Left Hand of Darkness, 5.8-5.11c

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California, United States, North America
Trad Climbing, Toprope
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Left Hand of Darkness, 5.8-5.11c
Created On: Apr 9, 2016
Last Edited On: Apr 9, 2016


The Right Route, 5.10b
The Right Route, 5.10b**

Left Hand of Darkness offers several stout 5.10- trad routes in an intimate and quiet setting just minutes from the paved parking area at the intersection of Lost Horse Road and Park Blvd. When Granny Goose and Ken Black Memorial Dome can appear busy and teaming with folks, a short boulder hop through the bushes will find serenity at Left Hand of Darkness. We combined this wall with Mindless Mound and Banana Cracks for a full day of climbing. Routes on Left Hand of Darkness are north facing.

The Right Route, 5.10b**, is the destination objective on this wall.  Miramontes gives it a coveted two stars in his guide and it is well deserving.  I found its crux to be punchy compared to most of the sought after 5.10b’s at Jtree. After an easy traverse in from the right, the next few moves up a shallow to closed corner were full on, both gear and climbing.  Although the Left Route is labeled “R” in the guide, the run out portion is not that tricky. It is worth leading for the competent trad leader which makes for a solid 2nd trad lead on the wall. The Omen is a top-rope climb as of 2016 but worth doing to experience the fun roof traverse right and up. There are no fixed anchors on top of the formation but you can set up gear top ropes in various cracks.  You can scramble down 5th class on the right side (climbers right) when done with the wall.

Park at the paved trail head located at the intersection of Park Blvd and Lost Horse Road. Hike east around the north side of Granny Goose and then turn south up into a bush and boulder choked canyon that leads to the Left Hand of Darkness. 5-10 minutes.

Route Description(s)

Routes Listed Right to Left as you face the Wall (west to east)

  • Uhh Cult- 5.10a/

  • The Right Route- 60’-5.10b** / Although The Left Route gets the “R” rating, we found it protected with much more confidence than the beginning of the Right Route. Begin up far right and hand traverse left via a positive white flake until you reach the chossy seam. We had off-set cams (seam is flaring), but I found the most trusted piece to be the smallest X4 micro cam seeded deep in vs an off-set seeded to the edge on grainy rock. The crux move of the route is next. I very heady move, not far off the deck, and delicate step up to the horizontal which is closed for gear. As soon as I could, I did a weird full body stem, hands out left and feet out right. My partner was more graceful and managed a stem traverse over. Once you reach the jugs over the roof out left, your gear and the climbing is much more settled for the grade. Above this crux section, traverse right under a hand sized crack/roof to a vertical crack. Climb the finger crack with foot features to the top. Gear belay. Small gear, rps, micro cams, etc. Dow

  • Right Route Direct- 5.11cTR*/

  • The Omen- 60’-5.10bTR* / This is a top rope route in Miramontes guide. If you climb The Left Route, you can top rope The Omen from a gear belay atop that climb. Start up the Left Route and then under-cling the roof out right and mantle it at the top via fun and physical moves that are not overly technical. Then go straight up trying to avoid use of the Left Route or the Right Route features as they start running together. Try and stay in the middle as much as possible to explore new ground. Much easier than the Right Route which is at the same grade in the guide. Dow

  • The Left Route- 60’-5.10aR** / The run-out is really at the bottom vs the top although the guide might leave you to believe it is at the top. The top traverse up right is much easier climbing. The start has a lay back move or two that is not protected. The first protection is solid however via a few finger pockets. The crux of the route is well protected but full on for 5.10a. About a third of the way up, it has sort of a dyno move on thin edges to reach more typical 5.9-5.10a ground. Finish up a fun, steep and juggy crack, traverse up and right on easy face towards the end. Gear belay on top, small to medium pieces in a V shaped floor crack. Dow

  • Route 152- 5.10aR/

  • Brew 102- 5.8/