rappelled from trees. 5.7 and mostly 3rd class, 70m.
Rappel the route.
Approach as for Route Of All Evil on the SW Face of East Bell Tower. Start climbing on a blunt arete 50m to the right and below the start of that 1964 Lowe-McQuarrie original line on the face.
While rappelling the route, we found easy and trouble free pulls. Sure seems to beat the grovel down one of the gullies to the west or east.
QDs, Set of Nuts and Camalots from micro sizes to #4. No doubles needed. Some may find a #5 useful, but it is not obligatory. 70m rope recommended.
From: Small Lake, UT
Sep 14, 2010
Tried this line last weekend, here's a bit more beta to supplement James'.
. P1: stout slabbing right off the ground. The bolts seem laughably close at first but end up right where you want them on lead. 5.9+ warmup.
. P2: interesting slab moves to the slopping ledge. The roof, as described, is puzzling. Power undercling to a brutal lieback with terrible feet, took me forever to see the sequence and even longer to commit. The finger crack above turns into a steep flared groove (uninspiring gear) to a steep technical slab/face. Overall a varied and sustained pitch, 5.10++ at the roof (felt 11- to me) and PG13: you get gear in the undercling but once you get over the roof you're committed until you sink a finger lock. Your partner can't see you and if you blow it ankles + slab = pain.
. P3: great finger/hand cracks, the scrub oak has grown back a bit but doesn't detract from the fun. Strange bolts on the gritty steep slab that we bypassed to stay in a more obvious crack out right. 5.8 grit, tape or weep. If the large stump falls off (it wiggles quite a bit) this will get harder. 5.8ish
. P4: unremarkable jungle/choss to a now tree-infested corner to get on the slab. The cracks above are fun and super gritty. 5.8ish
. P5: fun chickenhead moves out the huge roof to a groove to the coolest finger crack/face. Too bad it's only 20' cause that section is a gem. 5.8ish for the upper face moves
. P6: this is where the fun stopped for us with a harder version of the P2 roof. We couldn't figure out the sequence based on the description and had to choose between an impossibly hard shelf mantle to get to the "monster knob" or some wild deadpoint out right to a chickenhead to some serious boulder problem. Once again OK gear but hitting the slab seems like a real possibility and we decided to call it. Burly 5.10+++ PG13 or we missed something. Props for pulling through that one JG, not sure I'd even be able to TR it.
We rappelled the route with no incidents. Rack recommendation was spot on, didn't see a spot for a #5, wished for doubles in the .3/.4 range until I looked around a bit and found other options. Long runners helpful.
Overall a cool line with great position and good rock quality until the halfway point (typical Bells). It seemed a bit forced in places with some real stopper moves.
We felt like 10+ was quite the old school sandbag. Can't speak for my partner but I'm a wuss and not that strong so take it with a grain of salt.
Definitely type II fun, still wondering if I'll go back to try and figure out the upper pitch...