The Red Dihedral, 5.10- The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk is an amazingly consolidated piece of alpine rock located in the High Sierra.  Last summer, while on a two month road trip, my friend Will and I left Yosemite Valley, spent a few days in Bishop, and then made our way to this monster in order to climb a route called "The Red Dihedral."  The route is a 12 pitch, 5.10 that follows different crack systems to the summit of The Hulk.  For more information on the route itself, check out the Mt. Project description 

The approach to The Incredible Hulk is beautiful and strenuous.  After getting a parking permit from Mono Village, we started our trek through a glorified trailer park and onto a well maintained hiker's trail.  We followed this for about an hour until we came to a small climber's trail appears on the left.  There is a lot of discussion about where this trail is, but basically, it is pretty easy to find.  It is in the beginning of a clearing just after hiking through an aspen forest.  There is a boulder at the the mouth of this climbers trail and it takes you directly through a grass field and toward a stream.

For our ascent of The Red Dihedral, we opted to hike in around the afternoon of our first day, camp in the boulder field below the wall, climb our second day, and hike out on day three.  This is very conservative, since some people decide to do the hike and climb in a day.  We preferred the time in the back country. Finding camping below the wall is pretty easy and there are a lot of make-shift platforms and shelter to be had next to big boulders.
Our campsite.  Beautiful!
The Climb went pretty smoothly for us, since you can see the "Red Dihedral" pitch from the ground and aim for it as you climb.  We left our hiking boots and an extra water bottle on the ground and climbed with a small backpack that included some light food, a water bottle, and a hard shell for my partner and I, as the climbing sometimes gets windy and the weather sometimes gets wet.

To start the climb, we made or way up some pretty easy (4th class) terrain until the rock became vertical.  We put on the rope at this point and pitched it out from there.  One mistake I made during the climb was right after the Red Dihedral pitch.  I loved the actual dihedral, but when i got to the top of it, I tried to continue upward.  I kept trying and backing off for a bit until I decided to build a belay and give my partner a go.  When he got to the anchor, we discovered that the rout stepped right after this section and i was attempting some stupid, unnecessary boulder problem.
Me leading the 10a pitch near the top
Our real issue came at the end of this climb.  Basically, the usual descent from The Red Dihedral goes off of the right of the rock and down a snow couloir.  On our hike in, we were warned to avoid this at all costs.  As we were exiting the trailer park during our hike, we saw a climber carrying two backpacks.  We stopped and chatted for a bit and he informed us that his partner was making his way out behind him with a broken ankle.  Apparently, they had tried this snow gully and somehow one of them took a fall since they did not have crampons.  Since we did not have crampons, we decided to look for another option.

What we decided to do for the descent was to rappel The Venturi Effect.  Our issue was that, as we traversed the ridge to the left, we decided to rappel from the first station we came to.  This station was made out of some shitty tat, we were tired, so we just went for it.  Basically, this put me into the middle of the wall with nothing else to rap from.  I had to do some shady traverses to get further left and eventually to the bolted anchors to Venturi.  The best part was that, after we got to the ground, grabbed our gear, and headed to our tent, we were confronted by a woman in the boulder field.  The first thing she said was "what happened to you?"  I was tired and kind of a smart ass and said what we just climbed The Incredible Hulk.  She clarified further and asked "how come you summited three hours ago and just got to the ground now?  How come you traversed the whole face?"  We explained our situation, satisfied her inquiries, and made our was to bed.

 Overall, this was an amazing route in the most perfect alpine setting.  There was plenty of water around our campsite to make living quite comfortable.  Do this route!  It is a classic!

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