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North America, United States, California, Moro Rock, East Face, Sequoia National Park

Moro Rock, East Face, Sequoia National Park. In June, James Cook, David Hickey and I climbed this outstanding eight-pitch route on the lower east face of this grand monolith. The line follows a two-foot-wide quartz dike for the entire route. It is interesting face climbing on steep knobs protected by an occasional bolt and tied-off knobs. On the fifth pitch after some 30 feet of free-climbing, we were faced with an ominous blank headwall, well over 90°. The next 200 feet of this headwall was overcome with some strenuous aid-climbing consisting of many rivets, a few bolts, rurps and an occasional hook or tied-off knob. Higher, free-climbing resumed after a difficult step left at the end of the last bolt ladder. The climbing remained challenging and quality the whole distance (IV, 5.10, A3). In July, David Hickey, Christy Atases and I decided to make an ascent of this wild-looking route on Moro’s east side right of the other route. The first pitch and one-half had seen some attempts. We passed the old high point on our first try, finding the climbing to be quite exciting (5.10) and were left at the mercy of a huge left-facing double overhanging comer. This feature was the most prominent landmark on the route and actually was our main attraction to do the climb. Seven hours and many nuts later, I succeeded in surmounting this formidable barrier, climbing clean, except for a string of rivets past a deadly loose section. We decided to return to earth and resume the next day. Only David and I returned the following morning, Christy bowing out to enable the two of us to move faster. We continued up more steep comers (A3) and exited via a diagonal crack and face-climbed to another crack higher. Only three knife-blades, one lost arrow, one copperhead, many nuts and camming devices were used. Topos can be found for most routes like these at the Lodgepole Visitor Center.

E.C. Joe