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Silk Road (High Times) 

YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c PG13

Type:  Trad, 14 pitches, 1000', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c [details]
FA: Jay Smith and friends
Season: Spring, Summer and Fall
Page Views: 4,224
Submitted By: SirTobyThe3rd on Oct 14, 2013

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View from top of East Tibetan Tower at sundown. ...


An under-rated classic. If this climb was in Yosemite there would be lines of people waiting to get on it daily. Many pitches could be linked with a 70 meter rope, and multiple link ups with other climbs are possible.

Pitch 1 and 2 – 5.11. Start up the face below a roof, just left of the crack system in the corner. 80 ft – 5.10c. Than a short 5.11 pitch on bolted slab. Traverses to climber’s right and shares the first belay with first pitch of Sands of Time. It is also possible to climb Sands of Time or link these pitches into one with a 60 M rope.

Pitch 3 – 5.10c. Start up the lie back in a left facing corner. Reach around the corner, clip a bolt, make a traverse into the neighboring left facing corner and make several more thin moves to a belay station.

Pitch 4 – 5.10b. Climb up and left below a roof. Place some protection which does not look too encouraging behind a thin flake. Do a hand traverse on a dike for a few moves to a belay station a little further left. Taller people could use a “hole” as a good rest stance. Pitches 2 and 3 link with a 60M rope.

Pitch 5 – 5.10b. A LONG and very sustained lie-back corner. No moves harder than 5.10b, but not many easier.

Pitch 6 and 7– 5.9. A needed break from sustained climbing. Ascend up the left facing corner and traverse into another left facing crack system to the left. After a step across it is possible to belay at a base of another corner. It is logical to link these pitches since next corner is fairly short.

Pitch 8 – 5.11 bolted face/slab. Had two cruxy sections. One lower on the pitch and one higher up. After you are done with face climbing traverse left under a roof to a bolted belay station. Don’t forget to place some pieces here to protect your second.

Pitch 9 – 5.10d. Undercling and lie back a left leaning roof. Stemming provides you with needed rest for placing protection.

Pitch 10 – 5.11. Money pitch. One of the coolest pitches you will ever climb. Lie back up a LONG corner. At some point the corner will pinch closed and you will be forced to stem and palm your way up to decent jug. Sustained pitch does not let you off the hook till you make final moves to a belay station.

P11 5.10b - 75 Step right and slab and layback up the arete. A close belay is necessary here since blowing it would put you back on the ledge. Follow a series of delicate moves on small knobs past spaced bolts. Once you reach a good foot rail tall climbers will be able to reach straight up and pull up to victory. For shorter climbers the best option is to travese left on small footholds until you can reach a crack that leads to the ledge above. Another exposed belay with two bolts on top of the East Tibetan Tower. It is possible to rap straight down from here to the base of P10.

Can rap the route from here with two 60M ropes, continue to the top, or link it to Karakoram Highway and Rastaman Vibrations.

Pitch 12 – 4th class. Traverse right on War Lord Ledge.

Pitch 13 – 5.9. Climb up a left leaning crack/dike to a two bolt anchor.

Pitch 14 – 5.8. Climb face/slab to a bolt and up to a ledge. Continue up the series of right facing corners to the top. Ascend 4th class to the top of formation.


Starts on the left side of Hourglass Buttress and ascends just left of “Sands of Time.” Approach from the road takes about 20 minutes.


Double set of cams from small to BD #2. Single BD #3 is sufficient and BD #4 is VERY optional. Three cams of smaller size .3-.5 would be useful for long lie back. Medium and small nuts are very useful.

Route has bolted belay stations, and can be rappelled with two 60 meter ropes!

Photos of Silk Road (High Times) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A topo of the all the various starts. (Modified ve...
BETA PHOTO: A topo of the all the various starts. (Modified ve...
Rock Climbing Photo: Simple Topo of Silk Road
BETA PHOTO: Simple Topo of Silk Road
Rock Climbing Photo: Ninja moves on the P2 5.11 slab.   Photo: Corey Ga...
Ninja moves on the P2 5.11 slab. Photo: Corey Ga...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: T. Chrudinsky on the 3rd pitch of Silk Road.
T. Chrudinsky on the 3rd pitch of Silk Road.
Rock Climbing Photo: Superb tilting job! This lie back (pitch 5) is so ...
BETA PHOTO: Superb tilting job! This lie back (pitch 5) is so ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Best pitch on the route. Incredible pitch.
Best pitch on the route. Incredible pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: How you feel after you are done with pitch 5, or p...
How you feel after you are done with pitch 5, or p...
Rock Climbing Photo: P5 is mega. Climber or ant?  Photo: Corey Gargano
P5 is mega. Climber or ant? Photo: Corey Gargano
Rock Climbing Photo: Slab pitch (p 8)
Slab pitch (p 8)
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 4. Traverse left on flakes, step in a hole, ...
Pitch 4. Traverse left on flakes, step in a hole, ...
Rock Climbing Photo: hansi on the second pitch of silk road, 5.10
hansi on the second pitch of silk road, 5.10

Comments on Silk Road (High Times) Add Comment
Show which comments
By Tzilla Rapdrilla
Nov 16, 2013
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13

followed Eric Perlman and another major Cali local of this route about 10 years ago. The route is everything is cracked up to be and more. The Hidden Wall was great too.
By Ryan Curry
Nov 26, 2013

It should be known that this all-time classic was established by Jay Smith and company and was originally named "High Times". Many years later 2 alternate approach pitches were added and the entire climb re-named. I think it would be appropriate to refer to the original name on this site as a sign of respect for the first ascentionist.

Oh, and pitch 10, the one referred to as the "money" pitch, goes at .10d. One of the best pitches of corner climbing around!
By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Nov 26, 2013
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13

Your comment about the original route name seems fine Ryan (my old topo lists it as High Times as well), but I would have to disagree with you about the pitch 10 corner going at 5.10. I know some awfully strong climbers who think that pitch is solid 5.11.
By saltlick
From: gym
Jan 31, 2014

Redonkalous fotos and TR here:
Silk Road to Karakoram Highway - SuperTopo
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 3, 2015

Overall a great route that lives up to the hype. I found the face/slab sections very difficult but the rest very reasonable.

Would have to say pitch 10 is hard 5.10 but is one of those kinds of climb where knowing a specific technique is key. The crux section of this pitch is made pretty pedestrian if you have good stemming technique and easily 5.11 if you don't.
By Dmitriy Litvak
From: Pacifica, CA
Mar 16, 2015

Mind blowing climb! The crux pitch 10 is just incredible. The crux for me was the face move 2 pitches below. I could not figure out what to do there. Pulled on the draw to get through.

We could not find any rap anchors at the top of the dome. Left slings and rings on the tree and on the belay bolts lower. The 2 60's ropes do not reach the lower anchor. We down climbed.

As of March 15,2015, 3rd pitch is soaked. We went on Sands of Time for that pitch.

Thank you for the new bolts! Donate to ASCA!
By Gargano
From: Oakland, CA
May 11, 2015

To reduce rope drag on P8:

Clip the 5th bolt with a long sling and traverse right to clip the 6th bolt.
Then climb back and unclip/backclean the 5th bolt.

This takes a good amount of drag out of the system and makes the final undercling traverse to the anchor a lot smoother.

(P8 per the topo posted above in the photos)

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