OverviewThe East Wall is one of the many moderate routes that make the Leap such a popular destination for those climbing the middle grades, or for those moving up the ladder in the difficulty of their trad leads. This route does require some route-finding skills after the first pitch, as it does not follow a definitive feature up the wall, but rather a somewhat devious line that requires a bit of downclimbing to go with the lateral traversing. The 2nd pitch ends on Bushy Ledge, the belay area for 3 other climbs: Bear's Reach, Between the Lines, and East Crack.
East Wall was first climbed in 1964 by Ken Edsburg, Mike Edsburg, and Jerry Sublette.
ApproachEast Wall is on the East Wall (go figure), so following the directions from the main page, proceed up the last use trail adjacent to the Hogsback and then to the base of the wall. Contour the base to the right (south-southwest) past the double cracks of East Crack, to just past Bear's Reach, turn left, go up.
Route DescriptionPitch One follows a right-facing dihedral for the entire pitch. The angle is less than vertical, and the pro is plentiful, and the top of the pitch is a huge, flat, sandy ledge.
Pitch Two is the most difficult of the route, but remember, we're only talking 5.6 here, so it is not technically difficult. From the spacious ledge, make an upward traverse left onto the face on a series of flakes, and cross a short section of the wall on a horizonatal dike with no pro. You will gain another flake, and an opportunity to place some pro, but from here the climb is a bit unusual for the Leap, as the traverse continues, but downward to the left on intermittent dikes and flakes.
The most run-out section of the route is just after you bottom out and begin climbing upward again, just past a small downward-facing flake. The dikes under your feet are large, but the pro is thin here for a while. Soon you will gain the flakes that turn up into Bushy Ledge. Belay at Bushy Ledge, and prepare for the easy finishing pitch to the top.
Addition from Misha on 9/4/2007:
Instead of traversing to the left half way through the 2nd pitch, one can continue to follow flakes up and diagonally to the left. This variation is described as "standard" in SuperTopo. There is a short grunty offwidth section (~5.7) that leads to easier ground and a 15-20' poorly protected traverse before reaching Bushy Ledge.
Pitch 3 is mostly 3rd and 4th class, with only one move of 5th class (unless you exit via the direct finish, which has a couple more 5th class moves), requiring the use of a secret hold. This "secret" hold is not much of a secret. While thrutching around on the smooth face below it, you will be reaching ever higher in the crack, and eventually your hand will fall in this hidden incut, and the climb is mostly over. As the rock angle decreases, you may exit to the right via a sloping ramp, or continue straight up an overhanging hand crack for a couple of moves.
From the top of the East Wall, descend eastward into the forest and catch the use trail that skirts around the northeast end of the wall and dumps you out on the Pony Express Trail near where you left it to approach the East Wall.
Essential GearStandard trad rack with pro to 3", lots of long slings, comfy climbing shoes (even your sticky-rubber approach shoes are adequate for this one), and some walk-off footwear (unless you wore your approach shoes).
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