THANKS TO COLIN MOORHEAD FOR PUTTING UP THIS AMAZING ROUTE!!!!
Sunset Strip is the classic new line up the western dihedrals of the Chief. With sustained crack climbing and clean rock, this became an instant classic a few years ago when Colin Moorhead put it up.
It’s an excellent warmup for the Grand Wall and a good workout for any 5.10 trad climber. The protection is good, the rock is bomber, and the line is fantastic. Go do it!
Rope: 60m or 70m will do. 60m can be used to rap from all but the top few pitches.
Gear: Obviously depends on ability and comfort level, but I recommend:
#5 BD – helpful for the wide layback crack on pitch 2, but not really necessary
2x #1 BD
2x .75 BD
2x .5 BD or red alien
2 .4 BD
1 .3 BD or gray alien
1 yellow alien or yellow metolius mastercam
1 green alien
Set of nuts, with a couple small RPs (handy for the Mil Falcon pitch)
7 Draws and 7 Runners
Rope: 1 60 meter rope is perfect
Descent: Walk off
Bailing? You can bail with one 60 meter rope from anywhere on the climb up to the top of pitch 70 via 30 meter raps straight down. After pitch seven, you are committed to going up.
There are 12 pitches, but the pitches are short. If linking pitches, bring a bigger rack!
Approach: Head up toward Freeway, then traverse left under the wall and upward, until you see a boulder up against the wall with a bolt above it. Start there.
Pitch 1 (5.10c): Reach to clip a bolt, then make a slabby 5.10+ slab move (crux) off the boulder. Don’t let this spoil your onsight! Move up the corner, pull a small roof, make some low 5.10 slabby crack moves, clip a bolt and pull left to the anchor.
Pitch 2 (5.10a): Climb a short chimney offwidth feature on the right. If you can’t clip the first bolt safely, put a #5 or #4 in the offwidth, clip the bolt, then backclean it. Watch for a critical small foot on the face. Transition to a lieback (crux), then clip another bolt and keep liebacking up the wide corner. Put a #4 in above the second bolt, then put a #5 in, and pull up into a wide chimney. Climb the easy chimney with good pro to an anchor on a pedestal.
Pitch 3 (5.10c): This is pitch 2 of Millenium Falcon. Climb rightward on good holds to a short, technical corner which you can protect with a bomber RP and a green alien below it. Extend with slings to avoid drag, then move leftward on cruxy slab moves to a jug. Best not to fall here. Climb a steep corner placing a couple gray and red aliens, then pull onto a no-hands rest and place a bomber large nut – use a long sling. Move up on easy face holds and stem into a corner on the right – good pro. Pull rightward to the chains. A long, sustained 5.10+ pitch. Watch rope drag.
Pitch 4 (5.10c): Place a #4 above the belay, then climb an easy finger crack until it widens into a weird flare. Use ringlocks and heel-toe jams to shimmy up the flare, with good pro (.5s and .75s). Then clip a bolt and pull the bulge (crux) to the chains. Short 20m pitch. Best to link this pitch with the next one!
Pitch 5 (5.9?): This pitch is graded 5.9 but due to the fact that you will be very reluctant to use deathblock jugs I suggest a grade of 5.10a/b. Climb the steep corner, avoiding the death blocks. I know of at least one accident that occurred here pulling on holds that broke. Make sure to extend your pro. A committing pitch for the grade. Save a #1 and #2 for the top.
Pitch 6 (5.10b): Layback up a corner to chains. Can link with next pitch but might hit some rope drag due to the big ledge. 20m.
Pitch 7 (5.10a): Clip a bolt, then make move up to into an undercling flake that leads leftward to chains. The pro can be difficult to place. Alternatively, climb a 5.9 dirty corner on your right. Can link with the next pitch but might involve a short amount of simul climbing. This is your last chance to rappel.
Pitch 8 (5.8): Climb left-facing corners to broken low-fifth class ramps. Break rightward on a right-trending ramp to the anchors. A long pitch, watch rope drag (run it out).
Pitch 9 (5.10d): Five bolts protect dubious slabby face moves. These moves can be aided if wet. Then up to a wide flare which you can protect with a #1 camalot. Make awkward moves through the flare. Continue up easy grooves to a weird belay stance on the arete. Look CAREFULLY for a bolt out right and stop there. That’s your anchor. (no rap rings) Alternatively, you can chicken out by continuing up the grooves all the way to the top of the wall – not recommended.
Pitch 10 (5.10a): Traverse right from belay to hand and fist crack. Lieback up the wide crack or use some easy offwidth moves, placing your #4 and optional #5 and clipping a few bolts. Committing for a 5.10a. Can link into next pitch, or look for anchor bolts on the left (no rap rings).
Pitch 11 (5.10d): Make wild undercling traverse rightward to the base of a wide chimney. Feels easy for the grade. Fun! All bolts, no gear.
Pitch 12 (5.9): The business. Real Yosemite 5.9 chimney. Make back-and-foot moves up the wild chimney clipping a few bolts and piton. No gear. For most people, this is the crux of the whole route.
Best pitches to link:
Pitch 4 and 5
Pitch 6 and 7
Pitch 10 and 11