In August, 2015, I traveled up to Lovers Leap to avoid fires and smoke in the eastern Sierra. We climbed 10 multi-pitch routes in five days. Most included the lessor climbed, more adventurous routes in the 5.10 range. We paired Vanishing Point with Hospital Corner, they are not far apart. Vanishing Point was my second favorite climb of the week. It offers the tallest 5.10 off-width crack (dihedral) in the park with a fantastically exposed roof pull (arch) on top. Drake and Orey established Vanishing Point in 1972.
I led the route in two pitches versus three to the top of the wall. The first pitch starts in an easy right facing dihedral/chimney accessed via stemming a flake that eventually leads into an off-width (not near as sustained as most desert off-widths for the grade). You belay the first pitch at a fixed rap on a small ledge. The second pitch climbs easier ground (more hands and features) to just below the massive roof. You are pulling the roof out left, not right. Some discuss the roof as being a hand traverse, but the crack actually pinches off under the roof. The trick is to place a piece in the roof, then down climb a meter and stem left reaching out with your left hand to side-pull the arête more than pulling the roof. It is juggy from there. I had a ton of rope drag continuing on and then traversing right on top of the west wall to the rap tree but it was tolerable and made it worth skipping the second belay. Mountain Project has this up as a 500’ (2015) route. If you start from the very base of the corner, it is max 350’ to a slung tree at top center of the wall on the right.
You can climb the lower wall or catch a trail fairly immediate out of camp that heads up and right as you would for the main wall. Main wall and west wall are the same wall, west wall is everything to the right of Hospital Corner. Vanishing Point is easy to spot as you circumvent right from Hospital Corner and keep looking up to identify the right facing dihedral with an arch/roof capping it. You can scramble up some brush, maybe some 3rd or 4th class, to the base of a flake/corner. Vanishing Point is one of the last routes at the very west end of the upper main wall at Lovers Leap.
Route DescriptionVanishing Point, 350+/-, 5.10b
1st Pitch- 115’- 5.10b/ Stemming up the start of the flake and into the chimney is relatively easy (but fun) going. The off-width above is C4#4 width which requires your typical protocol, arm bars, a chicken wing or two, heal-toe, etc. This section offers fun off-width on good rock with secure pro. Stick your 4’s deep so you don’t kick them. Towards the end, it pinches off to some nice hand/fingers that leads to a comfortable fixed belay.
2nd/3rd Pitches- 230’- 5.10b/ I combined these pitches as the 3rd pitch was uneventful and in fact many just rap with a single 70m rope at the top of the second pitch. In any regard, I like experiencing the whole route. Continue up the corner, more hands than off-width to just under the roof. Place a piece in the roof and down climb a meter before making a wide stem move left (only 5.10 move on this pitch) to gain the arête. You are side pulling the arête more than you are pulling the roof. Mountain Project calls this a hand traverse but it is not. The crack in the roof closes. This was the crux move of the route for me but I am an avid off-width leader thus thought this move was more technical than the off-width below. Once you gain the arête, easy ground takes you up and left and then eventually angles back right to reach the slung tree center of the wall. Quite a bit of rope drag but worth it to shorten time by skipping a belay. There is a fixed belay after you turn the roof.