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Gandalf's Grip 

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

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 200', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
Season: When Dry
Page Views: 7,012
Submitted By: Karsten on Jan 23, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (52)
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April Milan low on P1


This stunning line is one of the longest and best climbs at Broughton. The climb is on the north face, facing the Columbia river and can be seen from highway 84.

It is usually done in 3 pitches but can be done as one pitch with a 60m rope if long runners are used.

Pitch 1: 5.9 The climb starts up a steep crack and then angles left onto the face through a few bolts. Continue up through a small roof (crux) and onto an angled ledge and a 3 bolt belay.

Pitch 2: 5.8 Continue up a right facing dihedral until it angles to the right and forms a small stance.

Pitch 3: 5.7 The last pitch goes up a wide and sometimes dirty chimney. Belay off a tree at the top.

Walk off to the left (east) or rap
-1 rap with 2 60m ropes or. . .
-2 raps down route


A regular rack of doubles to #3 camalot with one optional larger piece for the last pitch is recommended as well as a few quickdraws and double length slings

Photos of Gandalf's Grip Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Dan climbing up the 1st pitch of Gandalf's Grip.
Dan climbing up the 1st pitch of Gandalf's Grip.
Rock Climbing Photo: Kathryn on pitch 1 just before sunset.
Kathryn on pitch 1 just before sunset.
Rock Climbing Photo: Todd leads up pitch #2.
Todd leads up pitch #2.
Rock Climbing Photo: April Milan at the crux on P1
April Milan at the crux on P1

Comments on Gandalf's Grip Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 5, 2015
By Anthony Stout
From: Albuquerque, NM
Feb 1, 2006
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Great route. Been a while since I have done it though (around 2003 when I lived in rainy Portland area). Would be nice to have some photos!
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Apr 14, 2006

I agree on the photos stout. The one of Katherine at the crux is nice but I'll try to get a pic of the whole route in this summer when I in the neighborhood.
By matt bruton
From: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Sep 11, 2008

I'll load some pics, if you tell me you used the big tree 15 ft back from the face, not the little (albeit tempting) tree/shrub at to top of the route.
By ARob
Mar 11, 2009

This has gotta be the hardest 5.9+ routes I've done, at least the first pitch. The finger crack, although solid is kind of intimidating, followed by what I would call a couple of .10 moves when you get to the bolts. Go ahead and flame all you want, I know a lot of other locals who agree.
By BenCooper
May 10, 2009

What a great 1st pitch! Some fun, weird, more-solid-than-you-think rock leads to a very nice finger crack. I'd call this section 5.9-ish. The face moves above and to the left of the crack seemed a little harder than 5.9. But then again, 5.9+ is a notorious rating just about anywhere.
By jrex
From: Portland, OR
Jun 2, 2011

Just put this route up last week and had a great time. Protects well and route finding is straight forward.
By Colin Parker
From: Idyllwild, CA
Jun 22, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Climbed this yesterday and I agree with the rating comments. However, since it's such a classic, well-protected climb, I think Gandalf's should remain the notorious 5.9+ at Broughton. It seems like every 'older' crag has one.

Also, the second two pitches can easily be combined, and there are some anchors at the top of the crag so it's not necessary to use a tree.
By Nathan Scherneck
From: Portland, OR
Jun 7, 2013
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

5.9+ is a pretty heavy sandbag. We rappelled from the top of P2 to the ground with a 70m rope. Doubt this would work with a 60m rope.
By BrianWilson
From: Brush Prairie, Washington
Apr 1, 2015

Rock Climbing Photo: Interesting POV from our makeshift belay stance at...
Interesting POV from our makeshift belay stance atop P3.

Some notes on the climb from a first-timer.

Starting out P1, quickly realized the first bolt is made superfluous by a nice finger crack 3 ft away which takes cams perfectly. Found the crux to be the section just beyond the 2nd upper bolt, no gear placements available until a wider flaring crack and then the strenuous mantle finish.
P2 was our favorite section with perfect finger jam after finger jam through 2 small roofs, good chance you will use all of your small cams here.
It was hard to call P3 a 'pitch' as it was so short! Being not so adept at fist/hand crack it seemed to be a lot harder than thought. Used the biggest cam that we brought here. If you linked up P2 and P3 you could easily use a full set of cams almost in succession.
Didn't really want to belay off a tree so I stayed on route and used a nut, 0.5, and #3 to make an anchor above the rap anchor, worked out pretty well.
Rapping off the top to P1 belay was funky as the anchor is set under a sizable bugle and 10 ft left making getting to the anchor interesting. Fun route for sure, definitely felt harder than 5.9+ but hey that's just me...
By hemp22
Apr 1, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

when rappelling the route, it's definitely easier to use a 70M rope, and just rap from the top of P2 to the ground. it avoids the hanging/swinging acrobatics to reach the P1 anchors. if you don't have a 70M, maybe just do the walk-off (keeping an eye out for poison oak).

and yes, just linking P2 and P3 together is an easier way to do it, since P3 is so short (and the gear on P2 and P3 don't overlap at all in sizes).
By George Zack
From: Grand Junction, CO
Jun 27, 2015

Did this route for the first time today. Overall was a fun line and I would do it again. Some notes: P1 is solid 5.10a, although the crux (third bolt for me) is well protected by a bolt. Don't waste your time like I did trying to fiddle in gear (never got anything anyways) in the flaring, diagonal crack below the upper roof bolt, it is easier to get to that bolt than it looks. P2 and P3 would link up very nicely, then you can either belay from a tree and walk off, or belay from the anchor 10' below the top and rap from there (2 raps with a 60). A single rack from .3 - 3 BD is plenty (even if you link pitches 2 & 3) if you have a decent eye for nut placements. If you always reach for a cam first, or are leading near your limit, then I would recommend also bringing doubles from .3 - .5. I forgot to mention that P3 is not a chimney, but a 20' crack that goes from fingers to OW. However, the OW stretch is only a couple of feet and OW technique can easily be avoided by using face holds.
By Carson Baker
Aug 5, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

First pitch felt like 5.9 to me. Good climb. The crux is well protected by a bolt. On pitch 1, I placed the following:

#1 red BD cam
#1 red BD cam
#5 black Metolius cam
#2 yellow BD cam
#2 yellow Metolius cam
#3 orange Metolius cam
.75 green BD cam
#4 BD stopper

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