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Muralla Grande
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Clarks Cramps 
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Little Yellow Jacket 
Out to Lunch 
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Second Coming, The 
Thunderbird 
Warpy Moople 

Thunderbird 

YDS: 5.12- French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ British: E5 6a

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 600', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.12a/b French: 7b Ewbanks: 26 UIAA: VIII+ British: E5 6a [details]
FA: William Penner and Mick Schein, September 2006
Page Views: 1,642
Submitted By: Williampenner on Mar 4, 2008
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
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Finishing the crux pitch of Thunderbird on the FA.

Description 

Starts at the head of a small gully 60 ft away from the start of Little Yellow Jacket and ~100 ft (a couple switchbacks) below Second Coming. The route begins in very obvious right-facing dihedral and climbs generally straight up for 6 pitches to the top of Muralla.

P1 (95 ft 5.11-): Climb an obvious right-facing dihedral and pull a roof to a fixed pin below a second roof. Back up pin with nut and traverse right under roof to belay on ledge with another fixed pin.

P2 (90 ft 5.11): Climb a right-facing dihedral under a large roof past a bolt on the face. Turn roof at right end, clip another bolt, and then go left and up after a long reach to some large edges eventually reaching easier terrain and a large ledge for the belay.

P3 (110 ft 5.10+): Climb approximately 10 ft left and up to groove/left-facing corner. Follow the groove systems up and right, eventually passing a fixed pin and bolt. From the bolt head up and left to a one-bolt belay at a small ledge below a roof.

P4 (90 ft 5.9): Traverse left past a fixed pin and turn the left side of a roof into a left-facing dihedral. Follow the left-facing dihedral up and then go right to a ledge. From the ledge, head straight up to small roof and climb finger crack to an excellent belay ledge with two bolts.

P5 (100 ft 5.12-): Climb up and right to a fixed pin that can be backed up with some gear to the right (The groove to the right is Little Yellow Jacket). From the fixed pin, head up and left into a small seam and follow it upwards to a bolt. Placing a long sling on gear in the seam will help significantly with rope drag. Follow the obvious climbing up past 3 bolts, passing the crux and eventually gaining a thin crack that leads up to a large belay ledge.

P6 (160 ft 5.11-): Traverse right to a flake, then go up to a bolt located on Little Yellow Jacket. After clipping the bolt, head left and up into a groove/dihedral, following this feature until reaching a large pine tree atop the climb.

Established ground-up in September 2006.


Location 

Standard Muralla approach/descent


Protection 

Standard rack up to #2 camalot, doubles from #0 TCU to 0.5 camalot, and small wires

A #3 camalot is optional for the belay at the top of the 2nd pitch



Photos of Thunderbird Slideshow Add Photo
Mick trying to stay warm at the belay. A very cold day on the FA of Thunderbird.
Mick trying to stay warm at the belay. A very cold...
Comments on Thunderbird Add Comment
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By MattL
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 4, 2008
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ E5 6b R

Good route, crux pitch is definitely the highlight. Don't get too scared by the R rating on pitch 2. The bolt is just before the crux, and the runout is on easier terrain. Technical face climbing with great exposure on the 12- pitch. The 11a last pitch seemed like it could be harder for someone who is vertically challenged. Some of the belay stations with single bolts had mediocre gear placements, might be nice to have another bolt. Overall though, definitely worth doing.

By Williampenner
From: The 505
Oct 6, 2009

Mick and I added a bolt to the R section on the second pitch. The likelihood of taking a factor 2 fall or hitting a ledge or your belayer is now greatly reduced. Still exciting though.

By LeeAB
Administrator
From: ABQ, NM
Aug 23, 2010
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ E5 6b PG13

The belay at the top of the 2nd pitch is more up and left on a left trending ramp.

I agree that some of the anchors could be supplemented and would be more than willing to do the work.

Did a nice link up between this and Little Yellow Jacket, call it Thunder...Jacket. Climb Thunderbird to the anchor just below the crux pitch then traverse about 10' right into the spectacular 4th pitch of LYJ. You could also link up after the bolt on the third pitch into the pin on the third pitch of LYJ, since this is in an area of find your own adventure climbing (the pin is about the same height as the anchor).

By Williampenner
From: The 505
Aug 23, 2010

Lee,

I think the Thunderbird/Little Yellow Jacket link-up you are referring to seems like a great outing with more sustained 5.11 climbing than available on LYJ normally.

I have changed the way I do LYJ and now do the runout 5.7 (that usually started the 4th pitch) as the last bit of the third pitch, ending up at the 2-bolt anchor on Thunderbird below its crux pitch. This avoids the possibility of a factor-2 fall and makes it easy to see the leader climb the final portion of the roof traverse and reach the belay on LYJ's 4th pitch. Way better for windy days.

If you were up there on Sunday, did you see the paraglider crash near the base of the Muralla? I watched it happen and am amazed they were not injured.


By LeeAB
Administrator
From: ABQ, NM
Aug 23, 2010
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ E5 6b PG13

Maybe you could start on Little Yellow Jacket and go to the 2 bolt anchor below the crux then do that pitch, call it Little...bird Jacket, sine you end up doing the last pitch of LYJ.

I was up there in Saturday so I missed the para glider action you are talking about, though it would have been interesting to watch, I guess.

By John Kear
From: Albuquerque, NM
Aug 27, 2010
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a PG13

In order to avoid a factor 2 fall on the anchor when leaving the 3rd belay on LYJ, there is a nice slot for a blue tcu or green alien size piece just up and left of the belay. It makes the traverse a little less serious and protects the belay from the big fall factor. Key beta really!

By Stu Ritchie
From: Denver
Nov 6, 2010

Visited the Crest for the first time last week and tried to do LYJ. I think we ended up doing a hybrid: 1st pitch of LYJ, traversed way left to the corner, climbed up past a bolt on face to a small perch, reached left past a small 'horn' to a second bolt, long reach and up left to a belay on a ledge(Pitch 2 of Thunderbird?), two more shorter pitches to 2 bolt belay, and then up and into traverse pitch on LYJ and off the top pitch. I thought the second pitch was way hard for 5.10a as well as a bit PG13! After reading this description, I think we linked parts of both routes. All together a very good route and a cool introduction to the crest!

By John Kear
From: Albuquerque, NM
Nov 6, 2010
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a PG13

Stu
You definitely weren't on the 2nd pitch of LYJ it is only 10a. Sounds like you traversed into the second pitch of Thunderbird which is 11b and a little run out on easier climbing after the crux. Other folks have definitely done link ups of these two routes since they are fairly close to one another and end up on the same last pitch anyway. In fact when Thunderbird was being put up the first ascensionists used LYJ's first and second pitches to access the upper wall because the first two pitches of their route was wet which is often the case during the summer monsoon season.