Monday, July 13, 2009

Following Spirit

Finally made it out to do Following Spirit III 5.11(r) on Castle Dome put up by Peter Chesko and Co. circa 1999. Thank you Peter for the beta and for this fine route. This was Peter's last big project in the Castle Crags Wilderness and it is one of the best routes there, 2nd only to The Dike Route, in my opinion, which Peter also had a hand in.

The route starts at the base of the Castle Dome Saddle on the left side of a 1oo' detached buttress/spire. A full rack, up to a 4"cam and a set of RP's/Micro Nuts, are useful. Don't forget your MACRO NUTS as well as this route is OLD SCHOOL!!!

P1 - 5.9 Climb chimney/offwidth for 1oo' past 1 bolt to a 2 bolt anchor on a small ledge.

P2 - 5.11 Climb up and right to a bolt then left to another bolt with a flattened hanger(I was able to thread a stopper through the hanger, but a new hanger is needed, add a 1/2"wrench and new hanger to your rack) climb past damaged hanger and 3 more bolts on sustained 5.11 climbing. A small crack is reached at about 100' where the pitch can broken up to avoid rope drag.

P2a - 510 Climb up and right on beautiful wavy wall with knobs past 3 more bolts placing gear when you can on 5.9 run out climbing until a small ledge with a 2 bolt anchor is reached ~ 80'.

P3 - 5.10+(r) Climb up and right past 2 bolts to a knobby arete and then left past another bolt, continue up incredibly featured rock with sparse gear on 5.8  runout climbing for ~ 150'. Belay on ledge below dirty looking steep dike.

P4 - 5.8(r) Climb up and right on steep dike(not as dirty as it looks) past a bolt then continue on more featured runout climbing passing 2 more bolts until a left leaning seam takes you up to a ledge with a tree/bush to belay from ~ 230' may need to have your belayer simule climb for 20' or so to reach the belay shrub.

P5 - 5.9 climb into amphitheater to a small shrub at the base of a 60' 4-6" crack/flake, climb up steep crack, past crumbly ledge then up dirty corner until a crack is reached to set the final belay.

Thanks again Peter and all others involved who I won't mention since they don't like to promote climbing at Castle Crags nor do they like to claim credit for their vandalism/route development.

If you are bold enough to go get the 3rd ascent on this route drop me a line I'd love to hear about it.

peace and blessings,