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Machete Ridge Area
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YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b

Type:  Sport, 5 pitches, 500', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Eric Brand, Jeff Dopp, and John McCoy 1994
Page Views: 4,234
Submitted By: Aron Quiter on Jul 3, 2003

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Unknown climbers on the 3rd (arete) pitch of Cuida...

Emergency Closure Announced - Resurrection Wall MORE INFO >>>


This route, due to incessant rock rain down in the cave below, is CLOSED. Which sucks, since it's a sweet route! Check the postings in the park, it might open back up.

Cuidado is Spanish for BE CAREFUL. If this does open back up and you can climb it again, be mindful with the rockfall that you cause on the way up. If someone was hit by some of the crud falling off of the upper pitches of the rock, this would be a nasty blow, with no hope for rapid rescue. It's at least 3/4 of a mile back on the trail, and another 20 - 30 minutes back down a windy road to get some help.

Except for the first and fourth pitches, 5.10 is the rule of thumb. Not just crux moves, in many sections there are over 50 feet of 5.9 or harder continuous moves. Loose rock is also the rule of thumb, so tap before you weight anything.

To approach this climb, head down the trail approaching Machete Ridge to the far side of the rock. Head into the cave area which involves going through the metal gate. Head up and right when you can just at the end of the cave over some 4th - 5th class boulders, which puts you on a wide bushless grassy knoll. There is a long bolted ramp that goes up and right above a tree, and this is where the climb starts.

Pitch 1:

The first pitch is merely a 4th class ramp, that heads up and right to a 5.7 slab section near the top. There is a set of old rusty anchors and the end of the ramp that you should pass, and around the corner you will find a cave that allows for a nice belay.

Pitch 2:

The second pitch initially traverses left out of the cave to a bolt, where you will head almost directly up 5 bolts of the most overhung 5.10+ climbing on the route. Some of the holds are loose, others are REALLY loose. put a long runner on the bolt before heading left for some sustained 5.8 - 5.9 traverse undercling and balance fun. Pull a 5.9 bulge move which takes you back right (more long slings around this 13 degree turn), to the second belay, which isn't nearly as comfortable as the first.

Pitch 3:

The third pitch offers you a nice break at first, and then really sustained 5.10 overhung fun for the last 2/3 of the route. Continue up and right through some very runout (and loose) 5.7 - 5.8 slab climbing. A sharp left and then right turn from the third to fifth bolts requires a little more sling assistance to avoid making the 5.10+ section later feel like 5.11+. The less adventuresome can use slings around some of the larger knobs for additional protection on the bottom section. There is a seven bolt 5.10 section at the top of this pitch that offers little let up, and an awesome pump over mostly vertical terrain. 3 bolts await up top, and be prepared to get worshipped for leading the previous pitch so your partner didn't have to.

Pitch 4:

A good rest before a final 5.10 section in the final pitch. A short 3 bolt low fifth class section on loose rock (what else?) and some moss and lichen. Yuck. A badly needed rest after the previous pitch. A 2 bolt anchor awaits.

Pitch 5:

To the top. Walk around the corner from the belay onto a horizontal ramp. Walk over to the depression in the rock, and pull one last 5.10b overhung move over a lip to get your into a large bowl. A final tough 5.9 move pushes you over one more lip, and into a simple scramble to the top in another larger bowl. Bolts await up top.

To descend, walk across the ridge to the far side of this small false summit on Machete Ridge. The belay bolts are a pain to find, but drop you off the back into a gully a long ways down. Scramble down the sketchy gully to the base area, using ropes if you think you're going to slide and keep going. You'll be let out finally onto a small ramp, which will put you about 75 feet left of the start of the route.


16 draws will get you through the longest pitch.

Photos of Cuidado! Slideshow Add Photo
John McCoy on the first accent. Looking straight d...
John McCoy on the first accent. Looking straight d...
The third pitch follows the arete.
The third pitch follows the arete.

Comments on Cuidado! Add Comment
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By Kyle Queener
From: Monterey, California
Jan 30, 2009

Also Cuidado can mean "Watch out" or a "Head's up" kind of meaning. Very fitting for the holds you'll be pulling out on the way up. This route is open, but try to climb it on weekdays while no one is in the caves.
By Ben Philbrick
From: lucerne, switzerland
Mar 10, 2012

i did this route with a buddy of mine, and it's my favorite at pinn to date! i got to lead pitches 1, 3, and 5, and i wouldn't have it any other way. the exposure on pitches 3 and 5 make the leading that much more spectacular! the bolts are good, and the rock is relatively solid for pinn climbing. take a camera for when you get to the top of the north tower of machete ridge!
By Simon W
Dec 19, 2013

Awesome climb! The only long climb I have done at the Pinnacles (there aren't many) and this one is well worth the approach and decent! If you only climb the short rigs over at the East Side you are doing yourself a disservice, this is a full value route!

It definitely needs a bit more traffic to clean up, but it's not a complete choss pile either. The only hold I pulled off, looked suspect, and was right after clipping the 4th bolt on the 2nd pitch (right where the business lets up for a sec) and this resulted in a clean 10 footer.


If you forget to count the bolts on the traverse on the second pitch and get disoriented at the last one, the less mossy area to the right makes it obvious that it's time to pull the bulge.

Extend a lot on the 3rd pitch. Not just the 2 bolts mentioned in the book (those def need LONG runners, shorties don't do it.) I had horrendous rope drag at the top of the pitch, making the final moves feel pretty spicy.

4th pitch is solid 5.6 moss. If you are from the UK it will probably feel more like 5.4 moss. The rock is good.

Climb this route! :)
By David Cook
Dec 25, 2014

If you need to rappel this route, bring two 60 meter ropes!
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