<-- Map of summer 2018
     climbing roadtrip 
     (click to enlarge)
JULY
24
2018

The DIAMOND 
Route 1: Pervertical Sanctuary (5.10c, 6p, ~800')
Route 2: Casual Route (5.10a, 7p, ~800')

Category: Colorado      Trip Report #307
Partner: Will Starks
Rock Type: Granite
Summit Elev: 
14,255 ft (Longs Peak); 13,700 ft (Table Ledge at top of route)

2-route, 13-pitch link-up on The Diamond. And the whole Diamond to ourselves! 


INTRO

The Diamond on the east side of Longs Peak is perhaps the most awesome alpine wall in the United States. I had kicked off my July 2018 road trip to RMNP with a climb of Yellow Wall + Forrest Finish on The Diamond. Two weeks later, and 10 other excellent RMNP climbs in my wake (go to my Colorado page to access trip reports for these other climbs), I again found myself standing at the base of The Diamond, staring up at over 1000 feet of granite stretching vertically above me. I had planned on starting my drive home the day before, but when the opportunity presented itself to climb this awesome alpine wall one more time, how could I leave?

My partner for the day was Will Starks. He had already climbed The Diamond a couple of times, and knew of the quality of the climbing and was eager to climb another route. The primary objective for the day was the route Pervertical Sanctuary. This route is one of the more popular on The Diamond, climbing first up the left side of The Mitten formation and then up the right side of the Obelisk Pillar, with lots of varied and steep 5.10 crack climbing from fingers to hands to fists. I had climbed Pitches 2 & 3 of Pervertical Sanctuary when I climbed Ariana in 2014 and Will had climbed Pitches 5 & 6 when he climbed Curving Vine about a week previous, but neither one of us had climbed Pervertical Sanctuary in its entirety, so we were both psyched to climb it. 

We figured that Pervertical Sanctuary would go reasonably quick, so we discussed the possibility of climbing Casual Route afterward. Casual Route is the easiest—and hence most popular—route up the Diamond, but still offers challenging climbing and great exposure. We also discussed the possibility of climbing all the way to the top of the wall via the two Yellow Wall pitches above Table Ledge, which is rarely done but means you climb up the entire wall rather than finishing 3/4 of the way up at Table Ledge.

Given the "40% chance of thundershowers after noon" forecast and our ambitious plans for more than just one route, Will and I left the Longs Peak trailhead at 1:35am, shooting to get to the base of The Diamond around sunrise (5:50am). We approached via the Chasm View rappels (I had done both the Chasm View approach and North Chimney approach in the past, and they seemed to take about the same amount of time, with the Chasm View rappels being a bit safer than the North Chimney). When we arrived on Broadway Ledge, there was not a cloud nor another party in sight (two other parties arrived within the hour, but that was all we saw that day, quite a bit different from the 16 parties the last time I climbed the Diamond, probably thanks to the forecast), so we decided to go for our two-route plan. We left our stuff at the base of the wall and headed up Pervertical Sanctuary in t-shirts, with just an extra layer attached to the harness. I led Pitches 1/5/6 and Will led Pitches 2/3/4 (linking Pitches 2/3). Pervertical went quick and offered amazing climbing. It is probably my favorite route on The Diamond so far. The sun was just beginning to leave the wall when we started the rappels from Table Ledge. Small puffy clouds were developing above, but nothing looked ominous yet. 45 minutes later we were down on Broadway Ledge, the only ones left on The Diamond (the other two parties were headed down), scrambling over to the base of Casual Route. This was a rare opportunity to climb Casual Route with no one on it! We soon figured out the reason (or at least a reason) there was no one on it—the route was pretty darn soaked from the previous day's thundershowers (interesting, since Pervertical had been completely dry). Needless to say, the Casual Route ended up being a bit less casual then we had predicted. "This is good training for the alpine," I once commented as I felt chilly water run down the inside of my forearm; moments later realizing that this was alpine, ha. By the time we were halfway up, small mid-afternoon squalls were moving through, with intermittent spits of rain and thunder booming a few miles away. But this was par for the course in Colorado, and we didn't feel in any imminent danger, so we continued upward. Due to the conditions, Casual Route took us longer than expected; plus, we noticed that the Yellow Wall pitches above Table Ledge were pretty wet; so we decided it was the best decision to rappel back down and hike out via Chasm Lake, rather than continuing on to the summit. All in all, a superb day on The Diamond: two routes and 13 pitches on the most awesome alpine wall in the US!

This page gives a trip report from our climb, including a route overlay, time stats from the climb, and lots of photos. Enjoy! 

Interesting note: I did this entire 22.5-hour push in a fasted state. In fact, I hadn't eaten since noon the day before, so by the time we got back to the car—and I did eat then, I admit I was pretty ravenous once I got started—I hadn't ingested any calories for 36 hours. All I consumed was electrolyte-enhanced water. And I felt just fine. Crazy, huh? Click here to see a "trip report" from a 7-day fast I did later that summer, which also goes into a bit of discussion of my experiences with fasting and the ketogenic diet and their effect on physical performance.


ROUTE OVERLAY FOR PERVERTICAL SANCTUARY & CASUAL ROUTE



APPROACH & DESCENT OPTIONS

On my trip report for Yellow Wall, I have a section discussing the two major methods of approach and two major methods of descent for The Diamond. There are some pretty overlays. Check it out by clicking the images below!

Approach & Descent Options 1
Approach & Descent Options 2


TIME STATS

On my trip report for Yellow Wall, I have a section summarizing/comparing the time stats of the various approaches and descents I have taken on my three times climbing the Diamond. Check it out by clicking the link above! The following just gives the time stats for our link-up of Pervertical Sanctuary and Casual Route.

Time Stats for Pervertical Sanctuary + Casual Route
22.5 hours car to car

Leave trailhead: 1:35 am
Chasm View: 5:00 am
Base of Pervertical on Broadway Ledge: 6:30 am 
(Trailhead to base of route: 4:55)

Start climbing Pervertical: 6:56 am 
Finish Pervertical (Table Ledge): 11:25 am 
(Climb Pervertical: ~4.5 hours)

Begin rappels from Table Ledge: 11:40 am
Broadway Ledge: 12:25 pm (45 min)

Start climbing Casual: 12:56 pm
Finish Casual (Table Ledge): 6:35 pm 
(Climb Casual: ~5.5 hours) *was wet

Begin rappels from Table Ledge: 6:55 pm
Base of rappels below N Chimney: 8:22 pm (~1.5 hours)
Trailhead: 12:09 am 
(Table Ledge to trailhead: 5:14)




PHOTOS!

APPROACH PHOTOS
Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach via Chasm View Rappels to Broadway Ledge 
~5 hours from trailhead
1.    
2.    
3.    
4.    
5.    
6.    
  
  
  
1. At Chasm View, getting ready to make the rappels down to Broadway Ledge.
2. Rappelling down to Broadway Ledge.
3. The Diamond glowing in the dawn light. The rock is a bit wet from the previous day's thundershowers.
4. On Broadway Ledge. 
5. Crossing above the North Chimney. This is 3rd/4th class but a bit exposed and loose, so be careful.
6. Looking down North Chimney. I don't enjoy this approach, but it is the way most climbers approach The Diamond.




PITCH-BY-PITCH PHOTOS
Pervertical Sanctuary (5.10c, 6p)
Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Pitch 
1
5.8. Left side of Mitten formation. See guidebook pitch description for details.
7.    
8.    
9.    
  
 
  
 
   

 
  
   
   
7. Pervertical Sanctuary starts at the left end of this ramp. Will is trailing the rope in the photo since we got it out for an exposed/wet move midway through the ledge.
8. Looking up from the base of the route. I  started to the left and went right on an easy ramp system to access the left-facing corner on the left side of the Mitten formation.
9. The awesome left-facing corner up the left side of the Mitten Formation.

Pitch 
2
5.9. Up a crack. See guidebook pitch description for details.
10.    
11.  
10. Will starting up Pitch 2.
11. Higher up on Pitch 2. In the photo, Will is at the belay at the top of Pitch 3, which he linked into Pitch 2.


Pitch 
3
5.9. Up a crack to below right side of Obelisk. See guidebook pitch description for details.
12.     
12. Near the start of Pitch 3, which we linked with Pitch 2.

Pitch 
4
5.10d. Crux pitch. Steep handcrack. See guidebook pitch description for details.
13.    
14.   
13. Will leading the crux pitch of the route. In the photo, the left crack system is Ariana while the right crack system is Pervertical Sanctuary.
14. The belay stance at the top of Pitch 4 is on top of a wedged block.

Pitch 
5
5.10a. Offwidth. #4 sized. Fun! See guidebook pitch description for details.
15.    
16.    
17.    
18.    
19.   
15. Looking up Pitch 5, the offwidth pitch. I led this pitch and found it to be the crux pitch of the route for me.
16. Higher up in the offwidth.
17.  It's pretty sustained #3 and #4 size the entire pitch. We had brought 2 #3's and 2 #4's. This felt sufficient as long as I walked the bigger cams for awhile before leaving them and backcleaned when i could fit in a smaller cam. 
18. Looking down from the top of the pitch. I was happy to have kept a #4 for this top section.
19. Will nearing the top of the pitch.

Pitch 
6
5.9. Up a crack to Table Ledge. See guidebook pitch description for details.
20.  20. Looking up at Pitch 6. There are two options here: the crack system on the left or the crack system on the right. Both are 5.9. I picked the crack system on the left and it was a fun pitch.
Table Ledge & Descent
Table Ledge is the top of the route. From here we rappelled back to Broadway Ledge (5 raps with double ropes). See photos in "Descent" section for raps.
21.    
22.   
21. Table Ledge, looking N. The first rap station is this way from the top of Pervertical.
22. 
Table Ledge, looking S. Kiener's route is accessed by going this way.


Since it was only noon when we finished Pervertical Sanctuary and the thundershowers weren't immediately imminent, we decided to climb one more route....

PITCH-BY-PITCH PHOTOS
Casual Route (5.10a, 7p)
Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Pitch 
1
5.5. Climb easy rock upward. See guidebook pitch description for details.
23.    
   
 

   
 
   
   
23. Starting up the route. We simulcimbed Pitches 1 and 2.

Pitch 
2
5.9. Nice crack for final 50 feet. See guidebook pitch description for details.
24.    
25.    

 
24. Looking up at Pitch 2 during the simulclimb. Over the next few pitches, you are aiming for the obvious right-facing corner above (which is Pitch 5).
25. The 5.9 section on Pitch 2.

Pitch 
3
5.7. Traverse pitch. See guidebook pitch description for details.
26.    
27.    
28.    
29.    
  
26. Looking at the traverse I am about to lead. This is a fun pitch but it was a bit more heady because most of the ledges were quite wet from wind-blown spatter from water flowing above.
27. Looking back at the traverse from the belay at the end of the pitch. Will is at the belay at the start of the pitch. So the traverse is slightly up and mostly left.
28. Will on the traverse.
29. "40% thundershowers after noon....". But we decided to go with our 60% odds of no showers and we kept climbing (fortunately for us we won our bet).

Pitch 
4
5.8. Squeeze chimney pitch. See guidebook pitch description for details.
30.    
31.    
32.    
33.     
30. Will starting up Pitch 3. The corner of Pitch 4 looms above on the left.
31. The chimney on Pitch 4.

32. The route was pretty wet.
33. You can actually see rain coming down, just over the ridge. Hope the people camping in the Boulderfield have waterproof tents! Fortunately, this rain stayed on the other side of the ridge and we did not have to experience getting soaked in a chilly Colorado rainshower at 14,000 feet.

Pitch 
5
5.8+. Climb the awesome dihedral to a nice ledge. See guidebook pitch description for details.
34.    
35.    
36.    
34. Will belaying below the corner of Pitch 5.
35. Staring up the corner. 
36. This is the money pitch of the route. Too bad it was a bit wet but it was still a fun lead.

Pitch 
6
5.10a. Crux pitch. Up cracks, chimney, and bulge. See guidebook pitch description for details.
37.    
38.    
39.    
40.    
37. Will starting up Pitch 6. The section shown in the photo (i.e. between where I belayed and the Yellow Wall Bivy Ledge 50 feet higher) could be combined with either Pitch 6 or Pitch 5.
38. Yellow Wall Bivy Ledge. This is a possible higher belay for Pitch 5.
39. Pitch 6 above the Yellow Wall Bivy Ledge. Steep and cruxy climbing.
40. The 5.8 chimney on Pitch 6. Whoever leads the even pitches on this route should be comfortable with chimney climbing.

Pitch 
7
5.7. Hand traverse left to top of rappel route on either Almost Table Ledge or Table Ledge. See guidebook pitch description for details.
41.    
42.   
41. Will starting the hand traverse.
42. Oops, went a bit too high. We ended up downclimbing from where Will is in the photo to get onto easier ground to continue the traverse. This downclimb is harder for the follower since they are not protected by a rope.
Table Ledge 
Table Ledge is the top of the route. From here we rappelled back to Broadway Ledge (5 raps with double ropes). See photos in "Descent" section for raps.
43.     43. Belays give you an opportunity to enjoy the views. Notice the face I spotted in Chasm View Wall?


DESCENT PHOTOS
Photos:
Photo descriptions:
One option is to continue up...
2 more pitches of climbing above Table Ledge to the top of the Diamond.
44.    
45.    
 
 

44. Looking up at the Yellow Wall pitches above Table Ledge. Someday I'd like to climb these two pitches to the top of the Diamond. Unfortunately, they were a bit wet and we were not interested in any more wet pitches by this time.
45. Looking up the Black Dagger (left) and Forrest Finish (right) pitches above Table Ledge.
Rappel to Broadway Ledge
5 Rappels with double ropes.
46.    
47.    
48.    
49.    
50.    
51.    
52.    
53.   
46. Rap Anchor 1a from Table Ledge. This makes it to Rap 2 with double 60's so you don't need to stop at the next set of anchors on Almost Table Ledge below.
47. Rap Anchor 1b from Almost Table Ledge.
48. Rap Anchor 2 (directly below Rap Anchor 1).
49. Rap 2.
50. Rap Anchor 3 (just off to climbers' right from Rap Anchor 2).
51. Rap Anchor 4 (just off to climbers' ;eft from Rap Anchor 3).
52. Rap Anchor 5 (directly below Rap Anchor 4).
53. Rap 5 brings you to Broadway Ledge.

Rappel from Broadway Ledge to base of North Chimney down Crack of Delight anchors.
4 Rappels (90', 150', 150', 200' to snow). The first rappel can (and should) be done with a single rope, while the three subsequent rappels require double ropes.
54.    
55.    
56.    
57.    
58.    
59.   
54. Rap Anchor 1.
55. Rap Anchor 2.
56. Rap 2.
57. Rap 3.
58. Rap 4 to snow.
59. Looking up from base of Rap 4.
Hike out via Chasm Lake
We descended by the Rappel route and hike out via Chasm Lake. I think I prefer the hike out via summit+Cables Route over this endless boulderfield...
60.    
61.    
62.  
60. Looking out towards Chasm Lake. 
61. Thunderheads in the distance. None of these ever materialized over us despite the forecast for 40% thudershowers throughout the evening.
62. Endless boulderfield around Chasm Lake. It got dark on us shortly after I took this photo. At least then we could not see how endless the boulderfield was....