Flash of the Blade climbs fantastic knobs and edges up the center of Razor Back. The climbing is runout in sections, but there is protection whenever you really want it. Both my partners and I agreed that this was a really excellent route; Bryan and Linda did a fine job of linking features on a really nice section of rock. The name of the route is a reference to the Iron Maiden song of the same name.
I listed this route as an 'R' rated climb, but there is no 'R' climbing at the grade of the route. Expect 15-20 foot runouts on 5.8/5.9 climbing (with clean falls) and a couple of 20-25 foot runouts on 5.6/5.7 climbing (with ground or hard slab landing falls).
Pitch one: Climb 25 feet up to the first bolt; there is some 5.7 climbing in this section. Next climb straight up to an obvious gear placement and begin traversing to the right. After 10-15 feet, you will reach a bolt. Now climb up past 4 more bolts (10a) to a two bolt anchor. There is a 15-20 foot runout on 5.9 ish climbing in this section. The rock quality and climbing on this section is fantastic. (10a; 105 feet).
Pitch two: Step right off of the belay and pull up onto a flake/hanging slab and climb amazing 5.6 knobs for 20-25 feet to the top of the flake and your first piece of pro (gear). Next follow 4 bolts up through beautiful, semi-runout smedging on great rock to a two bolt anchor. (5.9; 95 feet)
Pitch three: Climb up off of the belay and climb upwards past 4 bolts (10a). At the fourth bolt, head right towards a right trending flake/ramp and another bolt. Follow the flake upwards; you can get some small cams or nuts in the flake if you like, however the climbing is solid and moderate (maybe 5.5) and most will forgo the gear. Following the ramp, head up past two more spaced bolts (5.9) to a two bolt anchor. (10a; 105 feet).
Look at the beta photo to find the beginning of the route (the route is on the left center of the wall).
Do two rappels with two 60m ropes (you can reach the ground from the second anchor) or do 3 rappels with a 70m rope.
8-10 draws (including a couple long runners for the gear placements). Most people will want a 0.75 and 1 Camalot or equivalent for the first two pitches. If you want gear for the final pitch, bring a couple smaller cams (0.3-0.5 Camalot or equivalent).
BETA PHOTO: I have added two red bolts marking the first belay...
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 23, 2013
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Beautiful climbing. Not at all runnout. Easily done as 2 pitches linking 1+2 or 2+3. Should not be missed if you are up here. Only "hard" move was the very last move of the route, otherwise 5.9
By J. Albers
Jul 31, 2015
I think that for the most part Tim is right about the climbing not being run out, at least for the 5.8-10a climbing that is. However, there are two sections (one leaving the ground and one leaving the first pitch belay), where you have to climb 20+ feet of 5.5-5.7 where if you fell you would either hit the ground or a slab....either way you would almost certainly break some bones. Is the "run out" climbing a couple of number grades below the route grade? Sure. Is the "run out" climbing close to as run out as some other more traditional R-rated stuff in the Meadows? Nope. Still though, said climbing is nearish to the grade of the climb and thus I think telling folks that the route is "not run out at all" is not a true nor helpful statement to make for a lot of climbers that may be thinking of getting on this route. That is probably why Greg Barnes gave it "R-" or whatever he did in the Taco book. Seems reasonable enough to me.