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The Obelisk
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Flake Route, The 
Handle With Care 
Southeast Buttress 
West Face 

The Flake Route 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 700'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Rick Smith, Herb and Eve Laeger
Page Views: 414
Submitted By: Bryan G on Aug 8, 2012
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Excellent climbing in the steep corners of pitch 2...

Description 

Of the three climbs we sampled on the Obelisk, this was the favorite of both my partner and I. This route is continuously challenging and interesting. The Flake Route follows the many flakes and corners which form a very large and very obvious left-facing corner system near the right side of the North Face. The crux of the route is likely the route-finding and there are a lot of possible ways to climb this route with some being more difficult than others.

The first pitch will probably be the crux. There are a lot of roofs and overhangs low on this portion of the wall and I led a wandering pitch through them. I started off to the left of the main corner system above and made a rising traverse up and right passing the steep sections as I could. Above this the wall gets sort of blank and I cut back left to the furthest-left left-facing corner/flake with a thin crack behind it. I got a small cam and nut in the crack and then climbed out onto the arete which is 5.9. This led up to the large sloping ledge about 210ft up where I made my first belay.

From the right side of the ledge climb a 5.7 squeeze chimney. Above this you have lots of options. Climb the various flakes/corners heading straight up (there are also a couple good cracks that cut across the chicken-head studded face to the left). I found a belay about 150ft up atop a square cut ledge.

The next pitch also has many options; the easiest is probably moving off to the right. If you keep heading right you may be able to escape onto easier terrain, otherwise you will find yourself at a large belay ledge with lots of small blocks on it and a offwidth corner to the right.

From this ledge you climb a crack leading off the left side of the ledge to a roof. There was a fixed TCU below the roof. Climb over the roof using some pretty good holds (5.8) and then I think the only way to keep the climbing 5.9 and under is to traverse hard right over to chicken-head terrain. Heading up into the large roofs and overhangs above looked improbable and sort of dirty.

One more pitch of 4th class (same as the final pitch of Handle With Care) leads to the top.


Protection 

Pro to 3", some extra small cams and wires are useful.



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