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Ivan Couch drilling on the first ascent, pitch 1.
This ultra-classic tour of the Sunshine Face is perhaps the best face climb of it's grade at the rock, and long ago an ascent was a rite of passage that gained you entry into the fabled Stonemasters.
Scramble up to a ledge with a pine tree directly below Log Ledge, a sloping shelf with a dead log, and locate the start which lies just right of the pine tree.
P1) Climb past three bolts (5.11a) to the right side of Log Ledge and a 2 bolt belay.
P2) Traverse straight right, clip a bolt and make crux moves (5.11a) to another bolt. Higher the climbing eases considerably but wanders a bit (full-length runners are handy on the bolts to reduce rope drag) to gain a two bolt semi-hanging belay.
P3) Straight up (5.10a) off the belay to reach a bolt, then slightly left to clip the first bolt of Sundance's 3rd pitch and then up and right past a final bolt to the top. Gear belay in cracks at the top.
Descend via Bye Gully or by rappelling back down the face (not recommended if the wall is crowded).
bolts, gear to 2", include some full-length runners
Terry Emerson, 7th ascent of Valhalla '73
|By Chris Owen|
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Mar 11, 2006
Took a plunge off the first pitch once, slipped off the black glassy knob and ended up back on the ground (or should I say ledge) - no harm done except to my pride. Got back on the horse and did okay - thin and technical is pitch 1...
|By Adam Stackhouse|
Nov 19, 2006
As I recall, when Dan'O and I did this route, we kinda got off route on the first pitch vearing left over to Bukatude protecting the 11a move on that pitch (there were no bolts when we did it) with a few dubious sliding nuts under some flakes. The rest of route, was straight forward, and well protected (even by today's standards). Very much an ultra-classic, with a great heritage. P2 is "da bomb!"
|By Bruce Diffenbaugh|
Feb 5, 2008
Another 70's classic one best lines on this face.Just think about doing this route with 70's shoes and gear????? This route has been made easer due to today's shoe technology.
|By Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)|
Apr 18, 2008
Is this really 11a? It felt softer when I did it in 1989.
ls, is there still a bloody great tree sitting in the middle of one of the first pitches? That was the weirdest thing......
From: Visalia, Ca.
May 5, 2008
Difficulty right next to bolts gets easier as you move up. Totally classic for the whole climb.
|By Andy Laakmann|
From: Bend, OR
May 27, 2008
A classic for sure. Cool moves between features, rather than the typical "can you stick" slab. Well protected where you need it, though the crux on the 2nd pitch comes a bit up and right of the bolt. If Sundance feels comfortable, than by all means jump on Valhalla - you won't be disappointed. Be sure to bring lots of long slings for the 2nd pitch, or the rope drag will suck. And on the first pitch, your follower can be in for quite a swing if they blow it after unclipping the second bolt (still 10+). We didn't try it, but it looks like you could pull the rope through and drop it straight down to your follower and it will make it much safer.
|By Darrell Hensel|
Jul 9, 2008
For some extra value added, the first two pitches can be combined into a one pitch lead. Do not clip the first belay anchors, and be sure to make liberal use of slings to reduce rope drag. Use a 60m rope, 70m preferrable.
|By Fat Dad|
From: Los Angeles, CA
Jan 22, 2009
The Troll, an old Idyllwild local, used to say that the black knob on the first pitch was time released for 30 seconds. He's right. Also, despite the encouragement above, don't jump on this just because you've done Sundance. It's WAY harder and the second pitch crux has been the scene of a couple of busted ankles.
|By John Long|
Jan 3, 2010
It's really amazing how much shoe technology has changed all of these climbs, especially ones like Valhalla. In the early 70s, pre-EBs, this climb was scaled in red PAs, RDs, and various "boots" like Calcairs and Robbins shoes. The climb because much easier in EBs, and once the sticky rubber came along, we were no longer talking about the same climb at all. BITD, one tiny error and you were off.
May 2, 2012
Jacobs to yours truly in 1983: "Look for the hidden hold at the P-2 crux." Hehe!
Had the luxury of 1st-gen Fires on my initial go. The thought of leading this route in anything less provokes an involuntary facial twitch.
|By Randy in Ridgecrest|
From: Inyokern, CA
May 22, 2012
Climbed this first time in 1981 with Clark Jacobs (a voice from behind a tree "hey, need a partner?"). I led P1 and P2, taking a slip at the crux of P2. One of my last climbs in EB's. Clark led up a then new variation third pitch, I thought it was kind of run out. Did it again in 1992 with sticky rubber. Slipped on the black glassy inclusion crux of P1, thought P2 crux was easier. Maybe it was just warm but I thought it had polished up over the years.
My impression on the change from EB's to Fire was you could really relax with the sticky rubber. It didn't make thin edging easier (and EB's were good at that) but you didn't have to climb technical as much of the time.
May 28, 2012
"a voice from behind a tree..."
I can so picture that. Harrr! I remember one day he asked for a belay on the Flower. I thought it was an odd request since it was on his solo circuit , but I volunteered to second for the hell of it. When I turned the roof he told me we were doing Wet Dreams. Gotta love it!
With the advantage in rubber, I never did pitch from that black nipple P-1 Valhalla. And after the purple La Sportiva arrived on the market I never wore Fires again.