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Castle Rock - Southwest Face
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Ball and Chain 
Sphynx, The 
Turret, The 

Ball and Chain 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: E1 5a

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 100'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: E1 5a [details]
FA: (TR) Unknown, FL: Gary Henning & Brent Webster, 1997
Season: Pretty much year around
Page Views: 1,440
Submitted By: Isaac T. on Mar 19, 2007
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (18)
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BETA PHOTO: Photo/topo for Castle Rock (SW Face), Castle Rock...


This climb is a definite must. If you come here climb this one at least once! Ball & Chain makes for a good warmup, it will definitly get your blood flowing especially at the hairy moves at the last bolt! Other people have rated this climb a 10a although I am not so sure, it was a little hairy but not hairy enough to give a .10a.


Located on the westerly facing wall. Kind of follows the bolts up the arete.


7 bolts, ring anchors at the top

Photos of Ball and Chain Slideshow Add Photo
Isaac psychn up before moving to the last bolt.
BETA PHOTO: Isaac psychn up before moving to the last bolt.
Chris Owen on Ball and Chain.
Chris Owen on Ball and Chain.
Steve breezing through chicken-head city somewhere around the 4th bolt
BETA PHOTO: Steve breezing through chicken-head city somewhere...
Scott Nomi follows Ball and Chain.
Scott Nomi follows Ball and Chain.
Comments on Ball and Chain Add Comment
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By Chris Owen
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
May 15, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

Crux is getting past the last bolt, where I stepped left (just like this) and climbed up just right of a crack, guidebook says runout but that's, only if you don't place an extended 1" or less cam at the top of the crack before committing to the flakes above.

By Russ Walling
Jul 10, 2011

I don't know about all the "hairy" on this one.... It's a fairly straightforward contrived squeeze job that you can make anywhere between 5.6+ and 5.10. Do the bouldery start by staying right of the first bolt, or use the 5.4 jugs 2 feet to the left to pass the opening difficulties. Up high at the top I tried to stay to the right to avoid the outright jugs of the Sphinx and ended up on the Turret. So I moved left 2ft, and did some fairly hard moves (5.10?) past the bolt, being sure not to use the huge footholds that are on the Sphinx. Fun and all, but to tick this route at the posted grade and description will take some hold eliminating discipline.

By Mary Moser
Aug 7, 2011

The anchors at the top of Ball and Chain looked a bit suspect. Perhaps a wrench would tighten things down.

By C Miller
Aug 22, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

As noted this is a 5.10a if you climb directly over the first bolt and ignore the obvious huge holds just to the left. Higher amazingly featured rock leads to another contrived crux which if climbed directly over the bolt goes at 5.9 or a little harder.

About 10' to the right is a TR variation start (5.10) which starts in a thin lieback and heads over a small roof/overlap to jugs and then joins the route at the 3rd bolt. This variation has much better movement and a fun series of moves leading into the route proper.

By Chris Norwood
From: Los Angeles, CA
Jul 25, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a

I agree with the previous statements: if you stick to the thinner face both at the first bolt and the last 2 bolts and avoid going left, it definitely seems 10a, but otherwise 5.9 or easier. Kind of contrived, but a decent route if you're in the area.