CLIMBERS' GUIDE TO CRAG Y
Larry Hamilton 1989
This is an informal guide to Crag Y, a recently-discovered cliff above the Kancamagus Highway near Haystack and South Moat Mountain. Geographically, Crag Y is the northwest extension of the cliff band that forms the south face of Haystack. The rock itself is the same fine-grained syenite found on nearby Sundown and Woodchuck Ledges, with a profusion of thin cracks and dihedrals. Crag Y is small, even by New Hampshire standards; it never reaches a full ropelength in height, and the most interesting section is only a few hundred feet wide. Despite its limited size and history, Crag Y has a rich concentration of good climbs.
The climbing history of this crag is remarkably short. It was "discovered" on May 16, 1987 by Paul (Base) Boissonneault and Jim Ewing, after they had become lost trying to find George Hurley's HYPERSPACE. Crag Y is miles from HYPERSPACE, so the pair were quite lost indeed. When they stumbled upon Crag Y, they found no trace of previous climbing. Since the crag is well hidden from most vantage points, its exact location remained secret through the early summer of 1987. Ewing coined the name "Crag Y," in reaction to other North Conway climbers who were calling their own secret finds "Crag X."
Over succeeding weeks, the secret of Crag Y spread gradually to a wider circle of climbers. It testifies to the crag's quality that many in this circle returned repeatedly, despite the long, humid approach, to work out new routes during the height of bug season. There was a sense of conspiracy about this work, as other climbers pried for information about the mysterious new crag. The conspiracy was not very quiet, though. Even during this "secret" phase of development, there were occasionally four parties on the cliff at once. Within two months about 25 routes had been established, and several Last Great Problems were under siege. For some reason many routes got named after Saturday morning cartoon shows.
The crag's early history was a period of extensive gardening and reconnaissance. This activity focused particularly on the left and central parts of the cliff, which were initially rather vegetated and dirty. Determined efforts by many individuals went into uncovering the clean crack lines that now characterize these sections. Boulder-trundling was for several months a popular Sunday-afternoon sport at Crag Y. To the right of the central wall, a more "mountaineering" attitude prevailed. Hurley's routes in the Recess, and all of the routes right of DECEPTICON, are among those climbed entirely on sight.
The surest way to find Crag Y is to go with someone who has been there before. The forested slopes around the crag are almost featureless, so it is easy even for return visitors to discover that they are accidentally climbing Moat Mountain instead. Alas, the adventure of finding this crag has been lessened considerably by the recent appearance of fluorescent orange blazes on the trees. If you don't get lost, the approach takes about 45 minutes.
Begin on an old logging road, off Dugway Road between Woodchuck and Sundown Ledges. The logging road starts 1.8 miles west of the Dugway picnic grounds, or 1.2 miles east of the covered bridge. Hike west on this road until you cross Big Brook, a sizable stream. Continue about two hundred yards farther, to a point just before the logging road takes a sharp left turn and begins to climb. Head into the woods on the right here, quickly joining Big Brook. Walk alongside the brook a short distance until a huge mossy boulder, almost house-sized, can be dimly seen on its east bank. Cross to the east bank at this boulder. A smaller stream descends the hillside from the east here, joining Big Brook beside the huge boulder. Begin hiking uphill along the right side of this small stream. Follow this streambed all the way to its head, choosing the wider branch every time it forks. From the stream-head, a faint trail continues up into the small valley which separates the crag (visible on your left) from the back side of Eagle Cliff. It is easy to miss this valley, and end up either too far left, climbing Moat Mountain, or too far right, on the slopes of Eagle Cliff. With some thrashing, you can still reach the crag by traversing in the appropriate direction. If you find yourself on volcanic bedrock, you are likely too far left.
As you walk along the base of Crag Y, the rock changes character several times. A number of natural sections can be recognized. From left to right these are:
Left Side -- broken by ledges, but with several clean cracks and dihedrals on the upper half.
Sunkist Wall -- the crag's steep central section, rising above the approach trail. This section is named for the sunny orange slab, seamed by a dozen or so perfect cracks, on which all the routes finish.
Recess -- right of the Sunkist Wall area a small talus field descends from a recess, bounded by dihedrals on its left and right sides.
Decepticon Buttress -- forms the right boundary of the Recess; not really a buttress, but it looks like one when approached from the left.
Red Walls -- obviously-named section of steep water-stained slabs and ledges, below and right of Decepticon Buttress.
Far Right -- to the right of the Red Walls the rock goes on and on, though it is nowhere very impressive.
These sections are used to organize the route descriptions below.
A NOTE ON PROTECTION
Carry some traditional gear including small wires and camming units for all climbs on Crag Y. The routes are not visited often, so be prepared for possible surprises.
Most of these routes were established during the spring and summer of 1987. Locally, that was a transitional period between the wired-nut ethics of the 1970s and 80s, and the rap-bolting spirit of the 90s. Crag Y routes were established in a variety of styles from pure traditionalism to rap-cleaning and pre-protection. Even the more "radical" climbers had not yet embraced the full concept of sport climbing, however, and the protection they placed was often a piton.
Both trad and rad first ascentionists had a good idea of how far they could trust their freshly-hammered pitons. Subsequent climbers, who find these same pitons in place years later, have no such security. It seems likely that some old fixed pins are by now dangerously rusty or loose. This situation motivates a modest proposal by one of the climbers (Hamilton) involved:
If experienced future parties agree that fixed pro is still justified where Crag Y first ascentionists left pitons, they should feel free to remove those pitons and replace them one for one with more durable bolts. On the other hand, where the original climbers ran it out or used "clean" pro (whatever its quality), leave the route as it is.
TONIGHT I 5.11a
The second pitch, up a deep smooth-walled V-groove, is brief but interesting. Begin in the mossy crack just left of the initial fifteen-foot groove of V.
1. Climb up to the large sloping "Doormat" ledge (common to V, THE DOORS, and SPIDERLINE). Then follow a short dihedral on the left to a stance, and step left onto another wide sloping ledge at the base of a deep corner. 80', 5.8
2. Start with moves up the corner's right wall and arete, then swing back left into the tight crack at a second fixed pin. Exit carefully straight up, past a suspicious-looking jammed block. Above this, easy climbing leads to the top. 40', 5.11a
HISTORY: Larry Hamilton and Scott Hobson made the first ascent on August 7, 1987.
V I 5.9
This route has good rock, but needs more brushing. Begin in a small but distinctive right-leaning V-groove with a finger crack, at a high point in the base trail. The groove is actually a lower extension of the crack system that forms SPIDERLINE.
1. Climb the V-groove directly. At its top, move right a bit and join with the first pitch of THE DOORS, following cracks to the sloping Doormat ledge. 70', 5.9
2. About fifteen feet left of the dihedral pitch of THE DOORS is a second smaller corner system. Follow steep inside corners straight up, finishing with an overhang at the top. 60', 5.9
HISTORY: George Hurley and Larry Hamilton climbed this route on June 16, 1987, inadvertently taking advantage of Andy Ward's trundling work on the top pitch.
THE DOORS I 5.9
The second pitch follows a large right-leaning corner with a hand crack, conspicuous from the ground. Some of the climbing motions in this corner may feel like opening (or trying not to open) doors. Begin in a crack about twenty feet right of V's V-groove.
1. Moderate cracks and grooves lead up to the large sloping ledge (the Doormat) at the base of the main corner. 70', 5.5.
2. Start up the overhanging left wall, using a flake to reach a horizontal crack. Then move right into the corner, and climb it to the top. 60', 5.9
HISTORY: First ascended by Larry Hamilton and Andy Ward on May 31, 1987.
* SPIDERLINE I 5.10a
On the wall just right of THE DOORS' dihedral, a very thin short vertical crack can be seen. Small nuts provide good protection.
1. Climb the first pitch of either V (5.9 ) or THE DOORS (5.5) to the sloping Doormat belay.
2. Step right to a fixed pin in a small inside corner. Good holds lead up the corner to a pedestal, where the summit seems inches away. Continue up the final thin crack. 60', 5.10a
HISTORY: Larry Hamilton and Jim Ewing made the first ascent on June 13, 1987.
BRUSHMASTER I 5.6
1. The same first pitch as THE DOORS to the Doormat belay ledge. 70', 5.5
2. Step right and climb the right side of a pillar (the left side is SPIDERLINE) to a ledge with a small tree. Continue up an easy arete to the top.
HISTORY: Andy Ward wielded the brush that unearthed this route, and made the first ascent in June 1987.
BIG DOGS DON'T CRY I 5.8
Begins behind a big birch tree, twenty feet uphill from the base of the main Sunkist Wall. There is a ledge here twelve feet off the ground.
1. From the left side of this ledge, climb parallel cracks up to a corner. Follow the corner to the top. 100', 5.8
HISTORY: This was the first route climbed on Crag Y, on the day Paul Boissonneault and Jim Ewing got lost looking for HYPERSPACE: May 16, 1987.
SUNKIST WALL AREA
From OOH MOW MAO to HARMONIC CONVERGENCE, the Sunkist Wall offers an unbroken series of quality climbs. Every one of these routes would be a classic on Cathedral.
** OOH MOW MAO I 5.10a
Starting either from the ground or from the same ledge as BIG DOGS DON'T CRY, this route ascends the smoother roofed dihedral to its right.
1. Climb the dihedral to a few feet below the roof, then make a tricky move out right. Step up into a hand crack that shoots to the top. 100', 5.10a
HISTORY: Paul Boissonneault and Alan Cattabriga first ascended this eye-catching line on June 7, 1987.
* CENTURION I 5.9+
CENTURION ascends a prominent V-groove that begins halfway up the wall, after stepping into this groove from the left. Start on the same ledge as BIG DOGS DON'T CRY.
1. Step right around the corner and struggle up into the short V-groove. Pull over a small overhang at its top, and follow cracks with good holds to the top. 100', 5.8+
HISTORY: Crag Y's second route, and the first to tackle the Sunkist Wall, CENTURION was put up by Jim Ewing and Paul Boissonneault on May 16, 1987.
* AARP CHALLENGE I 5.9+ R
This climb follows a crack system descending just right of CENTURION's V-groove. Like other full-length routes on the Sunkist Wall, AARP CHALLENGE has a personality change in midlife.
1. Start atop a small blocky pillar toward the left side of the main Sunkist Wall. A few feet higher, a fixed knifeblade protects awkward moves up left and over a roof. The clean face just above the roof is climbed at a very thin vertical crack that soon fades away. At a horizontal crack, move back right into a shallow jam crack that leads through another roof, and on up to a sloping ledge at the base of the V-groove (CENTURION) halfway up. Step right and climb a thin crack just right of the V-groove for about 20 feet, until the two crack systems merge. Continue more easily up the main crack to the top. 120', 5.9+
HISTORY: This pitch was first led by card-carrying senior citizen George Hurley, accompanied by Larry Hamilton, on June 16, 1987.
** AUTOBOT I 5.10a
Just right of AARP CHALLENGE is a shallow corner with some loose-looking rock above. After this unpromising start AUTOBOT races up what might be the nicest finger crack on the crag.
1. Ascend the corner and pass a small overhang to better holds (crux). Continue to a hand crack, then follow the obvious, slightly left-angling finger crack above. Near the top this crack thins, but it can be climbed to its end without stepping left onto CENTURION. 120', 5.10a
HISTORY: First climbed by Jim Ewing and Paul Boissonneault on May 17, 1987.
** WHITE SNAKE I 5.11c R
1. Climb AUTOBOT to a small stance at mid-height (optional belay). 40', 5.10a
2. Follow thin cracks between the more substantial cracks of AUTOBOT and SHE-RA. After about fifteen feet in the first crack make hard face moves right to a bolt (placed on lead), then up a second thin crack. Protection is adequate but hard to place. 70', 5.11c
HISTORY: Scott Stevenson and Alan Cattabriga put this route up on June 14, 1987.
*** SHE-RA I 5.10d
The Crag Y classic. A few feet right of AUTOBOT is a triple set of corners and overhangs, leading up and right.
1. Climb straight up to the first overhang. Move up right into the next and again into the next. After passing a peg (crux) easier climbing leads up to a small stance. Jam the crack on the right until it fades, then step right into another crack, which is followed to the top. 120', 5.10d
HISTORY: First ascent by Jim Ewing and Paul Boissonneault on May 30, 1987.
** LEGIONS OF POWER I 5.11d/5.12a
LEGIONS OF POWER follows the obvious overhanging shallow crack line just above the approach trail, about fifteen feet right of SHE-RA.
1. Jam to a horizontal break. Above this break the crack fades, but some positive holds can be found. Climb up past two fixed pitons, the second of which is in a horizontal crack. Above this horizontal crack, make easier moves up into a V-groove, mostly climbing a crack on the left. When the V-groove ends, follow the crack to the top. 120', 5.11d/5.12a
HISTORY: Jim Ewing led this route on June 18, 1987.
* MODERN MATURITY I 5.9+
The route begins to the right of LEGIONS OF POWER. It ascends an inside corner to an overhang, then moves left to briefly join the LEGIONS OF POWER crack system, before moving back right again above the overhang.
1. Climb to the large ledge about fifteen feet up, then climb the crack in the V corner on the right. Angle left under the large roof (bolt). Traverse left to the prominent notch which breaks through the overhang. Immediately over the overhang, move right and improvise a belay. 60', 5.9+
2. Follow the crack which is a few feet right of the V-groove, and which angles slightly right, then left. The crux of this pitch is about fifteen feet below the top of the cliff. 60', 5.8
HISTORY: George Hurley was the senior partner on this route, established with Chris Gill on June 18, 1987.
** TRAPEZIUS I 5.10+
TRAPEZIUS begins as a variation of MODERN MATURITY, diverging at the athletic crux.
1. Climb MODERN MATURITY until below the left side of the biggest overhang. Make trapeze moves out under the roof to the right, then pull over the apex with difficulty and belay. 60', 5.10+
2. Jam up the hand crack on the right. 60', 5.7
HISTORY: On the first ascent by Chris Reveley and George Hurley (July 5, 1987), a huge pine tree growing from the ground made the crux somewhat easier than it now is, and provided an unusual belay. The tree subsequently disappeared, and the route had to be reclimbed by Kris Hanson and George Hurley (November 4, 1987) at its present treeless grade.
** SWORD OF OMENS I 5.11d
To the right of the large MODERN MATURITY/TRAPEZIUS corner system, a steep arete cuts through the overhangs. Begin in an open corner just below this arete, and right of the MODERN MATURITY start.
1. Climb the open corner to a ledge fifteen feet up. Then step right into a thin dihedral (fixed pin) at the base of the arete. Tricky climbing leads up this corner to a good stance. Just above this is a second stance, at a notch in the blade-sharp arete. A difficult sequence of moves continues up the overhanging arete, passing two more fixed pins. There is a thin hold on the left that requires gentle treatment, and solid hand jams at the very top. Belay at a wobbly pine tree 60', 5.11d
2. Grunge climbing leads to the top. 60', 5.6
HISTORY: First ascent by Jim Ewing and Larry Hamilton, July 26 1987.
*** LAST LAUGH II 5.12c
This climb has great variety and perfect rock. Begin below a large roofed dihedral near the right-hand side of the lower Sunkist Wall.
1. Traverse ten feet right under a huge flake, then hand traverse back left again on top of the flake to gain entrance to the dihedral. A bolt protects stemming up to the main roof; traverse right to a belay ledge with pitons. 60', 5.10d
2. Step left off the belay onto an exposed, bulging wall. Wicked moves lead up past two bolts to a rest at a horizontal crack. Easier thin cracks (5.9) continue straight up to the top. 60', 5.12c
HISTORY: After several attempts Jim Ewing and Larry Hamilton made the first ascent on July 30, 1988.
* HARMONIC CONVERGENCE II 5.8 A1 or 5.11 A0
HARMONIC CONVERGENCE takes an obvious and attractive line. If done with about three points of aid, it is the easiest route on the Sunkist Wall. Begin below the large broken dihedral of HONEMASTER.
1. Go a few moves up the HONEMASTER corner, then hand traverse out left. Face climb up and left across a steep wall (bolt and pin) to a belay by a tiny birch tree. 50', 5.8
2. Climb an overhanging crack above the belay. After fifteen feet the angle kicks back, and the crack continues merrily to the top. This pitch has a variable rating: 5.8 A1 with three points of aid, 5.11 A0 with one, and 5.? for someone with strong enough fingers. 60'
HISTORY: This route has the longest story on Crag Y. Chris Reveley and George Hurley (7/5/87) made the first ascent of the second pitch, after approaching via the first pitch of LAST LAUGH (which had been led earlier by Jim Ewing). The next year Hurley and Mike Daly (6/25/88) found an easier approach, traversing to the belay ledge from the large dihedral (HONEMASTER) on the right. One year later Hurley, Larry Hamilton and Alex Alvarez (5/17/89) established a direct start to make HARMONIC CONVERGENCE independent of its neighbors. This tale is not yet complete; the last remaining aid move on the second pitch will eventually go free.
HONEMASTER I 5.7
Around a corner to the right of the start of HARMONIC CONVERGENCE is an obvious inside corner/crack system with a large roof at its top.
1. Follow the obvious line until about 20 feet below the large roof. At this point step right to another major crack. Follow this second crack to the right edge of the roof and a comfortable belay ledge. 80', 5.7
2. From the belay ledge, which is left of the California block (see below), follow the crack and ledges up and left to a large pine at the top of the cliff. This lead is the same as the second pitch of CALIFORNIA DETOUR. 35', 5.7
HISTORY: George Hurley and Jon Norling made the first ascent of this facetiously-named route on August 15, 1987.
HONEMASTER DIRECT I 5.9+
This route climbs a detached pillar to the right of the big HONEMASTER corner, then follows a prominent arete.
1. Climb to the top of the pillar by any of several routes, then follow cracks up the steep arete. 80', 5.9+
2. Finish on HONEMASTER: cracks and ledges up and left. 35', 5.7
HISTORY: First climbed by George Hurley, Alex Alvarez and Larry Hamilton, May 17 1989.
* HOTEL CALIFORNIA II 5.11a
HOTEL CALIFORNIA takes a direct line up the water-stained dihedral that forms the left boundary of the main Recess. It is named for the huge California-shaped block part way up.
1. Climb the initial corner directly, with one awkward move (crux--fixed pins). Above, thin cracks on the right assist progress up the corner. Climb the wide crack on the right side of the California block, and belay on an airy ledge at its top. 80', 5.11a
2. Check out of the hotel with difficulty, straight up. A bolt and two fixed pins protect climbing up a steep open groove. Step left to avoid dirty rock at the top. 60', 5.10c
HISTORY: Jim Ewing and Larry Hamilton made the first ascent on July 18, 1987.
CALIFORNIA DETOUR I 5.9
Begin ten feet right of the HOTEL CALIFORNIA corner.
1. A moderate lie-back leads up to a stance. Move left onto the slab, then go up large hand cracks to a fixed piton. From the piton, move left and up the left side of the main HOTEL CALIFORNIA corner. You are now below the California block. Climb the left side of this block to a belay stance below and left of its top. 60', 5.9
2. Angle left and head toward the top of the cliff at a large pine tree. 35', 5.7
HISTORY: This route began as an attempt on the obvious line of HOTEL CALIFORNIA. When their original goal seemed impractical, Jim Ongena and George Hurley instead climbed this line of least resistance (June 17, 1987).
* RIGHTEOUS SLAB I 5.9
To the right of the California block is an attractive slab.
1. Start as for CALIFORNIA DETOUR, but stay on the slab as it curves right. At its end is a comfortable belay ledge. 80', 5.9
2. Traverse horizontally to the next major dihedral left of the belay ledge. Follow it to the top. This dihedral is the next corner to the right of the HOTEL CALIFORNIA finish, and is directly above the start of CALIFORNIA DETOUR. 40', 5.7+
HISTORY: First climbed by George Hurley and Joe Hayes, July 23 1987.
RISKY BUSINESS I 5.9
Find the deepest V-dihedral in the Recess.
1. Stem and jam the dihedral to the large belay ledge (an area of large blocks) at its top. 40', 5.6
2. Climb the overhanging left wall above the area of large blocks, aiming for a nice-looking short dihedral at the top of the cliff. This final dihedral is the next one to the right of the finish of RIGHTEOUS SLAB. 70', 5.9
HISTORY: George Hurley and Randy Gagne completed RISKY BUSINESS on July 25, 1987.
* ST. GEORGE I 5.9 R
This route climbs the arete immediately left of DRAGON CURVE, then continues in the same line up the final dihedral.
1. Climb the arete on its right side for several feet, then move a few inches left to a crack system which soon returns to the right. Gain a small triangular niche, level with and about eight feet left of the third piton on DRAGON CURVE. Continue straight above the triangular niche a few feet to a good belay ledge. 50', 5.9
2. The major dihedral of the Recess is above the belay stance. At first, it begins as three closely spaced dihedrals. Climb the right-hand one to its top where the three dihedrals become one. Follow that one to the top of the cliff. Protection is mostly hard-to-place small wires. Save a #1 Friend to safeguard the final move. 60', 5.9
HISTORY: First climbed by George Hurley and Joe Hayes, July 23 1987.
* DRAGON CURVE I 5.9+
This climb ascends the clean left-facing dihedral on the right side of the Recess. Above the obvious lieback section DRAGON CURVE strikes out right onto the face of the Decepticon Buttress.
1. A few feet of dubious rock lead into the dihedral. Continue up this corner past two fixed pins, to a stance (third pin) above the leaning lieback section. Make a wild step up and right onto a narrow sloping ledge, then move further up right, around a corner and onto the Decepticon Buttress. Climb up into parallel finger cracks, above the DECEPTICON finish, and follow these finger cracks to the top. 120', 5.9
HISTORY: Larry Hamilton and Scott Hobson made the first ascent on July 2, 1987.
DECEPTICON BUTTRESS <--note this is NOT a misspelling
* PUFF I 5.9 or 5.10d
This route goes up the thin crack system parallel to and just right of the arete which marks the left edge of the Decepticon Buttress.
1. Start climbing up the white birch tree at the lower left edge of the Buttress. From a point about ten feet up in the tree, lean across and place protection in a good crack, then step onto the rock. Follow the thin finger cracks which are a foot or two right of the arete. At one point DRAGON CURVE comes in from the left and crosses this line. Belay on the low-angle area above the left side of the Buttress. 50', 5.9
2. An easy and indistinct groove leads in the same line up past a small pine tree and on to the top. 50', 5.4
HISTORY: This route was first climbed with the birch-tree start by George Hurley and Randy Gagne on July 25, 1987. Jim Ewing, Larry Hamilton and Rich Baker added an awkward rock start which they named HUFF (5.10d) on July 3, 1988.
RASTER SCAN I 5.11c
Basically an easy route with a hard start, RASTER SCAN requires some rapid sideways movement. Start at a break just below a short overhanging corner, about twenty feet right from the left edge of the buttress.
1. Use buckets to leave the ground, then immediately begin moving leftwards along a thin traverse crack (fixed pin) until it is possible to climb up ten feet to a stance at the base of the peapod groove (pin). Easier climbing surmounts the groove and follows cracks to the top, eventually merging with the last part of DECEPTICON. 110', 5.11c
HISTORY: Larry Hamilton and Scott Hobson did this climb with one aid move on June 19, 1987. Hamilton returned with George Hurley six days later to free it.
* DECEPTICON I 5.10c
A clean thin crack up an 80 degree face, just right of RASTER SCAN's peapod groove. Begin a few feet right of RASTER SCAN, on a more gently overhanging short wall.
1. Climb buckets up the short overhanging wall. Step up left to footholds at the base of the thin crack, and puzzle out its initial moves. After fifteen feet the crack widens slightly, and easier climbing leads to the top. 100', 5.10c
HISTORY: The first ascent party (Jim Ewing and Larry Hamilton, May 31 1987) thought that this route would be easy, hence the name.
SLIMOR I 5.6
When every route on the crag is soaking wet, you might as well climb SLIMOR. Begin in the crack system that starts about ten feet right of DECEPTICON, and about seven feet left of a large oak tree that grows right against the wall.
1. Climb the mossy corner and crack to the top. 50', 5.6
HISTORY: When George Hurley first led this natural drainage line on June 24, 1987, his partners refused to follow. Subsequent cleaning may have reduced its unique character.
THE THERMODYNAMICS OF EEYORE I 5.6
1. Climb the crack which is directly behind the big oak tree mentioned above. Join SLIMOR atop final pedestal, where you can scramble off right. 50', 5.6
HISTORY: First ascent by Kurt Winkler and Kevin Hall, 1987.
MIGHTY TONKA I 5.5
1. Start about ten feet right of the big oak, and follow one crack to the top. 50', 5.5
HISTORY: First ascent by George Hurley and Jean Kosits, July 1 1987.
* THE TAO OF POOH I 5.6
This route follows the right-hand arete of the Decepticon Buttress. Start down at the level of the bottom of the red slabs.
1. Climb the left-most small dihedral, which is directly below the arete that forms the right edge of the Decepticon Buttress. (It is also possible to avoid this bottom section and start on same ledge as the other Decepticon Buttress routes, twenty feet higher.) Stay on the arete for excellent climbing on good holds. When the arete finally meets the crack to its left, follow that crack to the top. 100', 5.6
HISTORY: George Hurley and Jon Norling did this climb on August 15, 1987.
RED BETWEEN THE LINES I 5.8
This route ascends the middle of the small buttress which is directly below the Decepticon Buttress. The difficulties are consistent.
1. Traverse onto the buttress from the left using a foot ledge. Make interesting moves to connect the horizontal cracks that are a major feature of this buttress. 45', 5.8
HISTORY: First climbed by George Hurley and Jon Norling on August 24, 1987.
RED WALLS AREA
WET DIHEDRAL I 5.7
The Red Walls routes begin from the area below and to the right of the Decepticon Buttress. About 25 feet right of the oak tree mentioned above, there is an obvious dihedral with cracks that curve up and right. Start from the lowest part of the cliff, directly below the dihedral.
1. Climb the most obvious line of weakness directly below the dihedral in the upper wall. Then follow the dihedral to the top of the cliff. 110', 5.7
HISTORY: George Hurley and Jean Kosits first climbed this route on July 1, 1987. On the first ascent the dihedral was running with water, but later parties found that attraction missing.
SUPERFRIENDS I 5.10a R
Just right of WET DIHEDRAL's broken start are some steep red-stained slabs. Near the center of the leftmost red slab is an obvious straight-in jam crack which fades out just before it reaches a ledge about forty feet up.
1. Start just right of the straight-in crack, and climb up using the face and crack to the first obvious ledge. Go a few moves up a dihedral on the right side of this ledge, then step right around a blind corner onto another steep face. Thin parallel cracks lead up this face to a second ledge. Climb a short broken headwall, just left of some white streaks, and continue to trees at the top. 110', 5.10a
HISTORY: Jim Ewing, Peter Yost and Larry Hamilton made the first ascent on July 13, 1987.
RED FLASH I 5.7
Follows the main line of weakness which runs up the entire Red Walls face. Start about 15 feet right of SUPERFRIENDS.
1. Start in the wide and easy crack. Follow it as it tends slightly right, then straight up and through a small overhang. Above the overhang this route is only a few feet right of the thin parallel cracks on the second face of SUPERFRIENDS. The routes join at a ledge above this face. Belay and rappel from a tree just above the route. 110', 5.7
HISTORY: First climbed by George Hurley and David Hall on August 24, 1987.
THE MANTLE BLOCK I 5.5 R
Walk past RED FLASH a ways, until it is easy to walk uphill to the cliff. Find a large rectangular block lying squarely beside the main wall of the cliff. Start by climbing the fist crack on the block's right side, where it rests against the cliff.
1. Jam up the block; mantle a few feet above the block and traverse left (short runout--nasty fall possible). Then head straight up to the top. 50', 5.5
HISTORY: Kurt Winkler and Kevin Hall made the first ascent on August 24, 1987.
SINISTER GROOVE I 5.5
Walk past the Red Walls, then straight uphill to the cliff at a point midway between a large rectangular block (THE MANTLE BLOCK) and the hand crack of PORTUGUESE APPLE. Look for a shallow square groove about fifteen feet up the cliff.
1. Climb easily up into the shallow square groove and chimney up it to a ledge. Continue in the same line up the dihedral above the square groove to the top. 50', 5.5
HISTORY: George Hurley and David Hall made the first ascent on August 24, 1987.
KENNEBUNK BOGGLE I 5.8
1. Climb the slightly overhanging crack which is mid-way between SINISTER GROOVE and the more distinct hand-crack of PORTUGUESE APPLE. Above the steep part of the crack, stay in the same line to the top. 60', 5.8
HISTORY: First ascent by George Hurley and Jon Eagleson, September 27 1987.
* PORTUGUESE APPLE I 5.6
To find this route walk along the climbers' trail under the red slabs, past SUPERFRIENDS, until it is easy to walk straight uphill to the cliff. Look for an attractive hand crack which angles slightly to the right.
1. Climb the hand crack to its top and then stay in the same line up the dihedral above the crack. 60', 5.6
HISTORY: First ascent by George Hurley, Mike Arsenault and Bill Appleton, August 13 1987.
EAGLES DARE I 5.10+ toprope
1. The next crack to the right of PORTUGUESE APPLE angles up right behind two trees. Follow that crack to a left-angling steep dihedral. 70', 5.10+
HISTORY: Jon Eagleson top-roped this line on September 27, 1987. The protection possibilities appeared poor, and it may not have been led yet.
FOREST OF DOOM I 5.7
About twenty feel left of the small inside corner of TAKE MY TUNA there is a ragged blocky arete.
1. Start up the blocky outside corner. After about fifteen feet move left to the large ledge with trees. Climb the crack which is a few feet right of the major inside corner that rises from the right end of the tree-covered ledge.
HISTORY: George Hurley and John Cederholm made the first ascent on October 31, 1987.
PETUNIA I 5.7
Start the same place as FORESTS OF DOOM.
1. Climb the ragged arete to a lower-angled face. The arete becomes the left edge of the face which is also climbed by TAKE MY TUNA. Stay on the left edge of the face until a finger crack angles up and right to cross the face and end near the top of the dihedral which makes the face's right boundary. There is a six-inch diameter pine tree just above this final dihedral, which makes a good belay and rappel anchor. 90', 5.7
HISTORY: George Hurley, Mike Arsenault and Bill Appleton climbed this route on August 13, 1987.
TAKE MY TUNA I 5.8
As you walk along the base of the broken rock to the right of the Red Walls area, you eventually will encounter a nice-looking little dihedral, facing left, with a finger crack in it. The crack looks like it would be a classic, if only it were longer. This is the start of TAKE MY TUNA.
1. Lieback up the short corner, then climb easier rock until it is reasonable to venture out left onto a steep face with cracks. Above this face, follow your judgment to the top. 90', 5.8
HISTORY: Scott Hobson has a long story about a poker game that inspired this route's name. He made the first ascent with Larry Hamilton on July 7, 1987.
UP THE ANTE I 5.10b
This route starts just right of the TAKE MY TUNA corner.
1. Climb the small arete just right of TAKE MY TUNA. Near the top of this short arete it is necessary to reach left for two layback moves on the TAKE MY TUNA crack. Then move right and up to the obvious overhanging finger crack. Climb this crack (crux) and the small overhang above. Belay from the same tree mentioned in PETUNIA. 90', 5.10b
HISTORY: George Hurley and Jon Norling upped the ante on August 15, 1987.
ADDENDUM: NEW ROUTES ON WOODCHUCK LEDGE
The routes described here are all short climbs on the upper cliff bands of Woodchuck Ledge. They can be approached from below via central-wall routes from ASPIRING to ZERO GULLY, for which they provide short but aesthetic finishes. A better approach is to hike around the left side of the crag to the summit, then rappel down to large ledges. EIGENVECTOR and STEP FUNCTION are two-pitch routes that can be reached in two single-rope rappels. The others are one-pitch routes, climbing only the final cliff band. They are described right to left.
STEP FUNCTION I 5.10b
The name is a graphic description of the crux crack's appearance. Take some medium to large camming units. The first ascent party approached zia ZERO GULLY, which adds two uninspiring lower pitches of 5.6 and 5.7. The much better pitches described below begin with a belay below the second cliff band, at the base of a wide jagged crack.
1. Ascend the obvious crack, which diagonals rightward across a steep wall. Belay at trees below a wide-open low-angle corner. 60', 5.10b
2. Layback directly up the big corner. Near the top, step left and finish up a tiny corner. 60', 5.9
HISTORY: Climbed by George Hurley and Larry Hamilton on May 29, 1987.
* EIGENVECTOR I 5.10c <--note this is one word, not two
Approach as for STEP FUNCTION. About thirty feet left of STEP FUNCTION's wider crack is a finger crack, straight as a knife cut. Bring small camming devices.
1. Climb flakes up and left to reach the bottom of the finger crack, then layback to its top. 60', 5.10c
2. Move the belay up and right to trees below the low-angle corner that forms the last pitch of STEP FUNCTION. Climb the initial tricky moves of this corner, then move out left at a horizontal crack that leads to a bottomless inside corner. Follow this corner to the top. 60', 5.9
HISTORY: Larry Hamilton and George Hurley made the first ascent on June 10, 1987.
DEVIATION I 5.10c
Begin as for the last pitches of STEP FUNCTION or EIGENVECTOR, in a wide crack at the base of an open corner.
1. Instead of stepping right into the corner proper, move around left to a ledge. (SCALAR's first pitch finishes here.) Stem up the thin crack above, going over a roof at the top. 60', 5.10c
HISTORY: Chris Gill and George Hurley climbed this line in June 1987.
SCALAR I 5.10c
About thirty feet left of the sloping dihedral up which EIGENVECTOR and STEP FUNCTION finish is a short wall topped by ominous-looking blocks. SCALAR scales the prominent thin crack that finishes just right of the rightmost block.
1. Climb the gently overhanging crack past two fixed pitons to the blocky ledge. 30', 5.10c (The DEVIATION crux is just above this ledge on the right.)
2. Move left and finish up a short lieback corner. 20', 5.9.
HISTORY: First ascent by Larry Hamilton and Alex Alvarez, June 7 1988.
** MATHEMATICA II 5.10c
A brilliant integration of three compact climbs. Start at the base of the second cliff band, after approaching zia ZERO GULLY or rappel.
1. Pitch 1 of EIGENVECTOR, the knife-cut finger crack. 60', 5.10c
2. Pitch 1 of SCALAR, the slightly overhanging thin crack. 30', 5.10c
3. Pitch 1 of DEVIATION, stemming yet another thin crack past a roof. 60', 5.10c
WOODCHUCK LODGE I 5.10a
There are several good bivi sites on this half-pitch route. The climb ascends the large left-facing corner that forms the left boundary of the face climbed by SCALAR. Clean but unsustained, it could serve as an alternate finish to STEP FUNCTION, etc.
1. Climb easily up a wide flake-crack to a spacious ledge at the base of the main corner. A bolt protects boulder-problem moves on the first smooth-walled step, after which easy but pleasant climbing leads too quickly to the top. 70', 5.10a
HISTORY: Larry Hamilton and Scott Hobson climbed it without bivouacs in September 1987.
WOODCHUCK EDGE I 5.8 R
Just left across the gully from WOODCHUCK LODGE, this prominent arete forms the right boundary of the steep wall at the upper left side of the crag (above ROGER'S SPIRE).
1. Climb the arete past a fixed pin.
HISTORY: First ascent Alex Alvarez and Larry Hamilton, June 19 1988.
* NEUROMANCER I 5.12a
NEUROMANCER takes the center of the overhanging face left of WOODCHUCK EDGE. It begins at the back of a concave area; two bolts are visible far above.
1. Strenuous moves with adequate but hard to place wired-nut protection break through the concave area. Two bolts protect more technical climbing on thin flakes to a narrow ledge with fixed pitons. Lower off here (50', 5.12a) or traverse left and finish up CHINA.
HISTORY: Jim Ewing and Larry Hamilton established this route on August 13, 1988.
CHINA I 5.10d R
CHINA ascends brittle, white-stained rock about fifteen feet left of NEUROMANCER, and just right of a conspicuous leaning jam crack. The protection seems breakable; a #3 and a #0 Friend may help.
1. Jam a few moves up the wide left-hand crack, then step right into the overhanging white crack. Continue straight up over a bulge to less overhanging rock above (fixed pin). Face climb past an awkward small ledge until it is possible to move left and mantle on a larger ledge. Go left a few yards to a clean ten-foot layback crack that leads to the summit. 70', 5.10d
HISTORY: First climbed by Jim Ewing and Larry Hamilton on October 9, 1988.
new routes on CATHEDRAL LEDGE
BURNING BRIDGE III 5.11d (5.9 R)
BURNING BRIDGE is named for the climb's first twenty feet, which involves some of the worst rock on Cathedral. The first ascent party tore off so many holds they feared that the section might become unclimbable. After twenty feet, however, the climbing gets much better. Start at the same place as REMISSION, on a vegetated platform.
1. A few yards right of the REMISSION start is a small rotten corner. Climb past the first overhang in this corner to two fixed pins, then traverse right to the base of an obvious arch on clean rock. Layback the arch and surmount the bulge at its top (bolt) to reach a good stance. Run out the 5.9 slab above until you reach a large belay ledge on REMISSION. 5.11c
2. Climb twenty feet up the REMISSION corner, then traverse right past an undercling to a good belay ledge on WARLOCK. 5.8
3. Ascend the obvious diagonal corner above, and belay on a sloping ledge with fixed anchors. This pitch was originally part of the A4 pitch on WARLOCK. 5.11d
4. Drop down off the right end of the sloping ledge to reach a traverse line that continues right past an old bolt, into a large broken corner. 5.8
5. At this point the route joins DON'T FIRE and BRITISH ARE COMING for the final pitch. Climb the final corner and slab. 5.9
HISTORY: Jim Ewing, Larry Hamilton and Rich Baker climbed the first pitch in August 1987. Ewing and Hamilton returned to finish the route in July 1988.
WARLOCK III 5.12c (5.10 R)
This long route initially used aid on every pitch, including an A4 section on leads 3 and 4. Pitches 3 and 4 contain excellent, sustained climbing, whereas the remainder of the route often gets ugly. If you want to do only the good stuff approach via BURNING BRIDGE or REMISSION, then rap after pitch 4.
1. Start as for BURNING BRIDGE, in an overhanging rotten groove a few yards right of REMISSION. Continue up this groove past twigs and dirt to an awkward exit over a bulge at its top. Easier and cleaner rock leads to the large ledge at the end of REMISSION's first pitch. 5.10
2. Traverse right on big blocks under a ceiling until it is possible to step up and mantle onto a lower-angled face. Go up this face to a good ledge, also on BURNING BRIDGE. 5.10
3. Climb the obvious right-angling corner above, past three old bolts, to a sloping belay ledge (5.11d). This is the same as pitch 3 of BURNING BRIDGE.
4. Ascend the clean open corner above, going left at the top to a large sloping terrace. 5.12c
5. From the far left end of the terrace, unpleasant climbing leads up a crack and corner system past two old bolts, eventually joining REMISSION. 5.10 R
6. Scramble up the last section of the REMISSION chimney to the top. 5.4
HISTORY: Jim Ewing and Larry Hamilton made a number of attempts, adding two new protection bolts, before completing WARLOCK's first free ascent on October 2, 1988.