This is a badass finger crack for sure, though how hard it is is still open for debate. A recent Climbing Magazine pic stated 14a, but I'm skeptical. Sonnie Trotter and I were talking about it and he got stumped on a single move for a few days, trying it the same way every time. Then he used new beta and floated the route on that attempt. He said maybe 13b/c but that it was harder than all the 13+s in Indian Creek he's done, so who knows, maybe 14a? I didn't get stuck on a move for days nor did I float the route either. I think the route is perhaps easier than the proposed 13d but I haven't done enough high-end cracks to really give a firm opinion. It's definitely steep at the crux but it's got bomber finger locks that you can campus off of if you can't get the micro feet to stick. Anyway, no matter the grade, the climbing is super rad and certainly worth getting on (really easy to aid if you find the moves too difficult but don't want to leave bail gear).
As for the route: start up a wide, low-angled, left-facing corner a bit right of the steep crack overhead. Traverse hard left to the base of the business. I recommend setting up a belay here for rope drag and having the belayer be closer to you overall, but probably not necessary, especially if you solo the dihedral and flick the rope. From here, steep but not too difficult climbing leads to a nice stance below the business. Saddle up and take 'er down! Rap from a two bolt anchor that currently has two biners on them (one locking). The anchor could stand to be upgraded (one is a stud with a cinched down stopper over it).
Despite being super rad, I gave this thing only 3 stars because of kind of the lame dihedral start (which can be overlooked) but also because the start of the main crack is a little crumbly (first 15ft or so).
The back side of Iguana Dome. We hiked out to the old mining ruins, then banked way right around the dome. Basically there aren't any more tall rocks behind West World, although there are some big boulders near the base that obscure your view and slow the approach down. The guidebook says it's east facing, but I never saw this thing come into the sun and think it's probably more north facing than anything.
I didn't place anything larger than a .5 on the main crack system, although you could get a .75 or maybe even a #1 or #2 Camalot in down low if you really wanted to. Either way, the meat of the climbing is fingers and thin fingers so bring a bunch of green to yellow aliens.
|By Brad G|
From: Yosemite and else where
Dec 22, 2010
This thing similar to Equinox only it's a lot steeper, thinner and has much less foot holds. My feet seem to cut on every move through the crux causing larger gobis each time. A spectacular line none the less. The best Iíve seen in the parkÖ
|By Justin Edl|
Jun 10, 2011
I seem to remember hearing somewhere that someone used pitons to widen the finger locks on this one after Suzuki's ascent, so perhaps this could account for the discrepancy in the grade? That was heard/read completely second hand though, so who knows. Can anyone verify the veracity of such a claim?
Also, so psyched to hear about some fellows checking this one out. I am always up for some quality crack porn on the net, so thanks for the inspiration guys! Sooooooo jealous!
|By skinny legs and all|
From: Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Dec 13, 2013
An article on America's hardest cracks in Rock and Ice #71 says that a climber repeatedly hammered in and removed pitons from the crack to deliberately create fingertip placements after Suzuki's first ascent. Then in the following issue, Rock and Ice #72, in the corrections column, it says that the chipping was done prior to Suzuki's ascent. No chipping or alteration has been done after the first free ascent. I think he placed the gear on lead during his ascent in 1988 but I am not sure, I will have to find the old magazine in which Suzuki is profiled, in it he talks about this climb. From what I understand, leading and placing the gear on Stingray is significantly more difficult than pinkpointing or toproping.
What I find is most interesting is that Stingray sat for over two decades without a repeat. The pain involved with torquing one's fingertips into the locks is probably a factor. Sonnie Trotter made the second ascent in May 2010, calling it probably the second hardest crack he had ever done. The man knows hard trad, after all, he made the first free ascent of Cobra Crack (5.14). Sonnie also said that while working the crack, he broke off the most crucial foothold, increasing the difficulty.
There is a forum post on Supertopo where Mike Paul tells of how Hidetaka Suzuki essentially snaked the first ascent from him. On one day, Paul arrived at his project to find Suzuki hanging from his tcu's. I think Paul deserves a lot of credit for his efforts on this proud line.