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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cloud Shadow Wall Miniguide

Problems have been concocted all over the expansive length of the Cloud Shadow Wall. A few are independent and obvious. Many are contrived in one way, shape or form, but the rock quality is excellent so that even the contrived problems provide interesting and worthwhile challenges. This wall is often crowded, particularly in the afternoon, due to an abundance of traverses, moderate problems and the full sun that the wall receives every afternoon. There are problems of all grades between VB and V12, including one of Jim Holloway's "Big Three," Trice, the world's first V12 and still the hardest up-problem on Flagstaff Mountain. By my count, Trice saw 6 repeats between November 2007 and March 2008 on the heels of Andy Mann's Climbing Magazine article on Jim Holloway in late 2007. In late 2008, Alex Puccio nabbed the first female ascent. All of this is borderline shocking, as it sat unrepeated for 32 years. Props must go to both Carlo Traversi and Jamie Emerson for "reopening" the problem on the same day in November 2007. Where: The best way - from a social trail and user impact perspective - to approach Cloud Shadow Wall 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 to the magestic Cloud Shadow Wall.
1. Hagan’s Alcove V1 ... FA: Paul Hagan, 1969
There are lots of ways to start this one (from the right/from the left/sit-start). Once you're standing on the right-leaning ramp, head straight up the bulging face to the top using edges, pebbles and a thin pocket or two.

2. Launching Pad V3/4 ... FA: John Baldwin, 1986
This problem has been the subject of some confusion over the years due to a missing pebble that broke off in the 1990's. In 2008, the pebble was restored to its original condition. Reach high to pissy side-by-side edges and/or the restored whitish-pink pebble if you can reach it. Perch on the right side of the right-leaning ramp and once established on the whitish-pink pebble, get your RF up on a small edge and make a move with the quickness up and right with your RH to an edge behind another pebble steering away from #1. From there, head directly to the top.

3. Soon to be Souvenir V8 ... FA: Alex Manikowski, 2008
A hardish direct start to #2 that is now possible due to the restored pebble. Begin above a slanting slab of rock imbedded in the ground between #2 and #4. Start with your RH high on an obvious toothy crytalline pincher edge and your LH on something poor and not all that helpful (there are a couple options). Power up and left to a good pinkish-white pebble on #2 that was recently restored. Hope it stays and go again to another good edge behind a pebble and head for the top with #2.

4. Dandy Line V7 ... FA: Dan Stone, 1980
Climb atop the 2nd boulder left of #5 via some funkyness. Reach to a crumbling half-moon edge with your RH and either jump or match and get a foot on and go to a high LH edge, then to the top. Unfortunately, the high starting edge continues to disintegrate and this problem's future is uncertain.

5. Hagan’s Wall V5 ... FA: Paul Hagan, 1969 *
Where the trail meets the wall, balance on top of a small boulder on the left and get your LH on the high and sharp edge and your RH into the 2-finger pocket out right. Now get your feet on, reach/swing/throw to the sloping diagonal seam with your RH. There are couple ways to do the finish. A funky double-pebble hold followed by jugs will help you get there. But for the annoying cheaterstone start, this would be a classic anywhere on Earth. As it is, it's merely a classic problem on Flagstaff Mountain.

6. Project
A possible and true direct start to #5. There are obvious starting holds and feet which aren't horrible, but a long and difficult move guards the entrance to #5. C'mon strongmos, this would be the hardest problem on the mountain if someone did it.
7. Hagan’s Wall Direct V10 ... FA: Peter Beal, 2000 *
Begin slightly to the right of #5 and #6. Choose amongst a number of bad edges around head-height and tiny nubbins for feet, pull on and go LH into the 2-finger pocket (you get this hold with your RH on #5). From there, get the small finger divot just up and right with your RH. Move your LH left to the sharp edge on #5, switch your RH into the 2-finger pocket and finish #5 to top out. An even lower start which has not been done is possible, beginning matched on the starting crimps with #s 8-10.
8. Yojimbo V? ... FA: Christian Griffith, early 1990’s
Lots of the features on this problem, some of which were reinforced with glue in the 1990's, have broken or deteriorated. It probably still goes, but at a much higher clip than the grade given in the 1990's of V8. Start matched down low on the half-moon starting crimps shared by #s 8-10 and climb the face immediately right of #5-6 straight to the top. Today, this thing is heinously thin and at least V11 or V12. It is also contrived, as all but the supermotivated will be tempted to move slightly left into #7 or slightly right  into #9 and avoid the original line altogether.
9. Shadowline V9 ... FA: Peter Beal, 2008 *
Squeezed between #8 and #10 is a recently completed Peter Beal problem that is distinct from #8. From the same half-moon starting crimps shared by #s 8-10, go LH to the obvious crimp/pinch directly above and RH to either of two bad sloping pinches (note: the keyhole hold is off-route). From there, go to a thin LH crimp before gaining better holds at the fifth handrail (on #13) and finishing. This one has seen quite a few ascents and although it is distinct from #8, it is a nice replacement.

10. Hand Traverse Direct V8 ... FA: Unknown
A bit circuitous, but the easiest way to the top from the start shared by #s 8-10. Begin on the same half-moon starting crimps and head up and right to the fifth handrail (on #13) which is 5 or 6 feet up and right from the starting crimps. All the holds on are "on" including the "keyhole," a fingerslot located just below the sloping fifth handrail. Crossing over into the "keyhole" is easier said than done, but doing so may help you attain the fifth handrail and finish with #13.

11. Third Handrail Direct V2/3 ... FA: Unknown *
From the perfection of the third handrail (on #13) , pull on, slap a sloper and arrive at a series of jugs. At about 12 feet, join #15 for a fun left-trending
upper traverse on good holds with lots of air under your feet.
12. Second Handrail Direct V3... FA: Unknown *
Awkwardly pull on at the second handrail (on #13) on another set of perfect starting holds and immediately get a decent RH sidepull sloper, adjust your feet and go to better holds including a sinker pocket. At about 12 feet, join #15 for a fun left-trending
upper traverse on good holds with lots of air under your feet.
13. The Hand Traverse AKA Ramp Traverse V4 ... FA: Unknown *
Some guidebooks have listed this classic as V2, although during discussions of grades in the past, it is possible that folks confused it with #14. In any event, start at the first of five perfect handrails and traverse left across the remaining four handrails, trending upward with pissy footholds most of the way. From the fifth handrail, get your feet up and reach way left to a decent crimp, match and continue up the ramp to finish. I would suggest having this one wired if you hope to receive full credit for either #22b or 23, as it is pumpy and scary in it's own right and adds tenuous moments to the end of both of those pumpy-as-hell problems classic traverses.

14. Escape V2 ... FA: Unknown *
Start and begin traversing with #13, but from the fourth handrail
escape upward and finish with the fun left-trending upper traverse on good holds with lots of air under your feet. This version is easier and feels a lot safer than #13, explaining its popularity with the masses.
15. Upper Traverse V1 ... FA: Unknown *
From the right-most (first) handrail, reach right to a pocket then head up to good edges. Continue up and left across jugs and other good holds for a total of 30 feet of moderate fun.

16. Bob Williams’ Pull V4/5 ... FA: Bob Williams, 1969/1970
A one-move wonder that is probably height-dependent. Roughly in the center of the wall, find a vertical line of three pockets. Cram one or both sets of fingers into the highest of these, a circular pocket 6 feet up. Then put your LF up on the slippery sloping handrail and swing or throw to the large solution pocket more than 5 feet up and left. Fun for a laugh.

17. Diagonal Break VB ... FA: Unknown
Begin at the high jugs right of the vertical line of pockets and head straight up to the diagonal break on good holds. Once there, use anything and everything to ascend the slab/gash to the top just above where #15 traverses across the face.

18. Cloud Shadow Solo VB X ... FA: Unknown *
This 40+ foot "problem"/solo is intimidating and falling is not an option higher up, yet it's all there. You can literally start anywhere in the vicinity, but the easiest way is to start at the high jugs right of the vertical line of pockets with #17. When you reach the
diagonal break, find good holds to head out the intimidating headwall to the top, where there are a few ways to safely finish. Long reaches are sometimes necessary even higher up, but the holds are really good and the footholds are all reasonably secure. Despite the VB grade, this "problem" is obviously not for the faint of heart or beginner boulderers.
19. The Consternation V3/4 X ... FA: Unknown *
Another way to climb into the topout for #20. Begin on the low diagonal rail jug. Head up and left along the diagonal break to jugs at 10 feet, reach left to a pocket, get your feet up and stand up tall to attain just below the finish for #20, the site of much
consternation. See #20, for more info about the finish.
20. The Contemplation V2 X ... FA: Rob Candelaria, 1974 *
Left of the bulge, start up a series of pockets, then trend left across a series of more complicated grips including an undercling to a good set of holds and a stance with meager feet at 16 feet, the namesake site of much
contemplation. From here, reach up and right to find an edge and pocket, get your feet up and now further contemplate the mess you’ve gotten yourself into as you pull onto the finishing slab blessed with plenty of lichen and very little, if any, chalk.
21. The High Cloud Shadow Traverse V1/2 ... FA: Unknown *
From the starting hold for #20, traverse left across pockets and good edges. As you move left, stay reasonably high so you can finish with style across #15, laughing all the while at the foolfaces below troubling themselves with the slopey handrails and pissy footholds.
22a&b. The Cloud Shadow Traverse V4 (a) / V5 (b) ... FA: Bob Poling, late 1960’s / early 1970’s *
From the starting hold for #20, traverse left across pockets and good edges until you arrive at the first of the five handrails. From the first handrail, continue across and up #14 for V4 (a) or #13 for V5 (b). Both are classic challenges, not because any of the moves individually are all that hard, but rather because the sloping handrails and pissy footholds are a frustrating nightmare when you're pumped at the end.

23. The Low Cloud Shadow Traverse V7 ... FA: Skip Guerin, 1988 *
A bit contrived, but alas really good! From the well-chalked diagonal jug that is also the starting hold for #19, traverse left staying
low across very low crimps, pinches and only the lowest of the shallow finger pockets using no holds over 5 feet high (including the starting hold on #16) until the proper finish across #13.
24. The Moderate Bulge V1 ... FA: Unknown *
Begin with the starting pocket for #20-22 and start up the pockets (crux). Once the start is behind you, get a LH sidepull/undercling in the large solution pocket ~11 feet up, head for the incut rail up and right. Pull over from there and traverse over to the right to get down. One of the best for the grade on the mountain.

25. The Consideration V3 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1969 *
Classic. Begin with the starting pocket for #20-22 & #24 and aim up and right to the top. The key is getting your LH in the second pocket and bumping to the well-chalked 6-finger crimp rail with your RH. A small crimp is available for your LH before you stop
considering your lack of other options and GO for the incut rail at the lip. Right up there with Hollows Way in terms of quality ... one of the very best on the mountain, regardless of grade. Variation #1 - True Consideration V3/4: The way I understand it, this is Ament's original sequence. Start up #25, but once you get the RH on the 6-finger crimp rail, match your LH with your RH (instead of using the small LH crimp) and reach/throw for the lip. The match-and-go to the lip makes the finish a little more difficult and a lot more exciting, as in LOTS of consideration.
26. Reverse Consideration V4 ... FA: Jim Holloway, early 1970’s *
Switch hands for your first move on #25, going RH into the second pocket. For the next improbable-looking move, get your LF perched high and do a wild crossover with your LH all the way to the 6-finger crimp rail. The key is having your feet perfect. From this ridiculous body position, uncoil, match, ignore the LH crimp, throw for the lip and pull over. This is a crazy problem from the word go.
27. Epoch V12/13 ... FA: Carlo Traversi, 2007 *
This probably should have been listed as a variation, but since it's a link-up into the hardest up-problem on the mountain, I've listed it separately. From the same start as #29, traverse right 3 moves into and up #30. Doing anything before you have to do #30 probably adds something.
28. UCT to Bob’s Bulge V9/10 ... FA: Jim Holloway, 1974 *
Start with #29, and do the first 7 moves or so of #29, but finish up the sharp slopey rail with #32 & 33 (NOT above the dihedral with #36).
29. Undercling Traverse (UCT) AKA Low-Level Traverse V8/9 ... FA: Jim Holloway, 1974 *
Originally named the Low-Level Traverse. I could go on and on about why this problem SHOULD NOT start in the arbitrary place that it does, but the historical acceptance of this start probably cannot be undone. So ... begin with your LH in the starting pocket for #20-22 & #24-26 and your RH in the sidepull (slightly underclingy) pocket slightly down and to the right. It's 10 or 11 moves until you can finish up via the dihedral and #36, which is rated V2 by itself, but will feel much harder when you escape the long moves and underclings preceding it.

30. Trice AKA A.H.R. V12 ... FA: Jim Holloway, 1975 *
One of Holloway's Big Three that saw lots of action and 6 sends during the winter of 2007-2008. Begin this problem on the good LH sidepull and RH undercling. From there, go RH into the the shallow pocket ~9 feet up, get it just right (there is a slight trick that helps for some folks) and use a high LF heel or toe to lock-in and snag a small sloping edge with your LH. Keep your LF or reset it to throw up and right with your RH to the sloping rail, get a jug at the top of the rail and pull over onto the slab.

31. A.K.R. V11 ... FA: Jim Karn, 1988 *
A variation to #30 established when Jim Karn was one of the strongest climbers on the planet. From the same starting grips as #30, go LH into the same shallow pocket as #30. Fire right to the sloping rail and fight the twisting swing. Regroup, get the jug at the top of the sloping rail and pull over onto the slab.
32. The Holloway Direct V7 ... FA: Jim Holloway, 1974 *
A more direct start to #33 that begins with both hands matched on the good undercling. From here, do a long move out the the sharp slopey rail, where the battle continues up #33.

33. Bob’s Bulge AKA The Bulge Traverse V6 ... FA: Bob Williams, 1969 *
Historically, people started matched up on the sloping left-trending rail, but today ... start LH on the good undercling and RH at the bottom of the sloping left-trending rail. Initially, bump your RH up the sloping rail, then use a high RF scum next to your RH to establish both hands on the rail and start surfing. A real battle and definitely much harder than the previously published grade of V5, although a foot and a half of terra firma have eroded here and people used to start higher. Once you've done this one, #28 and #32 traverse into #33 to finish.
34. Will’s Bulge V5 ... FA: Will LeMaire, 2005
In hindsight, I probably should have listed this problem as a variation, but it's too late for second guessing. Start immediately left of the right-facing dihedral and #36 on a LH undercling and small RH pebble. Reach up to the first holds on the slabby face located between the sloping rail (the finishing rail for #s 28, #32 & #33) and the dihedral/seam that is used to finish #29 and ascend #36. From there, ascend the bulge/slab angling up and left between these features without using any holds in or right of the seam for your hands or feet.
35. Epochalypse V13 ... FA: Daniel Woods, 2008 *
Currently the hardest problem on the mountain, which could have 10 additional feet of climbing tacked onto the start, which would - at a minimum - solidify the grade. Begin with #36 at the dihedral, traverse left ~6 moves under the bulge until you reach the start for #30. Now, topout #30.
36. Far East Inside Corner V2 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1968
Just right of the bulge, start at the good layaway crack in the right-facing dihedral and battle your way up onto the ramp.
37. Sloping Mantel V4 ... FA: Pat Ament, 1968/9
Just right of #36, thin shoulder high crimps sit at the edge of a polished sloping ramp. Use them to pull yourself straight up there any way you can. A laugher and sooooo much harder than it looks.
38. Reverse UCT AKA TCU V9/10 sds ... FA: Stevie Damboise, 1998 *
There has been some confusion about the grade of this problem, mostly stemming from folks misunderstanding the true start ... which begins from a low sds ~10 feet right of the dihedral at a little cave on the very far right end of the wall. Battle across small edges with RF heelhooks until you reach the dihedral and can find your sequence under the bulge. Keep at it until you can finish up #25 on the other side of the bulge. Props to those who start in the dihedral, head left and finish, but note that you have NOT properly done what is historically known as Reverse UCT.
39. The Full Cloud Shadow Traverse V10 sds ... FA: Stevie Damboise, 2001 *
Sixty-plus feet of traversing action on some of the best rock on the mountain. Begin from a sds with #38 at the low cave at the far right end of the wall and traverse left, continuing left under the bulge with #38. Where #38 joins and finishes up #25, continue left, joining #22b, the classic traverse of the wall that finishes up the five handrails on the left side of the wall. Very long and pumpy with poor feet. Variation #1 - Trolling for Mank V10/11: Another technical 60+ footer with lots of places to make mistakes. This is a Justin Jaeger variation to #39 that instead of joining and finishing across #22b, drops down to join and finish across the lower and more technical #23. Of note, Justin began traversing from the starting crimpers of #37, skipping the first few moves from the sds on the very very far right.


spott said...

Hagan’s Wall has had part of the left starting hold break off recently. Not sure if it increases the grade, but it does increase the pain.

Peter Beal said...

I removed the pebble from STBS by hand, no tools required. There are several good holds in the vicinity so I suggest that the pebble should not be replaced.