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Lichen Delight 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ British: E3 5c

Type: Trad, 1 pitch, 100'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ British: E3 5c [details]
FA: FFA was Henry Barber with Al Rubin in 1974.
Page Views: 3,297
Submitted By: lee hansche on Jun 8, 2007
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Henry Barber on Lichen Delight, 2001, during filmi...

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Wow. What a climb. First I'll say this: Climb it because it rules!

Lichen Delight is Cathedral 5.11 crack climbing at its best. This is a great way to break in to 5.11 climbing at Cathedral. Though its not soft in the grade, it is well protected and as moderate as 5.11s get at this cliff. Lichen Delight is also much longer than the other classic 5.11a: Airation. As you might guess, this one is a test of endurance rather than a few hard moves.

There is an obscure 2nd pitch, but most people will rap off from a tree with slings. You can also traverse right to the finish of Retaliation (5.9, however, the finish is 5.6).

Right from Nomad Crack (5.10b) find the left facing corner with a small tree growing out of it low down and a handcrack splitting it. Start from a ledge and do a boulder problem to get up in to the corner. Climb the corner utilizing the hand crack. This part is moderate and really fun but not to be taken lightly. Conserve energy for the crux. The corner ends at a roof. Protect and exit right around the roof/corner to gain a finger crack. Follow discontinuing wide finger cracks and not-too-good jams up and left to a final awkward crack at the top. Throughout this section, finding the right feet is important to convince your hands that the jams are good. At the top move right to belay from a tree ledge.

Writing this description just made me want to run out and climb it again...


Walk right from Nomad Crack (5.10b) on the big tree covered ledge. Look for the sweet hand crack in the left facing corner. Start from the ledge below the corner.


Standard rack... maybe bring extra hand sized cams for the first half. The top takes nuts and small cams.

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By john strand
From: southern colo
Jul 12, 2008

FFA was Henry with Al Rubin in 1974. The variation to the left Lichen It A Lot is also very good and almost as hard(10+) and can be easily TR'd from the anchors

By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
Oct 25, 2008

Thanks John...

By john strand
From: southern colo
Mar 25, 2010

Enduro ? I think it's more of a one move wonder

By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
Sep 27, 2010

I agree with John; it's not really enduro. The pitch breaks up nicely into three sections with rests between at no-hands stances. There sure is a lot of climbing in those last 15 feet, though. Good (if small feet) and very tricky jams.

By cjdrover
From: Somerville, MA
Oct 10, 2011

I took Lee's advice and went after this as a first 5.11. I see it as a test of mental endurance - there is certainly is only one 5.11 move on it, and plenty of chances to rest, but once you commit to the route and pull onto the crux you'd better be focused if its near your limit. It eases off a little in the last 15 feet but not as much as you're hoping - definitely a challenge to keep it together and not blow the lead. Highly recommended, very fun, super safe.

By john strand
From: southern colo
Oct 10, 2011

A real one move wonder - good choice for a first 11a gear. Much easier than Airation or Ripper

Pretty cool though

By Matt Desenberg
From: Wells, Me
Aug 26, 2012
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c

Looks intimidating from the ground but it's pretty solid. Really fun above the roof.

By sibylle
From: Colorado
Apr 30, 2013

This was the first time I climbed a first ascent of a route, with a climbing partner. We saw this great crack that was harder than anything my partner or I could climb ... and we were into aid climbing in those days. I was trying to learn to aid climb so I could climb Yosemite walls ....
Anyway, I'm glad it turned out to be such a good free climb. If I ever return to Cathedral, I'll try to free climb it (with an appropriate rope gun. The days when I was regularly leading 5.11 came and went all too quickly .... )

By M Sprague
From: New England
Apr 30, 2013

Sibylle, if you remember any details (date, partner etc.) shoot Lee or me a note and we'll be sure you are attributed. It is nice to get the history.