Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pinnacles - Machete Direct

Kelly Farris & I took a wild ride directly up the east face of Machete Ridge. The climb has 6 pitches of climbing and goes free at 5.12b. We, of course, can't climb 12b but did manage to free some 5.10b sections. We aided through the harder stuff.

We left Paso at 7:00 am and were the first in the parking lot at 8:30 am. We took the obligatory "last seen alive shot" in the event Kelly knocked off a huge rock and managed to kill us both in the process.

Sorting gear in the parking lot like "real" big wall aid climbers.

Looking down from the top of the first pitch. The start is 5.10b then moves into 5.12 or something like that. We freed the 5.10b and aided through the 5.12.

Kelly coming up to the belay at the top of Pitch 1.

Kelly led the seriously run out (and lichen covered) 5.7 second pitch. The Middle Tower is in the background.

I got to lead the third, easy 5.2 traversing pitch. Looking back at Kelly following the pitch. 

Since the 5.2 pitch wasn't really a pitch, Kelly let me lead the next pitch. It started out with a few 5.10b moves which I quickly dispatched with a combo of aid & free moves.

 I gave the camera to Kelly for this pitch. He takes pics of me, himself, lichen, his fingers, etc.

Me at the top of Pitch 4 belaying Kelly up.

More self portraits of Kelly 

Kelly takes the camera with him as he leads up Pitch 5 (5.6/A1). Note picture of his finger.

Taking a snack break.

Great views of the Balconies across the way. 

Kelly headed up Pitch 5. 5 (5.6/A1). This was one of the more interesting pitches with free moves, aid moves, and tricky trad placements.

End of the aid and ready to go free. And away he goes...

 More Balconies views.

Me at the top of the 6th pitch. This pitch was all free with a combo of trad placements and bolts. It was rated 5.8 in the book but I couldn't find a 5.8 move on the pitch. Maybe but felt more like 5.6. 

Looking down at Kelly following the wide corner on Pitch 6. A couple of pigeons flew out of the crack and startled me while I was leading. Fortunately, I was hanging on pretty tight.  The pitch looks like a really cool lieback but it's really a 5.4 face climb. Still a fun pitch though.


 Almost there!

On top of the final pitch of Machete Direct. 

Not a bad day for a couple "old guys". We have a combined age of over 100!

Instead of the standard descent, I decide that we should reverse the Machete Ridge Traverse and rap down the Hideout. This adds 3 more pitches of 5.2.  This is Pitch 1 of the Reverse Traverse.

Pitch 3 working our way back under the "headwall".  Pitch 2 (not shown) was the "Rappel Bypass" variation. Actually a pretty decent pitch.

 We get back to the base to collect our packs and discover a surprise waiting for us. As you can see it's getting dark. 

About 50' up one of my draws is hanging from the the first pitch. I led it so Kelly left the draw. Since it's my draw, I tell Kelly to just give me ten bucks so we can go home. He has other ideas in mind.

Yep, there it is. 

Kelly leads back up using a stick clip to clip bolts every 10' to 15'. 

He gets my draw back and we walk out under a nearly full moon. 

 It's fully dark by the time we reach the car. First in and last out. Another great adventure at Pinnacles.


  1. Kelly, the board behind you in that first photo...guess who took that picture of Machete?

    Jody L.

  2. Jody,

    I figured you had something to do with that.

    Glad you found the blog!