|Route Type:||Trad Climbing|
|Season:||Spring, Summer, Fall|
|Time Required:||Half a day|
|Rock Difficulty:||5.10 (YDS)|
|Number of Pitches:||6|
Cloak and Dagger is a relatively new route by Black Canyon standards (2012). The grading is also relatively modern at 5.10+. Compared to many of the older Black Canyon routes, it felt soft for the grade. It offers three solid pitches; two average pitches and the first pitch is a solo scramble for most competent parties. The guide suggests 5.6 on this first pitch but you would be hard pressed to find anything over 4th class. The second pitch is a good 5.9 pitch up cracks to the left and then stemming the chimney to the right. The chimney is below grade and you can stem the whole thing. The third pitch is one of the best pure trad 5.10 pitches in the Black Canyon. It is sustained, offers great rock, pro, movement, length and position. It is a right facing (mostly) finger corner that requires a ton of fun stemming. Eventually the corner turns into more of a hand/finger crack finish. The fourth pitch takes on a 5.10 roof traverse transitioning from hands to layback to attain the corner above. The second half of this pitch offers easy climbing. The fifth pitch actually climbs better than it looks. It takes on several fun flakes in the 5.9 realm. The sixth pitch is called 5.8 in the guide and leads you to the ledge used by Comic Relief to un rope. Scramble up the left from there to reach a single 60m fixed rap that gets you to the return gully. All the belays offered comfy ledges. There is zero fixed hardware on the route.
The approach is the exact same as for Comic Relief. Descend the SOB gully and look for the diagonal streak across the northwest face on hikers left. Traverse in from the left on a climber’s trail and scramble up to a ledge directly below Comic Relief and the broad streak above. Continue scrambling around climbers right to a lower ledge to start Cloak and Dagger. As beforementioned, most competent parties will be comfortable soloing up the gully of the first pitch to a comfortable treed ledge just right of where the hand/fist crack of the 2nd pitch takes off to the left of the chimney above (that you eventually finish the pitch on).
1st Pitch- 60m- 4th or 5th class/ Scramble up the gully just south of the start for Comic Relief.
2nd Pitch- 50m- 5.9+/ Jam the steep varnished crack running up the left wall below the chimney. Stem over into the chimney and continue stemming to the top below grade. Move up a ramp to the right to the base of the hidden finger crack dihedral.
3rd Pitch- 55m- 5.10+/ Stem and finger jam the dihedral through a bulge and then into a crack. Seems soft for the grade. Finger jams, ring locks and hand jams persist the whole way whilst placing small pro when and where you want. Leads to a comfortable belay ledge below an obvious roof.
4th Pitch- 60m- 5.10/ Climb the left facing corner to the roof. You can protect with a #.75, #2 and #3 if you want. The traverse is well protected. Jam out left. There are some thin edges for your feet. When the roof crack widens, you can reach out for a jam way out left and make the crux move or layback to finish the traverse. Make a layback move at the grade to mount up and into the left facing corner above. Climb easier ground the remainder of this long pitch trending slightly up and left when in question, to a massive ledge below a massive right facing corner. Sling a block for a belay.
5th Pitch- 60m- 5.9/ Stay at the right end of the massive ledge and continue up easy face to below a short and steep hand crack. Climb it to its top and then burrow under and then up and over a large flake on its left side. Continue to a ledge belay. This pitch climbs better than it looks from below. A few moves at the grade.
6th Pitch- 60m- 5.8/ Climb up and right towards the obvious crack/corner system. After climbing obvious features at the grade, start trending left and up below the grade to the same finish for Comic Relief at a dirt ledge where you can un rope.
Keep your harnesses on and scramble 5 minutes up and left to a fixed single 60m rap. Rap to the ground and hike out, up the steep reddish gully to the campground.
The guide and/or Mountain Project suggests a double rack to #3 and a possible #4 or two. That is overload for this route. A competent leader would not need a #4 on any of these pitches. If I climbed it again, I would carry a single rack to #3 and double to #.75 along with a set of wires or off set cams. These are typical long pitches at the Black, therefore no need for draws but bring plenty of shoulder length slings. Stays in the shade until noon in June for sure. Took us 5.5 hours camp to camp despite the local guides Alpine III rating.