This is another five star (and that's on a 4-star scale!) classic brought to you by the amazing Uriostes! The line packs a lot of sustained climbing into a relatively small package. Though some references include a 5-th pitch (a pitch above the Hourglass Pillar), the original Urioste guidebook as well as the new Handren book (ISBN #'s coming soon...) have the route ending atop the pillar after four spectacular pitches. The line features some amazing rock (particularly on the upper half) – bullet hard and beautifully colored. The crux pitches offer a mix of traditional and bolt-protected climbing. Note that all bolts on these 4 pitches have been replaced by Greg Barnes & Matt Ruppell in spring of 2007 (here) - many thanks are owed to these guys! Note that the first two pitches of this route are shared with Hourglass Deviation (5.9) put up by the Uriostes several months earlier.
I should also note that this line felt hard, particularly the 4th pitch. If the final pitch (which we felt was the definite crux) gets a rating of 10c, La Cierta Edad should be rated 5.9.
Follow the directions on the Brownstone Wall – North page. The Nightcrawler is located on the Brownstone Wall – South portion (to the right of Black Dagger and well to the left of Armatron). Look for an hourglass-shaped pillar leaning against the wall (route climbs its right side). The final portion of the approach involves forcing your way through some well overgrown climbers’ paths at base of the wall.
Pitch 1: 5.7, 160 feet. The route starts below the hourglass formation and slightly to its right. Follow face and cracks up and slightly left. The pitch climbs a crack about 12 feet right of the belay near the top with the final moves being a leftward traverse to the belay ledge. Bolt anchor.
Pitch 2: 5.9, 110 feet. Move up from belay and enter the flaring squeeze chimney (big cam useful). Above chimney, easier terrain brings you to an arching crack under an overhang. Follow those up and right and mantle onto a nice small ledge. Bolt anchor. Note that Hourglass Deviation route takes off up and right from this point. You’re heading straight up.
Pitch 3: 5.10, 110 feet. Now the business begins. Stem your way up using a wide crack on left and a nice positive flake on right. About 30 feet above belay, cracks close up and you’re clipping bolts (~6 of them). Things get harder the higher you go. A mix of thin stemming and an occasional lieback bring you to a belay stance on a sloping “ledge”. Bolt anchor.
Pitch 4: 5.10, 70 feet. Though this pitch gets the same rating as the one below, we thought it was significantly harder. Move up from belay and clip a bolt while trying not to fall onto your belayer. A series of finger pockets is the used for protection and to make upward progress. The intermittent cracks bottom out and don’t seem to offer a positive edge for a lieback. 20 feet from the top you clip another bolt and the terrain eases shortly (but just a tad). The route tops out on the spectacular Hourglass Pillar. Bolt belay.
Rap the route with two ropes. Beta on mountainproject recommends keeping the upper raps short to avoid snagging the rope in the cracks.
Double cams from black (smallest) Alien to #2 Camalot. Single #3, 4, 4.5, 5 Camalot (useful for pitch 2 – can comfortably do without #4.5 likely). Extra in the green, yellow, red Alien sizes. Small to medium nuts. Two ropes.
Route page on mountainproject is here.