This route is just to the right of the huge roof on the right side of Combat Rock. It is the big dihedral that faces right. Climb up the dihedral with small nuts and small cams to the edge of the roof. You have 2 options from here. You can go straight up for another 20' to a very bad sling belay over a hollow flake or go up left to a natural belay and continue with a 5.9 hand crack (haven't done that last pitch).
Bring RPs, small cams and a few hand-sized pieces.
It feels harder, too! I think it used to have fixed pins it. I thought it was funky and felt like mid 5.10. It does protect o.k with small stuff. It's worth it for the short, but perfect steep handcrack above.
I just climbed it yesterday and really liked it. The first dihedral looks like it will be an RP crack, but on the right wall of the dihedral is a 1/2" crack which offers great pro and a lieback for fingers. The only RP I had to place was the section just after the dihedral just before pulling out of the crack system onto the right arete. There was nothing fixed at the top of the "1st pitch", so I continued up the second to the juniper tree. Fun hand crack over a bulge at the end. We rapped off to the right with just our 60m rope and that worked fine. Give this bad little route a try!
I too have always wondered about the exact line of this route. To me going straight up the small left facing dihedral seems the logical line, but this feels more like 10d to me. I always slotted a tiny TCU in the 3/8 inch crack and layed back on it reaching far to the right to catch a good hole on a flake thereby avaiding the dihedral and instead using it for my left hand only with my right taking holds on the face. Then 15 feet or so below the right side of the big roof I [joined] the dihedral again and took it up past the roof. This variation felt 10a. But, who knows? Fun route, though. I first [climbed] it in '93 or so and have never seen pitons in it.
Not sure what people are talking about by saying this route is "much better than it looks." My partner and I both were drawn to it from well down the hill, and it didn't disappoint. We only did the first pitch because the hand crack looked short and trivial, but maybe we missed something. The first pitch was excellent: Keeps coming at you, with much more hard climbing than you'd expect. Pro is adequate but only PG at the bottom, and you have to work to get good pro in the upper left-facing corner. Surprisingly, the best protected part is the section where you think you're only going to get RPs! We rapped with one 60m rope from the horn above the roof, which seems perfectly solid.
By Ivan Rezucha From: Fort Collins, CO Nov 25, 2007 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
The route looks better from down the hill than it does from below. The corners look steep from down the hill, then when walking up they looked low angle, but then from below and climbing they are indeed pretty steep, but the route looked pretty ugly to me. The pro sucks pretty much at the bottom up to the block that looks loose but isn't. There's a ring pin low down that is relatively recent (little rust). We climbed the middle corner left hand and left foot in the corner, right hand and right foot out right (see photo). The upper corner has less than perfect gear, but enough of it to make it safe. A #3 Camalot is useful just below the big roof at the end of the hard climbing. Rossiter's topo shows 10a up higher, but that can't be right.
Several yrs ago having a beer at Ed's Cantina I heard a out of town climber shouting how much fun he and his buddies had at Combat Rock. Rockclimber I thought. He reached over the counter next to me. "Ya, like that Combat Rock, pretty good granite." "Man, we had a good time climbing there today, etc. But, that route Nuclear Polka, broke my ankle on it a few years back." "Sorry to hear that Buddy, it is a little spooky at the start, but don't blame me". FAA Kimball and Sapp, 1984.
I might bump this from 2.5 to 3 stars. It is a pumpy route, but very good. Make sure and have some small cams because the side crack to the right of the dihedral eats them up. We finished the route by going to the bolted belay anchors to the right of this route on the top of the bolted climb to the right and were able to get down with a single 60 m (I think that was the length... wasn't my rope) rope.
Sweet route. I did not find solid gear until I hit the dihedral with the thin crack. I think the lower section may deserve a PG13 where you have to make that committing move to the diagonal running up to the dihedral. I managed to get in a small wire and a brassie but I did not have much confidence they would keep me off the ledge below. Up top, I did not see the slung horn but did get to the new bolted anchor off to the right. From here, it is about 29m to the base of Monkey Lust and the new route.