Land of the Earth-born Spirit
Hassler’s Hatbox is an aesthetic, miniature climbing amphitheater with over a dozen unusually adventurous, choice routes ranging from a 5.6 crack inside of a crack …. to a nearly unclimbable 5.12 off width called ‘LUCILLE’. You will be ‘above’ the crowd with no hassles, sharing company only with sometimes gusty breezes and raptors riding thermals above. Yes, this seemingly remote place is the home of the well-known, but seldom climbed world class off width called “LUCILLE”. Also part of the area is a very large boulder found just north of the main area which sports two stout finger buster “mini-routes” put up by Piana and Skinner. There are at least two ways to get here. First, take any route up Walt’s Wall to the top and walk northward across the top of the Central Massif. Second, you can hike up the ‘backside’ of the Central Massif from the Box Canyon. You can’t miss this place once on top of the central massif, but you might want to check out …. this map …. and this MAP anyway.
HEY, WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Despite numerous attempts, ‘LUCILLE’, this so-called ‘innocent lady’, has seen very few free ascents. Some indicate the name may have been inspired from the movie “Cool Hand Luke”, a line spoken by George Kennedy’s character ‘Dragline’ which goes … “Any girl that looks that innocent just got to be called Lucille”. Cool Hand Luke has definitely influenced other climbs at Vedauwoo, especially on the Nautilus where there’s a ‘Cool Hand Luke’ area. However, to quote directly from the route’s author, Jay Anderson … “It had become known as Lucille after B. B. King’s guitar …”.
*For Jay Anderson’s engaging story of the first ascent of Lucille,
HASSLER’S HATBOX TOPOS
( * See the ‘FINGERBUSTER BOULDER’ below !! )
1.) Strained Tendons 9+ A left leaning handcrack located down left and around the corner from the main amphitheater. It isn’t climbed much and the slings for descent can’t be guaranteed to be there. (ffa ?)
2.) Victory of Defeat 10b Will you be defeated? Features face to offwidth with an easy traverse into the Lucille belay for descent. (Anderson and Friedrichs, ’80’s)
3.) Best of the Blues 10b An easy start and middle to a ‘hard’ move at the end. (Anderson, Roberts and scarpelli, ’79)
4.) Lucille 12c One big testpiece, a legendary offwidth. Climb either #2 or #3 to establish the belay. It’s SELF EXPLANATORY FROM HERE, a daunting, wide, overhanging gash where gravity will become your worst nightmare. If you’re up for this, Bring big pro, bro! For better or worse, some ASPIRING OW NUT has recently (’02) placed toprope bolts above the route, and even still – most aspiring offwidthers can’t cut it. (Anderson and Friedrichs, ’88) Seen in the photos on the right.
5.) Hassler’s Hatbox (the route) 7 One of the best routes at its grade in Vedauwoo. It will test all your skills as a 5.7 or 5.8 leader. Body jams to offwidth to hands and fingers, etc. Near the top, crawl slightly right through a short cave-like passageway and belay on gear. Check out the photo (climber is on this route, #6 is seen to the right). (first ffa claimed by Lund, ’54; second ffa claimed by Cole and Sturdevant, ’58)
6.) Hassler’s Right 9 Stemming to of width and then goes over vertical. (DeMars and Button, ’60)
7.) Cat’s Cradle 8+ After some wide stemming, veer right on a shelf into a classic hand jammer with a hard start that eats finger to hand sized pro. Rap anchors at top. (ffa K. Vonnegut?)
8.) Cat’s Claw 9+ Starts on the shelf at the beginning of the hand crack of # 7. Then begins a very thin, cruxy traverse around the abutment, maybe protectable by the smallest of cams, to an easier, nice hand-sized crack. Belay on gear. (Harper and Thomas, ’93)
9.) Roofus 11b Watch out! This is sustained and punishing hand and fist jamming with some possible stacking all the way. This one will test you at the grade. It’s burly dude, guaranteed! (Cairnes and Kopischka, ’78)
10.) Cave Crack 6 Smaller cracks inside of a very big one. Inchworming upwards will reveal good protection. (Sticker and V. Anderson, ’53)
11.) Journey to Coramonde (aka ‘Anita’) 7 An interesting journey with a 90-degree middle …. and ending. The long traverse to the right has scared harder leaders, and it leads to a double bolt/chain belay at a big shelf. *NOTE: Use a 60 M rope, especially for the rap (80′ – 95′ …. depending). (Anderson and Friedrichs, early ’80’s)
DESCENTS: There are rap anchors at the top of #7 and #11, and if all else fails, you can downclimb a fairly dicey groove on the north side of the formation.
THE FINGERBUSTER BOULDER
These two ‘FINGERBUSTERS’, ‘JIMI HANDTRICKS’ (#1) AND ‘MICK JAGGED’ (#2), are directly across from the north side of Hassler’s Hatbox. These two ‘MINI-ROUTES’, or hardass boulder problems were put in by Paul Piana and Todd Skinner in about ’79 – and are NOT documented elsewhere. I do not have the exact grades on these ‘diminutive routes’ (as Paul describes them), but you can bet they are hard 5.11 or more. The easiest access is probably taking the Box Canyon Trail (BCT) to near the top of Glen Dome and cutting back southwest about 400 yards up towards the backside (north face) of Hassler’s. This large boulder sits atop the formation directly behind (north of) Hasslers.
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