The Stumps is a small climbing crag near Mammoth Lakes, CA.
We had a day to kill before our shot on Bloody Couloir, and decided (more like I insisted) that we get a little climbing in on our free day.
The Lewis/Moynier guide’s directions were not quite as good as I’ve found them to be for other areas. I used the GPS and AccuTerra quad topos a few times to get us to where we were going, but we arrived only having mis-spent about 10 minutes in asutin powers-esque episodes of 20 point turnarounds. Roads are high quality, graded, USFS dirt, and passable in any car.
This area is interesting – essentially the beginnings of a canyon being eroded through the top layer of volcanic bedrock – with two main areas, one roughly north and the other roughly south facing, so finding or hiding from sun is easy. The approach, however, is short (<5 minutes) but highly sucky. The volcanic rock has created a pumice field that one climbs to gain the base of the climbs. Three steps forward, two steps back kind of stuff, and your shoes fill quickly with sharp little crystals and volcanic dust. I’d wear gaiters here next time.
Climbs measure from 5.6-5.10, all trad, and some of the easier climbs have bolted anchors and a walkaround approach to the top, making toproping easy.
We started with ZigZag crack (5.9), which the guidebook called “the stumps classic”. I would have called it “Illinois Crack”, but then again, I may be biased.
It has two well-defined cruxes – one of which is the second move. A fun climb, but I had to get used to using the solution pockets in addition to the crack. While I came up climbing on limestone I now go years without touching something other than granite, and getting used to the techniques used on other types of rock always takes a few minutes. The top anchor on this one is awkward (2 x .75 BD is a good start) no matter how you slice it.
We also climbed a few of the moderates on Money Wall (the wall in topmost picture), including the 5.6 (name escapes me and guidebook is packed for a future trip) with a two-bolt anchor at the top. This was a COOL 5.6 and would be a great lead for the fledgeling 5.7 leader, as it has a few exposed but all-there moves. CAUTION: There are two VERY LOOSE blocks on this climb, and either would likely result in realllly bad outcomes for your belayer. They are avoidable, however. Test your holds and exercise caution.