The Crying Dragon, Index, WA

This weekend Jeff and I ventured up Crying Dragon, one of those seldom followed lines up the Upper Town Wall at Index.  Judging by the mountainproject comments (or lack thereof) compared to other well-known pitches (e.g. Davis-Holland Loving Arms), are expectations were a bit lower than normal for this link-up of DH, Rise and Fall, and Town Crier.  It turns out to be a totally awesome line that should get more attention (hence this post).

Mountain Project link.

Route beta:

Did this yesterday to change it up a bit from the classics (DHLA, Heaven’s Gate, etc).

If you’re psyched here is some detailed beta:

Pitch 1) Climbed the first 5.9 pitch of DH

Pitch 2) Per the MP description, we linked the 2nd pitch of DH into the 10c bolted pitch up the dike + roofs. This was quite the pumpfest, and rope drag could have been improved via more/longer runners around the transition between the two routes, and on the middle couple bolts on the dike. Placed a #1 C4 after the first bolt off of the DHLA second anchor (which is after the lieback sequence off the belay). The crux felt to be the first of the two roofs, while the second is still slightly cryptic.

Ben Kunz leaving the Davis-Holland belay.
Ben Kunz leaving the Davis-Holland belay.

Pitch 3 – The right facing corner on the 10d pitch felt was extremely strenuous(11a?).  While the gear is great, it not as simple as some of the other routes at Index (which doesn’t really say much). The bottom of the dihedral was slightly wet after 3 days of sun but created no issues. You can easily avoid the slime/water as you pull into the corner above the anchor. The corner protects well with a single rack to #2. you’ll probably want blue and purple Mastercam sizes for the lower and upper sections of this pitch.

Pitch 4 – The 11c traverse pitch with three bolts is **** awesome! I put it a .5 and blue X4 in the pod that can be seen from the belay before the first bolt (see photo), and felt well protected.

11c/d pitch on Crying Dragon

11c/d pitch on Crying Dragon

Pitch 5 – 11d pitch – This flare seems harder than Iron Horse, but the sequence up and through the flake is great. The gear on the traverse is finger size and a bit manky – plug and go! Up above, the 5.10 cracks were nearly unprotect-able due to the amount of goo filling them. I had to dog-legged back right to the intermediate anchors on the last pitch of Town Crier, which required some unprotected down climbing across the grassy ledge and shenanigans for my follower…lowlight of the day.

Highly recommend everything on this climb other than the last pitch of town crier due to reasons listed above.  I am sure that near the end of the summer it would be a 4**** experience, with just a bit of manky gear on the traverse.

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