El Cajon Mountain is in east San Diego. It’s a local jewel of sport and mixed climbing, with many local400-foot classics and test pieces, and it’s the dopest sport crag you’ll ever hate hiking to. My first multipitch and independent climbing explorations happened out at ECM, so when we heard about a new 10-pitch line that was recently developed on the Mountaineers Wall it became a must-do.
Thanks to the local developers, the ~60 minute hike is well maintained and easy to follow, with a generous route discretion on Mountain Project that made the approach enjoyable and straightforward in the pre-dawn hour.
We broke up the pitches a little funky as we on-sighted the new “grassaneering” line through a few dispersed rock bands, gaining 1000′ over 8-10 pitches. I led the first pitch, as I love to do. It inspires me to kick the day off right. From there we swapped, through the first 4 pitches, Zach linked 5-6, I linked 7-8 and then Zach led the last 2 pitches. A steady increase in grade and quality, from 5.6 slab to a 5.9+ crux in the last pitches, .
There has been a lot of local excitement about this new route- well protected, tons of beta, chances for gear placements and easy runouts- so expectations were high. It was also our first full climbing day in a few months, bouncing back from the holiday and my pulley injury. The climb was fun and enjoyable, and will likely get a visit every year.
Climbing in a familiar area, but on a new formation was a good experience and a safe scenario to utilize new and refined techniques. Mostly, the day made us feel energized for a much wider scope and adventure. It was a wonderful boost of confidence and inspiration, but also a reminder that we can and should be setting sights to higher cliffs and greater challenges. The route awoke the sleeping giant of stoke for the year ahead.