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North America, United States, California—Sierra Nevada, Chiquito Dome, Elegance

Chiquito Dome, Elegance. With some intentional vagueness, I report that Chris Vandiver and I climbed the south face of Chiquito Dome in November. For those who chance their way onto this fine route, there awaits a menagerie of climbing experiences as improbable and titillating as any on the great Sierra domes. Driving up the Minarets Road, you might see a clean, bald face coming and going through the trees, peek-a- boo style. That’s it. A fixed bong starts the route. Climb up, belay, tend left and keep track of the bolts: there are 22. You won’t find anything over hard F10, or under F8. We spent four days drilling and conniving our way along, never knowing when the narrow and intermittent path of holds would vanish. When in doubt about where to go, look up or left, rarely right, for the little black or silver hangers. We are particularly proud to have endured the agony of placements eight and twelve; they made our toes numb for weeks. (NCCS III, F10+.)

Tom Higgins