American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Incredible Hulk: Lenticular Gyrations

California, Eastern Sierra

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Aaron Cassebeer
  • Climb Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

On September 5, Jeff Gicklhorn, Patrick O'Donnell, and I free climbed a new route on the Incredible Hulk. Jeff and I had envisioned this route in 2014, and we took two calendar years to equip it, making many short weekend trips spread out over three seasons. Many setbacks occurred over this multi-year project, including broken drill bits, hail and rain storms,and some ground-up questing that left us far out from our protection with no bolt kit. The crux pitch caused many headaches for us, as it required the mostbolts and was 1,000' up the wall.

At the risk of not completing the climb in 2016, Patrick O'Donnell was invited along for our free attempt. OnSeptember 5, Patrick and I freed the entire route, with Jeff freeing all but the last two pitches. Swapping leads among the team, the four hardest pitches (3, 4, 8, and 9) all were redpointed for the first time on that day.

Lenticular Gyrations (1,100’, III 5.12c) shares approximately 60' with other climbs, but opens up over 1,000' of new terrain, with the crux eighth lead being one of the steepest pitches on the Hulk. The route is mostly varied crack climbing on excellent rock. We placed two bolts at each anchor, and seven of the route’s ten protection bolts are found on the cruxpitch. The climb is wellsuited for climbers who are looking for something more challenging thanSunspot Dihedral, but not as hard as the Venturi Effect.

As part of thisproject, Jeff and I also freed a new start variation to Tradewinds, climbingthe first two pitches of Lenticular Gyrations, then connecting into Tradewinds at its third anchor. This variation offers a better warmup and higherquality climbing than the original start to Tradewinds. [Editor’s note: A pitch-by-pitch description and more photos can be found at Mountain Project.] – Aaron Cassebeer

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