Chianti Spire, East Face ("Rebel Yell")

July 27, 2007 / 5.10, 7 pitches, trad.

Rebel Yell - the classic line on Chianti - follows a well-defined line on the East Face of the spire. It is typically climbed in a day from the steep Burgundy Col approach (or as a light overnight trip, from a bivy at the col). Since we also wanted to climb Clean Break, a 13+ pitch line on Juno Tower, which is also located in the Silver Creek basin, we decided to combine the two routes into a three day outing with a camp in Silver Creek basin (see map below).

On July 24, we hike up Silver Creek and set up camp below Burgundy Col. The next day, we climb Clean Break on Juno Tower. After a rest day, we're ready for Rebel Yell.

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Burgundy and Chianti spires from our camp.
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Leaving camp in the morning.
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heading up the boulder field toward the base of the snow gully.
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Strapping on the crampons at the base of the couloir.
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Up the couloir to reach the flats below Burgundy Col

The approach from camp is pretty fun (and relatively short): straight up boulder fields at first, then up the narrow, moderately steep (~40 degrees) snow couloir to the flats below (and NE of) Burgundy Col. From there, one traverses steep snow leftward (SE) to the shoulder below Chianti Spire (took us 1 hr from camp to this point). After a break, we head up the final snow slopes to the clean slabs at the base of the route and rope up.

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Traversing SE toward the shoulder below Chianti Spire.
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The east face of Chianti.
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The upper pitches of Rebel Yell follows the obvious crack system in the middle of the face.
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Gearing up at the base of the slabs.
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Eric starting the first pitch.

We find a decent ledge to change into climbing gear, maybe 20ft above the moat. From here, the first pitch goes up fresh-cut white granite cracks and corners (about 5.7-5.8, and really good).

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Higher on the same pitch.
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Reaching the belay - the base of the wide crack.
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Playing with the camera...
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Starting pitch 2 - the first offwidth section.
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Chimneying the upper part of the wide section.

Next comes the first 5.10 OW section. It is pretty short, has a small crack inside where I manage to blindly place a yellow alien, and allows for some chimneying moves. Not that hard really.

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Belay shot.
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Pitch 3 is easier and follows a right facing dihedral (5.7).
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Higher on the same pitch.
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Views from the belay.
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Starting p4 .

The third pitch is easier (5.7) and follows a right facing dihedral to a good ledge.

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Eric looking for a possible traverse left - not too sure where to traverse...
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The blind step across is just to the left of Eric..
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Eric at the belay at the top of pitch 4.
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More views.
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Pitch 5 is the business

We have some hesitation about the blind traverse on pitch 4. It seems like you could traverse left at various points along the pitch, but we end up going all the way up the slab and finger crack to a traverse on white rock just below and left of a bulge. This is the highest point at which you could traverse, and we think it is the correct way to do it. That move is wild! Felt sandbagged at 5.8 to both of us (maybe 5.9?).

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Higher on pitch 5.
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Eric at the belay atop pitch 5. Yes, it is really wide.
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The hanging belay at top pitch 5 (1 bolt + 1 nut).
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Looking back at the wide crack.
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Starting up pitch 6 (first move is sandbagged at 5.8).

The second 5.10 OW is the real thing (p5). Sustained, straight in, and wide… quite a workout. Walked my #4 the whole way up the thing, before it narrows back down to 3". Had zero pro left for another hard looking, blocky section of 4" flake/crack/lieback above, but managed to circumvent it to the right on a tiny ramp/edge.

More challenging climbing above that (p6, rated 5.8 but the first move off the belay definitely felt like 5.9) before you reach the final 2-bolt anchor at the edge of the summit ledge. The ledge is large and comfortable, but this is not the top yet… a 20' summit block looms above.

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Higher on pitch 6.
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Eric at the 2-bolt anchor at the edge of the summit ledge.
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Looking back toward Eric at the belay (and the summit block), from the large summit platform.
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Checking out the FA topo tucked away in the summit register.
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Ditto.

The rock is pretty crumbly on this short but steep 5.7 face climb, but you can place decent small and medium cams in a rotten crack halfway up. Once you grab the top edge, you'll see a single, rusted ¼" bolt with a ring hanger on the top… clip it for mental support and stand on the top! Picture time! Downclimb the way you came to get back down to the ledge.

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Starting up the steep final pitch (5.7).
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Pretty cool summit!
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The rusted ¼" bolt that "protects" the final mantle move!
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Rebel yells (click for movie).
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Summit views.

To descend, start the raps at the double bolt anchor (bomber new bolts). We rapped straight down, about 150', to the anchor atop pitch 5. Another 160' rap took us a fair distance left (climber's left) of the route. From there, we had to work on a couple of anchors (replace slings). We got down in two more raps. The final rap is from a sling anchor on 3 nuts (good) from a good size ledge, down steep slabs and to slopy ledges and the edge of the snow at the very end of the ropes (double 50m).

The start of the route is 75m below and to the right (climber's right), down a steep snow slope… how to get there with climbing shoes is the question. Out comes the nut tool. We cut a couple of slots in the edge of the moat to make a bollard, and we rap most of the distance down the snow and go get the boots at the base of the route. Of course, by then, we can't pull the ropes (frozen in), so I climb back up (but with boots) to free them.

We reverse the approach back to camp. We end up rapping the top 1/3rd of the steep couloir off of a wooden board that was lying around with a flag on it… drove the thing 4ft into the snow, picket style, and used it as an anchor.

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Preparing to rap off a wooden board we found laying around.
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Home sweet home.
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Getting a quick meal before...
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...heading down, chased away by mosquitoes.
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Down the boulderfield below Vasiliki Ridge.

Back at camp with half an hour of direct sunlight left before we find ourselves in the shade of Vasiliki Ridge and the terrible mosquitoes that come with it. We make the quickest camp removal and packing ever and head out. The traverse back to the head of the valley and the trail feels interminable.

Our ankles are killing us (the whole thing is cross-slope in the same direction). Good navigation brings us back to the same point as on the way up, at the top of the initial boulder field. Back on the trail, which we loose a couple of times on the way down. Keep the wasp nest in mind (and skirt wide around it in the woods). We eventually make it back to the car, after a knee-busting-steep descent (takes us 3h15 from camp). One of the most painful descents we've ever made. Our knees and ankles are shot. Doesn't look like we'll be ready for another alpine overnight anytime soon…

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Hiking down in the woods.
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Keep an eye out for the wasp nest!
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Back at the car.
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Topo map of the area.