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Monday, August 11, 2008

Cloud Shadow's Alcove Miniguide

Cloud Shadow's Alcove is the moniker for the corridor splitting the middle of The Cloud Shadow complex of rock. On the south side of this huge complex of rock is the Cloud Shadow Wall and on the north side is Cloud Shadow's Other Side. Other Miniguides cover both of those areas. There are a number of good problems of various styles and difficulties here, although the fun that can be had may not be all that obvious on first glance. Look again, unless you are solely motivated by really hard problems. Where: The best way - from a social trail and user impact perspective - to approach The Alcove is to head up Flagstaff Road and park on the left 1.2 miles after passing over the Armstrong Bridge at Capstan Rock. Walk up the road 50 yards to the guardrail at the hairpin turn. Step over the guardrail and drop down to the southeast toward Cloud Shadow Wall. As you approach the western edge of the wall, turn left and head slightly uphill for 15 yards. The problems start here and extend down both sides of the corridor as well as up in the talus on the left on both ends of Cloud Shadow's Alcove.
1. Annual Birth V2/3 ... FA: Ashley Overton, 2008
Start on the obvious holds on the southeast corner and without using the low shelf for feet, traverse left across the roof and lip of the overhang until you can topout on the far left.
2. South Mantel V1 ... FA: Unknown
Start at the southeast corner, slide left a tad and maybe use a chossy intermediate or two to get your feet up, grab the top jug and pull over.
3. The Alcove Dyno V7 ... FA: Justin Jaeger, 2003 *
A one-move wonder, but a pretty good one. Start with #1 and #2 on obvious juggy grips on the southeast corner with marginal feet. From there, throw 5+ feet up to the high corner and pull over. Harder and more subtle than it looks on first glance because the feet are poor. Like most dynos, this one may feel slightly easier for those that are tall, have long arms or mad ups.
4. East Overhang Traverse V3 ... FA: Unknown *
Begin at the obvious holds on the corner with #s 1-3 and traverse a few feet right to join #7 for the topout.
5. New Beginnings V8 (a) / V9 (b) ... FA: Ted Lanzano, 2008 *
Begin at the obvious holds on the corner with #s 1-4, and traverse right, staying low which will bring you to the starting hold for #8. Now climb #8. You can either finish up the easier version of #8 (a) or the original and harder version (b).
6. East Overhang Left V4 sds ... FA: Unknown
Begin from a sds on a large sidepull up under the east face. Move up into the undercling and then out the short overhang just left of the prominent crack. The crack is on and useful for the RH, but everything right of it is not.

7. East Overhang Crack V2/3 (a) / V3 sds (b) ... FA: Unknown *
Begin with a LH undercling and RH in/near the crack splitting the face (a) or begin from a sds on a large and low sidepull with #6 that precedes the good undercling (b). Either way, the topout is a little devious until you've got it wired.

8. Curmudgeon V7 sds ... FA: Christian Griffith, 1983 *
Begin from a sds four feet right of #7 under the roof, this time on a right-facing sidepull jug. Climb straight out the short overhang on the amazingly perfect crimps with very cool moves. All feet are on, but the the vertical crack and the handholds associated with it out left are off-route. There are a couple tricks for this one that make it a bit easier than folks once thought, including a LH bump move to a crimper edge, a somewhat dangerous but bomber heel-toe lock and a kneebar scum that works for some folks. Safety-wise, there is a little horn on the slab behind the climber's back that easily allows you to hang a pad on the slab for safety. Variation #1 -
True Curmudgeon ~V8 sds: Christian Griffith's original sequence for this problem avoided a formerly chossy hold that has cleaned up and serves as a useful LH crimper edge that you can bump to from the holds below. Off-routing this hold forces the climber to make a longer and more difficult RH move off the small and slick LH edge to the high and flat RH edge while avoiding a hip-DAB on the sidewall. Although originally thought to be quite a bit harder, the consensus grade for Christian's original sequence - now that the beta has been fully tricked-out - has settled in at solid V8, although this move may be a little harder for shorter climbers.
9. Chubs V9 ... FA: Alex Manikowski, 2009
This problem is quite hidden. Scramble up into the talus above problems #1-8 to #10, then scramble up and left towards the road. Drop down into the obvious hole and head into a cave to find a 45 degree southwest-facing block with an additional capstone block on top of it. Start all the way down in the cave underneath it on a good RH sidepull and poor LH pebble. Get your RF up near your hand and make a crux LH bump move to an incut jug with your LH. Match and use other good holds to move up to the lip of the the boulder. From there, reach to the lip of the capstone above it and top it out. Bring some pads to work the initial move, because if you can do that, you should be headed for the top.
10. Graveyard Shift V6 ... FA: Misha Zavalov, 2008
Twenty feet up and right from #8, but down and left from #11 is this steep west-facing problem on a small boulder above a slot landing that requires a few pads. Start low matched on a rail, go RH to a good incut and go LH to a good incut sidepull. Bump the LH once or twice more to higher holds, arriving at the sloping lip and roll over with style.
11. Sailor’s Delight V1 ... FA: Rob Candelaria, 1974 *
High up above the middle of the corridor, after ascending a slab is a short but imposing roof. Reach out the roof to jugs at the lip and roll over. It’s difficult and unwise to backtrack once you commit to the lip so it's best to finish with confidence on the jugs up top.
12. MOB V9 ... FA: Alex Manikowski, 2009
The next three problems are located up in a nook slightly around to the right from #11 and up above #15.  This small east-facing alcove sports leg-breaking talus landings, so bring some pads. This problem begins matched on side-by-side slopers below the lip 3 or 4 feet left of the starting flake for #13. From the starting grips, go to the lip and topout straight up, if not slightly left. It has been suggested that the sds for #14 into this problem will be double digits.
13. Amently V2/3 ... FA: Peter Jones, 1994
Four feet right of #12, begin matched at a high stand start just below the lip on a good flake with an incut sidepull. Go up to the lip and topout via a possible mantel.
14. The Deuce Deuce V6 sds ... FA: Alex Manikowski, 2009
A sds that climbs up and into #13. Begin matched down and right under the roof and climb up and slightly left into #13 for the topout.
15. Jagged Little Thrill V1 ... FA: Unknown *
Near the east end of Cloud Shadow's Alcove, but still on the north side, start low and hand-traverse up and left on jugs that start down low on the far right. Trend up and left to the top of the perched boulder and pull over.
16. North Slot V0 ... FA: Unknown
From a low start, climb the edges and somewhat chossy slot to the top.

17. Crack Allegro V1/2 ... FA: Rob Candelaria, 1974 *
Right of #16, start on holds above your head next to the right-arching and sloping seam and work your way up the seam to the top.

18. Allegro Bulge V2 sds (a) / V4 sds (b) ... FA: Unknown *
From a sds right of #17, climb perfect edges out the bulge to a possible mantel finish. The V2 version (a) uses ALL the feet. The V4 version (b) off-routes the big foot shelf out right for the start, making use of an incredible LF heel-toe cam to get started.
19. Allegro Traverse V4 sds ... FA: Unknown *
From a sds, start on good holds several feet right of #18 and traverse left - staying low across the Allegro problems - to a finish up the wide slot that is #16.

20. Alcove Traverse V7 sds ... FA: Willie Mein, mid 1990's
Start as per #19, but continue 10 more feet left around a bulging arĂȘte with poor holds to establish on and finish up a low angle slab inundated with lichen. This one is too grungy for my taste once you round the corner, but maybe it will clean up with some more traffic.


chuffer said...

I have adjusted the grades of Curmudgeon and True Curmudgeon down, reflecting the opinion of those who have weighed in here and at 8a.

peace out on this issue

Martin M said...

Hi Chuffer

A nice extension to the Alcove Dyno is to start at Curmudgeon, and then traverse trough the underclings to the starting holds of the Alcove Dyno, and then do the dyno. It has probably been done before, just think it a very nice line, that deserves to be mentioned in your online guide. Grade around V8.

Cheers, Martin