This is the first time I’ve been back to the Recovery Wall in 2016. But first – I got us lost. Again, I got off path and found myself at this unknown (to me) crag.
Funny, I’ve figured out that this unknown wall is below the main Recovery Wall crag, and as far as I can tell is unlisted in the Rakkup app for Devil’s Head (Note: I’ve since found out from Michael Carrington that this wall is called “The Weeping Wall” – and yes, it’s not listed ;-)). In any case, we climbed some sort of route (I think may be a 5.9), and a 2nd one next to it, before heading up the hill and to the left (as you face the crag) to get to the Recovery Wall proper.
The 1st unknown route was cool: crimpy face with a smear here and there, sidepulls to an arete also using sidepulls, feet flat against the wall for counter pressure to make you way up the final tippy top:
Thumbing through the Rakkup app, I have no idea what the area is below the main Recovery Wall. But it’s a pretty massive wall with a ton of slabby climbing – just no idea what, or even if it’s named. There is a warning in the app that many of the climbs are unlisted as the bolters at Devil’s Head often wait till an area is ready prior to releasing it on the app.
As I’ve said before, the Rakkup app lists 24 climbs, whereas Mountain Project only lists 3 climbs for the Recovery Wall area. Thinking that there are only 3 routes (vs 24) might be a reason why there are no other climbers around (that, and the sort of mysterious directions on how to get here). I recommend getting someone who has been here before to give you an intro. This is like the 5th time I’ve been up there – and I still got lost.
This is the 2nd time I’ve been to this particular unnamed wall, always encountering it when I go off the cairn path, following a false trail of cairns as it leads more off to the right (as you face the initial campground). The proper route is basically straight up and just to the right of the campground that marks the start of the trail. Start just to the left of a large boulder and you’ll hit the first cairn.
Miss it, and you might find yourself here:
Now, as you can tell from the pics, this is a lovely climbing area – in the pines, clean rock, with not another soul in sight.
But it is slabby, and I might have mentioned that I really fucking hate dislike slab climbing. I don’t really enjoy the challenge, and despite knowing the technique (feet smearing, no more than shoulder-width apart, butt out…) I just feel like I’m about to peel off the wall at any second.
After playing around on this unnamed route, one of our party realized he had left his keys on his truck’s hood – not a great thing to do with the scooter guys around.
While Mark returned to his truck, we decided to climb an easier route just to the left, which starts out vertical, continues to a low angled slab, and ends more vertical for the last third. It looks like this may connect with a second pitch – still no idea what this 2nd route is.
After that second climb we bushwacked our way up and to the left in search of the Recovery Wall.
I could tell from the faint impressions of moved earth that previous parties had also come off-track and made their meandering way back to the main wall. Once there, the climbing was magnificent:
If you’re using the Rakkup app, this is the Devil’s Head Climbing book> Devil’s Head Rock Sector > Recovery Wall.
The first route we did is called, originality aside ” Recovery Wall #4″
From what I could tell you climb to the left of the arete, clipping right along the right wall. I thought of going at the arete straight, but it seemed awkward to clip below and to the left of the arete.
The second one we did was to the left called, you guessed it: “Recovery Wall #3”. It’s the 1st pitch of a 2 pitch multipitch. Next time I’m with fewer people I might make a go at the second pitch. It’s rated 3 stars in Rakkup, so I’d like to try the full route.
The Recovery Wall has varied climbing, from slabs, to dihedrals, aretes, cracks, offwidths and crimpy face climbing. Pretty much anything you could ask for – even multipitch! Beautiful views, undiscovered, with not a soul in sight on a Saturday afternoon.
It’s so good, I almost wrote another snarky don’t-go-here-whatever-you-do! post, but…you’ll probably not find it anyway, and while ‘not all who wander are lost’…some are!