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High Sierra's most difficult class 1

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High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby Bob Burd » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:13 am

Post Peak (11,009ft)
First ascent 1922 by Ansel Adams and Francis Holman. First winter ascent April 5, 1995, by Paul Richins and Robin Fuller. Class 1 from Post Peak Pass.

-RJ Secor, The High Sierra, Peaks, Passes and Trails p.414, 3rd ed.

Ok, never mind that winter is usually over before April. This rating has come down to RJ from Roper and Voge before him, and I highly suspect none of them has been to this obscure peak just outside the southern boundary of Yosemite. In fact the class 1 rating may have come from Ansel Adams himself to Hervey Voge when the Sierra Club first gathered their collective data for a climbing guide back in the 1930s.

Here's what the peak looks like from Post Peak Pass where the route is described by Voge as 'obvious':
Image

While the route is indeed obvious, it seems far from class 1. Here Matthew's on the easier portion of the route lower down:
Image

Nearer the summit it becomes quite blocky and class 3. Ok, the left side of the ridge is class 2 and I'm being picky, but it gets better. My first visit to this peak was two years ago and at night which I thought would be easy enough given a class 1 rating. But I found a summit block that I didn't expect:
Image

Thinking maybe I missed something in the darkness and it really isn't so bad in daylight, Matthew and I came back two years later, but with a rope just in case. We used it:
Image

Image

My first class 1 summit for which I needed a rope:
Image

I have great respect for RJ, btw, and making fun of his book is just a way some of us have of expressing this. As RJ himself says regarding those that "vilify me in the alpine media":
'It is rewarding to know that my work has brought so much happiness to the world.'

As a bonus exercise, see how many unsafe climbing practices you can identify in the above pictures. I think there are more than a dozen. :wink:
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:54 am

Do you have a pic of this thing from slightly further back, that shows the immediate surroundings? Sounds like an nice peak, nice remote area too.

Secor seems to incorrectly label a lot of class 2 routes as class 1, though this is the only one I know of where he completely misses the summit block. This biggest effect though is probably that it only makes me more interested in climbing it.

So if you didn't have the rope, would you have climbed it anyway?
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby Vitaliy M. » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:30 am

That is one awesome backpack in 1st picture.


How did you know that you might need a rope for the summit block if guidebook says it is class 1? I guess someone you knew advised it...?
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby mrchad9 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:55 am

Vitaliy M. wrote:How did you know that you might need a rope for the summit block if guidebook says it is class 1? I guess someone you knew advised it...?

He went there two years ago in the dark and didn't do the summit block.
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:08 am

Ratings are all relative and Guide Books are only just that.... an opinionated guide.

One persons Class One is anothers 5.11 etc.


BTW, what good was the 50m Rope if you do not even have a harness on?
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby Bob Burd » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:52 pm

The Chief wrote:BTW, what good was the 50m Rope if you do not even have a harness on?


Ah good, I was hoping for more critique on the climbing itself.
No harness - that's one.
But you can do better than that, surely? :)
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:46 pm

Bob...

All that really matters is proper safety. As far as technique, there is no one proper way to climb anything. Many these days are too set on executing the "Right" technique. I always teach as I was taught a longass time ago, do whatever is the most efficient thing that gets your ass up the route without killing you or anyone in your group or anyone around your location.


BTW: A simple bowline on a coil would have sufficed for a safe and efficient harness in this situation. Gyms and many instructional services don't teach that gig these days. Sad.
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby Vitaliy M. » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:33 pm

3Deserts wrote:
Bob Burd wrote:
Ah good, I was hoping for more critique on the climbing itself.
No harness - that's one.
But you can do better than that, surely? :)


Well, that ain't exactly the most elegant mantle I've ever seen.

Knee on the rock? Style points deduction! :ugeek:

...

And by the way, what exactly are you tied in to? It's hard to tell, but it doesn't look like you've got a bowline on a coil either. Belt loop?


I bet Bob took a photo with that rope and no harness just to mess with us. Bob is trolling. :lol:
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby graham » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:44 pm

OK, Bob I’ll play;
No harness or bowline on a coil tie-in
Some bizarre rope work or summit lasso thingy going on
Belayer taking photos, rather than belaying or spotting
Stepping on the rope
No Grigri
I bet that carabiner gate isn’t lock closed
No quad bolted rap anchor with Mussy hooks for a safe descent
No chalk bag (a must for all Class 1 summits)
Shoe-laces way too long
Attempting a heel-hook in Merrills
No baseball cap on backwards
No rock gym-membership card on your belt
No 60 Minute film crew to capture the awesomeness :D :D :D

BTW, very cool Sierra history, thanks!
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby Bob Burd » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:01 pm

graham wrote:OK, Bob I’ll play;
No harness or bowline on a coil tie-in
Some bizarre rope work or summit lasso thingy going on
Belayer taking photos, rather than belaying or spotting
Stepping on the rope
No Grigri
I bet that carabiner gate isn’t lock closed
No quad bolted rap anchor with Mussy hooks for a safe descent
No chalk bag (a must for all Class 1 summits)
Shoe-laces way too long
Attempting a heel-hook in Merrills
No baseball cap on backwards
No rock gym-membership card on your belt
No 60 Minute film crew to capture the awesomeness :D :D :D

BTW, very cool Sierra history, thanks!


Finally, we get to the meat of the matter.
You have some great observations, though not all are accurate.
For example, pointing out that the belayer is taking photos is irrelevant since there is no harness or tie-in.
Also, those aren't Merrills.
However, the observation about the long shoe laces is impressive. True enough, I was stepping on them only a few hours earlier and when we stopped on Long Mtn I cut several inches off both ends and then tied an overhand knot (unsafe for climbing purposes, btw) in the ends to keep them from unraveling. Only did it for one shoe though, and the other one also needs it.
And I really didn't think anyone would get that the locking carabiner wasn't properly locked. Great catch.
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby The Chief » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:07 pm

Bob..

You do know how to effectively tie and utilize a Bowline on a Coil do you knot???
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby Bob Burd » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:12 pm

The Chief wrote:Bob..

You do know how to effectively tie and utilize a Bowline on a Coil do you knot???


Of course I do - I'm an Eagle Scout!

Nice pun, btw.
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby Princess Buttercup » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:05 pm

Bob Burd wrote:
The Chief wrote: I'm an Eagle Scout!



I bet he makes that uniform look goooooooood... :wink:

And that can't be Matthew in the pic: his pants are intact.
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby PellucidWombat » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:59 pm

Brainstorming some climbing critiques here:

The lines seem to be set up for pulling on rather than actually being connected to you. Kinda dicey but I guess that works?

It looks like you almost popped the lasso off in the 2nd photo!

I can't tell from the photo, but did you use a butterfly knot or a figure-8 on the rope for clipping the carabiner? Of course butterfly would be the way to go here.

BTW, if you manage to walk up the spire w/o touching your hands on it, does that make it class 1? We turned some 5.10a slabs into class 1 on top-rope in Tuolumne that way :lol:
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Re: High Sierra's most difficult class 1

Postby Mark M » Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:15 am

The real question here is could it have been done with a 30m 8mm? :)
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