On Saturday, November 2004, we climbed "Days of Future Passed", on End Dome. Cold, intimidating, runout, and sandbagged: definitely a classic!
We were originally going to leave the bus at 6:30AM for the steep hike to the Rockfellow group, but pushed things back 45 minutes after realizing that the climb is more South-west facing than really south facing as claimed in one of the guidebooks. The hike took us about 1h30' in all, including some unnecessary scrambling through giant boulders around the west end of End Pinnacle (there's a hidden way UNDER the boudlers). We were carrying a huge rack: large cams for "Days" and 20 draws for Endgame, which we were foolishly hoping to do the same day.
The climb was still in the shade when we made it to the base, and it was FREEZING!! We spent as much time as possible getting ready and having a bite to eat, trying to delay the inevitable: starting the climb with frozen fingers. The new 5.10 start looked OK but would have required a stick clip to be safe… just did not seem appropriate on a classic route. Besides, from the bottom, the 5.10c alternative to the "pendulum" traverse did not look that hard… so up the normal start we went.
I clipped the bolt (it's up there…), then tried to commit to the friction slab moves to the right to reach the crack… no way! With frozen body and fingers, the moves just did not seem doable: there are a couple of fingernail egdes for the hands but with this cold… Resorted to the "pendulum", except there's no way you can pendulum into that crack! The bolt is wayyyy too far to the left! The only way I could figure out to get there was a really touchy tension traverse… very awkward and hard!
Eventually, I got to a good hand jam under a rounded flake and put in a large hex in a slot above… pfew! Then the business begins: a really nasty flared offwidth. Low angle and easy lloking but a bitch! Chickenwinged my way up it in great style… This bring you to the base of a tight chimney. It starts relatively easily, then gets tighter and smoother… one hard move to finally reach a juggy flake on the right and breathe! And of course little pro on the way up. Classic. No fun at all so far.
The rest of the pitch is more gentle, with flakes and plates on both sides of the wide crack. Bolted belay anchor… relief! Following the pitch (with doubles), Lucie was able to just let go and pendulum straight into the flared offwidth.
The second pitch is a lot more fun: 160 ft of fist crack and flared chimneying, with OK pro, except for the last 30 feet or so. Fun climbing here.
The third pitch starts with a 45 foot runout to the first bolt… right off the belay on 5.8 face. Scary. The rest of the pitch has 2 more bolts. Total of 3 bolts for 120 feet or so. I'd say 5.8+R. The third pitch finishes on a huge, flat ledge.
The fourth pitch is downright dangerous: right off the ledge, you climb unprotected 5.8+ face (steep and not that positive) to a bolt about 30 ft up (actually a couple of bolts side by side: an old rusted buttonhead, and a better looking 3/8" next to it). Then it's another 35 ft or so to the second bolt… ground fall potential from 60+ feet above the ledge. And some tricky moves just below the bolt too. Gulp! Dangerous shit. A third and last bolt and more runout (but easier) slab leads to the summit register… Scary crap.
I'd have to call this at least 5.8+R/X, though in modern ratings it would probaly get 5.9… (note that a safer alternative - but not the original route - climbs the face just around the arete to the right, with numerous bolts).
We spent a long time at the top, mostly reading the register and taking in the views. Great view of "What's my Line", the 5.7 classic chickenhead adventure on Cochise Dome.
Instead of going down the normal raps, which are reputed to be "complicated and problematic", we opted tp rap the route. We used an anchor to the left of the first pitch anchor, away from the crack/chimney, to reduce the risk of hanging the rope. It went well. Lots of drag pulling the rope off the upper pitch, but smooth sailing after that, and straight back to our packs. I'd come down that way again.
A 5.8 route for the 5.10 leader. Turns out the first ascent team was the same as on "Abracadaver", a famous route on Rockfellow Dome, which was originally rated 5.9, and is now 5.11a! "Days" has never been re-rated…
Rack notes: set of nuts, set of cams from red Alien to #5 Camalot (whole sizes only except for a #4.5), one more #3 Camalot, 2 or 3 large hexes, a couple of double length slings (for chickenheads), and two 50 meter ropes.
On the way down, we took a look at "Endgame" a 5.10a face route that appears to be well bolted and has good reputation. Some notes in the summit register suggest that the third pitch may be a bit scary… surprize! There are at least 17 bolts on the first pitch, so bring at least 18 draws for that route.
Days of Future Passed
|The Rockfellow Domes.|
|"Days of Future Passed" follows a striking offwidth.|
|Eric starting the first pitch.|
|Finishing the traverse on pitch 1.|
|Eric about to be swallowed by the offwidth.|
|Chimney technique works.|
|Higher on pitch 1.|
|Looking back at a party on "What's my line" (Cochise Dome), another Cochise classic.|
|Eric starting pitch 2.|
|Chasing lizards on the second pitch.|
|Those 3 kept Lucie company during the entire pitch.|
|Closer look at one of my little friends.|
|Eric starting pitch 3.|
|Higher on pitch 3.|
|Views from the comfy belay ledge atop pitch 3.|
|Eric starting the scary last pitch...|
|Clipping the first pro... 30 ft above the belay ledge|
|Looking toward Cochise Dome.|
|Views from somewhere on the rap descent.|
|Eric showing off signs of his struggle with the offwidth.|
|Tle last words... (click for movie).|
|Heading back down to camp.|
|Another beautiful sunset in the desert.|