My favorite Index pitch: Up’er Zipper

“Thanks for the work developing that climb! Tom”, I said as we hiked down the Upper Wall trail. He yelled out “You’re welcome” He was arguing with his friend over the FA of the route and renaming it.

“It” was and old 7 pitch aid route on the Cheeks formation, that now goes mostly free. Many people enjoy the 1st pitch of the (lower)Zipper, a total sandbag 10b. Just above that is a A3 roof that is mind blowingly big, steep, and thin. Above that is some dirt scrambling to reach the ledge called the Beach, an airy perch that is usually reached by traversing “the Perverse Traverse, 5.5” via ferrata style. There lies the war chest that Tom and friends use to scrub some of the steepest rock at Index. A few years ago they scrubbed and bolted the upper part of the Zipper route, and rumors floated that it was one of the best long pitches at Index. I went up there early last year with Jeremy and it was too wet. Last Sunday, I got my first shot at it after the usual spend Saturday-in-bed-rest. Doug was fresh off a one year sabbatical, and raring for the plan once I told him of the obscure and hard to get to adventure.

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/uper-zipper/108146751

It totally lived up to the hype. I made the mistake of not warming up on another route, but it was supposed to rain that afternoon. It got up in the face with steep powerful movement right off the ledge.Welcome shake out rests occur about 7-8 times along the way. What a way it is too, when combining the 1st and 2nd pitch into an mega 60 meter lead! Alternatively breaking the lead up into 2 pitches though leaves the party at a hanging belay, then leaves a committing start off the belay as well. It seemed more natural to do it in one long push. After spending 5-10 minute at each rest, I joked that I did the lead in 8 pitches. I got up it with 2 hangs to de-pump in an effort that took way more than an hour to get up. It is such fun that is hard to describe. You will encounter: every size crack, with flakes, knobs, sustained, steep difficulty, and an unbelievably classic pitch that will not easily be forgotten. As Chandler says: “I climb at Index because it is the highest quality climbing I have ever been blessed to experience. As far as the individual routes go I can’t imagine there being anything better in the world”.

‘Nuff said, enjoy some pics:

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