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"Wow" describes my deepest appreciation for the route as well as my disbelief that it hasn't already been posted here. I wonder if I'm breaking a sacred, unspoken code in doing so now. I climbed it back in November 2008, but I debated posting it. Like a rock face so good it will inevitably receive bolts, though, I figure it can be best to simply make sure the deed is done with care and respect for future climbers. As to how this little philosophy pertains to Ziji, I will try to give you the nuts and bolts and let your imagination inspire you on the rest. (Which is to express my wish that this route will not become another yardstick of tick marks, as often seems to happen to routes of proud reputation.)
So, without any more hot, stinky breath from me, here are the words in which you're more interested:
P1 -- Funky stemming to a difficult slot ends at a small belay ledge with drilled angles (11c).
P2 -- Ride the 1-inch splitter 90 feet to a sequential crux traverse left and another hanging belay at drilled angles (very solid 12). With a 70-meter rope and good use of long runners I think it would be possible to link the first pitch into this one. (That would be a proud/humbling ride indeed!)
P3 -- A fingers lieback in a steep right-facing corner deposits you on a comfy belay ledge with drilled pins (12-). (Or were those bolts?)
P4 -- Crank up a short, thin-hands corner, make a funky step left and pick your way gingerly to the summit (10-).
Rappel to the north with two ropes into the notch and then down Wild Flower. I'm very sure I remember two 70-meter cords reaching the ground from the notch, but if they don't there are intermediate rap stations.
Forty feet uphill to the right of Vision Quest on King of Pain.
The Bloom guidebook's gear suggestion was perfect: "(1)0.4, (2)0.5, (5)0.75, (9)1.0, (3)1.5, (2)2.0, small nuts. For pitch 1: (1)#2.5, (1)#4.0, (1)#4.5 Camalot." The listed Camalot size is an OLD #4.5, so if you have NEW ones bring a #5. There are a couple spots for the big pieces on P1 -- the question is where you should place the biggest ...
Jan 13, 2009
This is the most perfect tower route I've ever done. It's direct, exposed and sustained, with minimal choss navigation at the very bottom and very top. However, don't expect the typical crag test-piece experience. This is a tower test piece -- meaning there will almost certainly be some sand in the cracks that can add real and psychological difficulty. Be ready for it and have a good time!
Jan 15, 2009
most belays are single pin (except the top of p2), so you may want a couple extra pieces for that.
By charley graham
Nov 26, 2009
According to Eric Bjornstad in the 1988 AAJ, Chip Chace and Monika Lou put this one up.
By Scott Bennett
Mar 19, 2010
Definitely the best tower route I've done, highly recommended. A few notes:
Gear (this is what I would bring next time): Med. Stoppers (BD #5-9), 1x Black Alien, 2x Blue and Green Aliens, 5x Yellow Alien, 9x Purple Camalot, 2x Green Camalot, 1x Red Camalot. We brought a #5 C4 for the first pitch, and used it twice (backcleaning the first placement), and then lowered it back to the ground from atop P1.
You could get by with fewer purple camalots, maybe 7, but having a ton was nice so that I could double up at good stances.
A single 70m rope gets you down. One rappel north into the notch between King of Paine and the main BJ Butte (70m required!), then two raps to the ground.