Route Name: Celestial Pile
Rock Formation: Ridge 1, Skunk Canyon
Number of bolts to be placed: 11 lead bolts, 2 sets of 2 bolt anchors
Route Difficulty: 5.12
Route Description and intention behind the suggested name:
The proposed route ascends the Like Heaven Pinnacle, an overhanging west facing pinnacle about halfway up the Ridge 1 formation. The route starts downhill and to the right of existing routes Gunky and Slot, then crosses those routes higher up before tackling the overhanging headwall of the pinnacle. The route will be 2 pitches, the first pitches being about 100 ft and 5.11+. The beginning is moderate at 5.10, with a first bolt prior to a couple gear placements. The crux of P1 comes after a rest as the route ascends a steeper and less featured portion of bullet hard rock, to be protected by bolts. Afterwards the pitch eases off and ends at a comfortable ledge where the P1 anchor will be installed.
P2 starts off with some easier climbing to protected by a bolt and gear. The base of the overhanging pinnacle is where the crux begins, and will be protected by bolts. After getting through the overhanging section, the route becomes vertical again and is protectable by gear and one bolt. This section is beautiful and exposed, and brings you to the top of the pinnacle. The name of the proposed route, “Celestial Pile” is meant to describe the magnificent upper headwall, which takes the leader on a beautiful voyage towards the top of the “Like Heaven Pinnacle”, among the celestial bodies of the heavens. The word “Pile” humorously nods to the brief section of lower quality rock and lower angle climbing prior to the celestial ascent.
A description of existing routes on the same face of the rock formation, including the number of routes, route names, route grade, type, and approximate distance between routes (a photocopy or diagram of the existing route(s) is also required):
There are two routes to the north of the proposed routes, Love (5.4) and Forget Me Not (5.7), both trad routes. These routes are roughly 50 ft north of the proposed route. There are three existing routes near the proposed route, Devil May Care (5.12+), Gunky (5.11) and Slot (5.10), all trad routes. The proposed route would cross Gunky down low, and cross Slot up a little higher. Gunky and Slot start about 45 ft north of the proposed route. Devil May Care is an alternative second pitch to Gunky, and the proposed route does not interfere with that route. See topo for details. The proposed route would be mixed with no bolts being placed where it overlaps with existing gear routes. Good gear is available in several places on the route.
The applicant has contacted Scott Woodruff of the FA party from Gunky to discuss potentially crossing their route with a new bolted route, and he expressed the desire to keep any new bolts out of reach from Gunky. This is easily achieved and Scott will be consulted again prior to final bolt placement to ensure there is no overlap.
If different from the approach, a description of the descent, (include approximate distance from the designated trail system, existing “social” or undesignated trails, a description of the trail condition and whether there is a durable surface, such as rock. Include photographs of the descent.):
The route can be rappelled with one 60 m rope, stopping at the P1 anchor on the way down, or from the top of P2 to the ground with two 60m ropes. Reverse the approach described above for descent.
A description of the area at the base of the climb (include existing levels of soil compaction, existence of a durable surface such as rock, and existing soil erosion. Include photographs of the area at the base of the climb.):
The base of the route is right off the established climber’s access trail, with flat /durable soil and rocks at the start of the climb.
Has all reconnaissance work that can be reasonably done, short of placing any hardware, been done?
Yes – route has been climbed and some loose rock removed. Preliminary bolt locations have been identified, and will be refined during the bolting process.
Has the route been top roped? Is there loose rock? Is it extremely overhanging?
Yes the route has been top roped. There is some (minimal) loose rock in one section at the beginning of the overhang, but it can be cleaned and mitigated. The base of the pinnacle is quite overhanging.
Any additional notes:
The proposed route will be a mixed route to minimize impact on the rock and on the existing trad routes on the formation. Bolts will only be placed in areas where solid, reliable and obvious gear placements do not exist. The upper headwall on the Like Heaven Pinnacle is extremely scenic, and the route could be a worthy outing by itself or serve as a good warm-up for some of the harder routes in the area.