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Archaeopteryx - 5.11d

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Route sequence (left to right): 1
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Standard rack with an emphasis on mid-range TCUS.
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This three-pitch line, put up by Jeff Achey and Roger Briggs way back when (early 80s) climbs the dead-visible north face of Seal Rock up the vibrant yellow lichen streaks. It is given 5.11+ X. P1: Heinous. From the center of the base of the north face, work up and right along a diagonal, passing a small tree. 20 feet above the tree step left onto unprotected, licheny 5.8. The odd piece here and there gets you up to an arch. Turn the arch (some gear underneath) on friable flakes -- 10+ very R -- and belay at double bolts. P2: Short but powerful. Head into the big A-frame roof right off the belay, placing cams and clipping a fixed copperhead. This is one of those rotten purple bands, so climb with care. Bust a strenuous lip move then stand up to a double-bolt belay at a ramp. 25-foot pitch. P3: The crux. Move down and left along the ramp, then find a way (crux, for me) to cast off onto the face. Intermittent pods allow for gear, with a committing mantle 20 feet above a so-so piece. (I was more concerned with falling off the belay and tagging the ankle-snapper ramp.) Continue right along the pods with the gear sometimes OK, sometimes not (I know one person who fell up here and was OK) aiming for a right-leaning hand crack. The ultra-licheny moves getting into the crack felt like a psychological crux, but if they were cleaner, would probably be in-your-face 5.11- with decent gear. Follow this short crack and top out. The position and sense of adventure on this line could not be finer.

Submitted by: sammatt on 2004-03-01
Views: 499
Route ID: 49367