The Hogwild, Lover's Leap, CA

The Hogwild is a group of climbs at the southeast end of the Hogsback. It features a few single-pitch climbs in the 5.7 to 5.10 range and one longer climb: "It's Better with Beacon", a recent (FA 2003) multi-pitch line that goes to the top of the formation. One of the main reasons we wanted to climb on the "Hogwild" are the great views of the Leap you enjoy from the top.

We spent one day on the Hogwild, climbing "Hogwild", a single pitch 5.7, and "It's Better with bacon", a 5-pitch 5.8, mostly bolted.

Hogwild (5.7, 1 pitch)

"Hogwild" is an OK climb but we didn't think it was that great, contrary to McNamara's assessment in his very good SuperTopo guidebook to the area. The rock is not so clean and it's also somewhat runout. The route goes up a face past three bolts, then follows a crack to a two bolt anchor. A double-rope rap brings you down.

It's Better with Beacon (5.8, 5 pitches)

After "Hogwild", we climbed "It's Better with Bacon" (5.8, 5 pitches). Eric led every pitch. The first pitch (5.6) is a fun exercise in thin protection. It follows a seam only protectable with small RP's or sliding nuts. Eric could have soloed it but made a point of trying to get good protection on tiny gear. In many years of climbing, he had placed a Lowe Ball only once, but they really worked on this pitch. In fact, you could use a couple. We thought this pitch was the best one on the entire climb. If you're not so enthusiastic about small pro, you can bypass this section by scrambling in from the right.

I wanted to lead the second pitch but did not like the runout to the first bolt just above the belay so I came down. This pitch involves some 5.6-5.7 slab climbing with 2 bolts for pro, then traverses right to a ledge and a bolted anchor. The third pitch is 5.8 with the crux at a small roof (a bolt protects the move). The fourth pitch is also 5.8 with somewhat tricky moves above the belay to reach the first bolt (5.8 slab). The last pitch is 5.7 and follows a couple of overlaps to low angle rock. This section is mossy and dirty but gets you to the top.

The views of the Leap from the top of the Hogwild are what you really came for. We sat there for quite a while, taking pictures, then hiked down (a bit of a bushwhack) and back to the Pony Express Trail.

We were not so impressed with the climb. SuperTopo calls it a good entry level 5.8 but in our opinion it would need one or two more bolts to make it safe for a 5.8 leader, especially above the belays.

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Lucie leading "Hogwild" (5.7), a nice long pitch on the buttress of the same name.
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Eric starting "It's Better with Bacon" on the Hogwild. The first pitch is thin but easy (5.6), and protects only with micro-nuts and slider nuts.
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On the third pitch (5.8), just below the crux bulge.
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Eric on the 4th pitch - above the bolt that protects a reachy 5.8 move.
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Higher on the 4th pitch, going through several roofs.
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Eric starting up the last pitch.
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Admiring the great views of the East and Central Walls from the top of The Hogwild.
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Eric with Traveler Buttress and Corrugation Corner in the background.
(high res. images are about 300KB)
June 1st, 2004