The Incredible Hulk- Red Dihedral
August 30, 2008
This climb was on my list for the summer. I first went out try to climb it with Jed and another good freind of ours in July but we woke up to weird clouds and it was raining by 10am. Just a sprinkle, but enough to scare you off of this monstrous piece of granite. So when I asked Howie if he wanted to climb this past weekend, and he suggested the Hulk, I was psyched! When Neil heard what we were up to, he asked to come along too. There was only one problem, Bridgeports weather called for blowing dust. The Hulk is said to have a weather system all it's own, and it is known for being windy on calm days! I did everything I could to convince the guys that I thought it would be miserable up there, and in the end I was only half right, and fully psyched that they didn't back down. They must have known a little something I didn't: that a little breeze can't detract from the amazing pitches that make up the Red Dihedral. Those clean granite pitches are so stellar that even when the wind it trying to rip you from the rock and making your nostrils and lips flap around you are still having fun- and thats unheard of!
A few pitches of easy climbing leads to the crux pitch, a red colored, left facing, 5.9 vertical hand crack leads to a couple of facey 10b moves. Never have I climbed a more sustained 5.9 hand crack! Nearly every move is the same for at least 100 feet so I was so relieved to get to the "crux" part because it felt easy compared to the moves I had been doing for the last 15 minutes! Howie led the pitch and it was fun climbing just below Neil (who is about 6'5" and "Tall, tan and rock solid" according to one client) and to find out how different the pitch was for him than for me (5'3" and short, pale and scrawny- ok, no one has said that). I guess it is a "small" hand crack since Neil was hardly able to fit his hands inside most of the way and I got sinker jams for most of it.
The rest of the pitches follow clean cracks with hardly a face move or a ledge on it. As with many mountains, the views get better and better the higher you go. To me, the surrounding area and the hike in are in the top five most beautiful places in the Sierra. Clean creeks, granite spires, and lush meadows surround you the whole way up.
Just a week or so before we did that Hulk, I also did the Third Pillar of Dana (wow! another awesome route!) and I will vouch that it is a good intro to the Hulk. Similar climbing but a little shorter. Both are highly recommended if you can climb that grade!
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