The Happy Gnome
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If swinging leads, let your partner lead the first pitch, all the even numbered pitches are awesome!
P1: (5.7) Scrambling and easy dihedral climbing to a bolted anchor.
P2: (5.8+) Continue up, then a long traverse left. Climb the slightly runout face to an alcove belay.
P3: (5.7) Traverse up and right past a small tree to a hanging belay adjacent to the pitch 4 traverse. Hard route finding here.
A (5.9) variation to pitch 4 requires a slightly lower belay, the variation starts with a traverse left under a small roof, then continue up along a finger crack to join the standard pitch 4 at the crux roof.
P4: (5.8+) Make an improbable traverse to the left (small cams in horizontals), then pull a small roof (crux) to belay at a tree.
P5: (5.7) Climb up to an enormous ledge (lunch ledge).
P6: (5.8) Walk to end of lunch ledge (climbers right), follow corner systems on the ridge to the top. You will pass an old ring piton and a bolt. Good exposure on this pitch.
Standard rack: doubles Camalots (0.4-1), singles 2-3.
Chuck leading the 5.9 variation of pitch 4.
Tamara leading pitch 1. Notice the side by side d...
Nancy on the 3rd pitch of Happy Gnome
|Comments on The Happy Gnome
From: Morrison, CO
May 15, 2007
This is an excellent route!; one of the best long-ish moderates. The second pitch is stellar. We were able to link some pitches with a 60m rope. We linked P1 and P2 without any jiggery-pokery. I also linked P3 & P4, but this is super-not-recommended for several reasons. The first reason is that its not even remotely safe. Its not possible to link these pitches and place adequate gear (unless you have double ropes?), because if you did place adequate gear, the rope drag would be impossible. The second reason is that it doesn't save you anything. Pitches 5 & 6 are too long to link (with a 60m rope), so anyway you slice it, you have to climb at least 4 pitches. Since this is the case, it would be best to climb P3 as is, and link P4 & P5 instead. This provides the advantage of avoiding the P4 sling belay from the tree, which was relatively unpleasant.
There is a lot of fixed gear on the route. I suspect it would be pretty easy to rap from the top of the 4th pitch. It may even be possible to rap from that point with one 60m rope.
From: Morrison, CO
May 15, 2007
Oh ya, some notes on the "hard route-finding" on P3: From the P2 Belay, climb up in the big right-facing corner until you are even with the small tree, which is 20 feet to the right of the dihedral. Getting off the belay ledge is a bit strenuous, so try not to land on your belayer!. Once even with the tree, traverse right, and slightly up (.5 Camalot placement). I wound up above the tree, and down-climbed easily to the ledge with the tree. Note a possible rap or belay anchor here.
From the tree, traverse right and slightly DOWN, along the easy ledge, for about 30 feet. Eventually you reach a broken area, where the rock has more fractures, and is less steep. There are a few loose blocks here, so be careful. Climb up and slightly right along the right margin of this feature for about 20 feet, then continue traversing right on easier terrain, until you reach a very un-Sandias-like, beautiful, splitter finger crack. This crack is perfectly straight, and offers excellent pro. This crack is only a few feet from the south arete of the Yataghan. Follow this crack for ~40 feet to the belay, just before the traverse left.
On the traverse, I started in the highest horizontal fissure, but after about 15 feet I down-climbed ~3 feet to the next lowest horizontal break. The crux seemed to be getting established in the first horizontal, right a tthe start of the traverse.
|By George Perkins|
From: Los Alamos, NM
Sep 7, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c
The 5.10b Prandoni/McFarland direct variation to pitches 3+4 is an excellent 160' pitch.
Stay in the left-facing corner above the 2nd belay, passing a few tricky sections which you pass by moving just a move or two out onto the face. When you reach the big roof, traverse right, clip a 1/4" bolt above the lip of the roof, and keep traversing right to get to the 5.8+ exit through the roof, which is where you rejoin the standard Happy Gnome pitch 4 and belay at the tree just above the roof. The traversing part under the roof is 5.10 and not the best protected, so both leader and follower are looking at significant pendulum falls. ('Hikers&Climbers Guide' shows that one can also traverse right from the dihedral when you're about 20' below the roof, moving past a 2-piton anchor in the middle of the face- I did not try this, but it did not appear to be much better protected or easier)
Dec 3, 2008
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c R
The 5.7R var. to the 2nd pitch I recall being rather spicy... poor pro with committing slab moves.
|By Rob Aumer|
From: Wheat Ridge, CO
Aug 21, 2011
Don't follow my gear!!
This past weekend, my climbing partner and I got off route in during the 3rd pitch. We miss the traverse right and ended up high into the large right facing corner. About 30m up from the second belay a human size block came off, nearly wiping out both of us. We were pretty shook up and decided to bail. Anyone who is not familiar with this route should be careful not to follow our gear (silver and red camalots, and a yellow stopper) thinking its the route.
PS. If there are any brave and kind souls who are going up there and wouldn't mind retrieving my gear, please email me. The silver cam took a 40 footer so it make be trashed, but I would love the other two pieces back.
|By Paul Davidson|
Sep 8, 2011
RB repeated this route earlier this year (early spring) and had two large blocks come off while doing it the standard way. He felt there were a number of other loose things on it. He's done this route many times over the years and it was only this year that the looseness showed up.
Very strange... Perhaps its freeze-thaw?
|By Bill Lawry|
From: New Mexico
Sep 13, 2011
"Perhaps its freeze-thaw?"
Interesting. Maybe it has something to do with the multiple days of extreme cold we had last winter. Perhaps the rock got colder deeper promoting some detachment through abnormal shrinkage inside?