Sunday, May 27, 2007

Expressway Cliffs Route

JW and I went out today to try some exploring/leading on the Expressway cliffs. JW went up about 1/2 way and down climbed due to a serious lack of gear placement opportunities. He tried several routes, by traversing across the various ledges directly above the BMX in the picture in my previous expressway cliffs post, but all were lacking, this might be a top rope-able section, see below.
I lead, an awesome little route, tuck away behind the trees, by a blackbirds nest.

Blackbird crack (5.5): Start at the slab/arete 10 feet left of the bridge wall. Climb the slab to gain the diagonal crack. Follow this crack over several bulges to a small jutting nose, level with the bridge railings. Continue up and right of the smallnose, still in the diagonal crack, to the top.
Blackbird direct(5.5)*: As above, but follow the vertical crack up (in the blasthole) left of the small nose, to the top by the huge (double) nose. There are some excellent jugs and a fantastic top out this way.

Both routes are continuous 5.4 with maybe one or two 5.5 moves. They could easily be top-roped, we used the park fence and a small tree as an anchor.

A few notes: Access to the top of the cliff for top roping other routes, is easy. From 178th and Amsterdam go up the small boulder/wall and follow inbetween the 2 fences for maybe 20 feet and there is a break in the iron fence, on the left, allowing for direct access above the cliff. Be aware that there appear to be several homeless camps at the opposite end of the cliff from blackbird, near the 175th st freeway exit.
Also JW and I were climbing in the morning/mid-day and the sun was directly in our faces, this does improve during the afternoon.

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