It's Pinnacles Season! I have to get in as many routes as I can before the Raptor Closures (which usually start in January). I was there Thursday with Vickie G. to do the Lucky 13 to Red Line Linkup and yesterday (Saturday) Bryan Carroll and I went there to finish the full linkup to the top of Machete. Including the traverse pitches there was something like 10 pitches.
- P1/P2 - Linked Lucky 13 to P2 of Alias Bandit Bench. Lots of rope drag!
- P3 - Red Line (5.7R)
- P4 - Traverse (3rd/4th Class) to base of Rock Around the Clock
- P5 - Rock Around the Clock (5.9/A1)
- P6 - Rock Around the Clock 2nd Pitch (5.8/A1)
- P7 - Rock Around the Clock 3rd Pitch (5.3-ish)
- P8 - Traverse to Meadow (3rd/4th Class)
- P9 - Traverse and Simulclimb Rappel Bypass (4th Class/5.3)
- P10 - Old Original (aka the Reverse Traverse - 4th Class/5.5-ish) to the top of The Hideout.
- Rap down the Hideout and hike down the 4th Class back to the base of Dos Equis.
Here's the classic "last seen alive shot" I took of Bryan on the way in. That way I'll have something to send to him mom in the unlikely event...
Now for the climbing. We racked up at the car so we are on the rock by 11am. I get to lead Lucky 13 and linked it through the traverse pitch to the base of Red Line. The end of the Traverse Pitch was quite wet. I pre-chalked my foot holds before I stepped across the wet streak.Yikes!
Shortly after I took this picture, Bryan goes to clip the 2nd bolt but a foothold blows out before he makes the clip. He's about 10' out from his clip and looking at a 20' fall onto the belayer (me!). I see the drama and suck in slack like a mad man. He slides back down to the first bolt and somehow manages to self arrest his own fall (with a little assistance from the belayer).
With the adrenaline pumping he manages to head back up and finish the pitch with no more drama. Welcome to the Pinnacles!
Bryan getting it done.
Lost in a see of lichen and somewhat loose rock.
I get the short 3rd/4th Class traverse (mucho exposed!) and head to the base of Rock Around the Clock (5.9/A1). We decide to take a snack break and enjoy the views and the cool "hanging meadow".
Pic of some worked over, old guy that was also at the belay. Balconies in the background. We hear the unmistakable "tap, tap, tap" of a drill coming from the Balconies. Hmmm, new route development in progress?
This short, steep pitch has one "mandatory" 5.9 free move right in the middle of the aid section. I switch my brain from "aid mode" to "free mode" and easily pull the move. A fall on the free move would leave me hanging in space above my belayer. It would be scary but at least I wouldn't hit anything!
Bryan keeps the aiders tucked in for the last A1 moves and "french frees" the A1 like a true aid climber. I make him stop so I can take a quick pic.
Bryan leads off the next pitch rated 5.8 in the Young Guidebook. We discover quickly that there are still several aid moves off the belay before we reach the 5.8. A good reminder that guidebooks are "just a guide". Bryan uses his newly acquired "french free technique" and busts out the moves and reaches the belay in no time. I think this was actually my favorite pitch.
From the belay we have 2 choices. This cool water streak (rated 5.2) OR
This other water streak rated 5.8. I'm a bit worried about the thick layer of lichen on the 5.8 and the moisture so I bail out right on the 5.2. I think it's more like 5.3 but who's going to argue about the difference between 5.2 and 5.3. Maybe 5.3+ or 5.3d? Don't want anyone to think we sand bagged the rating on the last pitch.
Bryan coming up to the final belay after the 5.2+. Only 1 bolt protects this final pitch up the front side. A lead fall here would be unwelcome to say the least!
Bryan in "bandit" mode.
Pic of some old guy with a cool view of some of the features on the way in (the Shepperd and the Elephant are left of my head in the pic).
Bryan takes the next "pitch" of 3rd/4th Class to another small, hanging meadow. Note the use of the "alpine style" hip belay.
After that we head over the top of Machete doing the "Reverse Traverse" and rap down The Hideout. Here's us safe and sound back on the trail. Bryan and I bust out our "X-Country Skills" and we run/rock ski the 1/2 mile of the the 3rd Class descent in about 5 minutes. I can't believe it, but we're actually hiking out while it's still light! Maybe I'm getting faster!
We make the parking lot by 4:30 and run into this character in the parking lot. He asks me if I know Theron Moses. Turns out I do! He demonstrates the proper use of the new D5 Hammer for removing rotten teeth.
Turns out this guy is Mungeclimber. He's one of the authors of the Red Line route that we just did! He's with pinnacles "legends" Bob Walton, James McConachie, and Brad Young. They were working on a new route above the Balconies. They are drinking beer in the parking lot and I manage to bum 1/2 a beer off Brad Young and invite myself to dinner with them in Soledad. A great way to finish the day!