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Glacier Point Apron
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The Grack - Center 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 500'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Bill Sorenson, Jack Delk 1967
Page Views: 15,660
Submitted By: Lee Jensen on Sep 20, 2006

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Awesome hand crack on pitch 2.

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  • Description 

    On the east side of the apron a great finger crack ascends in a rightward sloping direction. Easy protection on a moderate angle make this a classic beginners route.

    Pitch 1 - (5.5) Go directly up the easy slabs along a left facing dihedral until it is overlapped by a right facing one. Continue up into the crack.

    Pitch 2 - (5.6) Follow the crack as it slowly slopes to the right. At one point perfect double finger cracks open up.

    Pitch 3 - (5.6) Continue up the crack until it fades out then either go up and left (easier) or go directly to the double bolt anchors across the face (a bit more difficult).

    Descend the route by rapping the bolt anchors on The Grack - Marginal (if it is clear). This can be done in two raps with two 60m. Make sure you use the second bolt anchors if attempting to do it in two raps. If Marginal is crowded then you can go to the south (climbers left) and rap off blocks and trees.

    Location 

    Once you are at the apron it is easiest to find The Grack by looking for the long line of people waiting to climb it. If by some chance the route is devoid of people look for the most worn finger crack on the wall. It is so worn that it is visible from across the valley.

    Protection 

    Gear to 2 inches with a focus on small nuts and cams.


    Photos of The Grack - Center Slideshow Add Photo
    Coming across one of the locals while rappeling do...
    Coming across one of the locals while rappeling do...
    Sandra at the optional belay for P1.  P2 can be se...
    Sandra at the optional belay for P1. P2 can be se...
    Shawn and Scott on the last pitch of the Grack on ...
    Shawn and Scott on the last pitch of the Grack on ...
    Summit!
    Summit!
    Crowds on GPA
    Crowds on GPA
    Hanging out after the first rappel
    Hanging out after the first rappel
    Brittany Pace. Age 7.
    Brittany Pace. Age 7.
    The grack
    The grack
    Michael McKay nears the anchor atop P3 of the Grac...
    Michael McKay nears the anchor atop P3 of the Grac...
    Tom on the Grack Center, May 2014
    Tom on the Grack Center, May 2014
    The conga line on Grack. In order to miss the crow...
    The conga line on Grack. In order to miss the crow...
    The 2nd pitch of the Grack. It's an enjoyable crui...
    The 2nd pitch of the Grack. It's an enjoyable crui...
    Michael McKay enjoys easy liebacking up the first ...
    Michael McKay enjoys easy liebacking up the first ...
    P 2 of the Grack. In my opinion, this is the best ...
    P 2 of the Grack. In my opinion, this is the best ...
    Britts!
    Britts!
    Coming up the second pitch
    Coming up the second pitch

    Comments on The Grack - Center Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 14, 2015
    By Josh Hibbard
    From: Los Angeles Area, CA
    Mar 23, 2007

    This is a great climb in the Valley. Get up early, because this is a heavy traffic area. P2 was the best pitch for me... a nice low angle crack. The last time I climbed this route I ran into two bats chillin' in the crack on the second pitch! Fortunately, they did not bite... There is always word of large rockfall in this area, so climbers beware.
    By Sergio P
    From: Idaho Springs, CO
    Jun 24, 2007
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    With a 70m rope you can link pitch 2 & 3. Also, rapping with a 70m works fine.
    By Bill Olszewski
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    May 15, 2009

    This is a great route! P2 is definitely one of the best easy pitches in the Valley. Get there early to avoid the crowd and the relentless sun.
    By mikemcee
    From: Mill Valley, CA
    Aug 31, 2009

    For a fun variation, start to the right of the left facing corner and do the slab/friction up to the juggy moves over the bulge. P2/3 is beautiful hands/fingers/tips with great feet the whole way.

    We did it Sunday 8/30 and we were the only ones on that side of the apron. Could have been because it was 90 degrees and in the morning sun but still cool to have it all to ourselves. Super fun, sustained moderate climb. Highly recommended.
    By Floyd Hayes
    Aug 2, 2010
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    To get up this FAST (reducing risk of rockfall), consider simulclimbing, at least for the first two pitches. The leader can lead the first two pitches without pausing to belay after pitch 1 while the follower simulclimbs on pitch 1. Pitch 1 is easy class 4 until near the top and there is no way the follower is going to fall, so simulclimbing here is as safe as it gets. Once atop pitch 2 the leader can belay the follower at the crux of the climb (a tricky move for 5.6) near the top of pitch 1.
    By Dave Alden
    From: San Diego, CA
    Feb 28, 2011
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

    Very fun route, probably would link pitches if ever climbed again. A little bit of loose rock in places. Views were incredible!
    By Rodger Raubach
    Mar 14, 2011
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    This may be the absolute best 5.6 climb ANYWHERE! I've done it 5 times over the years, and if I lived closer to California it would be many time that number. The second lead is the "real deal;" possibly as classic as it gets.
    By 303scott
    May 13, 2011

    We found the approach described in the book to be unnecessarily difficult. We descended straight down from the Grack and it was super easy and quick. Here's the beta from the parking lot described in the book.

    Take the main hiker's trail (found at the NE corner of the parking lot) for a few hundred meters until you pass an A-Frame roofed outbuilding on the right (it will be obvious). Go 30 meters further and turn right (towards the Apron) and hike up towards the climbs. Follow the faint trail as it skirts a bog for a few hundred meters(keep the bog on your left). When the trail hits the steep part of the hill, go up. There is a system of trails coming down from the Grack. This way cuts out a lot of needless up and down scrambling, but may be a little confusing the first time. If nothing else, you can descend from the Grack this way and cut out the return scramble.
    By Brian Snider
    From: NorCal
    May 25, 2011

    A must climb route.
    By Muscrat
    Oct 27, 2011

    Just returned from The Grack. Definite bad beta. You need TWO (2) sixties to rap down Marginal. One 70 does not make it, we tried! And the approach beta really needs updating, read previous comment. Great time! Wear helmets, everyone, a rain of small rocks throughout the day was... disconcerting.
    By Jason Albino
    From: San Francisco, CA
    Apr 24, 2012

    303scott's approach beta is the way to go. Ensure you are getting on the marked hiker's trail from the parking lot. Once up at the rock, keep going left (which will involve a brief downclimb before resuming uphill) until you see the huge scree slope (in other words, where there is essentially no more base traversing remaining) - this will seem like you're going too far, but it's the spot!

    Climbed this at 9AM on an April Tuesday and nobody was there at all (if you get out early enough on an offseason weekday, I've found the warnings of crazy crowds are generally overgeneralized). The Apron was wet in spots but not on our line! After a more precipitous winter, it probably would still be wet at this point.

    We found the belay spots to be somewhat confusing using a 60m rope. We maxed out our 60m on P1, yet still found ourselves without enough rope to get to a sensible belay spot after P2 (instead, we traversed left and used the slung boulder rappel station for the second belay). Not positive, but I think the climb overall would link up well as a total of 2 pitches with a 70m rope.

    We rapped from the top with two 60m to the aforementioned slung boulder rappel, then did another two-rope rap to the ground. I was told by another climber there that the first rap should actually be off right as you finish the climb (obviously, there are a few rap options).
    By Justin S
    From: Boulder, CO
    Apr 13, 2013

    It IS possible to rap this on a single 70; knot your ends as it's a rope stretcher to reach the second station. You'll have to reach just slightly down from near the ends of the rope to clip into the second set of bolts. Four raps from top to bottom on a 70.

    If you take the traditional approach up the trail you'll need to continue along the base of wall for about 1/4 mile or so, down a ravine or two, before reaching the climb.
    By epsilon
    Jun 10, 2013

    Approach: From the last parking lot just before the "Do Not Enter" sign at the road to Happy Isles, follow the directions as described by 303scott. The main hikers' trail that you start out on is wide (room for >1 persons abreast) and obvious. Note that the Grack routes are on the East face, so if you're starting from this parking lot, you will go around the left corner of Glacier Point Apron, until it appears you're at the end of the rock. If you're uncertain, skirt the trail along the base of the rock, eastward until you find the route. There's a distinct large downward pointing horn on the first pitch after the 3rd-4th class climbing.

    Our climb: Climbed the route with a 70m rope in two long pitches. Semi-hanging belay/anchor station (top of ~67m first pitch) had a small convenient foot ledge and was created with 2 nuts and a cam (double sliding x). The top of our second pitch easily reached the double bolt rap anchors. For most, I would not consider this route to be a good beginner's easy trad lead due to run-outs, including a section before the top - which can be minimized by heading for easier ground to the left and bring doubles of pro for the crack. The grade felt accurate.

    Rappel: Rappelled down in four pitches using a single 70m rope. As mentioned, the first rap brings you just above anchors of The Grack, Marginal but within reach. The next station is almost directly below. The last station was a rap ring on slings around a tree.

    If I was to do it again, I'd climb earlier or later to avoid the sun and heat (6/7/13); I think due to the heat, we might have been only ones to climb it that day - no conga line. It was a good, quality climb, but I would not call it one of the best 5.6's anywhere.
    By TacoDelRio
    From: All up in yo bidniss.
    Aug 27, 2013

    I personally enjoy doing this in 2 pitches. P1 is up to the tree left of the route. P2 traverses slab (Slab Jesus mode) unprotected, then climbs to top. 70m rope. Might not be a good idea if you don't like gaining the crack from a traverse.
    By Yosemitesam
    Aug 30, 2013

    Going to the tree for the first pitch is off route. That's the first pitch for the Grack, Left.
    It's not as fun and you skip one of the 5.6 cruxes on the Center route. You could stay on the Center route and still probably do it in two pitches.
    By TacoDelRio
    From: All up in yo bidniss.
    Sep 1, 2013

    That's the point.

    Have fun.
    By Jonathan Dull
    From: Boone, NC
    Nov 7, 2013

    Doesn't matter what grade you climb, this route is beautiful! Go have some fun!
    By shoo
    Apr 22, 2014

    I HIGHLY recommend simuling the whole thing if you are your partner are comfortable with it. Doing this as one long pitch is absolutely spectacular, especially for the leader.

    Bring a TON of trad draws, a large set of nuts (I used a full wallnut set and the HB offsets), and a standard cam rack up to a #2. Honestly, there is so much fixed mank on this route that you hardly need to place anything if you are comfortable with long runouts on 5.6 granite slab (which you damn well should be if you are simuling).
    By trying hard
    From: Sierra East Side
    Jun 12, 2014

    two 60m ropes or a 70 meter rope is required for the descent. A single 60 will require leaving something behind to rappel down.
    By Boriss
    From: Sacramento
    Jul 28, 2014

    By Crimpanzee
    From: San Francisco, California
    Sep 16, 2014
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    Best 5.6 anywhere! I would gladly do it again and again. Also, an afternoon ascent isn't a bad idea. Glacier Point Apron will have cooled down, and there -might- be less parties. You can rapp twice with two 70m ropes and downclimb the rest.
    By Jake Douglas
    Oct 16, 2014

    The right turn 30 meters past the A-frame building looks more like a creek bed than a trail, but turns into a trail shortly after.

    Great route. It is very low angle but the feet are so slippery on lot of it that you have to pay attention. Maybe not the best for a first lead, as you have to make some tenuous (though not difficult) moves with decent space between pro on occasion.

    First belayed at a tiny foot ledge just above the first section of actual crack. If doing it in 3 pitches, make the second belay where you can still use larger gear, because the pro just gets smaller and smaller as you near the top and you will want to save it. Used a lot of 0.3-0.5 here.

    I went left at the top through easier terrain that offered fine protection. The crack that thins out before the friction variation looks like it would take red/green C3s or small nuts and that would make it about 10 feet until your next piece just before the chains.

    Don't try to skip the first set of chains unless you have 2x70m. Unless your 60s stretch a ton, they probably will not reach the second set of chains.
    By Sabrina Dawson
    Nov 9, 2014

    AWESOME climb, especially for someone who wants to get their feet wet on Valley crack/trad climing. Especially the second pitch was just bomber, sinking hand jams all the way up. It will be crowded, so keep that in mind. We did the raps with a 60 and a 70, finding the bolts was super easy and we always had plenty of rope from left over. Great route for beginners.
    By David M Jones
    From: Boulder, CO
    Mar 14, 2015

    My Google Maps Route of The Grack
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