August '04


The Sunrise Book

The best moderate route on the Perch?



      The day had finally come.  Paul, Brad and I were approaching a route that I had never climbed, the Sunrise Book. It was the second day of our week of climbing at the Elephant's Perch and after warming up on the Mountaineer's Route the day before, we were ready to try something a little harder.

      I had done the approach with Guillaume when we climbed Astro Elephant and we had scared ourselves silly in the gully. This time, instead of climbing up into a bad spot and then deciding to get out the rope, we stopped and roped up before it got too difficult. Brad led the short pitch past the choke stone with some carefully chosen expletives an soon, we were at the base of the route trying to decipher the first pitch. Up high, the route stayed in a giant dihedral that formed its namesake, but the first pitch was not at all obvious.

      I led off and meandered around a bit before choosing a sequence through the 9+ face section. It's wasn't too bad, but it wasn't the most relaxing pitch of 5.9 I've ever led either. The pitch went on and on and rope drag became an issue. At the very end of the pitch I traversed out onto an arete and had to pull up 15 feet of rope so I could get to the anchor.  Wheee...

      Paul took the next lead up some fun 5.8 moves and into the aid section. Fortunately, the pitch ends just after the aid section and when Brad and I arrived, we found a long chain of slings linked together for us to climb. We found a cramped belay at the top and I was glad that it was my lead so I wouldn't have to hang at the belay stance.

    Pitch three climbed a flaring hand crack with some fun stemming. I remember thinking on this pitch that I should have taped my hands before the climb. I remember also that despite bomber protection, I still managed to grab some gear on my way to the belay. It didn't matter though, I was having a terrific time. We were in the "sunrise book" by then and it was hard not to be impressed by the beauty of the wall on our right. We were climbing up into a small amphitheater capped by a series of severe looking roofs. Good Stuff.

     The last lead fell to Paul who climbed a steep layback to a bombay chimney that was rated 9+. It was an intimidating section of rock to have to negotiate but there was a silver lining. In the top of the chimney was a perfect hand crack which keeps sandbagged grade feeling reasonable and the protection plentiful. What a great cap to a wonderful route.  I really think the only thing that keeps this from being the best route on the Perch is it's 4 pitch length.

     Once on top we made quick work of the descent and were soon back in camp eating and planning the next day's adventure. The next route on our list...The Splitgerber-March Direct.

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Brad working on a morning epic in the approach gully. He is right where Guillaume and I had to stop and rope-up after chickening out of the "third-class" approach we had envisioned.

Looking up at the Sunrise Book from the base of the route. This picture is extremely foreshortened.

Paul belaying me on the first pitch, an sporty 5.9+ that offered several places to lose your cool.

Approaching the crux of the first pitch, a traverse up and left across the bulge that's above me.

Higher on the first pitch. This is a rope stretching pitch with potential for horrendous rope drag.

Paul on the exposed arete at the end of the first pitch. This pitch is full value at 5.9.

Arriving at the top of the first pitch.

Goofing off at the belay.

This is a picture of a guy who's happy he doesn't have to lead the next pitch. :)
This is a picture of a guy that's happy he doesn't have to lead any of these pitches. :)

Looking down at Saddleback Lakes.

Brad climbing the 5.8 start of the second pitch.

Self portrait at the belay..
15 feet above the belay and I've already pulled on gear. I should be sponsored.

Another shot looking down at our campsite on the waters edge.

Paul starting the last pitch which climbs this .10a hand crack up to the bombay chimney above.

The chimney above Paul provides a spectacular finish to this route. Fortunately, there is a bomber crack in the top of the chimney.

Looking through a slice in the rock from the summit.
Paul and Brad at the top of the descent gully on our way back to camp.

Rapping the 8mm lines that someone had left at the bottom of the descent gully

The view from the edge of the water near our camp.

Paul getting fueled up for next day's adventures.

The Perch at sunset.

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