The Direct Route
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One of the longest, and certainly the most direct line up the tallest section of the cliff. This thing is a beauty. 4 total pitches, but a few of them are rope stretchers and some can be linked together. Follows a large corner/crack system for much of the way, once into the thick of it you'll realize that a lot of the crack feature would be hard to protect and/or the cracks are not continuous enough for it to be a traditional line. However, it does climb in a very traditional fashion with laybacking, jamming and stemming for much of the route. This was one of the last lines to be bolted on the Main Wall.
Pitch 1: 11b. Begins at the lowest point of the wall, after the trail drops down from lunch rock about 50-100 feet. The line starts up a ramp with a low first bolt and some choss negotiation for the first 50 feet or so (this is pretty typical for Eagle Peak). Look for the obvious large "hole" in the wall about 50-60 feet up just left of an obvious right facing corner system. As the wall starts to steepen, the rock quality just gets better and better. Gun up to the "hole", negotiate the first crux entering the corner and cruise up to the first 2 bolt belay on a nice small ledge. 100 feet.
Pitch 2. 11a/b. This pitch leaves the belay and heads back into the crack, which is on your left from the belay anchors(there is a variation that heads out onto the face to the right of the belay that's supposed to be 11c). Follow the crack, clipping bolts on the left, until you reach the crux where the crack feature ends and you must negotiate out onto the face on the left. Continue up the face until its possible to climb back into the right facing corner system again. Mantle into a small alcove at the start of the corner, clip one last bolt and move up and right out onto a pillar with a large bush and the second 2 bolt anchor. 100 feet.
Pitch 3: 10a. Continue up the corner on really fun juggy climbing the whole way (you will pass an optional 2 bolt belay after about 40 feet). Negotiate the roof crux after about 130 feet of climbing in the corner, and you'll be deposited on a small ledge with another 2 bolt anchor. 150 feet total. You can also continue up another 30 feet to a second higher anchor at the base of a huge bowl feature where the final pitch begins (actually recommended to move the belay here if you are planning to do the crux pitch).
Pitch 4: Two options from here. The right side arete of the large bowl feature is the 11+ crux pitch. The left side arete offers an easier variation with and 11b finish but it is a mixed pitch, requiring a few cams for the end (or face a large run-out on 5.8 terrain).
The right arete is recommended for full-value (and another awesome pitch). Climb up the right arete, negotiate the hard to read crux on vertical terrain, bust some classic slab and arete moves, and mantle up on top of the arete feature. From here climb up and back left around a bush to anchors on a small ledge just below the terra firma. 70 feet.
From lunch rock the trail drops downhill along the base of the wall. The Direct Route starts at the lowest point of the wall, about 50-100 feet downhill from lunch rock, just before a grassy, cactus covered ramp heads up and left towards the Sanctuary Corridor. Look for the obvious large "hole" feature about 50 feet up from the base. The route climbs up a ramp and guns right for the "hole" which is just left of the start of the right facing corner system.
20 quick draws (more if you plan to link pitches). A light rack to 2.5" if you plan to do the final mixed 11b pitch.
|Comments on The Direct Route
|By T.J. Esposito|
From: San Diego, CA
Jan 30, 2012
Must-do route (at least of the long left-side multipitch ones), was pretty fun.
P1 is basically the first pitch of Prime Time (or vice versa; same crux). Strong, but good body position makes it easier. Second crux pulling up to the belay. Grovel up the crack or search around for better holds.
P2 is pretty clean, has some of that rough scale in the crack. Crux is mostly technical, pay attention to hand and foot placement and it goes easily; big feet help (my size 12 were just wide enough to jam the wide crack). Don't venture out onto the face until you get to the top of the crack or you'll cheat yourself out of some fun problem solving. Second crux around a mantle-horn thing, I lead it in a more strenuous way than my second.
P3 is almost a full rope length; there are actually two anchors on the way, skip the first one (which has static line tied to it), pull over the roof and skip the next one, then go up to the third set that's between the dark ominous face on the left and bright arete on the right. Watch the loose conglomerate of little blocks maybe 30 feet or so below the roof, both of us pulled off rock here.
P4 We've done both finishes. Easier: the 11b is the final Prime Time pitch and we previously did it sans gear; there's a static handline for the final traverse (the "runout"), and you can tie in short and belay just to be safe. Looks like a face but the crux is eased with some arete technique. It's the brown face on the left of the belay. Harder: the actual 11d finish up the arete and slabs. Delicate clipping stances for the first few bolts, and a fun technique+strength crux. Was enjoyable trying to figure it out with my partner, probably hard to OS if it's at your limit but everything you need to do it is there, just unlock the moves. You venture out over empty space so falls at the crux are totally clean, albeit a little hard due the short amount of rope out.
Wear a helmet, avoid climbing under other parties, and make sure to announce rockfall; as with every climb I've done at Eagle Peak, pieces were still pulling off a few of these pitches with plenty more loose bits waiting to be yanked off.