Portent, 5.6, on Discovery Wall, is a truly a Pinnacles classic. It was one of my first climbs, when I began climbing outside of the gym. I still remember how difficult I thought the start was and the exhilaration and fear I felt during the exposed traverse that I now think is the most enjoyable part of the climb.
From the Bear Gulch Visitors Center, head towards the reservoir via Moses Spring Trail. When you come to the sign post, marking the turn off to reach the Bear Gulch Caves, continue right on Moses Spring Trail. When you come to the a second sign post, indicating a climber’s trail, again bear right to reach Discovery Wall and Portent.
Portent is one of the first climbs you notice as you hike up to the base of Discover wall. There is a large boulder near the base.
First Sign Post Second Sign Post
Rubine’s guide recommends climbing Portent as a two pitch climb. There is an anchor to the right of the bolt where the route begins to traverse left, consisting (currently) of one good bolt and two older bolts. However, most people climb this route as a single pitch, as it is a popular route and a single rope enables you to reach the anchors.
The start is the crux of the route. Rubine’s guide rates it as a 5.7, but it feels like a 5.8 to me. It is height dependent. If you are tall you can reach several good holds and scramble up to the alcove. If you are short, it is easier to move into the right corner before working your way up to the first good hand holds.
Steve Reaches for the Opening Holds Steve Scrambing Up Almost Past the Crux
Jenny demonstrates grace on the opening sequence.
Moving into the Corner Making it look Easy Good Hand Holds
Portent is bolted; however the first bolt is quite high, maybe 30 feet or so. You can place gear near the start of the climb, in the small chimney or alcove. If you do place gear, use long runners to reduce rope drag. The bolts on the rest of the climb are spread out, but the climbing is easy.
Steve Placing Gear Ron Nearing the First Bolt
Portent tends left, paralleling the left facing corner, until you begin to traverse left. The traverse is easy, but feels very exposed as you move across a bulge. At the last bolt, head up towards the anchors.
Ron Traversing Left The Traverse Approaching the Anchors
To descend head right on the trail that parallels the top of Discovery Wall to reach the Rim Trail. The Rim Trail will lead you to the High Peaks Trail and back to the base of Discovery Wall.
This route is very popular. It is not unusual to have a party waiting to start the route after you.
Quick draws, long slings and carabiners to extend the clips, your favorite anchoring system and a small rack if you want to place gear near the start of the route.
Discovery wall is not usually affected by the annual raptor closures, but you should check the closure list before you climb at the Pinnacles.
You can get more information about the Raptor Advisory Lists at this web site: