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Skull Queen V 5.8 C2
By Adrian Hill
Here is a description of Skull Queen as we found it this month.
We had no trouble doing it clean, so probably it has been done
clean before. Here is the description:
Skull Queen starts up the first four pitches of the regular South Face
on Washington Column, then takes a line to the right of the South Face
to the top. After the Dinner Ledge (top of pitch 3) there are no bivvy
and several hanging belays.
The route can easily be climbed clean (with good set of Aliens), and is
little harder than the Prow. It is easier than the A3 grade given in the
Yosemite Big Walls guide, and deserves to be a popular alternative to
lines on the Prow.
Grades and fixed gear information was accurate as of March 1998.
loose flakes mentioned in earlier trip reports appear to have gone - we
no poor rock anywhere.
- 130 feet, 5.8. Climb the obvious corner (5.8) for 40 feet, then
left to the arete, and up (5.6) to the belay at the right end of a
ledge. Lousy hauling. Drag the bag left and down past a tree (careful
blocks on the ledge) to the start of an obvious clean corner (fixed
- 80 feet, C1. Easy aid (or 5.10+ free) up the corner to a 3-bolt
- 130 feet, 5.8. Follow the corner to a fixed thread. Traverse right
(5.8, then easy)
about 30 feet, and up to the tree (stay left of tree). Head up and then
left to a bolt
belay at the right end of the Dinner Ledge. Strenuous hauling. Drag the
to the middle of the ledge, below a thin crack.
- 175 feet, C1. From the center of the Dinner Ledge, follow a low-angle
the slab (5.6) to a long reach (cheater stick helpful) to reach the
under the roof. Follow four bolts around the roof (hard to get lost) to
crack. Follow the crack (many large wires, and cams up to Camalot #2)
past a two-bolt
anchor, left around a short roof and up to a sloping ledge (bolt belay)
under an arch,
in a corner. A 160-foot haul line just reaches back to the Dinner Ledge.
on the route.
- 110 feet, C1. Step right from the belay and follow a short crack
(small cam and
three wires) to a bolt. Follow the rivet ladder (many rivets, occasional
a 4-bolt hanging belay.
- 110 feet, C2. Follow six more rivets until you can step right to a
(fixed head). Follow the shallow, flared crack (seasonally wet) on small
cams and wires.
Stick clip an old bolt, which protects a 5.8 mantel. Stuff a #1 Camalot
behind a block
and traverse right about 10 feet. Free climb up to three more rivets and
free up to the tree. Belay on four bolts above the tree (convenient
place to hang
- 80 feet, C1. Follow the crack (5.10, or C1 on large cams, up to #4
Camalot) up the
obvious right-facing corner crack. Continue free (5.8) up the ramp to
the the top of
a pinnacle. Fix a large sling over the top, and descend the far side for
5 feet to
the semi-hanging belay. Strenuous hauling around the corner.
- 80 feet, C2. Small cams and wires lead up a short corner, then right
overlap to a rivet. Follow the thin crack (small wires and RPs) to more
and bolts, leading right to a four bolt hanging belay.
- 80 feet, C2. Climb the arching crack on wires and small cams up and
rivets lead left to a short corner, followed by more rivets directly up
- 100 feet, C2. A short crack (small cams, wires, and two fixed heads)
to a tension traverse right on three rivets to a second crack. Follow
to a belay on a small ledge at the base of a left-facing corner (take
loose block on the ledge). Convenient place to hang portaledge.
- 100 feet, C2. Step left (5.8) and follow a short crack on wires up
into the corner. Follow the corner until you can reach left to a thin
the face. Follow the thin crack (four heads, RPs, excellent gear in the
corner) to a fixed pin. Step left and mantel (5.7) onto a small ledge.
lead left into a corner with mid-size cams. A hook move (BD Grappling
a good edge leads to the belay on a sloping ledge.
- 100 feet, C1. Step left and stem between the flake and thin crack
and #4) until forced to step into the left crack. Follow the crack (many
and blue Aliens) to a tree belay on a slab.
- 80 feet, 5.0. Climb up and slightly left over poor rock and
manzanita to a tree and the unroping point. The usual miserable
2 sets RPs.
2 sets wires (we took BD stoppers and Wild Country Rocks).
3 sets Aliens (blue, green and yellow). Didn't use black alien.
1 each of hybrid Aliens (blue/green and black/blue).
2 red Aliens.
1 orange Alien.
2 sets cams to #3 Camalot.
1 #4 Camalot. (no need for #5)
1 #2 Friend.
2 #1.5 Friend.
10 rivet hangers (some back-cleaning).
1 BD grappling hook.
Adrian Hill and Kevin Curtis, March 1998.
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