BETA PHOTO: Erin on Too Tough To Die. Photo by Ryan, taken fr...
Super fun six pitch route up the left front side of the Sheepshead. The bulk of the climb is easy to moderate slab climbing protected by bolts. But each pitch has a distinct crux to keep the 9+/10a leader fully entertained. Expect runout sections on easier ground. The middle section of pitch one follows a wide crack system that requires trad gear. This is the only pitch that requires a trad rack. On pitch two, at the top of the brown streak, the bolt line forks. The bolts to the left are for a DIFFERENT route. Follow the new bolts that go up and right. Pitch three pulls a short steep headwall. The upper section of pitch four ascends a rounded slab. Bring several long slings to protect pitch five. Move the belay up and left for the last pitch which is outrageous (more mental than physical for both the leader and follower). Follow the bolt line on the left side of the final headwall. If you have any concerns, there are two alternate finishes on the right up the wide slot. One is a bolted right angling sporty pitch that is fun and just as hard (IMO) as the standard finish to TTTD. Can't comment on the chimney.
The main trail to the Sheepshead takes you to the start of Absinthe of Mallet. From this point hike left and up along the base of the Sheepshead towards Ewephoria. Continue past a large roof/overhang. Look for three closely spaced bolts that angle up and right toward a small tree. Above this tree, you can see a bolt on a small lichen covered roof. After the crack, you basically follow the bolt line. Descend by walking off the back side and contouring left. Follow cairns to a well worn trail. Make sure to bring your walk off shoes.
The majority of the route is bolted. All belay stations have fixed anchors. I carried 8 shoulder length slings and 6-8 quickdraws. For pitch one, I would recommend a single set of cams from medium fingers to a blue Camalot.
The trad stuff is around 5.8 or so. Nothing very extreme. It was easy to get the gear in. I tried this on a very light rack (4 pieces?) and wanted more but you don't need that much - I'd go with camalots from .75 to 3 and 3 - 4 large wires.
...I have just confirmed that you cannot link pitches 3 & 4 with a 70m rope... In case anyone was wondering. There is, however, a good tree about 30 feet past the actual anchors to belay from with a huge ants' nest to sit in (red ants) if you are stupid enough to try. They were fairly benign for red ants. :-) FYI-- I took a single rack from #1 Metolius to #3 Camalot and used everything except the #1 Camalot and #4 Metolius. I definitely didn't sew up the route, but wasn't run out either.
I think we slung a chickenhead or placed a piece of gear on all but the last pitch to manage some of the runouts. The belay is moved between pitches 5 and 6, it is very obvious and safe.
By arjunmh From: Phoenix, AZ Feb 22, 2011 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
A delightfully varied climb, which makes it really fun. The runout is so easy that a strong 10 leader won't even blink about it. Did every pitch twice and was glad of it given the cold and wind. Camping in the cave would add a great twist!
Is this the oft climbed alt final pitch for ewephoria? The beta pic makes it look as much. If so, what would y'all rate/grade the final pitch? I'm giving it *** and 9+ based on awkward traverse and awesome exposure.
I whooped and hollered my way up leading TTTD yesterday- what a fun route! So much fun it seems like it should be illegal. My 5'5" belay partner found the cruxes on P2 and P3 pretty height dependent though (my 6'3" wingspan didn't notice).
As always, thanks Geir for the amazing topo- what a great reference!