|Justin, of Estes Park, floats through the crux of Visual Aids (5.10b) on The Book.|
Gina and I decided to get away for the weekend and even if it meant going 45 minutes away from home to Estes Park, it's still nice time away from home. On our first day we decided to climb the classic Book classic J-Crack with the direct "headwall" finish. J-Crack is undeniably a fantastic route and some would even say it's classic. We thought it was an excellent 5-pitch outing. The weather was beautifully tempered with brilliant shining sun and temperatures in the upper 50's.
Approach: Approaching The Book at Lumpy Ridge is straight forward. From the trail head hike north and west for roughly 30 minutes. At a certain point a trail junction is met and a sign that says, "Climb access to The Book" appears. Take this trail to the base of the Pages Wall area. J-Crack is on the J-Crack Slab area to the right of the Pages Wall area. Look for a flake leaning up against the wall. This is the start of Pear Buttress. J-Crack begins about 50 ft. to the right of this up blocky terrain.
|Gina just hossin' it on the approach.|
|J-Crack is faint but visible as a backwards J.|
Pitch 2: 5.9 120' This pitch is full on from the moment you step off the belay until you reach the "belay ledge." Climb into a short corner and place good pro just above your head. From here traverse down and significantly left to gain the "J." This is very tenuous 5.8/5.9 and also slightly scary as the last good pro is 15' out to the right. Gina's foot slipped on the traverse following this pitch and she took an unexpected zinger out to the left! When you reach the "J" fire up on insecure, flaring and hard to jam finger locks, hand jams and weird palm scums. This is sustained for 85' and finally ends at a lower angle section of the crack. Belay on medium nuts and cams- save some for the belay!
|Gina firing pitch two!|
|Gina sizing up the 5.11c section on pitch four.|
If I had the choice I would climb the following to exit: Cheap Date 5.10b but considering this pitch was a waterfall, we opted for the Hurley Traverse.
Pitch 5: 5.7+ 50' Because Cheap Date was in a deluge this was our alternate but proved to be a highly superior exit pitch than the Cave Exit. The Hurley Traverse begins ascending towards the cave but then sharply traverses right on good holds. The crux move is stepping out to the edge of the arete and is protected by a decent stopper. From here, move around the corner (no pro) and move up on blocky terrain into a stemming dihedral for 5 moves. The good thing about this traverse is that it fires back left at the end so you're able to protect your second with ease. Belay on a few chickenheads and back them up with a #2 Camalot. Beautiful pitch!
|Gina at the last belay stance. Conditions were very alpine flavored.|
|Gina cruising through the crux on the Hurley Traverse.|
This route is fantastic! Although it's a real pain in the feet. This is a perfect route to acquaint yourself with the unique qualities of Lumpy Ridge crack climbing. This ain't Zion! I thought the 5.9 pitches were good- but I have climbed better 5.9 at Lumpy. The headwall pitch is good albeit a bit short. The Cheap Date to Outlander finish would be a superior way to end the day. I think J-Crack/Cheap Date/Outlander would be a phenomenal day on The Book! But, this route is straightforward, fun, fast and a great way to climb some classic rock in Lumpy Ridge.