Scramble up the talus to the base of the True West Face. There is a lovely belay bench-slot up a bit. Why not put on the rope when you climb up the last bit to it????
The first free ascent was in 1978 by Chris Ballinger, Steve Gardiner and Dennis Horning. Prior to their ascent the bolt, at the lip of the roof on pitch 2 had been placed by another party. This is a 1/4 inch bolt and was never intended for protection. It serves to keep the rope from becoming stuck in the lip of the roof. This is a 3- Star, well protected route. It provides a wonderful warm-up or trial-run for those who aspire to stem El Matador.
Pitch 1.(100 ft., 5.9) From the belay on the ledge-bench-slot, CRANK IT UP. The crux is about 15 feet up. Protect, Reach High, Pull Hard !!! Continue up the crack to the top of the column which has tapered to a large flake. Belay from a 2 Big Bolt anchor.
Pitch 2. (155 ft., 5.10b) From the belay , climb up the left-most of the available cracks, to a tiring stance underneath the roof. It is wise to set pro, back under the roof, then work out to the lip, clip the bolt, back it up with pro over the roof, and then back clean the pieces, back under the roof. This process should give you maximal overhead protection when you pull the roof (crux) and a minimum of rope drag. Jam and / or stem up the long crack and set a welcome belay from a bolt anchor on the column top to the right. One fine , well protected pitch !! Pause and reflect that El Matador is longer, wider and harder......
Pitch 3. (50 ft., 5.8) Hand jam a splendid pitch to the next column top. Bolt anchor belay and a Wonderful view.
Pitch 4. (60 ft., 5.7) Traverse left directly from the belay ledge, then hand and fist jam the crack, turning the roofs on their left. Belay on the spacious West Face Ledge.
Pitch 5. ( 90 ft.,5.8) From the West Ledges, climb the right most crack. This is offwidth / chimney climbing. Two steeper sections provide the difficulty, the second being the hardest. Natural chockstones and big pieces provide the protection. Belay at a large and comforting ledge, just past the second difficult section
Finish. (65 ft., 5.5) Climb the obvious, wide left crack which wanders slightly left, to the summit.Feel good about yourself. You have put some excellent climbing pitches together to forge a direct route up the steep side of this Tower..A 3-Star Route !!!
Standard, full, rack. Many hand size pieces for the 2nd long pitch. Take a #3.5 & #4 Friend for the top of that one. 2 Friend size #4 pieces will help alot on Pitch 5 as will runners to tie off chockstones.
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