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North America, Mexico, Chihuahua, El Pilar, La Crux de Navidad

El Pilar, La Crux de Navidad. This route climbs the long diagonal crack on the east face of El Pilar. El Pilar is an isolated tower of solid volcanic rock (rhyolite?). Look for the beautiful dihedral halfway up. Start behind trees on boulders at the northeast corner of the tower. The route required no cleaning and was climbed onsight in December 2003 by Alex and Nathalie Catlin. There is a lot of loose rock on ledges. (There was natural rockfall while we where there.) Our rack consisted of small wires, including double micro wires, and double cams to three inches.

Pitch one follows a steep, wide crack to a belay where the angle kicks back. On pitch two stay left of the crack. Belay on the last good stance. Pitch three continues up the crack to the dihedral, past horizontals and another crack, to a good ledge. On pitch four traverse left to the only large pine tree. On pitch five climb the three-tiered face above the pine tree. Finish by scrambling up through trees. Descend by rapping Cindy Tolle’s route on the south face (20m, 40m, 25m). (Tolle’s route is 5.8, 5.9, 5.9+, 5.8. Run one and two together. The third pitch is excellent. Standard rack.)

Alex Catlin