Soft Moth 5.9+, 500m

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From Brandon Pullan via the TABVAR Facebook page.

FA Brandon Pullan, Gaby James
A new route on Ha Ling, mostly bolted, not a sport route.

Soft Moth is the direct route to a route Nick Rochacewich
and I climbed in 2008 called Slayer. I had climbed Slayer a dozen times and noticed I was climbing around some great stone on easy ramps. Gaby James and I went out and climbed five pitches on Slayer (adding bolts and anchors), then six direct pitches to the top of Slayer. The anchors are all fixed and I placed over 30 protection bolts for the cruxes. The route is mostly bolted, but it is NOT a sport climb. There is still dubious rock and ledges with rocks that will come off. It is one of those “modern mixed” routes Andy Genereux likes to bolt. I went light on the bolting, it feels adventurous and run-out in spots, but very fun. There are three crux pitches, each with its own 5.9 moves. There is a variation to the 10th pitch called Moth Crack. This is one of the nicest 5.10b all-trad pitches I have climbed around here. Nearly 60 metres of finger and hand jams up solid limestone and it takes great gear. I named the route Soft Moth because every year I think to myself “I should try Iron Butterfly this year," but I never do, I’m a bit of a soft moth I suppose. It’s surprising this route is 11 long pitches, from town you can’t even see the wall. Ha Ling is a turret and this wall faces the Grassi parking lot. Fun route, wear a helmet and don’t climb under anyone else.

Thanks to Gaby James for holding the rope, dodging rocks and being stoked during my wild goose chasing.

Gear: 60-metre rope and a standard Rockies rack. If you are going to climb Moth Crack, bring an extra #3 and some small cams for the finger crack. Bring 8 sport draws and runners for pitches 8 and 9.

Approach: As for all Ha Ling routes. It is the first right facing corner beneath the large black wall right of Quick Release. It starts as for Slayer (like anyone knows where that starts) and is marked with cairns at the base.

Pitch 1, 55 m, 5.5: Angle up and right on easy ground passed a bolt, follow a ledge right and up passed another bolt to a grovel gully. Up to old sling around boulder (climbers once) and stay below it and up scree ledge to anchor. NOTE: The anchors on pitch one and two have a hanger and a bolt stud. I had always belayed off one bolt because of the low angle, easy climbing. Use a nut over the stud as a second anchor piece. When I head up again I will add hangers.

Pitch 2, 30 m, 4th class: Up and right over easy broken ground to base of corner ramp and anchor.

Pitch 3, 50 m, 5.6: Up left into the crack (good #3) and up passed a bolt to a ledge. Up to another corner (good #2) and up to anchor.

Pitch 4, 40 m, 5.9+: Up the face right of the Slayer chimney passed 6 bolts. This is good value, crux at the top before ledge to anchor. Technical face climbing. Have fun!

Pitch 5, 55 m, 5.8: Up right facing corner to the right. Great gear and fun climbing to a bolt. Layback the hidden crack on the left. Continue up easy ground to a bolt, head right beneath the boulder and up to anchor.

Pitch 6, 40 m, 5.9: Straight up to solid stone. Place a cam in a crack, up to a bolt and steep face climbing. Commit to hidden side pulls to the next bolt. Up fun rock passed three more bolts to the anchor. (Slayer continues right up the broken ramp from belay of Pitch 6).

Pitch 7, 40 m, 5.7: Up and left (run out) to a bolt, up and left on good stone to another bolt. Up to another bolt on good rock and then up left to a right facing shallow corner (good gear in horizontal cracks) and up to an anchor behind a large boulder.

Pitch 8, 50 m, 5.7: Step left and up to a bolt on a slab. Continue directly up to another bolt. Don’t get sucked into the ledges or you will get off route. Straight up to another bolt and eventually a right sloping scree ledge with some grass. The anchor is up and right below a notch.

Pitch 9, 55 m, 5.9+: Up through the notch and up a right facing corner/slab (easy but there is gear if you want it in the crack). Spot the bolt and head up to it. Clip the bolt off a ledge and commit to hard moves, passed another bolt to easy climbing. Up and left passed a fixed wire and left around a corner. Up the ledge right to a steep wall with a bolt. Fantastically fun, steep climbing passed the bolt up to an anchor (1 ring bolt and a .75 or #2 cam).

Pitch 10, 55 m, 5.9: Climb up and right to a bolt, pull steep moves on hallow rock and step left. Rock flakes that are more solid than they look lead to another bolt below solid rock. A few moves gains a stellar finger crack (fixed nut). Pull a few hard moves up to another ledge. Up the ledge to a corner and up and right to an anchor (Slayer climbs into here from the left).

Pitch 10 (Alternative): Moth Crack, 55 m, 5.10b: From the pitch 9 anchor, climb up and right following a crack until you’re below a surprisingly splitter crack. Steep stems and holds out right and a sharp finger crack (small cams) lead to side pulls and better holds. Continue up the crack, staying right on good holds. At the top, head left up the scree slope to the anchor. NOTE: A large rock on the scree at the top of the crack seems suspicious, but after many attempts to trundle it, the rock never moved.

Pitch 11, 20 m, 5.5: The last pitch of Slayer. There is no way around it, this rock is pretty dank. The climbing is easy and you can avoid the loose stuff. Good gear in the corner. At the top I usually just s scramble off to the right through the gully and get my belayer to start climbing once the rope gets to them. If you want to belay, head right for two metres atop the corner to a bolt stud and good crack for pro.

Descent: Head right through 3rd class ledges to a scree field. Continue right to the forest and eventually find the Ha Ling hiking trail. Down to car. The route is NOT fixed for rappelling or bailing.

Brandon Pullan, Gaby James
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