Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Open Book, Lone Peak, Wasatch Range

The Open Book
5.7+ Trad
4-5 pitches

The Open Book is the easiest technical rock route on the summit wall of Lone Peak and that is where we went. I scrambled up Lone Peak from Bell's Canyon two years ago. I remember seeing the Lone Peak Cirque and the imposing granite walls and I wished I had the skills to scale a wall like that.

                                         The Open Book Route (5.7+) on the Lone Peak summit wall

Two years down the road and now I do. I rounded up two buddies and we headed up to the cirque via Jacob's Ladder with all our overnight and climbing gear. We started at 7 am on Thursday morning. We reached the meadow at 10 am as it started to rain. It took 5 hours to blow over (it hadn't rained in Utah for over 40 days). After the rain stopped we continued on to the cirque. More thunderstorms blew through as we set up camp in the cirque. We hoped that tomorrow would bring better weather.

We got up at 5:30 am to clear skies but it was cold. So we took our time as the sun warmed up the rock. We scrambled up to the wall and began rock climbing at 10 am.

Pitch 1: Luke led the first pitch up an easy dihedral and up fun, horizontal flake to a nice belay ledge. Billie followed and cleaned. I climbed up last.

Pitch 2: I led the next pitch through the awkward chimney cracks. This pitch was weird. The cracks are not big enough to fit inside but not small enough to jam your hands or feet. Awkward climbing took us up to a little ledge below the fluted cracks (Avoid an oversized day pack on this pitch, we had to haul a pack).

Pitch 3: Luke led this excellent pitch. Fun climbing on great face features and a series of interconnecting cracks. The last portion of the pitch follows two vertical parallel cracks. Pull out the bear hug.

Pitch 4: I led this pitch up an oversized chimney to an overhanging chockstone. I placed a #3 cam underneath the block and pulled over. Very fun pitch.

Pitch 5: The Belly Roll Variation. 5.7+. Instead of scrambling directly above you 50 feet to the summit, we climbed to left up and over a difficult mantle by mistake. Stay right and don't bother belaying. Speed is safety.

The climb took us 6 hours. Way too long. I suspect it would have taken us 3.5 hours with 2 climbers.

After 5 minutes on the summit, I felt static electricity on my exposed forearms. I warned the others and we hoped off the summit like "Billie" goats. It began to hail as a small storm swept through. It cleared, we fetched our things and hiked off to the ledge between the summit wall and question mark wall, where we found rappel rings. A double rope (60 m) rappel will easily take you to the cirque floor.

I regret starting late and taking a long time. Avoid the mountains in the afternoon.