Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cherubim Dome: TWO NEW ROUTES!

Dark Angels Have More Fun (IV 5.9+ R - 1,800 feet)
                 FA: Musiyenko, Vitaliy and Adam Ferro

             What Dreams May Come (IV 5.10 R - 1,500 feet)

                FA: Musiyenko, Vitaliy and Brian Prince

Cherubim dome (10,440 ft) is a beautiful rock face towering above the Valhalla. While researching the established rock climbs, I was able to find only one - Archangel IV 5.10+ A0 ( FA: October 1985 EC Joe and Richard Leversee). "Avoiding drilling as much as possible, we took a line up a series of flakes and cracks on the nearly featureless South face. Eight long pitches on superb golden granite," was how the First Ascentionists described their route in the guidebook. With the topo, description and an outline, I was able to locate it on the Southwest side. The whole South Face had NOTHING! Part of me was screaming with joy because it seemed slabby enough for something to go free. However, I did not want to get on a featureless slab that requires a hundred bolts! The wall was well over 1,200 ft in my estimation and per the topo, the original line had only 8 bolts! Not for all the right reasons, I didn't want to place more than that (on both of the new routes we have climbed, we placed only six bolts, two of which for a belay anchor).

Red - What Dreams May Come (IV 5.10 R - 1,500 ft)
Blue - Dark Angels Have More Fun (IV 5.9+ R - 1,800 ft)
Dark Angels Have More Fun - 10 pitches, 45-90 m pitches. Most were 60m. The line of What Dreams May Come can be seen on the left. The white water streak/groove.
Brownies and a sandwich Bryan and I got at Bearpaw for being awesome 
Bryan taking awesome shots near Hamilton Lake
When it comes to climbing new lines, there are many things to consider. One would be the proposed route you are aiming for. Second would be the amount of gear. The line I was proposing to Adam was an obvious white streak that split the South Face down the middle. It was screaming to be climbed! But as we hiked up and examined the dome from across, it was obviously lacking crack systems. We opted for a line to the right. There seemed to be connectable features that would allow us to get by without as much drilling. We were not sure how much, but it seemed like a better option compared to the steeper, feature-less streak.
What Dreams May Come goes through the black bands and into the obvious white streak splitting the face right of the roof. After the bulge, it works left towards the prominent crack system in the middle of the summit headwall. From what I understand, the Archangel goes left of the big roof on the left, and up the sunlit buttress that makes the left skyline. Dark Angels Have More Fun connects cracks, corners and features on the right side of the formation.
An original flaring splitter
Looking down at the cracks below
A bulge!
We found top notch granite and fun climbing up feature-less slab, cracks, corners, knobs, chicken heads and laser cut splitters that appeared out of nowhere and ended just as abruptly. The line was just as enjoyable as the South Face of Charlotte Dome, but with less choss or scrambling. The climbing never got boring or too difficult. We climbed many full sixty meter pitches to the right edge and up the summit head-wall. From there third class scramble took us to the top. 

Than things got a bit runout...for a 100 ft.
Adam on one of the upper pitches
Domes are not supposed to have splitters! :)

Cherubim Dome rising above the Hamilton Lake and Angel Wings
After adding up the pitches, turned out we climbed approximately 1,800 ft! With difficulties to 5.9+, the climb is usually in the 5.6-7 range. The runouts were sometimes long but not severely. Mental crux was making 5.7ish friction moves to a belay stance, 100 feet above the last gear. This was exactly what we wanted a day after the battle with the Angel Wings - a fun romp up perfect granite. In addition to that, it was a big confidence booster which allowed me to believe a line up the center streak would be a possibility for the future.  
The rock was pretty damn cool all the way up What Dreams May Come
Brian is about to start up the awesome 2nd pitch. Obvious white streak!
Awesome rock!!!!!!!!!!!!! 20/10
Starting up pitch 3...getting through the BULGE! 
Can't get enough of this view!
The bulge had steep juggy slopers! Like in the GYMMM BRAH!! :)
Brian on the 4th pitch
The rock says COME CLIMB ME!
Brian at a belay stance on the final headwall
About a month later, I took a week off work and returned with my friend Bryan. Day following the enjoyable hike in, we got on the obvious line that split the South Face down the middle. Bulletproof granite with cool featured allowed for a several awesome pitches before we reached the obvious bulge that we thought was gonna be one of the cruxes. Delicate climbing took me to the bulge. I found sloping jugs just right of the streak, which made the climbing over the bulge, more manageable then the initial section. On the following pitch, Bryan climbed straight up the streak which turned into an interesting thin crack with orange jugs to the right. After about 850 ft of climbing up the streak it grew into an easy groove, so we decided to traverse left and climb straight up the middle of the headwall, which was very steep and intimidating. As with the rest of the route, things managed to work out better than expected, and awesome crack climbing over a few bulges took us straight to the summit proper! 
Brian enjoying the views from the summit.
Adam and I on top!
The Saber ridge behind Cherubim
You can see that streak from space! :)
Oh the sunsets at Hamilton is never the same..
The variety of climbing styles, immaculate rock and the views make both of the routes some of the best climbs the range has to offer. In my opinion, at least one, should be on a tick list for any climbers venturing out to climb the Angel Wings. Two moderates with no need to climb offwidths, or haul anything larger than a single BD#3 camalot! How awesome is that!? With the available beta, a very excited party could link both in a day, especially if the spring is running and you have a convenient water supply at the base. If I had to choose one, What Dreams May Come would be the route to do, while Dark Angels Have More Fun is still a stellar outing. Couldn't have asked for better partners too!

1 comment:

  1. Is this a giant freaking roof here? :