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The Climbing Club • View topic - Fingertrip--Tahquitz

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 Post subject: Fingertrip--Tahquitz
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:13 pm
Posts: 31
Hey all,
Greetings from Cali. I just thought I'd write up a trip report for one of the climbs I did down here. I met a guy (Todd) on Mountainproject to do Fingertrip (5.7, 4p) with. We decided to swap leads with me taking the first and third pitches, while he was to do the second and fourth. Fingertrip seems to be one of the classic moderate routes at Tahquitz. In fact, there were two groups ahead of us, and at least one behind us. I didn't actually see that many people climbing anything else... And for good reason, the route was fantastic!

Here's a picture I snagged on the approach! (Note: all photos except the one I stole off the internet were taken on my phone, so they are kind of crappy) Image

P1: Pitch one was fun 5.7/8 going on for 40 meters with the crux at the very top being a slabby finger crack section. Good thing I brought all those TCUs! I led this pitch but I don't have any pictures :(.

P2: Todd led this pitch. It was a relatively easy 5.5-5.6 traverse to "the arch", a really cool series of arching underling things that extends about 20 meters. I didn't take a picture since it was a hanging belay and I was gearing up to lead the next pitch. The topo says to end this pitch at the right side of "the arch", but Todd got offroute and set up the belay on the left side. Some general wonkiness ensued when I followed the pitch, but we resolved our differences and I geared up for the next pitch.

P3 (5.7 aka 5.spectacular) On this pitch, I traversed the series of underclings on the arch and surmounted the apex of the arch, in what the topo describes as "pulling a small roof". Though there was no actual overhang, the move was committing and spectacular. I've stolen a picture off the internet because I think that this is one of the coolest parts of the climb and this trip report just wouldn't cut it without a picture of it. The red line indicates where you go (see, I'm adding content with my usage of this photo)
Image

After pulling the "roof" I continued up into a large section of "5.0". Because of the "general wonkiness" that ensued after Todd led pitch 2, I didn't have a lot of gear, so I opted to belay off some big tree I found. It turns out that I was only 10 meters or so from the official end of the pitch, but it was a good decision because there were no trees at the next belay station! Here's a picture I took at the belay station:
Image

P3.5 Todd led to the official end of pitch 3. Not much to say here.

P4. The last pitch. I led to the top. There are two main variations noted in the guidebook. A slabby 5.6 slab with a single bolt, or a 5.7 crack. I opted for the crack because I didn't see the bolt (and the crack was right in front of me!). It turned out to be surprisingly spicy for 5.7, taking only a couple of C3s. After a little slabby climbing, I reached the top and belayed Todd up to me! Here are some pictures:

Image

Image

We descended via the "friction descent", which is this sort of series of dirty class 4 ledges that lead to a trail. Not very hard if you know where to go, but if you take a wrong turn you can find yourself staring at some big exposure!

Good times were had by all. I'm super excited to get back there, though it won't be for a couple more weeks since I have some quals to take next week, and I'm currently under the impression that I will be going to Tolumne the following weekend with some other Mountainproject people I've never met before >.>.

The climbing scene is different down here than in Washington. UCLA does not have any sort of climbing club, though there are a few people who go outside occasionally. I have yet to meet a trad climber from UCLA, though purportedly they exist. I've met some other climbers here and there, some of whom I think I can learn a lot from and some whom I don't really want to see again... Anyways, just thought I'd post something about how I was doin down here.


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 Post subject: Re: Fingertrip--Tahquitz
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:09 pm
Posts: 64
Sounds like a fun climb Ian!

But you can't leave us in suspense: what was the "general wonkiness"?


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 Post subject: Re: Fingertrip--Tahquitz
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:25 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:32 pm
Posts: 115
That's a nice looking chunk o' rock. Thanks for the post and good luck with those quals!


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 Post subject: Re: Fingertrip--Tahquitz
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 3:15 am
Posts: 129
Tahquitz Rock (and the next door neighbor Suicide Rock) is awesome!!!! If it weren't for the super short climbing season way up high in the mountains at that altitude, I'm sure they would both see 5x the climbers!!! As is said in the 2001 guidebook by Falcon, "one of the country's most superb collection of easy-to-difficult granite routes."

If you are going to climb at Tahquitz more than one day, I strongly suggest you cache your gear (ropes, rack, draws, extra water) near the top of the long steep approach trail, where the trail splits left or right. This area is historically referred to as Lunch Rock. If you wish to cache personal gear (helmet, harness, shoes) then make sure to place those items inside a stuff sack. No reason to carry all that weight back down if you're just going to have to lug it back up again the following day.

The personal gear, as noted above, may have significant sweat on it, and it not inside a stuff sack, various rodent varieties may enjoy chewing on them.

Tahquitz has so many fantastic climbs on excellent rock with good pro. But like the massive Wind River Range in Wyoming, the climbing season can't begin until the snow melts and the season ends with remarkably early snow fall - 3 to 4 months is all you reliably get!!

Those ratings in Tahquitz are perhaps the stiffest in California. It is here, at Tahquitz, that the current North American rating system for technical rock climbing was established. It was named the Tahquitz Decimal System - the TDS. It began at 5.0 and it ended at 5.9

5.9 was the absolute hardest climbing that any human would ever be able to perform without pulling on gear. So when a route at Tahquitz earned the rating of 5.7 it meant that there were only 2 levels of free climbing that could be harder. Your route, Fingertrip, was discovered in 1946...... and in 1946 a 5.7 route was considered very very serious stuff! If you could time-travel back to 1946 (with your present day rack) you would be a rock star!!!! (Though, to be historically accurate the term " 5.7 " was not developed yet in 1947.) It was not until 1952 that America's first 5.9 route was established, prior to 1952 there did not exist a route in America that was rated 5.9 in technical difficulty.

This record breaking route in 1952 was named the Open Book 5.9 and it is located at....... Tahquitz!! Royal Robbins climbed it free and established the first 5.9 in America, and he had only began climbing 2 years prior. Imagine now, today, you begin climbing and within 2 years you put up a 5.16a sport route.....

Our dearly beloved world renowned local Fred Beckey was putting up First Ascents all over the place but even 10 years later in 1962 Fred was only consistently free climbing 5.7 and 5.8; many of Fred's FA's from the late 50's and early 60's had sections of aid climbing that were later free climbed and given the rating of 5.9

SoCal was kicking some "Royal" butt in the early 50's!!!!

A decade later, this southern California invention, the TDS was adopted by the chronic climbers in Yosemite and with Jim "The Bird" Bridwell's addtion of 5.10a, 5.10b, ...... it became known as the Yosemite Decimal System - YDS; and now is perhaps the international rating standard for climbing throughout the world. It all began at Tahquitz.

You mention the exposure encountered when descending the Friction Descent route. Yes!! And in 1950 when Joe Fitschen got off route while descending the Friction Route he slipped and fell 170 feet but was back climbing within a few months! His fall discovered a new line, and this new climbing route was named Fitschen's Folly 5.6

And here is a list I recommend for first time visitors to Tahquitz, to sample the sandbag ratings:

5.7 *** Sahara Terror 3+ pitches
5.9 *** Whodunit 5.9 3 pitches
5.8 ** The Long Climb 6 pitches
5.4 ** White Maidens Walkway 7 pitches !!!
5.4 ** The Trough 4 pitches
5.6 ** Angels Fright 5 pitches
5.7 *** Fingertrip 3 pitches
5.3 ** Fignertip (Traverse)
5.8 ** Traitor Horn 4 pitches
5.9 *** Open Book 3 pitches
5.6 *** Left Ski Track (similar rock features to Cat in the Hat 5.6 in Red Rocks, Vegas)

David Yount.


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 Post subject: Re: Fingertrip--Tahquitz
PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:13 pm
Posts: 31
Thanks for the history David! That's a good tip on stashing gear; I think I saw some other caches of gear up there when we got there. I'm hoping to spend a bit more quality time up there before the season ends.

The wonkiness was basically that my partner got off route when he led the second pitch and he put the belay anchor on the wrong side of the arch. To add to the misery, somehow he got there without traversing the arch itself, so the final traverse to his anchor basically had no protection. If I fell I would have taken a pendulum right onto his anchor. Being the vengeful second I am, when I got to his last piece of protection (which was where the belay was supposed to be) I decided he should just slide the gear down the rope and I would lead from there, and that he could aid his way across the traverse he didn't protect.


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 Post subject: Re: Fingertrip--Tahquitz
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 2:34 pm
Posts: 187
Location: Seattle


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