Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Because It's There First Ascent

photo: Tim Karst

We received email last week from Bill Hapak reporting his first ascent, along with partner Kyle Hanson, of the overhanging chimney Because It's There. The climb is listed in the second edition of the guide as a project, and is tagged with the Green Bay Packers helmet, signifying the hand of "idea man" Kurt Krueger, and alerting all to its likely scrappy nature. It's located left of Li'l Crack, and to the right of the Tick Farm wall.

Bill led the climb in classic style: first ascent, ground up, on-sight, entirely on gear. There's a lot of loose rock, so helmets should be considered mandatory, plus exercise the usual caution of keeping the belayer out of the fall line. Note also there are no bolts, so plan to build your own anchors including at the top of the climb.

The following comes from details Bill sent about the climb.

Because It's There
5.9R (provisional)

Pitch 1 (5.7R)

Start about twenty feet left of Li'l Crack following the path of least resistance through a few shrubs, with surprisingly decent protection. The first pitch is somewhat loose but manageable if you tread lightly. About fifty feet up you will reach a solid ledge about thirty feet below the roof. Belay from here. Anchor is bomber, many options are possible. Hand-sized cams (bd # 2's) work very well.

Pitch 2 (5.8+/5.9R)

Climb straight up towards the roof with good protection and solid purchase. Directly below the roof the rock gets very loose. Be sure to check all hand and foot holds as some are very precarious. On the bottom side of the roof there is a diagonal crack in which a bd .5 protects beautifully (true textbook placement) in very solid rock. Consider placing two on a sliding x as this is the last viable piece of protection. Traverse left through a fun but somewhat loose section, again treading lightly. From there head straight into the mouth of the chimney. The chimney is super secure and fun, and is just wide enough to snake through to the top without becoming a squeeze or off-width. Top anchor options are minimal, so expect to take some time to construct, and belay from a seated position.

Descend in full trad mode by walking off to the east to regain the main approach trail.

Footnote: A Saturday exploration by Kurt Krueger revealed that you can do some down climbing a little ways east of the topout, then walk back along a ledge to the Li'l Crack anchors and rap from there. Kurt did the climb with Michael seconding and confirmed Bill's proposed grade.