Sundial Peak, Eleventh Hour Route
This was a memorable, exciting mountaineering adventure complete with route finding and weather challenges as well as a variety of climbing challenges.
The eleventh hour route is three to four pitches and is rated at 5.8. Tyler and I found most of the climbing to be in the 5.6 to 5.7 range, but there were several more difficult moves on thin protection that got the adrenaline going. The first pitch runs up from the pine trees on the north/northwest corner. You can climb up various lines in one or two pitches to a large ledge. From here, move up and right around the corner into a large, easy dihedral. You can either continue up the dihedral to a ledge or cut right over a bulge. Either way provides thirty or forty feet of challenging moves near the top. The third pitch then moves up and right for about fifty feet and then back left to the summit. The direction went, there was a scary thin and exposed move up a small finger crack to a sloper ledge. Tyler was slipping and sliding off the thing when he noticed an old piton hammered into the ledge. He slammed a draw in a clipped it faster than was visible to the human eye. It was funny to watch, but he would have fallen on a very small nut, and over a very exposed face. The pucker factor was high on that part of the final pitch. After the thin crack, the route curved back to the left and up to the summit.
The true summit stood several hundred feet above. It was then just a short scramble to the summit and two rappels with a 70 meter rope to get off. Scramble down the east side to the trees to rap off. There is a scary looking old dead tree with webbing on it, but we chose to move further down the tree line and found webbing on trees that were alive. We replaced some webbing, so as of this writing there is new webbing on the descent of a very steep gully on the east side in the trees.
Overall it was a great climb with a variety of challenges. Right as we cleaned up camp a thunderstorm blew in making the hike out absolutly miserable. Oh well, lucky timing I guess and everything can't be perfect. At least the rain knocked out the mosquitos for a while. I highly suggest this climb, but please respect the rules of the area: No fires, no animals (except climbers), and so swimming. The area is a watershed and I have personally seem many a moron breaking these rules. It is a beautiful area and it needs out protection if we are going to make use of it.
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