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Magnolia Thunderpussy 

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

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: FA: David Lovejoy, Jack Hauck, Jonathan Bjorkland, Oct. 1970 FFA Karl Karlstrom, David Lovejoy, Scott Baxter, May 1971
Season: Fall
Page Views: 8,691
Submitted By: JJ Schlick on Nov 13, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (56)
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The awesome first pitch of Magnolia Thunder Pussy

Falcon closures. MORE INFO >>>


Magnolia Thunderpussy stacks up several pitches of some of GM's best moderate climbing, and is on the to do list for many first time visitors. Clean rock, unique terrain, and good gear all conspire to make this line a memorable classic whether you are dancing up it, or cutting your teeth. There is no fixed pro, or belays on the route.

Pitch 1-

On the far left side of the Middle Section, and to the right of the Swamp Slabs, look for a stem box down low. The first pitch gives you two cracks, a cool stem box, and a small roof. The roof is better on one side or the other, but they share difficulty. After the roof there is a short section of scrambling, and I suggest you continue through this until the next belay can be reached.

Edit Note: If your second is not definitely solid on this pitch, it might be a good idea to belay above the roof on pitch one and have a little less rope out if they're going to be dangling. Running up the next section as pitch two is easy and quick, so not much time lost.

Pitch 2-

The 2nd pitch takes the next crack system right of C.W. Hicks. Climb an angling crack up right facing dihedral up to the hanging flake roof. This part is awesome for the original 5.7 grade! Chimney your way out and over, and watch the rope drag on this part. After the roof, continue up a ways to set a belay where it looks like all the technical climbing is done. A couple different chimneys offer lines to the summit.

Edit note: As noted by Arjun in the comments below, the last pitch is unique and fun climbing up a chimney and then into the bowels of the mountain to exit out of the "hole" near a chockstone. Although relatively easy (5.5 or so), it's a fun pitch that shouldn't be missed.


Far left side of Middle Section.


Standard rack, doubles, wires, runners. No fixed belays.

Photos of Magnolia Thunderpussy Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: p1
Rock Climbing Photo: Alan B looking back at Magnolia
BETA PHOTO: Alan B looking back at Magnolia
Rock Climbing Photo: Belay ledge for the second pitch.  takes some smal...
Belay ledge for the second pitch. takes some smal...
Rock Climbing Photo: Magnolia Thunderpussy, P4
Magnolia Thunderpussy, P4
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climb to the light!  The Hidden Chimney pitch on M...
Climb to the light! The Hidden Chimney pitch on M...
Rock Climbing Photo: Magnolia Thunderpussy, P1
Magnolia Thunderpussy, P1
Rock Climbing Photo: p1
Rock Climbing Photo: JB climbing his way outta pitch 3
JB climbing his way outta pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Doug taking down the belay at the top.  Did the gu...
Doug taking down the belay at the top. Did the gu...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jason above the twin cracks on pitch 1
Jason above the twin cracks on pitch 1

Comments on Magnolia Thunderpussy Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 28, 2015
By Tavis Ricksecker
From: Bishop, ca
Jun 29, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Looks like it to me! Haha climb on up in there!
From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Sep 24, 2007

Magnolia Thunderpussy was a "dancer" in San Francisco in the 60's in the Haight district. The Grateful Dead song "Sugar Magnolia" is about her. I think there was a bar in Haight Ashbury named for her later, but I don't know about one in Boulder.
By CO_Michael
Jul 1, 2008

How did this route get a 5.9+ from 5.8? Oh well.... it is classic.
By Joe Dawson
Dec 8, 2008
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13

Time to declare the emperor is naked. The first pitch is not 5.9. I led it once and TRed it a couple of time and I think it feels like 5.10+, and possibly a 5.10-.

Like many of the routes on Granite Mountain, this one is sandbagged by a couple of grades, so be warned. I only did the first pitch, so my comments only apply to it.

Nevertheless, the first pitch is fantastic and it takes great pro.
By Kyle J. Kent
Dec 29, 2008

The 5.9- Rating is not a shock on this route. Granite Mountain is known for having sandbagged (accurate?) graded routes. The roof move COULD go at 5.10a if you really wanted to regrade it. The roof has a good rest before it, perfect hands, and feet develop as you go through it. Nothing wrong with the grade if you ask me. Compare it to Coatimundi's second pitch or Candyland's third pitch; both of them are harder in my opinion and the same grade.

As for the climb itself... Fantastic crack climbing/stemming up to the roof. Fire it left (original way I believe) or right (preferred, perfect hands) and continue up a crack for a bit more. After that the route lets up some. One more exposed, awkward move brings you out of the famous "flake". Easy/anticlimactic chimneying brings you to the top. Do in two pitches with a 70M rope, just make sure to go far enough on pitch 1.

Great linkup - Magnolia -> C.W. Hicks
By ccmski
From: Prescott, AZ
Oct 17, 2009
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

Both roof exits are fun- right is harder but protects better- left is easier but involves a mantle into an OW flare. I disagree with Kyle- the chimney moves out of the flake on p3 are anything but anticlimatic- I have known a number of strong climbers that have gotten spooked on these 5.7 moves. The hidden chimney final pitch is soooo coool. 4 star route all the way
By Timmamok
From: Durango, CO
Feb 26, 2010
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

It was still 5.8 when I climbed it in the mid 90's.
By DaveF
From: Durango, CO
Apr 12, 2011

Going to college in Prescott in the mid 90's, GM was our playground. We never felt the grades to be sandbagged...a 5.8 at GM (Magnolia Thunderpussy) set the standard for all 5.8's at every other crag. Have things changed? Lovejoy rated it a 5.8 and I think he was right on.
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 20, 2011

ok let's try a new approach. let's say this route was in yosemite. what would it be rated there?

the purpose of ratings is largely to determine if the route is within your ability level before you leave the ground and get in over your head. that's what i'm trying to do here. any help would be appreciated.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 21, 2011

Hey Jon-

The first pitch is stout but has solid gear. Give me a call and I'll tell you about it.
By ccmski
From: Prescott, AZ
Oct 7, 2011
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

According to the first guidebook to GM, written by David Lovejoy, Magnolia was graded "5.8 or 5.9, depending on height".
By Nate Young
From: Phoenix
Dec 15, 2014

Climbed this route after a significant rain storm on 12/14/2014 and the first pitch was pretty good, with little water inside the significant cracks themselves.

The first pitch was pretty dry, and I took the right handed crack over the roof. Found that the heel hook was important at making the final move over the lip.

The second pitch, at the start, had running water going down the main crack, making it extremely difficult to climb it. The second pitch chimney move out of the cave overhang flake thing was just about the best set of moves at first glance you don't think are possible when you look at it from below. The flake section does go at 5.7, it wasn't difficult at all, and you get some really good exposure.

The final chimney pitch was odd, but cool. I had a difficult time fitting through the mouse hole, and had to drag the backpack from the haul loop on my harness to make it go.

  • * For some reason I thought the first pitch had a bolted belay at the top? I couldn't find it but it wasn't really necessary. Directly out of the roof, I took the awkward chimney directly above rather than going left up the staircase looking formation. If anyone has information about the possible bolts there, let me know.

  • * Also, is it possible to walk off the first pitch from the Pine Tree ledge if you had to bail?
By Miguel D
From: Prescott
Sep 4, 2015
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

We all know climbing ratings are somewhat subjective, but 5.8? I don't think it would be accurate to say that this route is about as difficult as, say, Hour of Power at Time Zone.

If this is a 5.8 then HoP would be around a 5.6. I'd put this one at 5.9+

Regardless, it's a super fun route and every pitch has something special. Thoroughly enjoyed it and definitely recommend it. The hidden chimney was really cool!
By BCramer
From: Prescott
Sep 9, 2015

Paul and Migel, Comparing MT and HofP is not very useful. Two completely different climbs. One is crack, the other face. One is sustained and committing in nature, the other short. One area is notoriously sandbagged, the other isn't. This has always been a problem when rating routes where a single move dictates the overall rating. When that one move suites a climber and he breezes through, the rating is deemed soft; others will struggle at that spot and deem it a sandbag. I personally would give MT a 9 and HofP a 7.
Having said that, it's possible the ratings are soft on the Time Zone Wall, just as the opposite is probably true of many GM routes. Many of the TZ routes were only climbed one time by Rusty and me. We gave it a rating and moved on. If you think a rating is off, post here on MP or contact the guide authors. You'd be surprised at how little info gets passed on to guide authors. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been contacted by climbers in 10+ years of guidebook writing, and only about new stuff, never ratings. Does this mean I did a good job or people are just dealing with the inaccuracies? I'll probably never know until people let me know. Bill
By Greg Opland
Sep 9, 2015

One area is notoriously sandbagged

Wait...what? You mean the Dells are sandbagged?!!!
Ha ha ha haha.
By BCramer
From: Prescott
Sep 9, 2015

Yeah, yeah, I know GM ratings are the gold standard and the rest of the world is soft. I guess a better way to put that might be - "One area is thought to have stiff ratings by some visitors who are too weak to know better, and the other area isn't worth visiting to find out what the ratings are like." How's that Greg?
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix, AZ
Sep 28, 2015

What a fantastic climb! Doesn't matter what it's rated -- Even with all the chatter on this page about it's grade, I was delighted to find it even harder than what I was expecting. Ha, good fun! Also, the flake chimney move is full value all the way. Also, I found leading up through the last pitch to be spectacular and oh so mysterious feeling, given the lack of "oohing and aaahing" about it here. Led the first pitch cleanly on sight and have done many a classic old school 5.9 that didn't make me work so hard!! Oh, what a great romp!

Guide book recommends descending by the Coke Bottle raps. Since we did those twice yesterday we decided to do the Swamp Slab descent. "Discovered" that walking along the Pine Tree ledge led to a nice ramp that spat us out just above the start of this climb -- highly recommend this descent. Seemed like it shaved well over 15 min off the Coke Bottle descent and the hike around.

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