Sunday, June 4, 2017

Red Eagle - Triple Dihedral and a Day at the beach

I love the summer, such a great weekend, one day at the ocean, the next day climbing a beautiful 500 foot truly traditional rock climb. 
People give Fresno a bad-rap, but I seriously love that I can do all of this as day trips from my house!

On Saturday we had a pleasant rest day hanging out at the dog beach. Penny had a blast, peeing on seaweed clumps chasing birds, smelling dog bums, digging holes. She certainly know how to have a good time.

Penny enjoying the beach

Creek crossings in the mist.

Peeing on seaweed, Now that's fun.

After such a restful day, on Sunday it was time to climb something on my great tick list. We opted to head out to Red Eagle, and give the Triple Dihedral a crack. 

We drove up to the crag, and enjoyed the long approach up an old logging road and then over a creek up towards what I consider to be the best set of crags in Shuteye. There must be 500 climbs in the area, and it is so quiet. Its weird. The rock quality is terrific, and there is a mixture of easy, moderate and very hard climb. There are also climbs up to 600 feet tall, and no crowds. HEAVEN, for yours truly.

Let's go climb that!
On the approach. Grey Eagle in the background
After 30-40 min, we reached the base of Grey Eagle, with the magnificent Wingfeather (II, 5.8) - I had climbed it last year, so we continued along towards the next formation - Red Eagle

Wingfeather - Ascends this magnificent tower. 5.8 does not get better. if you have not climbed, do it, soon!
We bushwhacked, crossed another stream, and then meandered across a lingering snow field to find the base our our chosen climb  - The Triple Dihedral on Red Eagle. 

Its not SoYo without a mandatory bushwhack.
Navigating a lingering snow field
We stopped to admire some climbers taking a crack at Thunderstruck (5.11c) -- looked like some hard climbing!

Unknown climber on Thunderstruck (5.11c)
We racked up, and looked up the climb. Yep that's obvious, follow the cracks next to the dihedral. No bolts, no fixed anchors. A pure gear climb. Lovely.

Looking up at P2 of the triple dihedral
Pitch 1 was a short easy crack, and then we were into the 5.8 dihedral. It was a bit dirty, a bit sandbagged, and the gear was a bit awkward. But good climbing. Pitch 3 was supposed to be easier, but had sustained 5.8 climbing, including a bit of a spicy runout. Good times!

Teresa manages the rope

Creative gear

I'll confess, I was slightly terrified on the comiting runout. I have been doing too much sport climbing lately! After the crux on pitch 3, the difficulties eased and it was cruiser 5.6 to the next belay.
Teresa and the very comfortable pitch 3 belay

Teresa nearing the end of pitch 3
At the end of pitch 3, the guidebook said to traverse under the roof toward the next dihedral. This looked to be low quality, with algae/moss filled cracks, so I went straight up and belayed beneath a headwall. we then we straight through the headwall, with some harder than expected moves (maybe 5.9-5.10a). This was followed by some easy slab to the top of the formation

One of the great things of climbing here is the magnificent views, one side Shuteye ridge, the other the great peaks of the Eastern Sierra. So nice, so relaxing!

Always so nice in Shuteye
Eastern Sierra in the distance

We relaxed on the top for a while, ate some lunch and enjoyed the sun. It was such a nice day, such a peaceful climb, this is truly what I live for - a adventure with the one I love, life does not get better than this.

Views from the top

Can life get any better? I don't think so
We found some rap bolts, tied our ropes together and with trepidation rappelled into the unknown. (Our route, and rap route are shown in the beta photo at the end of the post). 

3 double rope rappels found us safely back to where we had started. 

On the way down
We traversed back across the snow field, and headed down to the car. 

The snowfield - Tese's crux

Our trusty steed - Washouts are no match for you
Overall -- great moderate route. Its really nice that there were no bolts, fixed anchors or other blemishes. I am not sure how far we deviated from the original 1976 route, the guidebook description would have led us up some junky, mossy looking cracks, and the way we went was pleasant. The headwall we took was only slightly more difficult than the stated grade of the climb. Shown below is the route we took, and how we rapped the route:

Beta photo - How we climbed the route. 

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