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It can be very difficult to judge the difficulties of a climb from a distance. From the bottom of the Northeast Face the Y CRACK appears very steep and continuous. However, as the base of the route is approached, unseen features appear, the wall becomes foreshortened, and the difficulties of the climb become not quite so intimidating.
This excellent climb is a good test of hand and foot jamming efficiency. The better your crack technique, endurance and patience the more enjoyable this climb will be. Conversely, the worse...
The first time I climbed it, I tried to overcome the crack with brute force and zero technique. It was a real struggle. On a later ascent I was in better shape, and my crack technique was more refined. The crack was still strenuous, but at least I didn't feel like I was slipping down two feet for each foot climbed. Hey, I didn't even hyperventilate!
LAST GRAPES is found in a cluster of climbs just beyond the large dihedral that marks the beginning of the NE FARCE.
One way to get to the base of the climb, is to start at the large pine at the base of the EAST VARIATION OF THE NE FACE route and follow the gully toward NE FARCE. Before you get to EL WAMPO and the start of the NE FARCE, avoid more difficult climbing by traversing out to the left and then up past a tree. After passing EL WAMPO continue up a gully full of Western Azalea to a short low angle chimney. Climb this and scramble up the gully a few yards to where the gully is blocked by a chockstone. (The approach may require roped climbing.) LAST GRAPES starts here, and follows the obvious thin hand/finger crack. BIRDMAN (5.11b) starts just to the left of LAST GRAPES, and MY PINK HALF OF THE DRAINPIPE (5.10c) just to the right.
The first pitch is clean and relatively continuous. It tests your ability to break down a difficult appearing pitch into a series of "reasonable" moves, focusing on each move as it is encountered, rather than freaking out about how hard the whole pitch is going to be. It's important to look and plan ahead, but you need to focus on the move you're doing rather than a possible problem thirty feet further up the pitch!
Judging from the number of slings, it is fairly common for parties to traverse left at the "end" of the first pitch and rap off. While not as clean as the first pitch, the climbing above the overhang is fun, and the overhang is not nearly as difficult as it looks. If you plan to continue (about three pitches), you need not belay at the flake, since a belay can be established just above the overhang.
On the second pitch easy climbing leads to a broken area below a lichen covered overhang. This overhang presents an interesting problem. A sling around a flake protects an odd move up onto a rounded friction slope and undercling. From here a step right starts a lieback move that eventually enables the climber to reach around the top of the flake and surmount the overhang.