Elephant’s Perch with Saddleback Lakes in foreground
Though the description for Astro Elephant states that the climb is 5.10-, I’d been told by three climbers (who climb harder than me!) that it’s hard 5.11. To back up this claim, when ryan and I went to the store named Elephant’s Perch in Ketchum to get topos and recent informaiton, one of the people who works there said,
“Oh, Astro Elephant is 5.11c”. Why, when the general consensus names is 11c, it remains in the books as 5.10 is beyond me, but that’s the prerogative of first ascents - call it what, and how hard, you like.
Sideline started with a pleasant, short 5.8 pitch to a comfy ledge, that I led. Ryan led the next 5.9 pitch, with a face-climbing crux, to another good ledge. We found amazing face climbing on incut solution pockets and small, incut edges, unlike any I”ve seen on granite elsewhere.
After that , he ran together pitches 3 and 4, to the big ledge that traverses half the face. Two traversing pitches followed , to get us up to the crux pitch - seven. Ryan, who’d shown himself to be our face expert, started up this one. It’s inobvious, and we had one wrong start before traversing first slightly right, then up a thin layback flake, and then left. This traverse left provided some excitement - it’s hard for 5.9+ (never trust 5.9+; we both thought it had 5.10 moves) and would engender a pendulum for the second. Luckily we both made it across, to another good ledge.
I led the supposed 5.8 off-width to chimney pitch and struggled at length. After placing every piece of large gear we had with us, I belayed partway up this pitch, letting Ryan lead the next section of hard, semi-runout, face to yet another good ledge.
We reached the top in good time - about 6 hours, and descended the gully in good light.
Myopia with climbers in the shade on the left-facing corner
Next day, we watched two climbers start up Myopia, a 5.11 up prominent corners. It looks like a great climb, and one I’d like to come back to when I’m strong enough!