Friday, June 10, 2016

New Routin' on the North Sentinel (pt. 2)

The first trip to the North Sentinel (AKA the Silver Spade) led to almost two full new routes, both of which followed crack systems of high quality. Yet, there were still a load of unanswered questions. The main concern was the obvious splitter on the left side of the formation. How wide is it and is it even possible to get to the base?! Brian and I wanted answers and convinced our partners Caitlin and Chaz to go for another party wall. Aside from the cluster in the end of the day, things went smooth. The approach to the base of the approach pitch took 40 minutes. I found a long pitch of clean hand jamming in a corner for a rope stretching pitch two. Caitlin took us through the only pitch that I didn't totally enjoy, but it got us to the beginning of an INCREDIBLE corner system. The corner system ended up being so good, that instead of traversing into the said splitter, we climbed to the top of the formation. Chaz had the 40 meter glory pitch, I did a squeeze chimney and pulled over the wide overhang crux (5.10+?) and Brian took the last pitch to the top of the route. From there we rapelled back into the corner, below the traverse out of it. From there it required bolting an anchor to the side of the splitter before climbing it. Brian onsighted through the powerful curvy fingercrack and to a steep ledge, which was traversed with aid of sick heel hooks. From there I took a 5.10+ish pumpfest to the top, where I spread some of Eddie's ashes. Due to the incredible quality of the crack we discovered we decided to dedicate the climb to Eddie and dubbed it the Eddie's Crack. Don't think I climbed a granite splitter as good anywhere else. And yes, I have done the Pea Soup at the Needles! The following day, Caitlin and I went up to finish the route Daniel and Adam started a few weeks back. After an approach pitch (35 meters 5.10), three LONG and VERY good pitches (5.10a, 5.10a and 5.8 or 9) took us to the spot where high winds forced them to bail. Next 25 feet ended up being the crux (5.10cish) of the route. After that, the angle kicked back, but the quality stayed great. I continued on for about 65 meters (we had a 70M rope) and built a belay below an OW finish, where all routes merge. Even though we did not bring any cam bigger than 4.5 inches and the crack was a 6 inch OW, I didn't have much trouble doing the 5.8-9 splitter without gear. Practice on artificial cracks in the climbing gym helped a lot! We rappelled the line of ascent and IMO that is the best way off the formation, as it allows you to stash water, packs and food at the base and leave the approach shoes behind. I don't like climbing with a load of extra shit, so to me it makes the most sense. The second option would be to hike towards the base of the Grand Sentinel and hike off using the main gulley. In the future years climbs on this formation will likely become very popular and those who come to climb already have several options. Another must is a dip in the South Fork of Kings River. Refreshing to say the least!

Green - Eddie's Crack III - IV 5.10+
Blue - Eddie's Crack 70 M splitter variation 5.11c
Red FML Crack IV 5.11 C0
Pink - Chasing The Wind III-IV 5.10
North Sentinel from "Happy Dome"


























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