Dow leading Transversal, 5.9 C1
One of the few disappointments in Wonderland North or South is the Grey Giant’s south face. Outside of one outstanding route, Hyperion (5.11d****)
, the rock quality on the remaining routes is subpar at best. Hyperion follows a beautiful arching varnished roof crack. The rest of the routes rely on too much face or slab climbing via shitty rock. The moderates that were starred in the guide involve run out climbing an suspect rock. Transversal (5.9 C1*)
which looks the most interesting of the moderates and is by far the most obvious feature from a distance, involves 50’ of aid. To be fair, it along with several others were established in ’71 and no doubt have seen few ascents since.
Hyperion (5.11d) does look amazing. Lithophiliac (5.11b**) has a laser cut .5” splitter but I can only imagine how insecure the feet must feel on the peeling face and edges. Grey Giant gets a lot of sun, we were too warm in mid-December.
A ton of cactus and Cat’s Claw line the base of the south wall making it a pain to move between the routes.
Hike as you would for Willow Hole
. The guide states 3.5 miles from the Boyscout trailhead. When you get to a boulder choked stoppage in the wash, head up and right aiming for the Grey Giant which you can now see. Either approach, up left and cut back right or cross the wash below and head straight for the base which involves quite a bit of boulder hopping and bushwhacking. We went up one and descended the other, both involved the same amount of effort. Transversal’s horizontal crack and Hyperion’s under cling roof are the most obvious features.
Route Description(s)Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the South Wall
Illusion- 140’-5.7/ The main reason to climb Illusion is to reach Transversal, a 120’ traverse pitch! The start is a pain in the ass. Burrow through thick brush to the base of the tall right facing corner on the left side of the Grey Giant’s south face. Chimney and stem up the chossy rock to a stance about 15’ below the start of the obvious Transversal. Gear belay. Dow
Transversal- 140’-5.9 C1*/ This route was put in back in ’71. It is not A1 as advertised in the guide (prob used fixed pitons back then), but rather C1. It traverses the entire south face of the Grey Giant at about 140’ although stated as 240’ in the guide which is referencing the section of Illusion you must climb to access its start. The C1 lasts for about the first 50’ of climbing. The rock is similar to loose sandpaper in places and there are no feet. The horizontal protects easy for aid, but could be sketch for anyone trying to free it. At the end of the aid, I came to a convoluted rap anchor atop Lithophiliac (2016-one nut, one bad bolt). From there you can gain a foot ramp (the horizontal lip) with no hands for another 40’ to varnished rock and better climbing. This route is mostly about aid and not worth repeating nor the one star it gets in the guide, despite how cool it looks on approach. Dow
The DMB- 80’-5.9*/ Another 70’s route that is full on for the grade and rock quality (or lack thereof). Three bolts cover 80’, with no gear. The first bolt was no worries. The 2nd one a bit more challenging with consequences if you fell right before reaching it. Reaching the 3rd involved the crux climbing. Some of this rock peels right off, as these routes have rarely been climbed. You can imagine the extra concentration it takes on the vertical slab routes due to this quality rock. The edges are there but a crux small flake hold just below the 3rd bolt is fragile. From the 3rd bolt on to the fixed rap it eases way off. The pro bolts and the anchor are all solid bolts/hangers as of 2016. Dow
Two Left Feet- 60’-5.9*/Although being an 80’s Swain route, which means this pitch is quite a bit easier than other climbs on the wall, he kept with the run out trend. A mixed route with varnished features vs slab moves like DMB. The two bolts are well placed. But the 2nd and key opportunity for gear is suspect. A flared nut would be the best choice. The first traverse right to reach the first clip is thought provoking but all there on good rock. The crux is when you reach a varnished tall grip feature you can layback or stem. This is also the location of the crux pro which is in a slot to the left. Not much if any gear outside of that. Once you make an exciting move or two at the grade, it eases up to the fixed rap which was relatively new as of 2016. The two bolts harbored makeshift hangers that upon closer inspection looked better than when you first glance at them. Dow
Jewel of Denial- 60’-5.9*/
Heavy Meadow- 60’-5.10a/
Dawn Yawn- 20’-5.11d*/
Crying Cowboys- 50’-5.12b**/