Middle Line 5.13, West Face of Overhang Rock
The proposed climb, Middle Line takes a more or less parallel line about 15-20 feet to the right of Snake Watching, heading straight up the vertical face before diagonalling up and right through the tiered roofs at the top of the wall. Like Snakewatching and Honey Badger, Middle Line is roughly 35 meters long and will require a 70m rope. The climb accesses the face at an obvious weakness in the lower roof band and contains powerful moves on slopers to reach a jug at the lip. A few more hard moves (5.12-) deposit the climber on the face, at which point the climber follows good edges and pockets up the brown face (5.11) to a very hard thin section (5.13) that ends with an undercling on the right side of the hanging “S” shaped-corner that starts about halfway up the wall. The climb follows the corner rightward to its end, then up the golden face on good holds, veering slightly left to an amazing rippled-jug and green lichen streak. At the top of the green streak, the climb somewhat adjoins the vertical portion of Snake Watching in one spot; however, the applicants do not feel that there will be any overlap, as Middle Line then moves sharply to the right and up through the final tiered roofs, ending with pumpy and powerful climbing to the anchor at the top.
The applicants propose using 15 protection bolts, plus an additional two bolts with rings-and-chain at the anchor, as the climb offers no opportunities for natural gear. The applicants feel that this is the minimum number of bolts to safely protect the climb given the length. Overall, the route is on very solid rock featuring a variety of holds and movement; only minor cleaning of a few small flakes will be needed upon installation of the protection bolts.
There are currently ten established routes on the west face of Overhang Rock. Snake Watching (sport, 5.13a; route 613 in the photo below) is the leftmost route on the wall and is separate from the rest of the routes. Approximately 50 feet right of Snake Watching is Honey Badger, another 5.13a sport route established in March of 2013 (route “A” in the photo below) that is roughly the same length as Snake Watching. The other routes begin approximately 50 more feet to the right and include, from left to right, the three 5.12 sport routes Tits out for the Lads [route 614], The Big Picture [route 615], and Missing Link [route 616], all of which begin atop a large ledge, as well as a 5.11d sport route, Short Attention Span [route 617], which ascends the face just right of the ledge. Farther right there are four traditional climbs: the 2-pitch Junior Achievement (5.8-; route 618), A Chorus Line (5.9 R; route 619), Shibboleth (5.8; route 620), and West Side (Story)(5.6; route 621).
The proposed climb would share the same approach as the existing climbs on the west face of Overhang Rock. Currently, the fastest and most sustainable approach is to take the Bear Canyon Trail west from the Mesa Trail until about 15 feet east of the Shelf Block boulder, then take a climber’s trail southeast up the hill past two distinct boulders to the power-line tower in the talus field. From the tower, head southeast along the lower edge of the upper talus field directly below Overhang Rock to the base of Snake Watching. From the base of Snake Watching, an easy 25-foot scramble up a rock ramp to the south leads to the staging area for the proposed climb, a broad, relatively flat dirt and rock ledge down and left of Honey Badger.
Like the other sport routes on the wall, the descent from the top of the pitch will require rappelling or lowering from a two-bolt anchor station. A 70 m rope will be required, but the applicants do not feel that it is necessary to install a midway anchor, as the climb is slightly shorter than either Snake Watching or Honey Badger, off both of which you can lower from the top with a 70m rope. The descent from the crag back to the Bear Canyon Trail is via the approach trail.
The staging area is a dirt/rock area on a rock ramp/ledge at the base of the climb. There is a flat, gravelly area north of the start of the climb (under Snakewatching) where the climber and belayer can leave packs, etc.
The applicants have put in several days of reconnaissance work. The initial reconnaissance consisted of constructing a gear anchor at the top of the wall and inspecting the route on rappel to determine the exact line. The applicants returned later and set up a toprope on the proposed climb, Middle Line (route B in the overview photo), using the same gear anchor. Both of the applicants have freed all of the individual sections on the climb but have not freed the line in its entirety; however, the applicants are confident that the climb is similar in difficulty to its neighbors on the right and left and goes free at the approximate grade of 5.13.
FHRC Overview of the application: Approved
Voting Results: Approved
OSMP Decision: Approved
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