Serenity Crack

Supertopo Posts, May 2007

Post #1.


Good question about how/why Chris and I went onto Serenity to get the FFA. Yes, we were looking for FFA candidates and no we had not ever been on it before. I recall Pratt told us it had gone or nearly gone (I forget which) free and we should give it a look. Turned out he was talking about the first two pitches only! Little did we know no one had ever tried P3 free. So, blindly, we did P1 and P2, then launched onto P3 to find it was leagues harder than what we had just done.

After, I told Pratt we had done the whole thing free and said wow the last part sure seemed hard. He went silent and then said nothing on that "last" section had even been attempted free and then asked about how we did it. I told him about some thin edging, poor toe fits and the rest and he kinda scowled in disbelief. A couple of days later, he gave it a go and said he didn't make it. That's when the 5.11 rating began to emerge.

Post # 2.

Thanks to Pat for reflections on early 5.11s. Wonder how his bod is doing …

Yes, Serenity seemed above 5.10s of the day when I freed it (guess it was '67), especially, as Pat points out, in Kronhoffers. Pratt gave it a try shortly thereafter, said he couldn't do it (the last thin part) and thought the grade was right. But, as Pat says, the climb changed. I did it again in the late 70's I guess (I should look at my diary to get these dates straight) with sticky rubber (instead of neoprene!) and found between the rubber and a slightly more banged up crack, it maybe was closer to hard 10 than 11. Of course, as Pat knows, I was persnickety  about claiming anything was 11, thinking it should be reserved for moves equivalent to really tough boulder problems. I also ascribed to the Kamp's school of rating moves or sections rather than pitches, so that too made my ratings a bit conservative to some.  How many campfire hours did we all waste on ratings? Let me count the ways …

Much later, after doing a few (very few) 12's, I see how maybe Serenity of the 70's (and maybe today?) sits in that low 11, hard 10 category. Note how it really doesn't matter - the grades are fine tuned enough the climber gets a good feel for where it falls relative to ability. And, protection is pretty good all along the hard section, as I recall, so no added worries there, unlike, for example, the really nasty hard and hard to protect thin section of Fish Crack. At least I found it hard to get good nuts in there - maybe all is changed now with newer cams.

Post #3.

Description of P3 is right on: good pro, then a short series of  kinda hard moves. Kronhoffer toes wouldn't go in the crack very well for one or two of the moves (no rubber toe and stiff) on first free, so I did some edging on the face (very thin and flaky).

First pitch was technically not so hard as third in '67 free ascent, but certainly  good  9 or maybe mild 10. It was not nearly so banged to death by pins as when I did it later (early/mid 70's), so harder to get fingers in. Pin pro was OK (tied off baby angles and Leepers, I think - see, I too helped wreck it!).

On 70's nut ascent, I recall thinking, Wow is this thing brutalized now! Also had a problem with nuts as I (we?) had no cams then. Cams sure work better in shallow pin scars than old hex and sideways stopper nuts. So, P1 felt a little touchy on the brain. Reportedly, now, between rock and hardware change, pro is better.
Other info: there was no bolt on the first pitch when I did it. I recall some post about a bolt coming and going and maybe coming again ...