Most anyone who has logged substantial climbing time at Lovers Leap that has done Hospital Corner will concur: this is one of the best climbs at The Leap. In particular, the second pitch- 2 flat, almost vertical walls slam into each other at an almost perfect 90 degree angle, with a discontinuous seam at their intersection & various seam-to-splitter-hand-jam cracks weaving their way throughout the area surrounding both. The climb is aesthetic, sustained, sucks up pro’, and fairly easy to retreat from- DO IT.
PHOTO NOTEIf you happen to have a picture of this route (or more) that you can put up before I'm able to dig one up out of my archives, I'd appreciate it! Otherwise, I will get one (or more) up when I next get the opportunity.
While not difficult, the approach is steep & strenuous. From the parking lot, take the Pony Express trail towards the cliff. After a few minutes, take a right onto a climbers’ trail heading into the trees (not TOO easy to miss, but be on the lookout for it). Take this until it runs into a rock (the Lower Buttress) & hang a L here to skirt it (going R will take one to Surrealistic Pillar, etc.). Go UP, skirting the buttress’ left side. At a certain point, you’ll get to a notch (to the L of & above the buttress). Take a L here on a faint trail onto Main Ledge. Corrugation Corner & Traveler Buttress will be obvious on the L-hand skyline. Maybe 1/3 of the way to Corrugation, you will see an arête, on the R side of which is a not-too-big, R-facing dihedral- this is the start.. Above this looms a beautiful dihedral that could have easily been plucked from one of your climbing wet dreams- the stellar 2nd pitch & namesake of the climb.
Pitch 1: While the 2nd pitch of this climb is the money pitch, the first pitch is a great warm-up & is thought-provoking enough. It starts in a shallow dihedral system to the R of the face climb Arctic Breeze (also fun- .10a; look for the bolts to the L of the arête, the first one ~10' up) & to the L of the first pitch of Anesthesia (5.8). This first pitch is shared with West Wall. It is steep & fairly continuous 5.7. There is some somewhat runout climbing above the initial dihedral section (5.3) over jugs & small steps until you reach a huge ledge with a 2-bolt anchor. There are links off of which you can rap' if you want here.
Pitch 2: THIS is the business. After maybe 5’ or so of warm-up, you launch into sustained 5.9. Save energy & look for any rests you can, because it doesn’t relent pretty much all the way to the anchor. Do whatever you can, & need to, to keep moving upwards. Look around & keep an open mind- the most practical moves may at first not seem obvious. The climb demands a variety of techniques, from finger locks to hand & toe jams to liebacks to wide stemming. While the whole climb is fairly sustained, the crux comes maybe 2/3 up the corner & requires some committing wide stemming above good pro’- go for it! You will be entertained until you attain the 2-bolt anchor!! Upon reaching the anchor, wipe the huge grin off of your face, set up a belay, & bring up your second.
Rappel down from the Pitch 1 & Pitch 2 anchors (~110 ft. each rap’). A single 70m rope will get you down, or you’ll need 2 60m or 50m ropes. Rumour has it that 2 70m lines will get you from the top of P2 to the bottom of the route.
Alternately you can continue climbing easier pitches from here (not that great), gain the Slash (the obvious right-trending easy 5th-class ledge system visible from below (perhaps not from Main Ledge, but at least the trail)), then one or 2 easy 5th pitches to the top of the Leap from the terminus of the Slash. Rappelling is highly preferable to this.
What You Need
2 sets of nuts, & 2 sets of cams to 3” should get you through fine. A 70m rope will ensure you can rap’ both pitches with a single rope (i.e. 2 rappels total), or two 60s or 50s. There is pretty much great pro’ at all the difficult sections.
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