El Camino Real, Tahquitz Rock, CA

May 27, 2008 / 5.10a, 5p, trad.

After warming up on the 1st pitch of "Human Fright" (5.10a), a good route right at the top of the approach path on the West Face, we climb "El Camino Real". The third pitch is classic and makes it along with Super Pooper, as one of the best 10a at Tahquitz.

The first pitch starts with a scary section of 5.9 slab off the ground (shitty pro: bad RP's, and a blue alien with only 2 of 4 cams touching). The second pitch starts straight up an arete, then traverses left on somewhat runout slab to a good size ledge with a large tree. These two rope lengths are nothing special. What you came for is next.

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Starting pitch 1 (5.9), with questionable pro.
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The second pitch follows a short and slightly runout slab (5.9).
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Lucie following pitch 2.
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A squirrel enjoying the afternoon sun, high on the cliff.
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Eric starting the classic 3rd pitch (5.10a).

Really classic 3rd pitch: clean layback on a perfect finger crack in a clean corner. The crux comes near the end, where the fingerlocks get thin. Moving decisively through this section is key.

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Higher on pitch 2.
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Lucie following the striking layback corner.
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Posing for the camera.
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Looking back at the amazing corner.
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Eric leading pitch 4 (5.8).

Above this, we go basically straight up: I start (p4) with a 5.8 crack that zigzags above the belay, into a blocky corner, through loose blocks, and to a belay on a huge block below a striking low-angle dihedral. The fifth pitch is straight up the dihedral (5.7 or so) to a huge slopy ledge very close to the ridge.

We unrope here, and scramble up the ridge to the standard friction descent.

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The last pitch follows a large orange corner (5.7?).
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Relaxing at the top of the route.
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On the descent trail.
   

Note: An interesting five-star combination might be to climb the first pitch of Fingertrip to the tree, then traverse right to the base of the stunning dihedral of El Camino's thrid pitch.