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Machete Ridge II by ernieleo Machete Ridge II by ernieleo
Machete Ridge, Pinnacles National Monument

Rising over 500 feet (152 m) above the valley floor, Machete Ridge located in Pinnacles National Monument (near Soledad, California). This dramatic monolith of poorly consolidated rhyolite breccia is typical of the geology found within the park. Pinnacles National Monument is a unique tribute to active plate tectonics. The towering rock structures found here are the northern half of the Neenach Volcano. Split by the San Andreas Fault, the other half of the volcano is located near Lancaster California, nearly 200 miles (320 km) to the south. Since erupting nearly 23 million years ago, earthquake faulting has displaced and erosion has sculpted this unique landscape. In addition to outstanding geologic features, the park is home to over 400 species of bees (largest diversity anywhere on earth), and is a re-introduction site of California condors. It is popular with advanced rock climbers because of the many difficult and challenging climbs.

About 10 years ago, my friend Randy and I set out to climb the route, Old Original on Machete Ridge, starting on the right hand side of the formation.
First we had to get there and we had decided to climb the Elephant a 5.3 route on a very nice spire, rap off and head cross country to pick up the start of Old Original.
Let just say it was the hard way to get there, but finally we're standing at the start, a 100' pitch, rated 5.0, one bolt at 50' and no anchor for belay at top.
I'm standing there thinking, the bolt is worthless, basically it a 100' lead on shitty rock and it looks a lot harder than 5.0, it's at this point I play the age card, Randy 10 years younger, he should lead it.
So now we're on top, not to bad, until we come to a traverse rate 5.6, not the best of anchors and a little long for my taste. Logic has a way of biting you in the ass, now its, I led the last pitch, now it your turn. Ok......that was ugly, but we got through it and we're in about the middle of the ridge and now its a true knife blade, hence the name Machete Ridge. It was kind of freaky with nothing but space on either side of you, walking what felt like a tight rope. We worked our way across the ridge and did several raps to get off, crossed the top of the Balconies cave, and climbed Toog's Terror, making for a very long day =D
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hayze99 Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2011
Hey there. I think your photos are absolutely breathtaking. It's fascinating how much you know about these places too; climbing a mountain that contains 400 bees sounds like quite a rush! I kind of added a robot to this picture on my site. He's cool with the bees. Hope you don't mind. If you do, please let me know.

BogdanEpure Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Amazing place, very good photo :)
ernieleo Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2009
thank you :iconrainbowwaveplz1::iconrainbowwaveplz2::iconrainbowwaveplz3:
BogdanEpure Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
My pleasure, mate :hug:
BekkaLynn Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Beautiful place =D
Annaphotix Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Lovely shot!
davincipoppalag Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I got tired looking UP at it..let alone trying to climb it Beautiful place
ernieleo Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2009
:rofl: I got a nose bleed from posting it ;)
davincipoppalag Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
lOL I bet!
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Submitted on
August 12, 2009
Image Size
1.1 MB


26 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
499/100000 second
Focal Length
22 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Apr 13, 2007, 11:17:40 AM