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South Face - Left Side
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Chauvinist, The T 
Chingadera T 
Innominate, The T 
Left Ski Track T 
Offshoot, The T 
Right Ski Track T 
Sling Swing Traverse T 
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Left Ski Track 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 300'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Chuck wilts and Ray Van Aken, Sept 1947
Page Views: 15,421
Submitted By: Dpurf on Feb 24, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (158)
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Anchors atop P1, sweet hangout ledge


Left Ski Track is location 200 right and around for Open Book. 2 paralle right curving cracks in the middle of the South Face. It has a series of variation from 5.6 to 5.9.

P1 - From the tree there is a sloping platform, walk out on to it next to the large block. I fyou keep going that will take you to the Chauvinist. Move up and over (can be hard to protect)then move left to a crack leading to the face between the "ski tracks". Move up and stay to the left on great jugs to a 2 bolt belay.

P2 - Climb the left 'ski track' crack to its end at a small ledge with a fixed pin. Then take the classic "Step Around" move that take you to around the corner to the right to a series of ledges. Belay on the first good ledge.

P3 - climbs the crack system up and right pass a series of ledges. at the 3rd ledge move left and up to a vertical wall with double cracks. Move left on to a 4th class ledge to take you to the top.

Variation 1 - during the 2nd pitch at the end of the crack on the small ledge climb up and left past a bolt (5.9) to a crack system that leads to the top.

V2 - From the second belay, climb straight up the arete/crack that blanks into a slab with a bolt that lead to the 4th class ledge. Then move tot he top.

V3 - On the 3rd ptich from the last ledge move out right up a 5.6 crack until it ends and traverse right across the slab and up to the top.

V4 *** - and the Best finish (5.8) At the begining of the leftward traverse at the 4th class ledge, climb directly over a bulge to a pin then delicate friction moves to the top.


Pro to 2.5 inches.

Photos of Left Ski Track Slideshow Add Photo
Tamara moving through the infamous "Step Arou...
Tamara moving through the infamous "Step Arou...
Kim on lead pitch one of LST.  Taken 6/14/07
Kim on lead pitch one of LST. Taken 6/14/07
Kim at the slabby start of LST; belayed by Brett. ...
Kim at the slabby start of LST; belayed by Brett. ...
hannah is not psyched about the crux move
BETA PHOTO: hannah is not psyched about the crux move
Scott Henderson on the 2nd P crack.
Scott Henderson on the 2nd P crack.
Left Ski Track
Left Ski Track
Richard Shore at the "Step Across" on Le...
Richard Shore at the "Step Across" on Le...
Left Ski Track 2
Left Ski Track 2
Kim having fun leading pitch one of LST. Great cli...
Kim having fun leading pitch one of LST. Great cli...
P1, anchors are up about 160 feet near horizontal ...
BETA PHOTO: P1, anchors are up about 160 feet near horizontal ...
yet another left ski track pix. Sept 2006
yet another left ski track pix. Sept 2006
My first trad lead on the eve of my 53rd birthday....
My first trad lead on the eve of my 53rd birthday....
Suprisingly peppy step-around
Suprisingly peppy step-around
Heading up to the first belay on Left Ski Track. I...
BETA PHOTO: Heading up to the first belay on Left Ski Track. I...
Bruce Diffenbaugh on Ski Tracks '81 or '82 peeking...
Bruce Diffenbaugh on Ski Tracks '81 or '82 peeking...
P2, coming up to the step-around.
P2, coming up to the step-around.

Comments on Left Ski Track Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 21, 2015
By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Apr 8, 2007
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This is a fun climb! Did it in March (it was hot all over SoCal so we snuck in for a great day while the climbing gods were looking the other way ;-) The step around is awesome but don't be confused by the topo - climb up onto the block, clip the upper piton, and do the step around with your feet on the lower section of the block. This move is not done below the block as the topo shows, unless you want it to be a lot harder than 5.7. I prefer the variation 2 above the standard second belay - it's a more aesthetic line that climbs well and the slab moves at the top are sweet! The step around is definately the money but I think the move is considerably harder than the rating given for this climb.
By Greg DeMatteo
From: W. Lebanon, NH
May 12, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Probably the most unique 5.6 I've ever done. Slinging chickenheads and pimpin up the corner and then the airy step-around. Highly recommended.
By shad O'Neel
Nov 11, 2007

Really fun , lots of nuts typical for tahhquitz. I found a big piece useful, both in the 2nd anchor and to protect for my second above the bolt on the finish pitch. A red tricam protected the move getting into the crack off the slab way better than a cam, i cant imagine climbing here without tricams.
By JoshuaTreeRunner
From: Los Angeles
Sep 22, 2008

Enjoyable variety. Mellow, fun, and safe. Classic.
By Dan Costello
Apr 19, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Lots of fun! I'm a newish leader on multipitch routes, so here are my impressions for other fresh faces looking for an intro to Tahquitz.

Go for it. This route has generous placements for protection throughout. I will echo Bill Olszewski's advice to not get lured below the block on the step-around. The fixed pitons are a nice guide. As on most traversing moves, remember to protect after the traverse -- If your second is nervous a solid placement after the step-around will reduce fears of a swinging fall and thus lessen the amount of Terrorface.

Bring long slings, and actively plan your placements to reduce rope drag.
By Chris D
From: the couch
Mar 17, 2010

If you are a new leader this route is exciting as hell. The first pitch is great holds and confident climbing, but pro has to be well-extended to prevent drag and a fall would be, well, bumpy on the highly featured rock.

The second pitch past the step-around is as airy as it gets at the grade and height and is totally exhilarating. Step back out at the belay past the step-around and throw some extra pro in for your second.

For the third pitch we opted to take the flake that runs pretty much straight up from the belay to the fourth-class traverse left after looking up the gully that constitutes the proper final pitch. Looked like steep friction with crazy exposure below so felt stronger on the flake.

What a great climb.
By saltlick
From: gym
Apr 18, 2011

+1 on tricams - many of the pin scars protect well with cams, and great nut placements are abundant, but if you've got the tricams then you'll appreciate them more than ever here. fun route, though I was a little concerned about the stability of the big chockstone just below the first belay...
By Fat Dad
From: Los Angeles, CA
May 12, 2011

"...i cant imagine climbing here without tricams."

The route has been climbed countless times since 1947, well before the advent of tricams. It's great that you thought they worked well on this route, but this route protects great with just about any type of passive gear or cams.
By Tradoholic
Oct 22, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

The step around's not bad at all just a bit of balance is needed. Taller folk and get a nice finger slot up and right of the piton.
By Gabe K
Oct 26, 2011

Climbed this two weeks ago at the end of the day. We were too tired to want to finish after the first pitch - thankfully a 60m rope will get you safely down to the ground a bit uphill of where the climb starts (climber's right).
By Tapawingo
Jun 27, 2012

Mellow and fun route, I feet it is a solid first lead for anyone considering the short pitches and good placements. The step around was fun even without sporting a sombrero and chucks. We did the finish that goes straight up the crack at the 2nd belay which was great but I ended up wandering around a bit to find a good belay spot from the top.
By skinny legs and all
From: Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Feb 10, 2013

There is a beautiful essay about a wobbler John Long had while following John Bachar soloing in Long's book Rock Jocks, Wall Rats and Hangdogs called "Last Blasphemy".
By Michael Douglas
From: Redlands, Ca
Feb 19, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

The step around is really dicy for the follower since they are pulling the final pieces of gear. A #3 C4 in the crack following the traverse with a double length sling to extend will do the trick. Otherwise, the 2nd can take a nasty wipper if the last pice between them and the anchor is the piton.
By Russ Walling
From: www.FishProducts.com
Apr 8, 2013

There is a beautiful essay about a wobbler John Long had while following John Bachar soloing in Long's book Rock Jocks, Wall Rats and Hangdogs called "Last Blasphemy".

Wrong Left Ski Track there history buff. The Left Ski Track depicted in the story is in JT, and Largo ain't wobbling on a 5.6- ever. And as an aside, the story is titled the The Only Blasphemy.

Here is the link to the climb: mountainproject.com/v/left-ski...
By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 18, 2013

It's been years since I climbed the first pitch of this route, and I found the finish toward the belay just as gripping as I did when I was green. These moves are clearly the crux. The step-around is not too difficult or scary at all. The thing is that the leader is not well protected on the final moves of the first pitch, but the second is, and vice versa on the step-around of the second pitch. Pick yer poison.

Tricams are not needed on this route. Also, the 5.8 finish with the piton is quite nice and enhances the diversity of climbing.
By K-Tanz
From: Phoenix, AZ
Jan 21, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I thought this was pretty stiff for a 5.6 but I have a feeling that's just the standard of the area. I found the first pitch to be the definite crux. The move from the starting ramp to gain the big holds on the face is tough to protect but a #3 Mastercam in a big pin scar seated pretty comfortably. Bring lots of long slings for the P1 face, I used all 10 I brought. Moving to the anchors don't be tempted to move left with the anchors at eye level, but instead move up with the anchors about at knee level for an easy and safe leftward traverse. I thought P2 was straightforward and the step-around was no real issue but was fun with some cool exposure. I used a #3 C4 and some small gear for the P2 belay.
Protection was there but the novice leader may have some issues as the protection is sometimes inobvious. I definitely used some Ball-Nuts in pin scars which was pretty rad I thought!
By Chris D
From: the couch
May 4, 2014

After climbing this route a few times, I'd advise strongly against the advice K-Tanz gives above. Half the fun of climbing this route is unlocking the puzzle to achieving the anchors at the top of the first pitch from below. The moves aren't that hard, and are a lot of fun. You will want to go pretty far left below the anchors (before you even can see the bolts) to find the easiest way to the bolts from below. It's challenging, but rewarding. Just pay attention to where the bolts are before you leave the ground if you're worried about missing the. At the grade, why would you want to take the easier way?

You get a bomber cam right before you head out left, so you'll be solid.

This route has a huge collection of small to large pin scars for you to plug mastercams in.
By Sam Cannon
From: Holladay, Utah
Jun 13, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I found the infamous step around to be quite mellow, I was actually disappointed as it is hyped up quite a bit (though I think the route itself is classic). I found the face-undercling on P1 to be very committing and somewhat PG-13.I could've gone off route I guess, but the moves were thrilling and yeah, committing.

Probably only a handful of sub 5.7 routes that are this incredible. Don't know why anyone would give it less than 4 stars.
By Matt Pross
Jul 21, 2014

Perspective of a newer leader...

The approach was more exhausting than the climb.

The last couple moves below the first anchor ledge were awesome but definitely seemed trickier and more committing than I expected from 5.6. The slab moves to exit the crack on p3 seemed a lot trickier than expected also. Anyone have pointers on this one?

This photo blog has good photos to find the friction decent jonclimbingon.blogspot.com

If you want to learn/new to leading, I would suggest looking into routs on Hogsback (near Lover's Leap). The extra driving from LA, I think is worth the shorter approach and much more straight forward routs (as a beginner).

Side note, I saw an old guide book (80s probably) that has this as a 5.5.
By Robert Hall
Aug 26, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Did this 2 yrs ago and don't recall anything complicated about getting to the anchors of P1. I do remember feeling I was about to "cruise" the step-around...when suddenly my body was SLOWLY just pitching off, a quick grab for some hold pulled me back in, but it was a scary moment...I can't remember a similar experience in several decades of climbing. (i.e. when I thought I was in balance, but wasn't)
Also, as mentioned above, there's a good placement up high (Yellow Alien, small Camalot) to protect the follower on this move. I remember it's up high because I had to remove it after my 5ft 4" second climbed over to the belay.
By Ryan Strickland
From: Idyllwild, CA
Apr 21, 2015

A 60m rope will get you from the ground to just past the step around to belay. Doing it that way makes for a really fun, long pitch.

Either way, great route.
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