Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin?

Posted by: Anonymous

Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/22/03 12:50 PM

5.8 is my lead limit. I backed off of my first lead ever on Birdland. I followed the climb last year without any problems and it looks straight forward. For me the crux moves are around the right facing flake thing between the second and third pin. I backed up and equalized the second pin then climbed up followed by 10 minutes of fiddling with gear in the little crack at the crux. There is a broken off pin in this crack that kept me from getting anything solid in there. I finally got two mediocre small nuts in a couple inches higher. By this time I was too tired to do the crux move.

Does anyone protect at the crux? If so, how?

Thanks for the gear beta...seems silly Birdland looks straightforward from the ground.
Posted by: phlan

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/22/03 01:01 PM

The placement there is not so good for nuts but you can get pretty good Aliens in there. Sometimes I use Aliens or sometimes Metolius. I just led it using (I think) a green Alien and a red Alien one on top of the other. The red Alien was right above the green one. It will take two pieces if you arrange them right. I would not say these pieces are "bomber" but they are good enough to give a little confidence... that's why I use two of them... Make sure you set up properly for the crux move - it's short - and then it should be no problem if you are solid. You should be able to clip the next pin right after you do that move.
The bottom move at the first pin is also kind of tricky for some people and if you don't do it just right. I wouldn't want to fall off just above there but it's really easy now that I have it sussed!
Posted by: jj221

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/22/03 01:38 PM

I've had luck with small nuts at the broken pin- it must have been a good time breaking that pin. I've gone as far as attaching slings to the nut and aidding off of it on days where I'm whipped and don't have enough gas to pull through. Good luck.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/22/03 01:40 PM

I tried an alien just above the broken pin. The only way I could get it in was by placing the cams downward from above. This left the stem in an upward sort of orientation. That goes against everything I know about placing cams. I tried a TCU lower but with a downward pull, only two cams stay in the crack. Did you have this same problem with getting the cams oriented for a downward pull? I know you said they weren't bomber, is this what you meant?

I got the nuts in the thin crack a few inches above the crack where the broken pin is. You're right, the crack that kind of takes a cam definitely won't take least from my experience.
Posted by: browndog2

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/22/03 02:36 PM

Normally, I don't give gear beta unless you beat it out of me with a #4 camelot (right?). But the lovely way a yellow green offset alien sits in the lower crack has to be experienced to be appreciated. Your second won't even want to clean it cuz it looks so sweet. Then a medium small nut (BD#5 or 6) in the higher crack (Kaching!) and you're good to go. Stem to a small edge to the right for the gear stance.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/22/03 02:56 PM

Hey Browndog, thanks. That was exactly the gear beta that I was looking for. I'll see if I can get a yellow green offset alien. I don't mind spending the money on a special piece of gear if I know it's going to I'm glad I didn't have to beat it out of you with a #4 Camalot...that would require a special gear purchase too, since I rack WC Friends.

Thanks again!
Posted by: phlan

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/22/03 03:47 PM

yes, browndiggetydoggie, that makes total sense that piece would fit like a glove on Michael Jackson. a yellow and green hybrid alien is a great piece to own (and not just for that climb!) now I guess I gotta get me one!!!!
I've never seen it necessary to put a nut in above that but it might be an nice idea as an extra confidence builder. Birdland is SUCH a wonderful climb.
Posted by: dalguard

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/22/03 04:37 PM

We added offset Aliens to our rack this Christmas and it's surprising how often they go in. Not as often as regular Aliens, mind you, but often enough to carry them.
Posted by: scottie_c

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/22/03 07:43 PM

the alien offsets are not what I would call specialty gear... they are more common than you would think... those ballnutz are another story...
Posted by: LesterLeBlanc

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/22/03 08:14 PM

If it makes you feel any better, Birdland is a hard 5.8. And it used to be rated 5.9. So there ya go.

There are two cruxes -- at the bottom and the one at the flake you mentioned. One good nut at the second crux is all you really need to protect the move.

It's really not that hard to protect ... so here comes my gentle admonishment ... you should try to hone your leading skills a bit more the next time you're out on a lead at your current max level.

That second Birdland crux is not particularly hard to climb or protect. It's also possible to downclimb to a rest after working the pro or sussing the moves. As you climb harder routes in the Gunks you're going to be doing a lot more downclimbing. Cause you'll be doing the typical Gunks roof dance. Up to look for gear placements, down to rest, up to try some gear, down to rest, up to get the piece in bomber, down to rest, up to suss out the move, down to rest ... and finally ... up to do or fly. So in addition to focusing on your gear skills, I'd recommend also getting into some endurance work outs at your local gym or boulders. You'll need much longer hang time if you progress into the 5.9 range and harder.

If I've come across as some old grumpy ass climbing Nazi, sorry about that.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/22/03 08:59 PM

For me part of climbing is finding my limits and learning how to push through them. I agree the move isn't that I mentioned before I did it as a second last year w/o a problem. As a "newish" leader, I figured there were others who could give me some advice on this particular gear placement. I have fallen on my gear before but not on a less than bomber peice. I want to try it again and I was looking for what others do to protect it. I was able to get a nut in there, but I wouldn't call it bomber. By the time I got it placed I was a bit tired, actually my feet were tired not my arms (Birdland is not exactly a hangtime issue so the gym probably wouldn't do anything to help me up it). For me that move requires a left foot placement on a very small nub in order to step your right foot up on that flake and after 10 min of gear fiddling I had that Elvis thing going on with my foot.
Regarding needing to hone my leading skills, as a "newish" leader, I am always trying to hone my leading skills. That's one reason I got on this climb. It isn't a typical Gunks route. I led Bonnie's Roof with no problem and Ant's line with a fall at the crux the first time. Birdland is a less strenuous and more technical route with some thin pro compared to those routes. I have found that when breaking through grades it helps if you get on different types of climbs that help you learn new skills. By the way, I did the whole down climbing go back up thing several times. In fact I practically down climbed the whole route (which probably improved my skills). The part I missed was getting a piece of gear that "I" thought was bomber.
Finally, for someone who posts so much, I'm surprised you admonish someone in part telling them a move isn't hard. It might not be hard to you and thousands of others...but it's wicked hard for many others. For me, the move was a lot harder after trying to get gear for 10 minutes then it was when I followed it. What would help me is to hear how you placed that nut, if you remember and care to share. Your reply of go to the gym doesn't help me lead Birdland.
Posted by: LesterLeBlanc

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/23/03 11:08 AM

Your reply of go to the gym doesn't help me lead Birdland.

Just some thoughts. Had no intention of disparaging your leading skills. I thought your decision to back off the route when you didn't feel confident about the gear was a good one. That's an important leading skill to have. Took me a near groundfall to learn it.

I didn't think by responding that I was under any obligation to help you lead Birdland. I was just offering my opinions. If you found them irritating, I apologize. If you found them irrelevant, you're obviously free to disregard them.

That said, if I could have remembered the exact piece I used to use, I would have told you.

Posted by: yorick

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/23/03 12:50 PM

i think birdland is a perfect route to be pushing your leading limit on: it's a downrated 9 that for years had been many folks intro to the grade...that sequence is fairly technical, especially if you're short, and can require just the sort of up & down gear placing lester has mentioned that you won't get on easier climbs, while trusting a left toe to one of those "i can't believe that's gonna stick" smears...whatever combination of pro you can get there - i go yellow metolius with a green alien placed above it - can be very solid...lots to suss out and retain from this one...

these are some of the reasons it used to be such a perfect gateway into gunks 9's, because it sure was for me, and here's why...

in my 4th season of climbing ('85), i was following a posse of buddies - a group of dudes who'd all begun climbing together the same season back in '81- up 10's, topping 11's, but was lagging behind them on lead, marginally working into 8's...could not get my head together on lead, partly because i wouldn't trust my gear placements...on one of those sublime days when the gods tapped me on the forehead, i'd hooked up with my resident gunks hero, the mighty, mighty "jersey" jeff gruenberg, whom after we'd done some bouldering, suggested we go do a route...this, for me, was like being asked to play catch with willie mays...

"choose a grade,'" jeffs says...
i say, "how about a 9?"...
"birdland," says jeff, "ever do birdland?"...
i shake my head "no"...
we walk over to the base, i start flaking out the rope, jeff asks for my rack, and when i pull it out and hand it to him, he looks over my one set of wired rocks, my double set of tri-cams, and my four, count 'em, four friends, and beams like a proud poppa, "now there's a gunks rack!" - then looks at me and asks, "which pitch do you wanna lead?"...
i blanched, "never led a 9," and jeff says (because he had seen me tr many an afternoon down at watchung), "aw, you can lead this, it's a clip-up (the pin protected the crux), and, you've got the best belayer in the gunks for a partner"...

the quesy stomach and spinning head i always got right before leading never happened - the spell broke - and i on-sighted birdland...within a week i'd led never-never-land clean first try (cuz i'd followed it and my friends said that was next after birdland), jumped right over the 8's and started in on the 9's without taking a leader fall, before i began logging air-time on every 10 i tried but criss-cross, my only 10 on-sight that season...

so keep at it, lyonsj 1, you could be on the verge of a breakthrough...
Posted by: CrackBoy

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/25/03 01:03 AM

i could have sworn there is is either a blue alien or a tricam placement out right of the pin or right before the pin, but it has been a while
Posted by: tokyo bill

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/25/03 03:16 AM

Based on beta from Mike Rawdon I got a solid yellow TCU in the broken pin slot. He also mentioned nutting the crack just above, but I couldn't get myself up high enough to reach it without actually commiting to the move. (Midget penalty. )

The TCU looked good, so I just went ahead. Didn't occur to me to try to stack another cam in the same slot with the Metolius, but an alien might have gone. Hmmm....

Great pitch.
Posted by: Coppertone

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 08/25/03 09:08 PM

I had not done Birdland in years until a few weeks ago and I found the that the yellow alien fits very nicely where the pin is broken off. I does not look like it would, but it is a very good placement. I always liked the second pitch of that climb much more than the first pitch. The second pitch rarely gets climbed, but is definitley worth the effort.
Posted by: yorick

n'ain'ts... - 09/01/03 12:13 PM

just to chew a little over mine and lester's point about birdland being a down-rated 5.9, i've since learned from dw that birdland's 5.9 rating in the red guide was something of a gaff, the only time it ever appeared as a 9...

weird, but i don't remember having heard any controversy about this in the early-mid '80's (indeed, it seems i've been inured to an entire page of gunks' history), and those of us cutting our teeth on lead during that time certainly had the mind-set that birdland, absurdland, groovy, and bonnie's were the entry-level routes into the grade...

small wonder that all of them have experienced rating flip-flop over the years...maybe we can establish a new grade for these 'tweeners: neights, or how about neighnts, as in n'ain'ts - not an 8, but ain't a 9...
Posted by: Mike Rawdon

Re: n'ain'ts... - 09/01/03 12:29 PM


i've since learned from dw that birdland's 5.9 rating in the red guide was something of a gaff, the only time it ever appeared as a 9...

Dick DuMais also gave it a nine in his book.

Maybe we should call it "nine minus"??
Posted by: yorick

Re: n'ain'ts... - 09/01/03 12:35 PM

mike, i lost my copy...

but i seem to remember all kinds of odd ratings in that one...
Posted by: dalguard

Re: n'ain'ts... - 09/02/03 12:28 AM

8+ is the correct rating as everyone knows that 8+ is harder than 9-. 8+ means "watch out - this was rated back when 9 meant 10." 9- means "Oooh, climbing is hard. Why is this so hard? I should get extra points."
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 10/13/03 06:51 PM

Thanks for the great tips everyone. I got back on Birdland this past week and finished the lead. Your gear suggestions helped. I climbed to the crux, put in two pieces, equalized them, downclimbed to milk the rest (thanks Lester), then made the move. The first time I tried it, I had some metolius TCUs but I didn't have the yellow one, I didn't own any Aliens, and my nuts are DMM Walnuts. I have since purchased a few Aliens and I borrowed a yellow TCU. I found that walnuts don't fit as well as other nuts in that crack and there are other cams that work better in that crack than my small friends (I don't have the new zeros). This different selection of gear made a big difference. It also helped that the day prior, I boosted my confidence with my first onsite 5.9 lead on Higher Stannard (I know it's only 5.9-). Anyway, thanks for the gear pointers, it made a huge difference!
Posted by: cranken

Re: Birdland-pro between 2nd and 3rd pin? - 10/14/03 10:08 PM


Did I miss something or has no one mentioned the 2nd pitch, esp. the 5.8+ overhang move into it seemed 10 feet of 5.7 overhanging moves. I'm glad that I only seconded that pitch and I'm glad that there is a fixed stopper when I have the nads to try the 2nd pitch.