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Las Estrellas Canyon North Wall
Excellent route that takes an inspiring line up the entire steep North wall of las Estrellas Canyon. The route traverses from left (West) to right (East) as it goes up the wall.
p1 5.11b Very technical low, then eases up a bit.
p2 5.7 Take the slab/gully leading right
p3 5.10d The 'Hash Mark' pitch, goes up and right into the incredible dihedral.
p4 5.11d EXCELLENT pitch, very fun, right and then straight up into the crux.
p5 5.10b Traverses up and right to a ledge.
p6 5.12a Traverses right and then embark on the crux straight up!
p7 5.11b Very steep climbing up big tufas
p8 5.9 Lame pitch, sharp.
p9 5.7 Worse than the last pitch, not recommended - sharp. The summit is very cool though, and you do have the entire wall below you, so pick your poison.
Descent: Rappel the route. Be very careful not to knock off rocks as the upper half of this route is above the Club Mex wall, which can be very busy. It is possible to jump onto a different rappel line that goes straight down the wall, however this is right above the Club Mex wall. Many of these pitches are traversing, so getting down can be kindof a bitch, but it's more than worth the excellent climbing.
Start is about a 10 min. walk up the trail on the North Wall of Las Estrellas canyon. The route starts on a black face next to an obvious gnarly old tree stump.
Quickdraws. I can't remember how many we brought.
Topping out on the upper ramps of the wall.
Hank exploring on the 4th pitch.
Hank bat hooking and drilling on the crux pitch.
Looking at the mantle on the Hash Marks pitch.
|By Bryan Howell|
From: San Francisco, CA
Apr 16, 2008
Hey Ben -- when you describe the last two pitches as "bad," do you mean bad as in bad climbing, or as in "large chunks of bad rock may fall badly on your head, killing you real bad"?
Apr 20, 2008
Bryan - We removed all the grande choss we could on the multiple trips up the route so...the upper 3 or 4 pitches were worked over less than the lower ones. Nonetheless, I feel you will encounter more loose rock on Space Boyz than you will here.
We worked it hard with the objective of making a route that was reasonably safe for the Potrero and less than 5.12. Both Hank and I felt we succeeded but subsequent ascents thought the rating a bit stiff for 11.d but then again we thought pitch one was 10.d. 'Course that was after an evening of drinking at Homero's.
Ben - feel free to chime in here if you wish and both Hank and I appreciate you getting our names right! Glad you liked the route enough to write it up.
From: Denver, CO
Apr 21, 2008
The rock is solid throughout the entire route, especially for potrero.
The only reason I don't necessarily recommend the last 2 pitches is because the rock is sharp, you are cactus dodging, and the climbing is easy. There is some cool exposure and a good feeling of the entire estrellas wall below you, but these top two pitches are not too great in comparison to the spectacular pitches below.
With that in mind, the summit block is a very cool spot, again, do what you want - maybe I am just being a woos about sharp rock.
Props to Hank and Keith for putting a beautiful line up the best looking wall in Potrero! Very well done.
From: Petaluma California
Oct 24, 2010
This winter I did the whole route with Debbie. The register at the top didn't look like it had been touched since 2003 (the last deteriorating entry).
Fantastic route. BUT, after the close bolts of the first 7 (6??) pitches, the eighth out of the cave was a rude surprise. (OK the first pitch is slightly run out) My belayer was 85 pounds wet, and the last clip is tenuous and far enough above the bolt below to hit something at in the cave. Take care and choose right, grasshopper.
The last two pitches are unpleasant, but the perch at the top is worthwhile.
From: Denver, CO
Dec 26, 2010
Tried the route yesterday 12/25/2010. Onsighted first six pitches, mostly solid rock and fun technical sequential climbing, we liked each one of those. The seventh overhanging pitch (5.11b in the book) stopped us completely however. The runout seemed a bit scary with potential for hitting a ledge underneath and the climbing itself felt way hard for 11b. Felt at least like a solid 5.12 to me. Lots of fragile rock as well. I'm wondering if any of the crucial holds (and bolts?) came off.
We had to bailout pathetically.
As far as rapels go there's an opportunity to straight line down from the top of 5th (5.10) pitch to the top anchors of one of the open projects going from the ledge above Club Mex. Be careful as 70m rope just barely makes it there and anchor isn't well visible from above. If you choose to rap down the route bring some bail binners, some anchors miss rings.
Overall great route and excellent job on first ascent, Hank & Keith
Update: Just studied the picture 'Hank bat hooking and drilling on the crux pitch.' The set of holds above Hank's head is missing now and only contains a small edge in the lower part. I'm a bit confused on the name of the picture though, as from description and the number of pitches it has to be 11b and not the 12a pitch