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By K-Tanz
Jan 14, 2014
Leading up pitch 2 of Moby Dick, Cochise Stronghold, AZ

Hey all ,
I have never been to Tahquitz but am looking to get out there this weekend. I am interested in climbing "Fingertrip" (among others) on the West face but can't seem to find any descent Beta. What is the descent like for this? Walkoff, rap stations etc? Any help would be really appreciated!


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By Ryan Strickland
From Idyllwild, CA
Jan 14, 2014

It's not difficult if you know where to start.

From the top of Fingertrip, walk up the slabs and blocky terrain for a few minutes until you see two garage-sized boulders with bushes and trees growing in between and around them off towards the right. Scramble up easy blocks between these two large boulders. As soon as you are between them, immediately go down and right, through some small trees to a short steep section. Down-climb this using chimney moves with giant handholds. From here, you zig-zag down the rock on ledges, with a few butt-slides. Generally trend left when facing out on your way down. Once you reach the ground, follow a loose trail down to the Open Book and hang a right towards your bags.

I highly recommend you buy a guidebook from Nomad Ventures in Idyllwild. It'll be worth the investment so you can be sure you're climbing the route you want.


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By Xan Calonne
From Studio City, Ca
Jan 15, 2014

+1 for Ryan's descent info, about as un-cryptic as possible. If you're on track there is one exciting moment on the good holds Ryan described and otherwise you're totally solid. +2 for buying the guide. I feel that climbing beyond the first pitch of many routes at Tahquitz can seem confusing as there are many seemingly viable options of ascent, make sure you pick the right one for your ability!


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By dholte
Jan 15, 2014

this is pretty helpful



if someone is just above you / below you on fingertrip, as is often the case, you could tell them you've never done the descent and perhaps they'll wait for you / you wait for them.

also, if you miss the traverse on the second pitch you end up on some 5.11 area, so study that topo! have fun! hows the weather out there by the way?


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By fossana
From Boulder, CO
Jan 15, 2014
West Overhang

See guide book preview pages 38-9 for another description with topo. There's also a photo of the boulder that marks the start of the friction descent here.

I would bring a copy of the N Gully descent just in case. It's definitely worthwhile having a guidebook there.


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By Ralph Swansen
From Denver CO
Jan 15, 2014
Escalante Canyon

I agree, get the guidebook. Very difficult place to find the routes. most difficult that I've visited. And that sucks after hiking all the way up that sucker. Great climbs tho.


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jan 15, 2014

The Friction Route descent is difficult to find if you have never done it before - even with the guidebook and video.

It would behoove you to have someone show you your first time.


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By K-Tanz
Jan 15, 2014
Leading up pitch 2 of Moby Dick, Cochise Stronghold, AZ

Thanks for all the beta!
I am constantly lost so I will take all the help I can get. Sounds like I will be starting early in anticipation of some cryptic route finding!


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Jan 15, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

K-TANZ.... just don't repeat the "Fitchens Folly".


Have fun, it might be windy.


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By dholte
Jan 15, 2014

Also, there is USUALLY a train kern by the start of the friction descent, right before you have to downclimb a small 4th class-5.0 chimney, the main issue is that this trail kern is usually ~6inches tall.


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By K-Tanz
Jan 15, 2014
Leading up pitch 2 of Moby Dick, Cochise Stronghold, AZ

I don't need to repeat Fitchen's Folly as I am a folly first ascentionist. Like your friends who totally saw Radiohead in a little pub in England when they were taking a year off to find themselves, once someone has catastrophically messed something up I just secure my cashmere scarf, button my P-coat, and turn my P-F Flyers around...that said what is "Fitchen's Folly"? I would hate a repeat.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Jan 15, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

K-Tanz..... I like your attitude.

I will tell you. Look in the Guide Book for the route "Fitchen's Folly"? The old book told the true story, I don't know about the new ones, cause I don't really go look at new GB's ....

But Joe Fitchen was/is a climber from way back in the day, even befor me.... He was looking for the proper way down, in the winter, he slipped on the snow before he got to the decent and fell all the way to the bottom!!! He walked away unhurt..... later in the spring they put up a climb that followed the "line" of his decent....

now you know the Rest of The Story.


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By AK123
From Chapel Hill, NC
Feb 3, 2014
PMRP in October, RRG

Fingertrip was both my first trad lead & first time at Tahquitz, it's awesome so definitely get on it & have fun! Waiting at the base for a few other parties to crawl up, along with my own lack of efficiency at that time (crawling, I'm sure), meant I was forced to find & descend the friction descent in the dark. No good newbie would be in the true spirit without having dead headlamp batteries, so this was all done with my iphone's flashlight app (held in one hand :)

My partner had done the descent previously, but couldn't remember specifics of where it started, & definitely had no definitive idea in the dark...We lived, & laugh about it now, but I'm sure it wasn't type 1 fun at the time.

With all that said, it's only a four pitch route (usually now will link the 2nd & 3rd pitches, though-barely makes it with a 60, maybe even a bit short depending), so as long as you don't start mid afternoon like we did (another story) in efforts that you'll be doing the walk off in the dark with no one around, you'll be solid. When I climbed the route this summer, we actually just kept scrambling over easy terrain (2nd-3rd, maybe? Easy enough to where my partner was wearing sandals) to the top of Tahquitz, which took maybe 10 minutes from the top of Fingertrip. It'll be obvious when you top out, as there's an easy, non-exposed trail winding to the right (same side as the friction descent, & this trail eventually meets up with the bottom of the friction descent/trail back to the base of the routes). Bottom line, despite the minimal additional scramble/longer time, if you're in doubt or for some reason are unsure of the friction descent/happen to be up there alone (or in the dark, for style points), I think that what I described above is a good option. Hopefully you're about covered on friction descent beta...With that info & knowledge of the alternative route I described above, you don't have to go to sketchy town.

Sorry if that was long & somewhat unnecessary, but that experience seemed to fitting with your post to not share. Cheers & have fun!


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By AK123
From Chapel Hill, NC
Feb 3, 2014
PMRP in October, RRG

P.S. -What I described is summed up in the "Maiden Buttress" page on MP, as some of the longer routes near there (left of finger trip, facing the rock), top out here & use the alternative walk-off trail. Pasted the description from that page below for you. Blatantly obvious that I miss Tahquitz!

Maiden Buttress forms the left skyline, as seen from Lunch Rock. The longer routes finish on the gentle shoulder to the southwest of the summit. From here, the easiest way down is to scramble up to the summit, then (Class 2/3) southeast to the saddle, and then take the trail clockwise all the way around the rock. A quicker and shorter way is to descend the Friction Route. This starts just east of a large boulder at the upper end of the saddle, and goes down troughs and ledges until it reaches the ground. Itís easy once you know the way, but be careful if you havenít done it before Ė some people have gotten off route and taken bad falls.


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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Feb 3, 2014
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Kali. Alabama Hills, CA.

FYI.... the best and quickest way down ... down climb "the trough."

once you have done it a few times.... its easy.


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By AK123
From Chapel Hill, NC
Feb 3, 2014
PMRP in October, RRG

I'd agree, but not particularly comfortable recommending down soloing routes unless unless I know it's a reasonable suggestion for a given climber's skill set & experience...Nothing against the suggestion, but first time at Tahquitz aiming to climb Fingertrip may not be the appropriate to down climb the Trough (I'm sure I wouldn't have felt totally comfortable with that back when I first climbed here)...

For all I know the OP is an OG Stone Massa solo cruising the super gnar in his sleep...
In case not, just trying to keep the recommendations (& those reading them) as safe as possible, I guess, to send another day.

Have fun out there!


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By Pete Bohler
Feb 3, 2014

That video is somewhat helpful, but the world looks pretty different (and a lot dizzier) through a GoPro.

If you're attempting to watch it, the descent starts somewhere around 2 minutes in.

I've never thought the descent was very tricky--it follows lines of weakness all the way down, and there are good holds. It's a bit difficult to locate from above, but I found it on my own the first time by studiously following the guidebook description.


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By AK123
From Chapel Hill, NC
Feb 3, 2014
PMRP in October, RRG

I feel pretty stupid having not watched that video before posting...All of the info I gave you is irrelevant. Don't worry about watching the video, just put the audio on your ipod or phone to have with you for the descent...And let the music guide your soul. ...Or make you want to jump.

The video description apologizes for the "haze," but doesn't care about murdering our ears. Also, despite offering written beta to help keep it safe & acceptable sources like images, did I really just watch a video with blaring techno of the "4th" class walk off at one of my favorite crags? ...

On a serious note, I'm looking forward to the video's sequel, 25 minute GoPro POV Xtreme TopDogging 5.10a/X featuring Eminem's "Loose Yourself."

Another (probably more accurate?) perspective, I'm guessing...Is that I'm an asshole, & it was kind of these dudes to make a video with awesome techno music to help out newer climbers at Tahquitz. Cheers.


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By K-Tanz
Feb 4, 2014
Leading up pitch 2 of Moby Dick, Cochise Stronghold, AZ

I did indeed make it down alive! I was kind of expecting cairns but they were conspicuously absent. It took a little while to find but happened eventually! I actually spotted the descent a little ways away and told my partner "if we can't find this descent I think that system of trees and ledges will totally get us down!"

And I am an old school trad master. I climb strictly with hemp ropes and all I eat before I shred the gnar is gasoline soaked ganja from that Yosemite plane crash. After I rope up and chop come bolts with my bare hands I make dub step beats with nothing but uprooted trees which I slam against my abs.

Thanks for the beta though guys! Can't wait to get back here. Temps were perfect in the sun!


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By Pete Bohler
Feb 10, 2014

Not to hijack the thread, but how was the weather up there?

Thanks!


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By Ryan Strickland
From Idyllwild, CA
Feb 10, 2014

Weather is perfect. Spent all day yesterday up there climbing on the south face. No snow on descent or the entire south face. I'm pretty sure we were the only party on the rock.

The north face is probably out of commission for most people until later in the season; there is snow on most ledges. The west face will be hit or miss, in regards to snow, depending on how much sun the route gets. For instance, the Trough and Angel's Fright see almost no sunshine at this time of year.


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