Sunday, August 09, 2009

El Camino Royale to Hammerhead

Sunday M wanted to go for a motorcycle ride in the afternoon, so I could not head for the mountains. I fell back on my contingency plan: Hammerhead Flatiron. With a whole Sunday morning I figured I would see if I could go from El Camino Royale to the Royal Arch, then Hammerhead, the Last Flatiron, and finally Fern Alley.

I started from the National Atmospheric trail, but left the Mesa Trail too early. I had to bushwhack through a small canyon to reach ECR. I started on the south part of the rock with some Class 4 climbing and less than ideal holds. This lead to the crux. I had to cross climb then usurp a ledge. The route from here looked familiar and I was directly across from the escape. I headed up to the top, so that all the people at the arch could have a look at me.

I climbed the arch, but escaped at bottom of the hole. I needed to let the adrenaline dissipate. There were a ton of people on the arch trail.

I started the Hammerhead and decided to not climb the arch this time. The natural line takes you over the arch, so it was a bit tricky getting over to the north half. The climbing is about the same once you get there and I made good time to the top. Still no yodeling moves but I think I spotted a better line farther to the left.

I circumvented the last flatiron since I was running out of time and wanted to find my ring. I went up the south side and down the north. No luck. I skipped fern alley all together. At the top of Hammerhead you can follow the trail along the ridge down to xx pass. A much easier hike than down to the base of it.

M and I went on a 70 mile ride down to Elizabeth and back. A scenic drive and I seen three bucks still in the velvet.

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