Author Topic: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?  (Read 4670 times)

Offline Admin Al

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Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« on: June 20, 2007, 12:42:35 PM »
Stickyfingerz wrote:

Quote
I think a lot of aspiring leaders get on Funhouse simply due to the lack of good, safe multi-pitch moderates at Cathedral, especially on a crowded Saturday.


Other than lining up with the crowds at Thin Air or Upper Refuse, what are the options?

Standard Route? 5.6R (5.7+R in Handren) - Traversing first pitch, to a chimney second pitch, to the Cave Wall third pitch. Not exactly a great route for a beginning leader.

Pleasant Street? 5.7R - Big fall potential on the first pitch. Not a good selection.

Pooh? 5.7 - "Several quite befuddling combinations." Probably wouldn't be my first choice. (Plus the leader fell on the easier second pitch.)


Then there are the more difficult moderates:

Final Gesture? 5.7+ (5.8 in Handren) - "Awkward, overhanging." Plus you have to climb Upper Refuse or Black Lung.

Bombardment? 5.8R - See Pleasant Street.

Turner's Flake? 5.8 - "Committing, strenous lead." The site of a recent injury-producing fall.

Black Lung? 5.8(+) - "Strenous...if you can just hang on."

Three Birtches? 5.8+ - "A hard 5.8"


Contrast these with the descriptions of Funhouse.

"Fun, stimulating, and well protected climbing, this is one of Cathedral's best intermediate routes."

"An enjoyable and well protected climb with good belay ledges and interesting moves on every pitch."

"Absolutely classic and really fun."


It should be no surprise that new leaders get themselves into trouble on this route. The guidebooks make it sound like one of the best options at the crag.


PS - I guess I'd suggest Toe Crack or The Saigons (although this might be too difficult) as safer options? Any other recommendations for Cathedral newbies?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 12:44:12 PM by Admin Al »
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Offline Admin Al

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2007, 12:45:02 PM »
Saigons are good.. pretty well protected with pins and spots for gear between those. solid face climbing with good rests.   

For other stuff you have the short stuff.. childs play etc though i'm guessing those get busy with top ropers

as fingerz pointed out many of the better routes on Cathedral have their difficulties. the Saigons are a good choice, tho are really 5.8. they are very well protected. IMO the stuff at the North End like Child's Play and Kiddy Crack are well protected but most assuredly under rated. I love Bombardment, but the slab can be quite scary. no question about it. P1 of 3 Birches is really a 5.9 and when it's wet can be a flail-fest. not so amazingly I've never led Turner's 'cause I don't like things I can't protect. the Glory Wall and Hidden Cliff have some well protected climbs at a moderate grade that may be a good choice.

--al
« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 12:55:27 PM by Admin Al »
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Mike_B

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2007, 01:10:44 PM »
Its possible to walk around to Upper Refuse, no? The 5.5 parts have good gear -- seems like a good option, albeit one that isn't that simple to get to without climbing climbs like Funhouse or bombardment.
I agree toe crack has goo pro and is one of the more reasonable option. Other option could be doing the first two pitches of Thin Air?

An Aside: My first time up Funhouse several years ago was with my girlfriend, and I figured I'd follow Funhouse proper all the way to avoid jamming, which she hadn't grown accustomed to yet.  I ended up on the rock between Pooh and funhouse. When my girlfriend finally made it up whatever I ended up climbing, she berated me with claims that she'd never climb again. Big f-up on my part, but she still climbs (whew!)...

Offline Admin Al

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2007, 02:07:51 PM »
yes, you can walk around & down to the tree ledge in the middle of the cliff. beginners may find it useful to rope up before the slab at the start of the traverse on the ledge over to the Barber Wall area, tho most people do not. then there is the tricky little spot just before you get to the Upper Refuse area that many people, certainly all guided parties, rope up for. then you are all set for Upper Refuse which may be the perfect place on Cathedral for a beginning leader.

RE Toe Crack: I should have mentioned that in order to get to Toe Crack you have to climb one of the starts to Standard Route.

1) the direct start is actually pretty stout. you climb the dike past a pin. that's easy enough. however from there you have to step left into a flaring crack where it's a tricky gear placement that never feels all that solid to me, and is often damp.

2) I usually do the alternate start to Standard on the left, going up the right-leaning ramp to under Turner's Flake. you have to step down and make an awkward step-across to the base of Toe Crack. many find this a bit on the scary side, tho with good gear and double ropes it is pretty safe.

as is often the case at Cathedral, the first pitch of things is the "gotcha".  :o

Final Gesture... it's been a couple of years since I've done this, but I don't remember it as "overhanging". there is the balancy move onto the buttress, then you move up the the block and then layback & wallow onto the top of the block.

--al
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DLottmann

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2007, 03:07:12 PM »
The title of this topic is way to limiting.  Maybe if we lived in the Gunks!  How about safe and moderate climbs in MWV?

I think most aspiring new trad leaders should cut their teeth on the slabs.  Maybe long runouts on some routes, but low impact sliding falls are less dangerous than the ledgy stuff.  My recs:

Whitehorse

Beginner's Route (Not the easy variation!)- pretty well protected with bolts and rap stations all along.  For newer climbers consider stopping at P4 and rapping.

Standard Route- practice buiding 2 gear anchors by not skipping the "mailbox" belay halfway up the arch and leaving the thread open for others to descend.  Quartz pocket variation is better and will help you realize what runout 5.4 is.

Sliding Board and Sea of Holes are two other great moderates.

Beezebub, Holy Land, Root 2 root are other Whitehorse moderates with great gear.

Square Ledge has lots of over looked moderate well protected rock.  The whole west face is covered in passive pro placements and the Chimney is an 5.6 excellent trad lead.  Stiletto (5.6) at Sundown, with a couple of the routes at Lost Horizon.  Endeavor on White's Ledge's 1st 2 pitches.  Pitch 2 is CLASSIC 5.7.  Pitch 3 can be scary if you get off route, but the Pitch 4 5.5 toe crack is CLASSIC as well.

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2007, 04:26:43 PM »
DMan - I agree with all of your suggestions. however the originator was talking specifically about Cathedral. so you are suggesting that beginning leaders go elsewhere?  :P

--al
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DLottmann

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2007, 07:14:51 PM »
ya, Cathedral only has two routes suitable for total new sub-5.7 trad leader.  Upper Refuse and Thin Air.  Both these routes have the added challenge of being EXTREMELY busy climbs, both regular parties and guided parties.  The new self-taught leader would better cut their teeth on nearby Whitehorse, Square, or another great choice mentioned in the other topic Echo Crag.

T_Moon

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2007, 09:02:37 PM »
Woodchuck Ledge has some great beginning leads, too.  Zanzibar at 5.5, Octoberfest at 5.6 and Kampala at 5.5.  The 2nd pitch of Kampala is really great -- slightly overhanging with great holds and good pro.  They are all right next to each other, too.

Offline tradmanclimbz

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2007, 10:11:09 PM »
Childs play is extreemly slippery and although well protected I can still see a noob leader decking down low. It looks like an easy short 5.6 but I wouldn't send a new leader up it.

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2007, 10:16:56 PM »
Woodchuck Ledge has some great beginning leads, too.  Zanzibar at 5.5, Octoberfest at 5.6

I did Octoberfest a couple of years ago. I didn't think it was very good. dirty & not very esthetic. IMNSHO

 :P

--al
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T_Moon

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2007, 03:49:18 PM »
I think Zanzibar is a better route than Octoberfest and it isn't as dirty.  There are some other moderates at Woodchuck, too, but they are pretty dirty.  I remember doing a 5.7 last summer (don't recall the name off the top of my head) and having to dig moss and munge out for nearly every placement.  With some cleaning, though...

DLottmann

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2007, 08:39:38 PM »
Child's Play: If you can do the 1st move you can do the rest of a well protected climb.  The hardest thing for new leaders will be building an anchor at the top of it since the bolts are chopped.

Stiletto at Sundown: Just want to re-emphasize this is a classic clean 5.6 with good pro, exposure, rock, etc.

Stickyfingerz

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2007, 10:35:53 AM »
Beezebub, Holy Land, Root 2 root are other Whitehorse moderates with great gear.

DMan - I cant seem to find Holy Land in any of the guidebooks or the routes DB. Care to share the beta?

Offline tradmanclimbz

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2007, 11:11:29 AM »
The tree at the top of Childs play is still alive for now so an anchor is not a problem. The whole climb feels like it was greased down with vasaline though and that first move could spit a noob out like a bar of wet soap. landing is good though. Its just not an enjoyable climb though, feels like handeling a dirty restroom doorhandle. Makes you want to wash your hands as soon as you get off the thing.... Beezelbub corner is pretty nice for a first gear lead.

sielickip

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Re: Safe & moderate climbs on Cathedral?
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2007, 09:19:06 PM »
When people say, "...new leader..." what is the assumption of the level in skill does this person have? Have they read Freedom of the Hills cover to cover, therefore they can now lead? Have they toproped everywhere in the Valley thereby learning gear placements as well as various anchor techniques? Have they had "proper" instruction from a school or a guide? Are they gym rats that after "leading" a stellar 5.13 clipping bolts in the gym, they find themselves ready for a ledgy 5.7 like Funhouse? When these people, whoever a "new leader" is picks a climb are they thinking of their committment level? IE: toproping is 0 committment where-as from the tree ledge at Upper Refuse, rapping down would require two ropes or losing some gear by rapping to the belay atop of Black Lung.

I guess I can see what everyone is saying about Funhouse and it's ledginess, however, as I lead it in my head (because I think I've lead it about 20 times this year so far...) I can't think of any place where 1. the gear is not stellar; 2. there is not a great stance to place great gear; 3. whenever you feel spooked, there seems to be a jug or some sort of excellent jam to save yourself. This isn't to say at all that there is no place to screw yourself or your second on, but I know that Funhouse was my second lead as a new leader and I found that it was tough, but not so tough that I was worried about decking or worried about the gear.