Huge Link-Up on Sierra’s Incredible Hulk
8/24/10 – Peter Croft and Matt Ciancio linked four full-length routes on the Incredible Hulk, a steep, 1,200-foot granite wall in the northern Sierra Nevada, in a long day of climbing in late July. The Incredible Hulk is a half day’s hike from the road and tops out at over 11,000 feet.
On July 30, the two Sierra Eastside climbers started climbing at 4 a.m. on Positive Vibrations (12 pitches, 5.11a) and did most of that route by headlamp. “At half height, we looked up and saw another headlamp looking down,” Croft said in an email. “I thought, ‘Crap! Someone’s ahead of us.’ Took me a minute to figure out it was just the full moon peeking around the corner.”
After topping out on the formation, the two did the scrambling, rappel, and hiking descent, which takes most parties 45 to 90 minutes, and then climbed Astro Hulk (12 pitches, 5.11). Once back at the base, they brewed some coffee and started up again, this time on Airstream leading into Sunspot (9 pitches, 5.11b). “By the time we hit the summit, the sun was getting low, so we were a little unsure about another route,” Croft said. “We went for it anyway and really had a blast simo-ing Red Dihedral (12 pitches, 5.10b) in dreamy evening alpenglow, with the shade hard on our heels.”
In all, Croft and Ciancio climbed about 45 pitches, the majority of them 5.10 or 5.11, and they tagged the summit each time. “There’s a couple of rap routes from the top of the main face, but it’s good fun to finish the last few pitches to the top,” Croft said. “Matt and I were very strict—summits do matter!”
Croft has been the leading new-route activist on the Incredible Hulk during the 2000s, frequently teaming up with Dave Nettle, the leading activist of the mid- to late 1990s. In 2004 and 2005, Croft and partners put up Venturi Effect (5.12+), Blowhard (5.12+), and Airstream (5.13), all Grade IV/V routes.
Date of Ascents: July 30, 2010