Monday, October 11, 2010

Pinnacles Machete Ridge Linkup

Frank & I had such a good time climbing in Yosemite last spring that we decided to head back in October. I was worried, because the week before we were to go the temps went up to 110 degrees in SLO. I figured it would be too hot! Little did I know, we would get rained out and not be able to climb a single pitch! In order to salvage something we headed back home and did a day trip at the Pinnacles. I've wanted to link Bulleye, Derringer, & Old Original for a long time. It's easy (5.5), but I figured it would be fun. The linkup combines up to 17 "pitches" of adventure.

The climb starts on the southwest face of Machete Ridge, climbs 4 pitches of 5.5 then traverses the entire length of the top of Machete Ridge. The descent involves several 4th Class pitches as well.

The first 4 pitches involve 5.1 to 5.5 climbing up several waterchutes. Most of the climbing is easy and fun. Still a few loose holds in spot. From the photo you can tell there's a bit of "kitty litter" as well. This is Frank approaching the first belay.

Same spot, just zoomed out a bit.

Looking up at the "tasty" P2 Waterchute.

Frank arrives at the P2 belay. As you can tell, he's totally "gripped".

Flyin' high on the ridge top. The summit of Machete was so heavily "raked" by high winds (3 to 5mph) that we were nearly blown off..

Frank coming up to the P5 belay and providing "constructive criticism" on my protection skills. I slung a horn then hung some cams off it so the sling wouldn't blow off in the high winds. I believe the exact words were, "This is bullsh**!".

Frank jumps on the sharp end to take on P6. You make an exposed move out right, then work your way under the "headwall". Here's frank smacking his head into the wall. I guess that's why they call it a "headwall". Really awesome exposure here.

A look back at the headwall from the middle of P6.

Looking down at Frank at the "Optional Belay" at the end of P6.

A closer look at Frank at the belay. Turns out he was passed out from boredom since I stopped to take so many pics. Next time, I'll make sure I use the GriGri.

Coming up to the correct belay on P6. It ends at a Manzanita in a cool little meadow.
Really awesome exposure as you work your way (3rd Class) across the top of the ridge toward the belay on P7. The right side drops several hundred feet. The left side drops about 700'. 

Cool views of the Balconies.

I had to get in at least one of the pics! If you look carefully, you'll see Frank in the background at the P7 belay.

P7 belay right before the 1st of 2 raps.

Looking up at Frank doing the 2nd rap of P8.

Frank at base of P9. P9 requires you to do a climb up (5.1) then a climb down (5.1) to the base of the South Tower (not visible in the pic). 

Me again! Great pic. Great subject. Great photo. What can I say?

The only other climber I saw all day was this guy on Lava Falls (5.9R).

Another cool pic of the Balconies showing Lava Falls and Shake and Bake (5.10aR). Maybe something to do on another trip. Shake and Bake is right of Lava Falls and is the fat left waterstreak where you see double waterstreaks.

The descent requires you to make several 3rd & 4th Class scrambles. Here's Frank finishing the "Scary 4th Class Traverse" on P12. It really is scary. I'm not kidding!

Look at these two idiots we found in the cave on the way back. Oh wait, that's us! Be sure to bring a headlamp. You really do need it going back through the cave. 

A few more cool pics to get you going. It began to rain on the way out (1st pic). The last 4 pics are from different trips to the High Peaks.


  1. Looks like a fun adventure John! Nice photos, they make me want to go explore that area. peace, Aaron F

  2. Looks like a fun adventure John! Nice photos, they make me want to go explore that area. peace, Aaron F

  3. hey thats me on lava falls! haha we were running out of time so only completed first pitch. my climbing partner rapped down to take a pic