|Route Type:||Trad Climbing|
|Season:||Spring, Fall, Winter|
|Time Required:||Half a day|
|Rock Difficulty:||5.6 (YDS)|
|Number of Pitches:||3|
Sunday Cruise is a fun multi-pitch route, but despite the grade, it is not, in my opinion, for new leaders because the first pitch has a serious runout that potentially represents a groundfall and the third pitch, while very easy, has horrible rock quality. Both pitches quickly turn into the leader-must-not-fall types.
Unfortunately, contrary to the description in the Handren guide and the one on the Mountain Project page that basically plagiarizes the guidebook, the route is not 500'. It is more like 360'. Also, the anchors ain't what they're made out to be.
Once you reach the buttress, find a path of least resistance up and right to an exposed, pretty corner with a finger crack splitting it. There is a bolted anchor consisting of a hanger, link, and ring at the base. It seems a little overdone, but it does serve the purpose of protecting the belayer in case the leader falls before placing the first piece.
I will go with the guidebook and the plagiarized description for the basics, trying to skirt outright plagiarism myself, but following that will be the comments I added to the MP page. Comments in parentheses are my own.
P1-- Climb the crack and then traverse up and left, with nonexistent protection, to a large tree. (Well, there are two trees, and neither is large and neither looks terribly strong. Some suggested climbing on through the start of P2 to some bolted anchors someone put in. It is not a bad idea.)
P2-- The best pitch. Move right to a crack system the other sources call an open book and climb it. Fun fact: I used the legendary black Totem and pink Tricam as my first two pieces on this pitch. Reach a ledge where there are bolted anchors to the right and then climb a lovely corner. As the crack thins out and the climbing begins to look well above the grade, pull onto the arete to the left (I thought the moves I did were 5.7 or 5.8, but there might be an easier way lower down). Finish the pitch at a large tree. This tree now appears to be dead (see comments below).
P3-- Go up easy terrain, Class 4-5.2, but on rock that is loose almost everywhere. Very little reliable protection exists. There are bolted anchors at the end, which was a nice surprise since I was dreading building a gear anchor in the soft rock all around.
My added comments--
P1 and P2 are more like 125' and 140', not 180/200. I was using a 70, and I reached the middle mark as I got to the first tree. I was somewhere in the upper dihedral when I reached the middle on P2. On P3, I did not get to the middle. So if you're walking off, you can carry less rope and use a 50 or maybe even a 40.
After the initial crack systems on P1, I found no meaningful pro (none at all, actually) until the first tree, which you can sling. There was a sling and a locker there that someone must have used to bail; I left both. This is a large runout that could present a groundfall, and I do not recommend this pitch for new leaders despite the grade. Contrary to the description, it was P1, not P2, that presented rope-drag issues; this was due to the big traverse to the first tree and then my decision to use the second tree as the anchor.
The tree mentioned as the P2 belay is dead, and the trunk is starting to crack. I still used it, but it's going to keep deteriorating. There was a horizontal crack that took a blue Metolius and blue Totem as backups. If I climbed this again, I'd look for something else as an anchor. P3 has a fun start on good rock if you climb the crack and dihedral on the right to the roof, but then you have to traverse left for a few yards on crumbling hands and poor feet. Were I to do this again, I'd just start left of the tree on much easier ground. P3 is very easy climbing, but the rock is poor. Almost everything is loose.
I had Ulralight Master Cams 1-8, a full set of Totems, a set of nuts, and the classic set of Tricams. A few extra 120cm slings really helped manage rope drag.