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RadDawg barely visible behind the block. Photo by ...
Like most of the approach climbs for the main South Face, Block Route is a fun and extended route worthy of climbing even if you're not just trying to get to the Tree Ledge. If you want to get a feel for what it's like to climb high above your last gear at Stone Mountain, this is a good place to start. Block Route actually has ample pro placements for good stretches, and the runout sections are easy climbing. The somwhat tenuous block move toward the top is probably the only reason the guidebook gives this a 5.8, and it's well protected.
If you want to do Block Route in two pitches, there are belay anchors halfway up. But unless you're using a 50-meter rope (not a great idea anyway), there's no reason not to combine pitches and save yourself some time.
Starting below the left end of the overlap that extends just below the Tree Ledge, follow a grassy vertical crack and other seams up to belay anchors at a small tree. Belay here, or clip the anchor for pro and continue up to a left-facing dihedral. At the end of the dihedral, make a big move up and right onto the block, then finish to the tree ledge on easier ground, ending at the base of the Great Arch.
A bit of history: Block Route was originally considered the first pitch of the Great Arch.
Block Route is the furthest left of the Tree Ledge approach routes, about 30' left of U Slot. Rap on two ropes from the U Slot anchors; if these are busy, use one of the other bolted rap stations further down the Tree Ledge.
Cams and nuts up to #3 camalot or equivalent. Bolted belay anchors halfway up; sling trees for an anchor at the top.
BETA PHOTO: My dad and I climbing to the tree shelf.
BETA PHOTO: start of block route. follow grassy seam to the le...
BETA PHOTO: at rap anchor. clip for pro, then up & right to ne...
topo for block route. great view's already!
Unknown climber in position to climb over the bloc...
Unknown climber on top of the block.
Belaying from bolts on Block Route. The route can...
From: Decatur, GA
Apr 4, 2007
Fun route, easier and not as runout as U Slot to the right.
|By Sean Cobourn|
From: Gramling, SC
Aug 2, 2007
rating: 5.6 PG13
Fun for sure, but hardly 5.8. One move wonder at step across move. This move is well protected.
|By Ross Purnell|
Apr 9, 2010
This is more fun, and more mellow than U slot by a long shot. It has a single 5.8 move, the rest is easy climbing.
|By Mike Holley|
From: Boone, NC
Oct 20, 2011
Its all been said, definitely the simplest way up to tree ledge as well as the best protected. However its still worth a go with the a crux move that leaves the first timer tickled.
|By Jay Shultis|
From: Blacksburg VA
Nov 7, 2011
rating: 5.8 PG13
Great route with varied climbing through crack, slab and the mentioned mantle/stem move. Must do as a Stone Mountain first timer, due to it's direct link to the base of the Great Arch! Three BOMBER pieces below the crux! Keep in mind that there is a ~35 foot run-out on easy ground between gear. Not recommended as a first lead, confidence on slab will make the run-out seem small. Aside from the crux, it's probably ~5.4 or less the whole way.
|By Will Wilson|
From: Morganton, nc
Feb 11, 2013
rating: 5.8 PG13
The first time you pull the block it feels scary as hell. i like putting a locker on my pro below it.
|By Jonathan Dull|
From: Boone, NC
Feb 18, 2013
You can plug a "bomber" yellow or red C3 in the corner before you pull the crux (block) move. Extend it with a long runner and your essentially on top rope for the crux move.