American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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North America, United States, California, Sierra Nevada, Moro Rock, El Niño

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

Moro Rock, El Niño. Grant Gardner, Jody Pennycook and I completed a new route on the east face of Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park during an extended Veteran’s Day weekend. Three and a half days were spent on El Niño (V 5.10 A3+). This nine-pitch climb starts up a crack system that connects near the top of and ends at the first pitch of Full Metal Jacket. Then it follows the ramp of FMJ for 30 feet and goes up a gray half-moon section to a shallow straight-in crack. The pitch ascends a hidden 5.6 chimney and belays at the base of the prominent headwall crack. Follow this crack up to a 70-foot straight-in micro-bird beak crack. Belay under the roof. Traverse around the roof and follow right-slanting cracks to the summit. Aside from bolted anchors, only one rivet was used on the ascent. A full wall rack is required, with heads and extra bird beaks. The highlight of the climb was when the first of the El Nino storms of 1998 hit us on the sixth pitch. The three of us shivered inside a double portaledge while 18 inches of snow fell. We abandoned all our gear in the morning for a dash to the summit during a break in the storm. This difficult, overlooked line has gorgeous views of Castle Rock Spire and Angel Wings.

Brandon Thau

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