The Black Pearl
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In this unassuming little nook lies one of the best cracks you'll find in the park. The Black Pearl is a classic old-school style testpiece. Superb ebony rock plus a variety of interesting moves and sizes make this one of the best single pitch routes you'll find. I would give it 6 stars if I could.
There are 2 crux sections but the climbing is fairly consistent the entire way. While much of the climbing is wider, the occasional face hold or foot make the climb a more elegant and varied but still physical endeavor.
The climb lies almost directly across the canyon from the Cloud Tower route. Approach up trails as you would to access the brownstone or rainbow wall. As you enter the canyon there is an red-dirt trail that leads out of the wash going up the center of the canyon. Continue on this trail until you pass a huge recently fallen pine on your right. Just after this pine cut rightward off the trail. Go down a grassy slope into a wash. Cross the wash and make your way into a dark recess. The Pearl is on the lefthand side of the recess.
From the top of the route you can traverse back (left) to a clump of bushes with a long rope extending over the edge. A double rope rap gets you down.
1/2 set of nuts
Singles of small cams to #.75 camalot
Doubles from #1-#4 camalot
Optional #5 and #6 camalot
Anchors at the top take a large cam or some finesse with nuts.
DeAngelo heads for the top.
Karsten, Larry, and the bottom of "Black Pearl." ...
Upper portion of "Black Pearl"
BETA PHOTO: Showing a little more of the route's context.
Karsten starts up the magnificently varnished Blac...
A short finger crack to open the ball.
The beginning of a long and intimate friendship wi...
Approaching the bulge of the upper crux section.
Coming to grips with the bulge.
Established in the Black Pearl's upper crack. Jus...
|Comments on The Black Pearl
|By Larry DeAngelo|
May 11, 2008
I was just up here again and noticed the rappel anchor was already showing some signs of sun bleaching. It wouldn't be a bad idea for the next folks up here to reinforce the anchor. This needs about 30 feet or so of webbing or rope. If you are willing to do a little easy downclimbing, you could descend with just a single 60-meter rope.
On a down note, I noticed that somebody has been up here real recently with a saw or pruning shears. The result was unsightly, unnecessary, and illegal.
Oct 17, 2008
I found the squeeze chimney impassable today. I need to be related to Mr. Herbst to make this climb feel like 5.9 or I must be just a wimp. What a beautiful looking route. This one goes on my Revenge Tick List.
Okay got revenge today. I don't know if it was intended but was able to skip the squeeze chimney by climbing out on the face and following a set of huecos for about 25 feet or so. Stayed in the crack chimney the rest the way. I could give it 5.9 now. But you need 5. effort to get this one.
Backed up the faded rope rappel with nice new cord and a rap ring.