ApproachApproach by traversing across the Southwest shoulder to the Leaning Column which is the start of the route. Route finding on the shoulder approach can be a little tricky. If you find yourself on challenging rock, you are off route!! Another approach is to climb up the last of the South face rappells. It provides a well protected, warm up pitch of about 5.5.
Route DescriptionThis is a Classic Route, first climbed by some Bold Fellows in 1939!!
Pitch 1. Leaning Column (60 ft, 5.5). Jam up to where the column breaks over (crux) and then chimney/ offwidth behind it. 3 fixed pins protect this pitch and additional hand-sized protection can be added.
Pitch 2. Durrance Crack (70 ft, 5.6+) Double cracks lead upwards to a point where you have to finally commit to offwidthing the righthand crack to the belay. Finger-to-fist size protection and a large Camalot (to protect the rightward moves, near the top, into the offwidth) protect this pitch quite well. You may also take a runner to tie off a chockstone, just before the offwidth section.
Pitch 3. Cussin' Crack (30 ft, 5.4) Short, but awkward chimney/offwidth takes you up 15 ft to a ledge. This section is well protected by #3-#5 stoppers or #1 TCU that go behind a small flake on the left. From the ledge you may continue straight up 15 ft more off width or traverse right, around a corner to the next crack, which is a little more appealing.
Pitch 4. Flake Crack(50 ft, 5.5) A lovely, right side in, hand crack. Well protected and fun !!
Pitch5. Chockstone Crack (50 ft, 5.5) A large chimney (someone should put a light in the back) takes you to 2 large chockstones that appear to block your path. Both are easily pulled-up over, with finger-hand sized, overhead protection.
Pitch 6.Bailey Direct Finish (140 ft, 5.5) A Lovely Finish to a Classic Climb. Take the crack, directly left, of the Belay Bolts, (the one to the right is much harder; 5.9) to a belay ledge just beneath the summit. One difficult move is protected by a fixed piton.There is a variety of climbing on this pitch. If you encounter anything loose or difficult, you are probably off route and need to reconsider your path.
Pitch7. Scramble 15 ft. to the summit. Sign the summit register and then head off for slide shows, lecture tours and book signings. It all begins when you hit the paved Tower Trail and proudly tell the inquiring tourists that you climbed it and point out the route that you took. In the parking lot you might autograph babies and kiss posters!! Congratulations! You Made It!! A truly Classic Climb!!!!
Essential GearDuring the summer months a truly early (pre-dawn) start is advised. The heat can become intense and the line of climbers quite long.
Two, 50 meter ropes are necessary for the rappel, so climb with them. A standard rack of protection will do you quite well and taking a #4 Camalot or other big camming piece will certainly help preserve peace of mind.
All belays, on this route are on large ledges and are double, triple or quadrouple bolted.
You may rappel the route (NOT recommended if there is still upward-bound traffic on the route) or take the Standard South Face Raps.