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The Diagonal 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

   
Type:  Trad, 7 pitches, 860'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: 1962 Rutledge, Tom and Jane Morgan
Page Views: 12,259
Submitted By: Kevin Heckeler on Jul 6, 2011

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (29)
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Spending the night on the ledge at P4

Description 

P1 5.5 G - Climb the left facing corner (right side) of depression for 60 feet, then move across face to left leaning small ledge system (crux). Follow this up for a few moves, then traverse right across slabby terrain up to the fixed anchors, or instead of traversing right continue up the left leaning ledge and traverse above this area to a belay to the right of a roof on a slab (below some trees). 180 feet

P2 5.5 G (with variants up to 5.8 near top of pitch) - Continue up and right for 50 feet, then go straight up into a groove at the steeper section of rock. [to the left on the steeper section there are harder variations, including the left most corner/quasi-chimney that goes about 5.8] Climb this to the base of the ramp (crux). 180 feet

P3 5.3 G (PG runout?) - Climb ramp, following path of least resistance to a belay above a large block (fixed gear slung around large flake/boulder 50 feet above a tree in the corner). 150 feet

P4 5.5 G - Climb below the right facing/leaning corner above the belay for 25 feet (traversing up and right), then regain main corner and follow this to a short wall, climb this to the top anchors (crux) at the left end of a large ledge. 150 feet

P5 4th Class - Traverse right along large ledge 60 feet to some trees below a large right facing corner with a slanting roof about 15 feet up.

P6 5.8 G - Climb corner, then traverse under ceiling into a flared chimney (crux) and right facing corner. At top of corner at grassy ledge step left to the base of another right facing corner. [can sling large block leaning against wall] 70 feet

P7 5.8 G - Climb steep right facing corner to top fixed anchors. 80 feet

Location 

Approach via climber's path as described on the main Wallface page (follow cairns). Start at the top of the path near some birch trees, a flat rock, and where two corners form a shallow depression.

Descend using (2) 60m ropes. 4 Raps

Protection 

Some gear anchors, some fixed anchors.

Mostly G, Pitch 3 has some runout but because it's 5 grades easier than the hardest pitch it's considered 'safe' by ADK rock climbing standards.


Photos of The Diagonal Slideshow Add Photo
Pitch 2, The Diagonal
Pitch 2, The Diagonal
Pitch 3, The Diagonal
Pitch 3, The Diagonal
On top of the final pitch, rap anchors to climbers left
On top of the final pitch, rap anchors to climbers...
Pitch 4, The Diagonal
Pitch 4, The Diagonal
Looking down the ramp pitch...cramped belay for 3, but cool position! Nice to climb this without pants
Looking down the ramp pitch...cramped belay for 3,...
Pitch 6, The Diagonal
Pitch 6, The Diagonal
I believe we were slightly right of where we should have been on the second pitch. From this point we moved up right and to a small slab where there was a pin. Upon exiting this area it shot us out about 40 above the anchors on the ramp.
I believe we were slightly right of where we shoul...
Pitch 7, The Diagonal
Pitch 7, The Diagonal
Simon Thompson leading the final corner of Diagonal
Simon Thompson leading the final corner of Diagona...
Heading up the ramp
Heading up the ramp
Looking down the ramp
Looking down the ramp
The rappel took two 60 mm ropes. I believe there are 4 or 5 to get you to the bottom of the face. The one in the picture is the best one. Free hanging for most of it.
The rappel took two 60 mm ropes. I believe there a...
This is where we belayed the fist pitch from. There is a good seam behind me which and take a few smaller pieces of gear
This is where we belayed the fist pitch from. Ther...
View from base, Pitch 1 of The Diagonal.
View from base, Pitch 1 of The Diagonal.
Ramp belay station. Can't miss it.
Ramp belay station. Can't miss it.
Simon Thompson leading the final corner of Diagonal
Simon Thompson leading the final corner of Diagona...
and another rappel
and another rappel

Comments on The Diagonal Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 28, 2014
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Jul 6, 2011

To my amazement I found this route had not been added when I came here to add my tick...

Although it's probably stellar 4 star climbing for only the last 2 pitches, all of the route features quality climbing and great views. If there was a 3.5 star I'd give it that, rounding up it gets a 4.

- edit - After reading comments below, opting to leave out 'opinion' stuff about the grading and let each climber experience it for themselves.
By Greg Kuchyt
From: Richmond, VT
Jul 23, 2011

Anyone know what happened to the fixed anchor at the top of pitch 2? That big pillar used to be slung with a bunch of material but today nothing. We left cord and rings so we could rap down from No Man's a Pilot...interested to know the story on this.
By Tparis
From: Pottersville,New York
Jul 27, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Greg, there are two bolts just up and right of where we saw the cord and single rap ring. and the ledge just above the two bolts has a rap station with two bolts two rapid links and four rap rings.
By Greg Kuchyt
From: Richmond, VT
Jul 28, 2011

Tparis,
Which anchors are you talking about? Where was the cord and single rap ring? That is not the anchor I setup. It sounds like you're talking about the end of the Diagonal ramp before the 4th class move right to the first 5.8 pitch, am I mistaken?

The anchor I was referring to is the fixed anchor at the base of the Diagonal ramp. From my memory, there was a bunch of tat on a natural anchor there and the Lawyer/Haas topo shows a fixed anchor there. I left 12 feet of blue and pink cord with two rap rings slung around the 10-12 ft tall tower/pillar/horn at the base of the ramp (inline with the rappel line of No Man's a Pilot).
By Eric Kuenstner
From: Washington, DC
Nov 6, 2011

the first few pitches have a pretty alpine feel and may seem somewhat runout and not very straightforward to people not familiar with this sort of terrain. however, the last two pitches are stellar and protection is more than ample. pure adventure climbing!
By Andrew Mertens
From: Bay Area, CA
May 13, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

The bushwack off the top is for masochists only. Bring double ropes and rappel.
By Dave Schultz
From: Everett, Washington
Jul 8, 2012

Hi everyone, I climbed this on Saturday to the huge belay ledge at the top of pitch four and bivyed (spelling??)(climbed Roger's Rock in the morning), then climbed the two 5.8 pitches first thing this morning and was back to the parking lot by noon. I can say there is some rap tat in a bush at the top of P1 (if you stay close to the overhang on the left). There is some tat and rap rings at the start of the ramp, at the finish of P2. There is some tat and rings in the middle of the ramp, at the top of P3. There are the two bolts, and then above it, the double bolt/rap station at the top of P4. No fixed anchor at the end of P5 (the 4th class traverse), or at the top of P6 (though the block is still there and easily slung). At the top of P7 there are two rubber-ized bolts. We did the 5.8 variation to P2, and tried pulling some moves even further on the left (immediately to the right of the belay at the top of P1) but it spit me off twice, so we conceded to the 5.8. We rapped the route, from the previously mentioned rap stations. We also made the exit-right from the stream bed more clearly marked with cairns. All-in-all - this route lived up to my expectations, (pretty high), and the bivy made it out-of-this-world cool. I highly recommend it to anyone who can convince someone to do it with them.
By Simon Thompson
From: New Paltz, NY
Jul 25, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I thought the crux pitches were pretty easy for 5.8. I'm only a 5.8 leader and was expecting the pitches to be sandbagged based on what everyone told me. For me, the crux was on P6 entering the somewhat flared chimney. On P7 I followed the corner all the way up and found that it can pretty much be stemmed the entire way. Steep but "juggy" 5.8 with many rests.
By Nathan LaFevers
Sep 4, 2012

I'm not recommending this, but we found the rappels don't actually require 60m ropes. Doubled 50m ropes (or in our case a 50 and a 60) reach from anchor to anchor on the first three rappels. On the last 50m rappel to the base of the cliff, even with rope stretch, you'll need to scramble down some to get to the trail, but it is no more difficult than some sections of the approach trail.

To follow the lower 4 pitches as described here, I think you do need a 60m rope. But there is no reason why you need to follow these pitches exactly, so you could do the climb with a 50m rope too. On the lower part of the ramp you may have to look around for a good place to build an anchor, but anywhere else it is easy.
By Eric Chabot
From: Thetford Ctr, VT
Oct 14, 2013

On pitch 7, an alternative finish goes straight up where the classic finish goes right towards the final corner with the piton. You can avoid the stemming by climbing a hand-size crack and face holds (5.7/8). This finish is fun and well protected without that #4 cam that you carried all the way from the car.
By gtluke
Jul 28, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I did this route this weekend so here's my beta for someone like me who was stressed out on the gear and the grading.
I brought way too much gear, I stressed way too much over the 5.8 pitches.

P1: dirty route finding. Build a gear anchor.

P2: dirty route finding. Build a gear anchor.

P3: onto the ramp, walk up the ramp, super easy, tons of gear placements you won't need. Ends at a rap station on a boulder near the cliff and near a smallish tree.

P4: Slightly more difficult ramp, place a few pieces of gear, ends on a bolted station strangely in sight of another bolt station 10 feet above.

P5: Just walk around the corner

P6: Do a couple moves, place a few pieces. Sling a boulder to belay. The crux is currently protected by a fixed #4 cam of some weird manufacturer that's completely jammed right where you want it. There is also a crappy piton there. Or use your own #4, you don't need it again.

P7: 3 seconds of "moves" Each is only a move long and ends in a comfortable stance. Don't fear this section if you are a 5.8 climber. This seemed REALLY easy for a 5.8. Very comfortable, if there was a G++ rating I'd give it that. You could literally place gear at every inch of the climb.
Top out on a bolted station. extend it down over the edge to belay if you want to watch your buddy climb up.

Gear Beta:
I brought too much gear.
I used half of my trad rack. The 5.8 sections could basically be climbed only on nuts, it protects real easy on medium cams and nuts and a million questionable pitons.

If I was to do it again I would bring half of my rack. So what I would bring is:
#1 mastercam
.3 through #4 camalots
set of nuts
I just happen to have that #1 mastercam, it protects so easy I"m sure I could have used a nut instead or skipped that placement.
I WOULD bring that #4 again. I did place it a few times.
I used 9 draws on the 8th pitch. That's the most I used. I would probably still recommend 12 in case someone wants to clip more pitons on P8. The rest of the pitches were maybe 4 or 5 placements max.