Flying Fortress, 5.10a-5.12c

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.06481°N / 116.14911°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
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No Self Respect, 5.10b**
No Self Respect, 5.10b**

I have climbed my way through the park from top to bottom, Boy Scout trailhead down through Rattlesnake Canyon and out through Indian Cove.  I have climbed Big Horn Dihedral on Suicide Horn Rock as well as some remote objectives located in the far northern quadrant of the park out of Pinto Wye.  Perhaps none were as challenging to locate on my first visit as the Flying Fortress and the Fortress (opposing walls) in North Wonderland.  This corridor (north/south facing walls) is not easy to reach.  The formations are well hidden in the jumbled landscape of formations around Willow Hole.  It is well guarded by the Grey Giant to the west, Willow Hole to the north and Tombstone to the south.  The less difficult access to this corridor is actually from the base of Suicide Horn Rock which requires the longest hike of all formations listed in Miramontes extensive guide.

If you are a 5.10 trad climber, the list of starred (recommended) routes at the grade, on these two formations, is tantalizing.  However, the rock quality leaves something to be desired.   Like most Jtree routes that see little traffic, these routes offer plenty of sandy granite and loose blocks.  Many of the routes on these opposing formations are also sandbagged, by Jtree standards.  But the private location, length of routes and aesthetic nature of some of the corner/crack systems you are climbing, more than makes up for any negative distractions.  Two routes specifically stand out:   No Self Respect, 5.10b**, and No Self Confidence, 5.10b**.  They are both flared corner systems on either side of a tall missile shaped rock located in the middle of the sunny Flying Fortress Wall.  The only fixed rap I found on this entire wall (2018) is situated atop No Self Respect.  No Self Confidence was the most sandbagged of any 5.10 on either wall, but made for an incredibly satisfying and physical trad lead (5.10+/5.11-).  Boog’s Route, 5.10c**, and No Pain-No Grain, 5.10b*, both feature runout heady starts on suspect rock.  I created a pile of debris below To Pain-No Grain. The naming of this route was appropriate indeed.

Start at Boy Scout trailhead.  The local guide has the hike clocked at 3.6 miles.  Make for the Willow Hole right-turn-off from Boy Scout trail.  As you would for Willow Hole, exit right onto a wash before reaching Timbuktu Towers which is easy to spot up ahead.  Head east in the wash for Willow Hole and take the second sub-wash on the right heading for the Grey Giant in the distance.  In 2018, there were two plastic directional posts with arrows to help folks follow the wash out of Willow Hole to the trail that leads to Boy Scout.  The second wash where you need to turn right is marked by the second marker you come to.  Follow this wash as it heads for the Grey Giant.  If you go all the way to the Grey Giant, you can summit a col at its east end which separates it from the Fortress.  However, that involves a lot of boulder hoping and wayfinding.  Rather, stay in the wash as it takes a sharp turn left.  Continue northeast.  You come to a boulder/vegetated choked wash ahead.  Attemp to locate cairns (2018) that lead up and right to scramble along the walls on your right so you can circumvent the choked up wash below.  Eventually the cairns lead you back down into the wash at about the point where you need to scramble up large boulders forming a gully on your right.  You have little vision at this point to make out any formations around you.  But this way was cairned (2018) and once we found it and used it the next day without packs, it only took us 1:15 to cover the 3.6 miles from the parking lot, but we are relatively fast.  Atop this boulder gully you will be rewarded with the beautiful valley formed by the Flying Buttress on the left (south facing) and the Fortress on the right (north facing).  There are two corridors to the north, between Willow Hole and the Flying Fortress, that provide the same parallel wall formations that could fool you into thinking you were in the right place.  If you found yourself too far north, just hike east almost to Suicide Horn Rock before cutting back west into the proper corridor.   After leading approximatly 1000 routes in Jtree, I will admit this was probably the most challenging area to locate directly on my first go.

Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Flying Fortress (south wall)

Boog’s Route- 80’-5.10c**/

No Pain, No Grain- 115’-5.10b*/ A well suited name.  Like the neighboring routes on this wall, it is sandbagged at the grade, on chossy granite.  The starts of both this and Boog's to the left are heady with micro nuts hanging out of grainy  granite pin type scars.  Every shoe placement will be littered with granite sand which is not much of a problem in a wider crack, but this seam to fingers lower section forces you to trust feet that are sloughing off.  The crack remains open about half way up, starting with fingers and ending at #4 size.  At the top, I went up and right to a ledge just below the summit, medium gear belay.  Traverse east over 5th class blocks to rap the only fixed anchor atop this formation (2018) located above No Self Respect.   I racked up single to #4, doubles to #3 and, including the gear anchor, used most all of it.  Micro cams and rps are needed.  You will not jump up and down about any of their placements though.  Dow

No Self Control- 110’-5.12cR***/

No Self Respect- 115’-5.10b**/ Although listed in the guide at a higher grade than the right side, the left side crack of the “tube” is a more mellow lead at the grade.  Full on work out but offers more rests than the right side as well as more hand jams.  Single 70m fixed rap just makes it down.  Single to C4#3, double from #.5 to #2.  Dow

No Self Confidence- 120’-5.10b**/ This is one of the more sandbagged 5.10-  trad routes in Jtree. has it at Jtree 5.10c which I concur.  The obvious right hand side of a tube shaped feature.  Starts out mellow but then enters the flare where your feet become more challenging and the hand jams turn wide but at moments the corner pinches down to ring locks. Stemming is challenging in the flared corner on sloughing walls and too flared to chimney much of it. You end up with a sustained, almost off-width feeling, flared crack with multiple crux points. At the top, you can build a horizontal medium-large gear top rope/belay or make the exposed traverse left and use the fixed station above No Self Respect.   There would be tons of top drag which makes the airy mid-5th traverse to the fixed rap heady.  Bring the 2nd up if you went for this option. This is full single 70m rope fixed rap for the wall.  Single to #4, double from #.75 to #3.  Dow

42N8 One- 100’-5.10a/

Hyperventilation- 100’-5.10d/

New Day Yesterday- 70’-5.10a/

Thumbs Up- 60’-5.10a/



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