After being scooped off the climb the day before, we went back a bit earlier (10AM or so). This time we took the most direct trail to the base so we reached it in maybe 30 minutes. No other climbers around. Good.
However, dark clouds had been building over Mount Charleston since earlier that morning and they were now shifting south, much closer to Pine Creek Canyon. We were just waiting for the rain to start… and it did, but only a few drops, then a clearing, then a few more drops… What the hell, this thing is a rap-off anyway, so we might as well give it a shot.
Up the first pitch. It is steep but mostly 5.8'ish jugs. Strangely, it is bolted (though sparsely), even though the black "aligator" face offers plenty of options for nuts between varnish plates and small cams in horizontal breaks. Whatever. The crux of the route comes at a 3 ft roof near the end of the pitch. Here, the beefy bolt right at the lip is welcome. The couple of moves to overcome the roof are committing but on good holds; easy 5.10. May be a bit harder for shorter people as the final exit move is a bit of a reach. Good fun. Above the roof, a short crack and one more bolt lead you to a bolted anchor on a good ledge.
The second pitch is another varnished face, but a bit less steep - about 5.7 - leading to a 5.8+ crux at a bulge, by a lonely bolt. The rest of the pitch (both below and above that bolt) is not bolted but offers good pro again. There's also a 5.6 variation around the left to a ramp to make things easier if desired. This pitch is even longer than the first. With 50m ropes, you will not quite reach the anchors; about 5 meters of simul-climbing will be needed. The leader will be on easy terrain at that point but the second will be moving up pretty thin face moves. Just be careful, or bring 60 meter ropes. If you chose the 5.6 variation to the left, you'll likely have to simul-climb more, but on easier terrain.
After this, the climb takes a strange turn. A 50 ft horizontal traverse to the right (VERY easy and with pretty good pro again, contrary to indications in SuperTopos) leads to the base of a low angle 100 ft corner.
The first ¾ of that corner are straightforward and not so clean 5.6 climbing. This leads to maybe two moves of 5.9 stemming above, protected by a couple of good small nuts. Swain (and Supertopo) talk about needing doubles of RPs or micro nuts for this… I don't think so, unless you are really uncomfortable on 5.9, in which case you may not want to climb above RP's in sandstone anyway. The climb ends on a large ledge with another bolted anchor. An OK pitch, but not exceptional as suggested by Todd Swain in his guidebook.
In retrospect, I would not really recommend these last two pitches… just not that good, and a very indirect line.
From the anchor at the top, you rap straight down to the top of pitch two. You'll notice a gnarly pinched crack just right of the fall line. This is the rope eater mentioned in the book. If you pull your rope from the anchor at the top of pitch 2, your rope is likely to finish its career like the couple of pieces we saw stuck forever in the crack… Instead, pull a few feet, get on belay on that length of rope, and traverse to the very left end of the ledge so you can pull the rope leftward, away from the crack. No problem this way. From there, rap 165 feet (make damn sure you knot the end of your ropes) to the top of pitch 1, then 150 feet to the ground.
Y2K, Red Rocks, NV
|Y2K is a 4 pitch line on the east face of Mescalito (route shown in red).|
|Eric starting the first pitch (5.10).|
|Clipping - this pitch has 6 pro bolts.|
|Shaking off before continuing to the crux ceiling.|
|The second pitch (5.8+) wanders up a varnished face.|
|Higher on the second pitch.|
|Eric going up the varnished dihedral of pitch 4 (5.9).|
|Placing small nuts to protect a couple of 5.9 moves at the top of the pitch...|
|...and stemming out to rest.|
|At the 4th pitch belay.|