FA: "Sweet Carillon" IV 5.10

There I stood, perched on a small face hold hugging the arete trying to surmount the 5 foot roof that marked the middle of our 3rd pitch.  This was my first look at the wall above it and it looked blank.  Would I be able to downclimb? Was there an alternative path?  

Suddenly I spotted what looked like a crack way above and as my eyes followed it down, it looked like it ended 5 ft to the right of me hidden by a bulge in the wall.  I stretched my arm right and sure enough there it was.   I reached as far as I could and was able to sink my middle finger into a crack.  I blindly slammed in a blue TCU and went for it.   Smearing my right foot and laybacking the edge of the crack I was able to rock up.  This route will go!

We had heard about a "super dike" on the headwall of Mt. Carillon from Scotty and Nate and wanted to go check it out. On Saturday morning we were debating between just going up a nasty looking gully to gain the base of the dike or to take a more direct line up the face. Andre spotted a nice crack system that looked like it would connect. And thus, the decision was made as we made our way up the face angling towards the dike that loomed above us on the final headwall.

  Five pitches into the climb we reached the base of the orange dike and from where we were standing it looked as bare as the chest of a 23 year old metrosexual from Los Angeles. Luckily, there were other route options and after putting in a belay bolt at the base of a short offwidth we continued up to the left of the main headwall.

Three pitches later, I arrived at the belay only to see Andre with a big grin on his face. Sure enough, above him was a beautiful 120' Yosemite style dihedral with a perfectly sharp crack. I quickly cleaned the drool from my chin and proceeded up the crack. It starts off as perfect hands and slowly gets tighter all the while giving you occasional no hands stemming rests. This was probably the cleanest, best dihedral I have climbed in the sierras and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't wipe that stupid smile from my face.

Two pitches later, with the last rays of the day's light fading, we were standing on the summit ridge, 12 hours on route. We descended by dropping down onto the back side towards Tulainyo Lake and then over the Russell-Carillon Col (total of 1.5 hours in the dark).

Notes: * We swapped leads the whole way with Shay getting the odd pitches and Andre sending the even pitches. * Unfortunately near the top of pitch 3, Shay rested on a cam while struggling in the offwidth. This pitch was followed clean by Andre.  Thus the FA was done at 5.10 A0 with a single point of aid and the route is still looking for an FFA.   * Overall this route has good rock and ridiculous exposure with some beautiful cracks allowing passage.

Route: Sweet Carillon Topo

Start at the top of the scree at the base of the east face to the right of the gully, where the scree makes an upside down "V". Pitch 0: Scramble up some 4th class angling right until you reach a small slanted ledge.

Pitch 1: Climb up and right to an obvious crack that soon becomes a left facing dihedral/open book. Surmount a small roof and traverse left on face holds to small stance to belay at the base of a knobby flake.

Pitch 2: Climb a beautiful knobby flake (5.7) and then the large right facing dihedral (5.10-). Belay at the ledge at the top of the dihedral.

Pitch 3 - "The Unlikely Traverse": Place pro above the belay and face climb left (5.8) below the roof until you hit the arete. Pull the roof by reaching way right and getting into the wide crack (hint: you can place a bomber piece before committing to the move). Climb the offwidth for 30' until it pinches off (5.10+) and then use the face holds to move right and set up a belay. An alternative crack can be found just to the right of the offwidth and may provide easier passage.

Pitch 4: Climb up a flared crack for 20' (5.7) and then trend left on easier ground towards the gully. Downclimb into the gully and set up a belay at the base of a giant cave.

Pitch 5: Trend left on blocky terrain (5.5) until you reach a big ledge. Either climb the 8' tall dihedral on the far left side of the ledge or face climb on yellow rock on the right side of the ledge (5.10-). Belay on a large ledge at the base of a short offwidth at a one bolt belay.

Pitch 6: Climb the short offwidth and set up a belay at the next ledge (60').

Pitch 7 "Raised Hair Traverse": Rather than continuing up the squeeze chimney face climb left and downclimb a bit to get around the arete on good holds (5.7 exposed! - do the follower a favor by placing plenty of gear). Keep traversing left around an orange block and until you reach a series of ledges/blocks. Climb up and belay at a big ledge at the base of a short blocky dihedral.

Pitch 8: Climb the blocky dihedral (5.8) and head left up a few large steps and a left facing dihedral (5.7). Belay on the ledge just above with the classic yosemite style dihedral looming above you.

Pitch 9 - "Classic Dihedral": Climb the beautiful Yosemite/Indian Creek style dihedral as it slowly tightens up from hands to fingers. Make sure your partner doesn't try to steal this pitch from you. If you so choose you can keep climbing past the offwidth to a belay on a ledge at the base of a wide splitter.

Pitch 10: Climb the wide splitter (5.8) and then trend left up easy terrain.

Pitch 11: Easy climbing up and right leads you to the summit ridge.