- Tom Higgins Shares His Recollections Of A Classic
(posted: Nov 13, 2017)
We selected the streak we did climb because a side view suggested it might not be as steep at the top as other lines we examined, but the view from underneath still shocked us so much we just stopped looking and thinking about what was up there.
Shake and Bake Rebolting Effort Completed
posted: November 12, 2017
In early November 2017, FoP president, Bruce Hildenbrand, and FoP Board Member, Clint Cummins, completed the rebolting of the classic Pinnacles line, Shake and Bake (FA, Tom Higgins, 1976 - read Tom's FA Recollections).
Back in 2008, FoP was contacted by climber Brian Biega about rebolting the other Balconies' classic, Lava Falls. FoP assembled a crack team including Clint Cummins, Dennis Erik Strom, Erik Bratton and Biega. Their January 2009 effort resulted in the completion of the rebolting of Lava Falls(first started by Bruce Hildenbrand and Clint Cummins way back in 2006) and when their energy level failed to wane they turned their attention to the other Balconies' classic Shake and Bake.
The 2009 rebolting effort on Shake and Bake focused mainly on the infamous crux pitch 2 with it's steep knobs and classic stemming. Our 2017 effort was mainly concerned with replacing the bolts on the first pitch. However, with our new Doodad(TM) bolt pulling tool we realized we could clean up some of the old bolts on pitches 2 and 3 which the guys were unable to remove in 2009.
Because pitch 1 is a almost entirely a traverse, the best option is to rappel in from the top. There is a way to get to the tops of the climbs in that area of the Balconies, but it is quite complicated and involves traversing sketchy slabs, on sketchy rock (it is the Pinnacles after all) and a rappel off a very dubious bush/tree. With 45 lb packs making for a very exciting approach.
There is no anchor at the top of the third, and final, pitch of Shake and Bake so we had to use the bolts on top of the second pitch of Electric Blue, the prominent water streak 25-30 feet left. Having climbed El Capitan over 15 times, Clint is a master at diagonal rappelling and tension traverses and this skill was invaluable as he worked back and forth between the two streaks enabling us to reach all the bolts so we could pull them and replace them in their original holes.
It was a very long day and once again, if it weren't for headlamps we wouldn't have been able to come close to completing the job.
Now, both lines are equipped with stainless steel protection bolts from bottom to top. Here are some photos from the two efforts.