American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Lone Peak Cirque, Summit Wall, The Wonderette

Utah, Wasatch Range

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Ari Menitove, Salt Lake City
  • Climb Year: 2012
  • Publication Year: 2013

Over a handful of weekends from June to August 2012, I tricked three unsuspecting victims into making the 5,000’ vertical trek up to Lone Peak Cirque to establish a new route we called the Wonderette (500’, 5.12). The idea for the route was hatched in 2011 when my friend Louis Arevalo and I supported SLC superstar “Sick” Nik Berry while he worked out the moves on the Wonderwall, which he eventually freed at 5.13c R. I couldn’t touch Wonderwall’s crux moves on toprope, and it blows my mind that Nik committed to them way above Peckers, small knifeblades, and micro-cams. While on belay duty, Louis and I noticed a way to sneak around this crux pitch. Above, we saw an exit pitch avoiding the original route’s 5.8 finish, a lichen-shellacked chimney featuring all sizes of wedged block missiles aimed right at the belay ledge.

The next summer, with promises of summit glory, I solicited some help from Louis, Rob Duncan, and Brad Barlage. With so much arête climbing, we knew we were going to have to place some bolts—so we did. I was not taught to climb using what I call “suss and fuss” tactics, but for a number of reasons (time, safety, route quality, etc.) we quickly decided that rap-bolting would be the best way to put up the route. Rob and I ended up hand-drilling a total of nine protection bolts (and no anchor bolts) in about 270’ of climbing. The four-pitch Wonderette follows the first one and a half pitches of the Undone Book (old-school 5.9R), traverses right into the opening dihedral of the Wonderwall proper (5.11+), then busts left to an arête via a boulder problem (5.12), and finally follows another arête up to the summit blocks (5.11-). Much of the climbing is exposed and airy face and thin-crack climbing in the 5.10+/5.11- range. Often, you’ve got one hand slapped around the edge with hundreds of feet of exposure below.

Ari Menitove, Salt Lake City

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