The Water Groove

Page Type
Oregon, United States, North America
Route Type:
Technical Rock Climb
Time Required:
Half a day
5.10c A0 (or 5.8 A0)

Route Quality: 1 Votes

4053 Hits
71.06% Score
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Page By:
The Water Groove
Created On: Dec 26, 2003
Last Edited On: Oct 14, 2004


Note that this route has been added by R. Lawson early in 2002. It is not listed in any publication (to my knowledge). This is a high quality route however due to its relative novelty (and obscurity) it is a little loose in places. Watch your holds and wear a helmet. It is very nicely bolted (including all belay stations) so no worries.

Follow the directions on the main page of Kiss Of The Lepers Buttress page to get to the southwest base of the formation. Specifically, as you descend down the west side of the Misery Ridge Trail and make the final switchback (from heading south to north) at the base of Monkey Face (Monkey's northwest corner), stay on the trail for another 200 yards or so. The first formation you encounter (approx. 10 feet away and on the right side of the trail) is the base of the Kiss Of The Lepers Buttress. Continue on the trail for another 20 yards till you see the rock face recede about 20 feet back. This is where The First Kiss route begins in a left (north) facing dihedral. Stay on the trail for another 50-100 yards as it makes its way downhill and away from the base of the buttress. Look for a 40-foot evergreen tree next to the base of the buttress. Make your way uphill (cross-country) at this point toward the base of the rock - about 30 yards. You should see the starting bolts 15 feet off the ground and directly behind the tree in question.

Route Description

The route makes its way to the top of the Kiss Of The Lepers Buttress in four bolted pitches. It has a mandatory aid section high on pitch one to bypass a blank roof.

Pitch 1: 5.10a A0 (*) ,70 feet . Free climb (or stick clip your way since the rock is quite chossy and the route has not yet been cleaned thru. use) past 3 or 4 bolts to the start of a short bolt ladder under a small roof. Aid your way over the lip of the roof and into a slot opening to the water groove - a vertical "pipe" with a lengthwise slit to the outside world. The move out of your aiders to enter the slot could be the crux of the pitch. Move past one more bolt inside the water groove and belay from double bolts further in (15 feet above end of bolt ladder). Note that the aid section is a bit reachy here - a clip or "cheat" stick might be a good idea.

Pitch 2: 5.10c, 105 feet. Follow the bolts on the far wall of the water groove. You'll encounter two slightly overhung "headwalls" - those are presumably the 10c cruxes. The rock is much better than on pitch one, but again it needs to see more ascents. If you're stick clipping your way up, note that the move past the last bolt (to the anchor belay bolts) cannot be clipped and is mandatory free move. Moving directly up over the overhung bulge is presumably a 10c series of moves (about 8 feet). Moving right just below the last bolt keeps the difficulty down (to about 5.7-5.8). Gain the nice belay ledge with two bolts.

Pitch 3. ??. From belay ledge atop pitch two, follow the bolts up a low angle slab to the left.

Note that we needed to bail after second pitch due to fading daylight. Will come back in the coming week, finish the route and write up the last two pitches.

If you do top out on the route, it'll probably be a walk off (more info. to come). If you need to bail from top of pitch two, rap to top of pitch one with two ropes (according to a reliable source, a single 60 m rope will also get you down with enough rope stretch). Do another single rope rap to the ground. The two rappels are worth doing - both are free-air raps and quite fun!

(*) Note that these ratings were taken from a posting by R. Lawson on the message board.

Essential Gear

Clip or "cheat" stick. Enough aid gear to get past a short bolt ladder (under a roof - i.e. a pair or two of aiders is probably a good idea). Quick draws. Note that the first two belay stations are equipped with nice rap rings on the bolts - no need to rap slings.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.