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Mt. Hooker, Free Ascent

In August, Dave Sharratt, Pat Goodman, and I completed a free ascent of the northeast face of Mt. Hooker. The line generally followed Third Eye (VI 5.10 A4, Middendorf-Quinlan, 1993) in the lower half, then the upper corner systems of the Boissonneault-Larson (VI 5.11 A4, 1979). Details of the trip, including videos and stills are on both Dave's website and Pat’s website. By modern standards, our route (which we haven’t named as it’s not really a new route) is not very difficult. We neither did it very fast nor did we take the most difficult line; but we took an aesthetic line up one of the baddest parts of the wall. In short, the “new” free route is 13 full-rope-length pitches with lots of fun but spicy 5.11 and 5.12 climbing. Routefinding is generally straightforward except for one section with some funky downclimbing to access the upper corner system of the Boissonneault-Larson. Before reaching this downclimbing pitch, you may see an errant bolt (sorry, I thought it would go but failed) to climber’s right. It would be a significant variation and a way to go straight up into the Boissonneault-Larson route rather than do the downclimbing pitch (good luck either way!). Though each pitch was onsighted or redpointed by one of us at some point, none of us made a continuous free ascent. While we added a couple of bolts to new free-climbing variations, we did not change the existing routes. We’re pretty certain that they remain in original condition. A4 remains serious as ever.