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Motherlode Rock - North Face
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Powder Keg 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 40'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Chris Miller & Rick Shull, 1989
Page Views: 4,448
Submitted By: C Miller on Mar 13, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (71)
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Jackie Trejo, fully extended on powder keg.

Description 

Up a slippery slab (harder than it looks) to some good holds under the roof and then power out the somewhat reachy roof with a wild sequence to finish on easy slab to anchors - fun!

One of the first lines on the Motherlode Wall, this was orignally done with two bolts (the second and third) and no anchors but later retrobolted to make a popular and often done climb.


Location 

Left side of the north face and easily identified as a slab to corner capped by a roof. Nitroglycerine is just to the right on the arete.


Protection 

4 bolts, chain anchor (shared with Nitroglycerine)



Photos of Powder Keg Slideshow Add Photo
Wheee!
Wheee!
Alison on Powder Keg
Alison on Powder Keg
sequence beta
BETA PHOTO: sequence beta
Tandora starting the roof.
Tandora starting the roof.
Starting the climb a little bit to the right makes using the dihedral impossible, but offers a nice undercling and better approaches to the feet you need to stick the reach to the big jug at the lip of the roof.
BETA PHOTO: Starting the climb a little bit to the right makes...
Delicate moves to start.
Delicate moves to start.
Elaine passing the last bolt of Powder Keg (5.10a), Holcomb Valley Pinnacles.
Elaine passing the last bolt of Powder Keg (5.10a)...
Fun climb!
Fun climb!
Chris topping out on Powder Keg (5.10a), Holcomb Valley Pinnacles. <br />
Chris topping out on Powder Keg (5.10a), Holcomb V...
Nice recovery T!
Nice recovery T!
Myself on Powder Keg
Myself on Powder Keg
Tom D starting the true crux of Powder Keg - the slick and very thin slab at the start.
Tom D starting the true crux of Powder Keg - the s...
Getting the 2nd clip
Getting the 2nd clip
Garrett goes to match on the roof jug
Garrett goes to match on the roof jug
Elaine looking stylish on Powder Keg (5.10a), Holcomb Valley Pinnacles.
Elaine looking stylish on Powder Keg (5.10a), Holc...
Nearing the top of Powder Keg (5.10a), Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Nearing the top of Powder Keg (5.10a), Holcomb Val...
Charlie pulling the roof on lead while running a mild fever and nursing a broken hip.
Charlie pulling the roof on lead while running a m...
 enjoying  the moves
enjoying the moves
Undercling sligtly left of the big hole is much more easier and solid
Undercling sligtly left of the big hole is much mo...
Powder Keg (5.10a), Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
BETA PHOTO: Powder Keg (5.10a), Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Comments on Powder Keg Add Comment
Show which comments
By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
May 31, 2007

This is a fantastic route! (and great photo op ;-) The crux is really the thin slab to reach the first bolt. The roof is pretty easy on great holds - just watch those feet! A must if you're at the Pinnacles.

By Jason Partin
From: San Diego, CA
Jun 28, 2009
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Fun climb, perhaps an anti-climatic summit... It's worth doing for the combination of footwork at the start, power-reach on the roof, and heel hook to get out from under the roof. My ankles were scratched badly... consider tape if you're like I am, and not experienced with heel hooks. It's nice to have a spotter as you try to clip the second bolt, the first bolt wouldn't stop you from hitting your head or twisting an ankle in the rocks below.

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Sep 6, 2010
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

IMHO this felt harder than 5.10a to me, the climbing up to and around the roof felt more technical than some of the steep 5.10a climbs hereabouts.

If you're tall you can clip the first bolt from the right side of the ledge - this really takes the edge off the opening moves.

Agreed that a fall while attempting to clip the second bolt would result in a grounder unless the belayer did a sprint or reeled you in.

By Greg G
From: SLC, UT
Jan 16, 2012

This route is like bouldering with a rope. Very fun, and unique! I have yet to do a route like it anywhere else. The upper half of the route is fun as well.

By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Sep 20, 2013

Start is a bit slick but easily protected by clipping bolt from ledge right if needed. Overlooking edges or thin cracks may make progress more difficult. I personally found the stem to be a bit long to get established, but very solid. Fun route, powerful and was sucking oxygen by the time I got on the headwall heading to the anchors. My opinion... harder than 10a. Maybe even harder than the 10c neighbor to the right but felt like a wuss bumping it two letters.

Another Nice route by Chris & Rick - gracias boys!

By johnnydanger
From: California
Oct 7, 2013
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Clip the first bolt from the right. Beware of the polished lower slab. Fun move over the roof and a easy finish. Harder than 10a. Fun one-move-wonder!