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Howard doing the 'exciting' face traverse into the...
A harder, parallel (and IMHO even better) variation to Loose Ends, Visual Aids is the archetypal Lumpy finger crack.
P1. Begin with that route, or take Pear Buttress or Thindependence (highly recommended) to the same, sloping ledge.
P2. Climb the right of two parallel thin cracks, with the insecure crux off the ledge. Continue jamming to another belay shared with Loose Ends.
P3. Climb up toward the prominent, left-facing dihedral of Loose Ends, but then make an exciting 5.8 traverse around the corner to the right and find a hand crack, also 5.8. Follow this as it widens and gets lower angle, then belay.
P4. Climb up to the cave and chose an exit -- Cheap Date is another superb finger crack of the same grade, and recommended for a link-up with Thindependenc and Visual Aids.
Bring extra small gear; RPs, recommended by several guidebooks, are definitely not necessary - the route is more than sewn up without them. Standard rack otherwise; the second pitch (rated 5.8) has a moderate, 5.6ish wide crack.
Howard following the crux pitch.
Christa leading through the crux of the second pit...
Foot stacking works on finger cracks, too.
|By Jesse Ryan|
Jan 1, 2001
Ed. Note: Jesse submitted this route also but there was a management issue (our fault), so here's some more beta.
Emphasis on the smaller gear. TCUs or Aliens make for happier quick placements, but small nut placements also work. Need standard rack to climb approach pitches and following pitches.
A great second pitch alternative to Loose Ends (or thindependence) journey. Takes the first crack, the thin one, just right of the 2nd Pitch of Loose Ends, see the picture under that route. Certainly a bit scarier lead, but very nice thin crack moves. Crux felt like it came and went within the first few placements, so hang in there. It gets easier as the angle kicks back. Another book classic.
|By justin dubois|
From: Estes Park
Apr 29, 2002
I just did one of my favorite link-ups again this morning.the first two pitches of Loose Ends, into the 5.8 pitch on Visual Aids.I love the step right into that wonderful, long section of perfect hands.It's fun to mix and match splitter cracks up there!!!!
May 4, 2002
Climbed this on 4/29 also. with 60m rope we linked the first pitch of Pear Buttress together with the first pitch of Visual Aids and ended up 20 feet short of the belay. You can make an uncomfortable belay when the rope ends or simulclimb with leader and second on 5.7. Note that when linking with Thindependence on a 60m rope the belay is reached without simulclimbing. Lots of scud (bomber) stoppers on Visual Aids' first pitch, poor finger jams but decent feet. Justin, as we discussed please don't use the word "splitter", "perfectly cleaved" will suffice.
May 4, 2002
Justin, would you say that pitch 2 is "all state"?
|By Bryson Slothower|
Aug 14, 2002
I find it interesting to note that when I see RPs on a gear list for any given route what I think of is my smallest stoppers, brassies, and wired thinga-majiggers, not actual RPs (which is a brand name). I've never even held an RP in my hand and don't have any on my rack, but I often refer to things as RP-cracks, or tell people they will need to bring RPs for routes that I have climbed before with my own rack (no RPs). I led the 10b section of this route today and told some stranger whom I was sharing a belay with that I had placed a lot of RPs...so anyway, if you suffer from the same RP-confusion-syndrom as I do, take some RPs to protect this route, you'll be glad you did.
|By David Conlin|
Sep 8, 2003
This pitch is about at the limit of my leading ability, yet I felt quite comfortable w/o RPs. Small aliens and small-to-medium nuts (NOT teeny-weeny) sufficed to sew up the lower half of the pitch. I actually got on this thinking I was doing Loose Ends' second pitch (forgot the guidebook at the car) and am glad I did. However, do not miss the arching 5.9 dihedral that is Loose Ends' 3rd pitch, directly above the Visual Aids crux pitch. That pitch is AWESOME.
|By Guy H.|
From: Fort Collins CO
Apr 20, 2008
With a 70m rope, it is possible to link P2 and P3 together and belay on the nice ledge before the ramp to the cave.
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 1, 2010
P2 and 3 also link with a 60m.
|By Nathan Welton|
From: Estes Park, CO
Jun 25, 2011
RPs are absolutely not necessary on this.
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 23, 2012
Such a great route! That crux pitch is excellent. The whole thing goes in 3 pitches with a 60m.
P1) We did Loose Ends to the ledge starting the crux pitch.
P2) The crux pitch to the left-leaning undercling flake to the ledge. About 190'.
P3) Up easy slabs and onto Cheap Date, taking that to the shoulder 190'.
I guess in the end we only did the crux pitch and that dihedral of Visual Aids proper, but since this part of the wall is basically a choose-your-own crack adventure, the lengths should be the same regardless of which crack you take through each section. Enjoy!