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Helms Deep - 5.10c

Average Rating = 4.00/5 Average Rating : 4.00 out of 5
Route sequence (left to right): 0
Route Summary | Ascent Notes (2)
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Rock (Trad)
Bolts (with some old and newer hangers), 2 sets of tricams (6),small to medium nuts, cams to 2". Some slings would be helpful for this climb. Double ropes recommended to reduce rope drag.
Consensus Ratings
  Difficulty 5.10c
  Safety Rating X
  Exposure 5.00/5
  Rock Quality 4.50/5
  Scenery 5.00/5
  Fun Factor 3.50/5


Follow up large black streak in middle of the Dome, fun route that doesn't see that much traffic. First bolt is located close to bottom, this is the 10c move, follow up to the right facing crack then head up right through some thin moves to the bolt below the bulge (can get in some micro cams) 30+ feet of run- out can be a little mind bending. This pitch has some rusty pins and leepers. 2nd Pitch and 3rd pitch is mainly tricams, some feed thru's. Final pitch is almost a walk up.

Descent Options:

Walk off at top or rap to bottom

Submitted by: papa_eos on 2009-07-08
Views: 700
Route ID: 100731

2 Ascents Recorded

GoRecord an ascent

  Difficulty 5.10c
  Safety Rating X
  Rock Quality
  Fun Factor
Hang Dog Hang Dog ascent by: gregory_huey on 2010-07-03 (View Climbing Log)

3 out of 5 stars More runout than I was expecting...

Ok - I admit it - I choose this as my first route on my first visit to Courtwright purely based on the name - perhaps not the wisest decision. On the approach we met up with Greg Vernon and someone else replacing rap anchors on Power Dome. Vernon asked which route we were heading to do, I replied Helms Deep - his expression changed a bit and he said "oh..." in an ominous way. A little voice in the back of my head said "you should pay attention to that". But no, I was off to do me a route with a cool name!

To be fair, slab is not my forte - but its true that the crux 10c slab move on this route is low on P1, just above the first bolt - it is, beyond any doubt, safe & well protected. However, !!!, higher up on P1 there is a long stretch of 5.9-10a from before the first corner to well after the second (opposite-facing) corner that takes no pro. Though I was high up the wall, it seemed very possible that a fall from there could result in decking (and thus possible serious injury/death). I tried to place pro at the bottom of the left-facing corner, but the crevice I found was just too chossy for a bomber stopper - nothing to do but run it out and not fall. A few bolts should be added here. The higher pin and the following bolt look very sketchy and should be replaced (why not have a bomber bolt instead of a rusty thin pin?). Also, I seem to recall the first pro placement on P2 is taken by a very small tricam that is fixed in a solution pocket. The sling is old and ratty - probably if its going to be kept there it should be replaced by a bolt.

Anyway, yeah, the 10c crux slab move took me a couple of tries to get. Turns out that I was apparently being a little too conservative...

As one moves higher the route (climbing and pro) eases significantly.

I also led P3, and this was more in line with what I was expecting. There were lots of solution pockets in the black water streak (bring lots of small tricams!), and the mini-roof was well protected and not as difficult as I thought it might be - just pull it right at the black water streak - large exposed crystals make excellent holds - I'd say its not more than 5.9.

If the bolt situation on P1 were improved this would truly be a stellar route. As it is, the leader should be comfortable in 5.9/10a R/X territory.

Added: 2010-08-02

  Difficulty 5.10c
  Safety Rating R
  Rock Quality
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: papa_eos on 2009-07-03 (View Climbing Log)

5 out of 5 stars Enjoyable route

Climbed this with Herb Laeger and Chris Brewer over the July 4th weekend. First pitch is where the action is, a little run-out after the right facing crack to the bolt below the bulge. Move's aren't difficult but the run-out can seem a little scary.
Route could use some work, leepers and the 1/4" bolts removed and replaced, maybe even a bolt added on first pitch. This would make the route super.

Added: 2009-07-08