I know that I have been on this route a few too many times but it is just a great route for newbies. I brought along a friend's 11 year old son that was dying to climb to the top and I wanted something a little better than the Arch or No Alternative. We changed it up a bit and climbed the last three pitches of Autumn Speaks instead of the usual finish. I lead each pitch, the kid followed me, and my regular climbing partner followed last. While it was just routine for us, it was the greatest thing ever for the kid. For me, that is what climbing is all about.
There was a threat of rain but it never materialized and we were able to climb all five pitches. Luckily, there was very little sun so it was never too hot. I brought two new guys with me and both climbed the route with ease. I forgot about that darned bat.
With the help from our lead climber, Johnny and the abnormally cool July (85 degrees) a buddy and I made our first full climb. What better climb to make for your first climb then The Pulpit. We even got to see some wild life on the clim, the famous Stone Mt. buzzards, a couple of blue tail skinks and in the lower crack of the flake middle ways of the the third pitch a bat flew out and surprised our lead. Great trip! Thanks Johnny!
We climbed this as a warm-up and I had initially intended to brag about 5.10's Warhawk approach shoes. I had been using them as climbing shoes and lead all five pitches of the Pulpit with ease. I climbed the first pitch of Autumn Speaks and about halfway up I started losing traction. The rubber was just rubbing off the soles of my shoes. It is very soft to begin with and I am guessing it just got too hot. I have only worn them a few times prior and there are already holes in the soles. I would stick with standard climbing shoes for better durability. It was a perfect day for climbing though and we were the only people on the rock.
I have not been able to climb as much lately so I needed a nice easy route to get back in the swing of things. I lead all pitches while my mother followed for her first time on the Pulpit. My usual climbing partner lead the route for the first time, behind us, with his wife following. The water groove before the Oasis had quite a bit of water in it, making the traverse more interesting than normal. Everyone did make it across without difficulty. Even though the last two pitches are very easy, we completed the climb to the top.
I decided to lead the Pulpit today for a friend that had never climbed it before and the heat just about got the best of us. The traction was pitiful, I couldn't get my shoes to stick to most of the rock. I had to rely on good holds and forget about friction climbing since it was so slick. I still had fun and finished all five pitches. I have been trying to stop climbing here until it cools off but I just can't seem to stay away. Everything is still the same as it was on my last ascent.
Lead all five pitches. Only the first two are even remotely difficult and they are generously bolted by Stone Mtn standards. The route wanders a lot but the line is fairly easy to follow. I do recommend using a guidebook.
The first pitch is very easy to follow due to multiple bolts. On the second pitch, when reaching the ledge just above the second bolt, the guidebook shows the route traversing left until below the belay, then going straight up. Some climbers do not go this way, instead going straight up from the ledge and traversing left when even with the belay.
The third pitch is very easy until the traverse right across a water groove to the Oasis. A cam can be inserted under the left facing corner system before the water groove. There is a spot where a .5 Camalot fits nicely. From there, traverse directly across the water groove into the lower edge of the Oasis. If the groove is wet, it will be very slipperly due to the smoothness of the rock. Use caution, as your cam placement is the only protection.
From the Oasis, head up towards the belay on Grand Funk and clip it for protection. Then follow the slab up to the large flake called the Pulpit. The belay loops are on top of the flake. The last pitch leads from the flake to the top of the mountain and really doesn't need protection. The upper three pithes could be considered runout but the ease of the climbing makes it a non-issue.