Sunspot Dihedral 890' 5.11b
Dave Nettle, Jimmy Haden. 1999.
Rp’s, double wires. Cams; triple 0.6"- 1.75", double 0.4"- 2", single 2"-3.5"
This route climbs a prominent huge corner to the left of the tall prow in the center of the face. There are several big corner systems here, but Sunspot is easily recognized by a large (60' x 40'), square patch of orange rock which forms the left side of the corner about half way up.
Sunspot Dihedral is one of the classic routes of the High Sierra. The climbing is never too hard, but its extremely sustained, offering nearly four pitches of continuous 5.10 finger locks and stemming. As an added bonus a recently added new route (Solar Flare) up the left arete of the Sunspot corner now provides an easy and fast rappel route.
The route starts by climbing the first 300’ of Positive Vibrations.
At the base of the cliff, almost directly below the huge prow in the center, there is a traingular shaped shield of smooth rock with crack systems on either side. The route starts up the blocky crack system that forms the left side of the shield. A useful landmark is a sparsely bolted crack/seam about 30’ right of the blocky crack system (The bolted seam is a variation start called Power Ranger (11d))
1. 150' 5.10a Climb up steep blocks to a small roof at 60’ where the crack splits. Make awkward moves over the roof, then continue up the crack on the right. Belay at a large spike below a steeper wall split by a thin crack.
2. 170' 5.10b Finger lock up the thin crack (10b) to below a smooth corner. Move out right and climb the easy face to regain the crack system at a ledge with an anchor. Continue up the crack above (the left crack) and belay on good cams (#0.75,#3 camalot, Wires) about 15’ below the obvious left-arching overlaps.
3. 120' 5.10c Climb up to the overlaps, which are followed (10c) up and left to their left end. Step down and left to gain a splitter crack. Up the crack (5.9) for 25 feet, then step right into a corner. Climb the corner (10b) with tricky protection to reach a bolt. Make a long step left to a small ledge, then continue to a bolted anchor 10 feet higher.
4. 170' 5.11a Endless stemming and finger locks up the magnificent corner to a bolted anchor on a small ledge.
5. 100' 5.11b Climb the offset above (11b, 2 b’s) to reach the “Sunspot”. Great hand jams (10a) lead up the steep corner to the top of the sunspot. Traverse left and belay beside a bolt. (#3, #4 Camalots)
6. 180' 5.10d. Finger locks lead up the steep corner above (10d) to a small roof at 40'. Move out right and climb another crack to a small ledge. (it is possible to shorten this pitch by traversing around the corner to the left to reach an anchor on Solar Flare) Continue up the steep corner above (10b) to its top. Step around to the left to a small ledge. Climb the steep hand crack in the left wall of the corner above. At the top of the hand crack move right to some rappel slings around the top of a large, solid spike.
There are several options from here.
(1) Rappel straight down Solar Flare with two ropes.
(2) Continue up the ridge to the summit. This involves some tricky routefinding staying mostly to the left of the crest.
(3) Continue up the crest to the first steep impasse, belay here. Move around to the right, traversing into the right hand of two cracks. Finish up the superb hand crack. (This is the last pitch of Positive Vibrations). From the top of the hand crack it is possible to traverse 20 feet over to the right to reach a rappel anchor(pin & nut) which can be used to rap either Astro Hulk, or Venturi Effect.