The Emperor’s New Clothes: Bay Area FA

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In early September, Ironworks employee Steven Roth, Bay Area photographer Jim Thornburg and Tom Ogasawara cleaned The Emperor’s New Clothes, a sport protected route on the coast near Stinson Beach.

Located on the Emperor boulder below Endless Bummer, the route is “dynamic and very sustained for the first 50 feet, followed by 20 feet of fun face climbing,” said Thornburg. “The climb turned out to be really good.” Perhaps more appealing was the area. “It’s close to home, but its a little spooky and it feels really remote,” said Thornburg of the ocean side boulder. “Sometimes you see seals and dolphins. It’s super-beautiful and you have to learn about tides and swells and fog to find the good conditions.

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Alex Caitlin and Phil Heller explored the boulder in the late 80s, toproping sections but they did little to fight through the initial choss. “Steven was the one who resurrected the idea of climbing there, though,” said Thornburg. The rock also received some other action. “I bolted another nice line to the left that is around 13a with a hard crux in the middle. There is a nice 5.11 on the far left and a 5.12ish project right of that,” said Thornburg. “The right side of the cliff is perhaps too chossy and is covered with beautiful orange lichen that we’d rather not disturb.”

Thornburg wrote Bay Area Rock: A Climber’s Guide, which offers great directions and a perfect ovierview for all the climbing around the Bay.  It’s available at any Touchstone Climbing gym.