The author expressly disclaims any and all warranties, express and implied, that any information contained herein is accurate. There are no warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. This guide should never be considered a substitute for professional instruction or years of experience making smart climbing decisions. Your use of the Flagstaff Mountain Bouldering Guide indicates that you are: (1) assuming the risk that errors exist in this guide; and (2) acknowledging that your safety while climbing and bouldering on Flagstaff Mountain and elsewhere is solely your responsibility.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Frontside of the Amphitheater Miniguide

The Amphitheater is a great place to do lots of moderates. Several of them are a little spooky and a couple are downright dangerous. In addition to problems in the Amphitheater proper (#5-24), this entry also contains problems just left of (#1-4) and right of (#25-27) the Amphitheater, assuming you are looking at the Amphitheater from the south. The Backside of the Amphitheater - which was recently spraypainted all to hell by non-artistic knuckleheads - will be included in a later post once it gets cleaned up. Where: Head up Flagstaff Road. 1.6 miles past the Armstrong Bridge (located at the hard right hand turn at the bottom of the mountain), park at the Crown Rock Parking Area on the left or the dirt lot 75 yards further up the road on the right. Hike 2 minutes up the trail on the north side of Flagstaff Road. Stay right at the first split, turn left when you reach the Pebble Wall. When you reach the top of the stairs 30 seconds later, you will be standing in front of problems #3 and #4.
1. Southwest Corner Warmup VB sds ... FA: Unknown
Begin from a sds and ascend obvious jugs to the top of this short problem.
2. Southwest Corner V2 sds ... FA: Unknown
From a sds using a low RH pocket on the arĂȘte, pull yourself straight up and over this short corner problem, avoiding the jugs on #1.
3. South Undercling V3 ... FA: Unknown *
Climb straight up the face past the obvious horizontal crack with a good undercling.
4. Southeast Bulge VB ... FA: Unknown *
A few feet right of #3, climb good holds up and over the top.
5. Hurley Variation V2 ... FA: George Hurley, 1968
Start with #6, but steer left to the end of the bulge with a steep dropoff on your left.
6. East Face V1 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1967
On the left side of the Amphitheater, climb the center of the short east-facing bulge onto the slab.
7a/7b/7c. Mongolian Cosmonaut V7/8 (a) / V9/10 sds (b) / V? sds (c) ... FA: Skip Guerin, late 1980’s / low sds: Rob Candelaria, 1990’s *
The sloper pocket is slowly disintegrating and the entire underbelly of this problem is falling apart, so get an ascent in while you can. Climb the west-facing bulge via numerous small pebbles. The trick is the start. For the high start (a) which has become more fashionable as the problem disintegrates, start with your LH on the big sloping gaston and RH in the shallow pocket just down and right from the sloper and pimp the pebbles up and over. For the original sequence (b) which was considered V8 but is now closer to V10, start with your LH underneath on the bad crimp sidepull and RH in the shallow pocket and float your LH to the big sloping gaston. Missing footholds and the eroding RH pocket are making this harder. A lower challenge (c) that was originally V10/11 began with your RH underneath the roof as well on a crimp. This version is thought to have been done by a couple folks before it lost at least two key footholds around 2002.
8. Southwest Corner V0 ... FA: Unknown
Battle up and over the rounded corner onto the slab.
9. High Overhang V1 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1967
Start atop the boulder just right of #8. Reach high and right from a precarious perch, pull on, bust right to a decent hold and do one of the more committing mantels on Flagstaff Mountain.
10. Mongolian BBQ V3/4 sds ... FA: Colin Lantz, mid 1990’s
A sit start to #9 that begins on edges on the overhung face.
11. South Face Left Side V4 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1967 *
This one is harder to pull on than it once was, as the boulder that you perched on to pull on has fallen over. Stack pads to reach high and right to pull onto the blunt hanging arete any way you can. A few moves up, slide right before going for the top. For what it's worth, Pat referred to this problem as "his Thimble" and the landing - if you want to call it that - is even worse today.
12. Finger Trip V5? ... FA: Rob Candelaria, 1974
Reach high to the mantel hold, do the mantel possibly via the splits and continue more or less straight up to the top. The mantel hold has broken at least once, so the grade here may be off.
13. Briggs Route V3 ... FA: Roger Briggs, 1970s
From the left end of the small boulder under the overhang, trend up the left-facing dihedral, then steer up and right to the top via cobbles.
14. Direct South Face V4 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1967
From the left edge of the small boulder under the overhang, use a good LH to reach high for a decent RH. Now dance more or less straight up the cobbles.
15. Crystal Swing V2 ... FA: Bob Poling, 1970
From atop the block under the overhang, do the crux move, a dynamically move between two obvious cobbles, then continue to the top passing cobbles too numerous to count.
16. Inside Corner Chimney VB ... FA: Unknown
Ascend the chimney splitting the Amphitheater’s main walls.
17. Deathfuck 5000 V5 ... FA: Jonathan Thesenga, mid 1990’s
Just right of the chimney separating the main walls of the Amphitheater, ascend this seldomly-done 30+ footer to the top. Thought to have been done only once.
18. Career Ender V4 ... FA: Unknown, early 1980’s *
Chossy to start, but gets better. Climb 15 feet straight to the lip, where a heel-hook and blind reach await you.
19. Barton Fink V4/5 ... FA: Matt Samet, 1999
Start up #20. After a couple moves, go left to a sloping edge and crimp, then boldly go for the lip to topout with #18.
20. Overhanging Hand Traverse V1/2 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1967 *
Classic Flagstaff moderate. In the middle of the wall, angle up and right to the jug complex and relatively casual slab topout.
21. Gill Direct V4 ... FA: John Gill, 1969 *
Start up small edges, culminating with a dynamic move to reach the jug complex at the lip and a topout with #20.
22. Sandpaper Ledge AKA The Direct Route V3/4 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1967 *
Get the good hold with your LH and, via a high right foot perch and RH intermediate, do a long reach to a good sandpaper edge just short of the lip. From there, move to the high-friction lip and pull straight up and over, possibly manteling. Variation #1 - Aerial Shoot V4: Dan Stone's 1979 dynamic variation. Do not use the obvious right foot high-step or any RH intermediates. Instead, dyno from the low holds to the high edge just short of the lip.
23. South Bulge V1/2 ... FA: Unknown
Start just right of #22. Move up and right around the bulge to the top.
24. South Corner VB ... FA: Bob Culp, late 1950’s/early 1960’s
Ascend the obvious short overhang with jugs on the far right side. This one serves as the downclimb for #23-26.
25. Southeast Corner V1 ... FA: Unknown *
Ascend the southeast face left of #26 to the top.
26. East Crack V0 ... FA: Unknown
Climb the east-facing crack on the back of the Amphitheater’s right side.

27. Wasp Nest V1 ... FA: Rob Candelaria, 1970’s
Opposite #26 on a separate boulder, ascend an uninspiring lichen-infested bulge above a hole containing a longstanding wasp nest.

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