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Purina -

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(C3F / 30ft / gear 1 cam (.5in), smallest micro-nuts, beaks (small/med), hooks (1 bat, 1 sky, optional cam hooks, natural belay) Climb the aid seam that, in terms of aesthetics and gear placement, rivals any classic 30ft section on Yosemite’s El Cap. It’s that good… reminiscent of the Shield’s Triple Cracks… minus the fixed mank, and piton scarring. ■ Route Description: Even though the route is a mere 30ft, it can be broken down into two distinct characters: ● First 15ft: The best “fall catching” gear occurs here, including the one and only lead cam placement (.5in, or green Alien size), and a couple of good micro-nuts, one before the cam, and one after. ▫ Solo Objective: Purina has been soloed a number of times. If soloing, a bomber anchor can be constructed at the bottom of the crack (cam .75in, knotted tunnel runner, and or nut). ● Last 15ft: Expect “fall catching” gear to be questionable... perhaps a suspect micro-nut or two? With that said, the “enhanced” slots in the seam, the result of prior, albeit minimal piton craft, provide bomber hand-placed beak placements (as bomber as hand-placed stuff gets anyway). Whereas hand-placed beaks may come in handy during the first 15ft, where there are other/diverse opportunities for gear, they’re indispensable on the upper part, where opportunities are limited, if not marginal. Take four (small, medium) beaks (or equivalent: peckers, etc.) if you opt to leave gear behind (Just in case one might actually hold a fall?). Otherwise, take a minimum of two beaks and leap frog placements. When the seam ends in blank rock, gain the rim via a bat hook. The rim is a jug, and at first… after the previous bout of insecurity… it’s a big relief to clutch something so solid… even if only by hands… even while still standing on a bat hook… With that said, throwing a heel hook and mantling top side, “Top Choice style”, with trailing aid gear, etc., may not feel like the best option? Thus, a sky hook move on the rim may come in handy to “walk a couple of steps higher”, in facilitating the top out. ▫ Cam Hooks: In the same respect that this seam will take bomber hand- placed beaks, it will likewise take pretty good cam hooks. While, cam hooks are entertaining to place, and thrilling to use, they take experience, not to mention a bit of faith, to master. In regards to Purina, the functional benefits that they provide, namely being more efficient (i.e., faster to place & clean), and less destructive (i.e., cleaner) alternatives to hammer-driven options/solutions, will buy you nothing over hand-placed beaks, which are intuitively easier to place, evaluate placement integrity, and consequently, in light of legitimate ground fall potential, probably the “solution” of choice? This route is not a good candidate for experimentation with cam hooks on lead, but if you’ve got the skills, and the balls/ovaries, don’t mind us. Whether you intend to use them or not, take a selection along for good measure. ■ Historical Hammer Use: While hammer-use is visible on Purina… as evidenced by “enhanced” blade/beak placements, negligible buried RURP remnants, and a couple of drilled holes… the damage is relatively discrete, and indicative of a number of factors: ● Number of Ascents: While Purina isn’t a popular route, it may qualify as a popular test piece on the E-Rock aid circuit… which as far as historical number of ascents goes, probably isn’t saying too much? Either with, or without a hammer, Purina hasn’t fallen victim to overuse. How many times have you seen it climbed? ● Clean Precedent: First climbed without a hammer in the mid-1990s, Purina has an established precedent as a “clean” objective, and local ethics dictate that future ascents adhere to this ethic. If you’ve been around the “aiding block”, seen a former nailing wall or two, then you realize how refreshing it is to see such a delicate seam with so little piton scaring. Conversely, if Purina did exist on the Big Stone, it would have inevitably fallen victim to more severe piton scaring, a reflection of past eras, where hammer-use was status quo, from foreign climbers/attitudes where either modern gear is not available, or hammer-use is still considered status quo, or from cowards (nationality aside) who conveniently overlook past precedents, and modern advances in gear & mindset, and use a lack of skill, and imagination, and substitute indiscriminate hammer-use as an excuse for security, and false courage. Misuse aside, in Yosemite it’s also a numbers thing, and the other type of “use”: overuse. ■ Rating: The original E-Rock climbing guide, “Stranger than Friction” (1984) listed Purina as A3. Six years later, the “Dome Driver Manual” (1990) added a “+” to the rating (?), and “Enchanted Rock: A Climber’s Guide” (2003) listed it as C3+… a reflection of probably just “borrowing” the previous guide’s rating of A3+, and recognizing the precedent that it was no longer climbed with a hammer (i.e., clean rating), rather than from personal experience, or community consensus, etc.? Some E-Rock locals decried, saying there was “no way” that Purina was rated C3+, even suggesting something in the C2 range. Regarding the later, such arguments are based solely on the assumption that “something” in the upper section will in high-probability catch a fall. In light of today’s ethic (i.e., no hammer, including no basically “heading” micro-nuts into the seam, etc.), that something would have to be “hand placed”… either beaks, cam hooks, or the smallest of micro-nuts, of which there are limited, if not marginal opportunities for the latter. A well used witticism of aid climbers is that “it’s all A1 until you fall”. Indeed, aid ratings are generally quantified in fall consequences, or potential (i.e., length of fall, obstructions in the fall zone, etc.), and fall potential is in turn relative to the amount of, and distance in between protection opportunities that can actually hold falls, or conversely, the amount of body-weight-only placements in a row. So what about Purina? Granted that Purina has seen relatively few ascents, it seems that reality (i.e., history), versus theory, has reflected a record of mixed results, with at least one climber decking and breaking an arm (early repeat attempt; hammer used) to a placement failing on another climber, that was luckily caught, and kept off of the ground, by the micro-nut below? Our take is that the best “fall catching” gear occurs within the first 15ft, and that after that, “security”, if not survival depends on hand-placed beaks/cam hooks and limited, if not marginal micro-nuts, either of which may, or may not hold a fall, the result being legitimate ground fall potential from the upper section of the route. We side with the “broken arm” side of caution, and feel that at least the C3 rating is warranted. ● “F” Designation: The “F” designation (i.e., fixed) indicates that the ability to climb Purina clean (i.e., without a hammer) is totally dependent on prior hammer-use, namely in the form of enhanced “slots” that now take hand-placed beaks, cam hooks, etc., and of course the exit bat hook move. While not relying on fixed gear per se, a bat hook hole (i.e., altered rock) is functionally synonymous, thus the rating designation. ● Vintage Rating Obsolete: The vintage rating (i.e. A3+) is partly a reflection of vintage gear. For example, Purina was established before all the beak-technology gizmos… beaks, peckers, toucans, etc., that are commercially available today, which are vastly superior to tipped-out & tied-off blades, RURPs, etc. Today, in its current condition of prior use, modern gear, and a hammer, Purina would probably rate A2, and a fairly secure one at that… with indiscriminate nailing, odds are good that one could beat in a “couple-somethings” that would prevent a ground fall from the upper section? ■ Aid Play: If legitimate ground fall potential sounds “illegitimate” to you… no worries, you can still play the aid game by employing a fixed rope, TR, etc. and basically climb the route with an up-belay, a somewhat “familiar” local practice in regards to Purina.

Submitted by: jimmyray on 2006-12-02
Views: 798
Route ID: 81327