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Stone Mountain South Face
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Unsorted Routes:

No Alternative 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ British: MS 4a PG13

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 400'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ British: MS 4a [details]
FA: George DeWolfe, Robin Wright, John Palmer - 1965
Page Views: 6,469
Submitted By: saxfiend on Nov 16, 2006
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (59)
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BETA PHOTO: No Alternative 1st pitch goes up the flake in the ...
2013 Closures MORE INFO >>>


Another Stone Mountain classic, No Alternative is a great place to get a taste of the infamous runout climbing here without feeling like you're gonna die! The first half of the climb is like Great Arch -- it'll take all the pro you care to place. The upper half is a different story: pure friction climbing with one bolt 75 feet above the belay; you might be able to get a small cam in under one or two thin overhangs. At 5.5, though, its easy friction and great exposure.

P1 -- follow a left-facing corner/flake to its end at a bolted belay, about 200' (some climbers break this into two pitches).

P2 -- go straight up the moderate face to a bolt (75') and continue another 75' to another bolted belay.

P3 -- continue up easier terrain (5.3, unprotected) to rap anchors below the trees at the summit.

Trivia: the original name of this route was Punt Flake.


At the right end of the Tree Ledge, belay at the base of a ramp that slants up and right to where it intersects with a left-facing dihedral; if you're worried about rope length, you can scramble up the ramp to the corner and belay there for P1, anchoring at a tree. Rap down with double ropes or walk off using the summit trail.


Medium gear on P1; one quickdraw on P2. Bolted belays.

Photos of No Alternative Slideshow Add Photo
Me and Mike Moore, just above last Belay Station (P3) of No Alternative!  Be Carefull on 5-3(-) Walk/Climb Up to the top if taking Trail down, No Bolts/Protection!
Me and Mike Moore, just above last Belay Station (...
Me at Tree Ledge, No Alternative in Background! Carefull if you walkup 6-12 inch Ledge that leads to the Tree at Bottom of (P1) if no rope is used! Can Wrap Tree For Belay Station(May be nessicery with shorter Ropes!) 1 Long and 1 Short Sling
Me at Tree Ledge, No Alternative in Background! Ca...
Me at top of (P1) on- No Alternative after Lead! Great Route!!!
Me at top of (P1) on- No Alternative after Lead! G...
Me at the top of the first pitch by the tree mid route. One bolt and two sets of anchors send you to the top!! A couple good horizontal cracks fit a C3 #1 & C4 #2 if you prefer protect the runouts on pitch's 2 and 3.
BETA PHOTO: Me at the top of the first pitch by the tree mid r...
Fran pulls a lieback on the nice P1 dihedral on No Alternative.
Fran pulls a lieback on the nice P1 dihedral on No...
Off to the races on P2 of No Alternative.  Photo by Fran.
Off to the races on P2 of No Alternative. Photo b...
Ryan follows on P2 of No Alternative.
Ryan follows on P2 of No Alternative.
No Alternative.  Climbers at the top of pitch one, two and three.  Beautiful fall day in October 2011.
No Alternative. Climbers at the top of pitch one,...
Leading p1 of No Alternative. Great Arch in the background.
Leading p1 of No Alternative. Great Arch in the ba...
No Alternative
No Alternative
Looking up p2 of No Alternative.
Looking up p2 of No Alternative.
1st pitch corner.
1st pitch corner.
Pitch 1
Pitch 1
Comments on No Alternative Add Comment
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By mbuntaine
From: Durham, NC
Oct 26, 2009
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

Having never climbed No Alternative, we were told to expect some serious runouts on P2 above the main crack/corner system. In reality there are 2-3 overhanging brows that will take a wide range of gear from micro-cams to #1 C4 cams. You are really never more than 25' out from your last piece if you bring a light rack. Not as scary as we were led to believe.

By Shawn Heath
From: Forchheim, Germany
Aug 18, 2010
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a PG13

This was my second gear lead, after Dirty Crack. The first pitch was nice and easy and I placed tons of protection on it and felt like I was pulling a dead body the last 30 feet. The second pitch scared the bejesus out of me. It probably didn't help that it was July and my feet felt like they were melting off the rock, but that first (and only) bolt at 75 feet is crazy. I tried to place some gear in those horizontals mbuntaine mentioned, but watched as they slid down the rope. Then I got to the anchors and looked up and figured the next anchors weren't that far away and kept climbing. I was on a 70m rope, but still ran out about 10 feet away from the last anchors. I got taken off belay because I was so close, anchored, and then couldn't figure out what was going on down below because I was 260 feet above my belayer and couldn't see or hear her. She eventually climbed up to the rope, tied in and climbed up to me. Not good. Don't tie pitches together on this route.

By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Oct 20, 2011

Great Alternative if the Arch is crowded! Second pitch is comparable to Yardarm with less lengthy run outs between pro. Fun stuff all around!!! Second and third pitches are good for the beginning slabber!

By Jason Blevins
From: Burlington, NC
Apr 24, 2012

If you stay on Route, on (P2) of No Alternative, there is no Protection till after you get past the only Bolt, between Belay Stations!!! There is Place to put in Small Cam's or Ball Nut's, after Bolt and just before the Belay Station at top of (P2)!!! It's alittle runout, but all there for you in footplacing!

By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Jan 31, 2013

Why the name change from the original "Punt Flake" to "No Alternative?"

By Jonathan Dull
From: NC High County
Feb 18, 2013

If you want to lessen the runouts on pitch 2, bring a yellow C3 and a .75BD. You can plug the C3 in the first overlapping horizontal you approach about 25-30 feet off the belay, you just have to look a little, there is a small pocket that is a text-book yellow C3 placement, its bomber. You can plug the .75 about 15 feet below the anchors if your feeling a little iffy about the last couple moves to the anchors on that last runout, this placement is also text-book and bomber.

By SinRopa
From: parts unknown
Sep 4, 2013

Did this one last weekend. The first pitch was covered in spiderwebs, there's a big prickly bush to climb through, and a dead tree at the top of the crack is just waiting to fall and take out you and your belayer. As you near the anchor bolts there's another thorn bush, but you can climb up to the right and traverse around/over it if you're not in the mood to get bloody (again). Extend your runners and be prepared for massive rope drag anyway.

P2 is fun though, and isn't nearly as runout as it looks as long as you've got some small cams with you.