Sunday, September 25, 2016

Moro Rock and Franklin Pass

It annoys me when climbs thwart me. Last weekend, Teresa and I bush-wacked in to to try and climb the south face of Moro Rock, an ultra-classic adventure multi-pitch climb.

After 90 min of bush whacking we found the base, and..... no belay device! Then, 90 min more of bush whacking back to the top. FAIL.

Fast forward 1 week, I get a message from Mitchell Quiring, a young climber who I met on Matthes Crest a couple of weeks ago, and a friend of Troy and Michael. He was looking to go climbing, sweet, Moro rock round 2. 

South Face - 7 pitches of
The approach for round 2 only took 30 min. We racked-up, this time no belay device malfunction, and I headed up the first pitch.

Looking up at the 1st pitch (little tree up above is the start)
The first 30 feet were a runout slab, I vacillated for a while then set off. Once in the perfect hand crack the fun began. A 35 meter pitch brought me to a small ledge. I decided to move a dangerous death block out of the way, and while doing so crushed my finger, ouch! It turned blue and is still numb a day later. Fortunately the climbing was easy, so the finger injury was not a big problem.

My finger looks weird
Then off on pitch 2, an easy open book. After that we were on a huge ledge covered with boulders and vegetation. We unroped, and pitch 3 was a bush-whack, and chimney boulder problem to the base of the next pitch.

Mitchell managing the rope on the bush-whack pitch.
Mitchell at the top of pitch 2
We located the next pitch, and Mitchell took over the lead.

The rest of the climb looms above us

Mitchell takes the sharp end
The pitch ended at another belay, and we caught up with a trio of climber from Santa Barbara. The next pitch looked intimidating and we were not exactly sure where to go.

The green headwall
After an aborted start, Mitchell found the correct way, and led up the best pitch on the whole climb. A great face protected by a finger crack, then a wildly exposed step into a wide chimney system. I am a bit jealous that I did not get the pitch, so much fun!

Mitchell heading into the fun pitch.
After the fun pitch, I took over to lead the next three short pitches. I led up a short section of chimney then onto a great ledge with a 2 both anchor. Now the views were fantastic!

Mitchell toping out the chimney pitch
Cool views of Castle rocks

Best part of climbing - New friends!
The next pitch was my specialty, run out slab. About 70-80 feet of slab protected by 2 new bolts. Nice. Easy, with a cruxy 5.7 move to transition into a weird ramp system.

Looking down on pitch 5

Santa Barbra dudes on the slab pitch
I led the last pitch, and then a couple hundred feet of class 2 ridge.

Last pitch
Mitchell on the class 2 slabs
Class 2 slabs
We eventually arrived at the main trail to some tourist awe. Weird, I think people were a bit shocked to see 2 climber pop up beyond the railings on the cliff!

A great day, awesome t climb with Mitchell, for sure a psyched talented climber, lots of potential for many future cool trips!

On Sunday, it was time for some endurance. With Teresa coming to climb Pico de Orizaba in December, she has signed on for 15 weeks of training. 

As a start, we went to Mineral King to do a nice big hike into Franklin Pass. A 17 mile round trip hike past some great alpine lakes to an elevation of 11,000'.

I love Mineral King, its so quiet, and such a beautiful place.

Start of the hike. Spirits are high

We headed up towards Farewell gap, then took a fork towards Franklin pass. On the way we spied some cute grouse.

Cute grouse!
rest break
We passed Franklin lakes and slugged up sandy switchbacks to to Franklin Pass.

Looking down at Franklin lakes
Florence Peak above Franklin pass
Teresa coming down Franklin pass
We had a great hike, about 7 hours for the 17 miles. Good workout! Next time we will bag a summit!

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