This is a very unique and pleasing route, perhaps a great one for a windy but dry day. If you likes Hatch or Rehatch, then this pleasant slot is for you. The rock is remarkable solid and hard, with little or nothing loose, and the slot is just wide enough to extend hands and touch both sides for a strong majority of it's length.
The route feels a lot like canyoneering in a way, and you pass ferns, the occasional dwarfed tree, but remarkably, no moss, lichen, sand, choss or other things we'd associate with a water-course. It was a really pleasant surprise.
This route starts at the far left edge of the East Face of Jamcrack Spire. Walk up left to pass the main face, looking up into a broad runnel, perhaps 20-30 feet deep and 50 feet wide at the base. 2 downed pine trees lies capsized at the bottom of this virtual canyon, the higher one dead with needles still clinging, the lower one alive, and growing sideways, pointing N/NE. Walk up into the canyon passing these on the left and start upward for hundreds of feet, until you climb out just shy of the summit ridge, then up the ridge to the tip of the South.
A standard light rack should suffice to protect it as well as you can, but it is probably best as a solo for competent parties.
|By Julius Beres|
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 19, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13
This is a fun route that is totally different from most east face routes. Canyoneers will love this route.
A couple of notes:
The start is easily identified by the two fallen trees in the description. I would not describe it as "far left" however, since there is still plenty of rock off to the left. When approaching from the Maiden trail, keep going straight up to the rock (surprisingly good trail/water run off trail, so not much bushwhacking). When you get to the rock go left until the first big break and look for the trees. If you keep going further left, it quickly turns to scrambling over boulders.
The first 30 feet or so off the ground has some very loose large rocks, so be careful there, but the rest of the route is surprisingly solid.
Pitch 1, about 200 ft: after heading about 80 feet up this break, there is a Y fork. I went right (the straight up direction) towards a small tree. It is easy climbing here but with a bit of lichen (maybe one or two low 5th class moves to get up to the tree). Past the tree, it turns into a "canyon." At this point, it is easy 3rd/4th class. I did not place any gear until the anchor. One or two pieces might be possible, but this is very easy climbing.
Pitch 2, about 200 ft: the next bit has a short, steep head wall. Although most of the route does not protect well, you can get gear in before the harder moves. (I suppose you could place more gear if you bring large tricams for the hueco pockets along the sides of the canyon.... I placed a #2 in one such pockets but did not have larger cams with me or large tricams so I just ran it out). After the steep head wall (5.5), I ran out the rest of the rope until just before the next headwall (easy 3rd class). After about another rope length of easy 3rd class, you get to another headwall. I belayed right before that.
Pitch 3, about 200 ft: for the third pitch, we climbed this headwall(5.5) followed by some chimney moves. I suppose there are multiple ways to do this, but where there was a large boulder in the middle of the canyon, I went high and left, and found at least one move hard enough to warrant a 5.6 rating. This pitch ended on the south ridge, from which we had a short 50 foot fourth pitch to the top.
Pitch 4: 50 feet, scramble to the top, 5.0.
Descent: from the south summit, we scrambled down 50 feet to the east towards some trees. Then we went further down northeast, aiming for the gully between the north and south summit (there are trees here you can rap from to that gully, or just scramble down). Once in the gully, we headed up towards the west (4th class). From the notch between the two summits, there is a tree on the west side with webbing and a rap ring. A single rope rappel gets you to the ground on the west side (60m reaches, I think a 50m would get you to ledges from which it is 4th class down). From there, hike due west down talus for about 10-15 minutes and you arrive at the shadow canyon trail.