Monday, January 21, 2008

The Tooth: Exploring two unknown routes

My fourth trip to the tooth, but this time climbing wasn't the primary objective. I've convinced Liz to take a break from studying for her comps and take a hike with me and the dog. But I didn't leave the climbing gear at home....

Liz hasn't really hiked up into the Organs to any of the climbing areas, and I wanted to show her where I had climbed last week-end with Scott. Depending on how we felt when we got to the face, I'd either get her to belay me on these two climbs, or we'd go exploring further up the ridge. By the time we got to the tooth, Liz was already pretty bushed, so we opted for trying these short climbs.

The two climbs which has caught my eye are located off to the right of the main face, to the right side of a large low-angled slab.
The start can't really be seen in the picture, but involves a committing mantle/balnace move with bad fall protection. You can place a small wire at about 10ft, but then you need to climb above the peice and to the left and a fall would most likely cause you some pain and a collision with the ground. To make things scarier is that you can't really tell from the ground how hard it is going to be. It's probably only a 5.9 move, but it is not casual, and involves mantling up onto a shallow ledge. Once established on the wall, you can then clip a bolt (there are two, but one is an old 1/4"er) before continuing up another 10ft a face climbing to gain the crack itself.

The crack was much wider than I had anticipated. from afar, I estimated it was mostly thin hands and fingers, but it turned out to be large hands to off-width size. the light alpine rack I had brought today wasn't generous in this range and I already was starting to wonder if this was a good idea. I cruised up the bottom sloping section and arrived at the good stuff. the wall gets steep at a section of off-width and then narrows to a flaring fist-size with several plants for added inteference.

I grunted to a precarious stance on a bad fist jam, and struggled to find a cam big enough to go in. I blindly groped and got the #3 camelot and started thrusting it into the crack only to find it was slightly too big. My fist jam popped, I grabbed the cam and miraculously it held (my next piece was 5 ft lower, so it wouldn't have been a huge fall, but I'm not the worlds boldest climber...yet). Only two lobes were engaged and the cam was at a funny angle, but at least I wasn't going anywhere.

My hands were getting thrashed and the climbing above didn't look any easier, so I decided "let's try this one another day when I can sew it up" and bailed. I never got to try the left-hand climb.

The new bolt on the first ledge leads me to believe that Jim Graham has climbed this route, as he has been credited with many of the newer bolts on Organ mtn walls. I've posted a picture of the climb at .

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