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Thin Air Face
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Missing Link T 
No Mans Land T 
Pro Choice T 
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Saigons, The T 
Standard Route T 
Thin Air T 
Thinner T 
Toe Crack T 
Turner's Flake T 
Windfall T 
Worm Drive S 

Thin Air 

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

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 300'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
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Page Views: 26,432
Submitted By: jeremyadams on Jan 2, 2007

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BETA PHOTO: The Bong anchors of pitch 1, with Nuria at pitch 2...

Description 

Although the crux fourth pitch earns this classic climb's 5.6 rating, new and seasoned climbers alike find adventure on each of Thin Air's pitches. The run-out (but easy) first pitch gains fixed bong anchors. Pitch two's traverse protects well, but offers a keen pucker as the ground drops away (and it's sometimes a little wet) en route to bolts. P1 and P2 can be combined when traffic allows. Pitch three climbs the face into a fun chimney, gaining a ledge (crowds easily, gear anchor takes variety of sizes and gear types). P4 follows a weakness through an overlap, gaining the large ledge below Pine Tree Eliminate (5.8+) via an easy, dirty corner (left) or tricky, polished slab (direct/right). Some finish the last 30 feet as a separate pitch.

Location 

The namesake route of the Thin Air Face is found by following the trail past Cote Boulder past improbable aid routes until the staircase start of the Standard Route chimney is visible on the right. Continue up switchbacks to a dark-brown, featured slab. The easiest descent is by following a trail off the right end of the ledge. This trail bends left and gains the summit road in minutes. Hitch or walk down road. Other pleasant options include climbing Pine Tree Eliminate or other more difficult Airation Buttress routes.

Protection 

Nuts and cams up to 3 inches.


Photos of Thin Air Slideshow Add Photo
In the chimney
In the chimney
Finished stringing together 1st and second pitches.  Anchored in on a perfect Sunday.
Finished stringing together 1st and second pitches...
Party of 3 on the second pitch: one person belaying on the far right, one person traversing in the middle, and the third person standing at the top of the first pitch.
BETA PHOTO: Party of 3 on the second pitch: one person belayin...
climbers on thin air face (taken from recompense)
climbers on thin air face (taken from recompense)
Looking back at my friend Liam from the top of the tricky slab finish of Thin Air.  This is the direct/right line.  The other option is to stay to the left and follow up a dirty/easy corner.  I think this finish was very cool and probably more fun than the dirty corner would have been,  but please note that there is no protection for the last slab section.  It's pretty low angle and only about 8 feet tall, but does require some good slab technique.
BETA PHOTO: Looking back at my friend Liam from the top of the...
Striking a pose on the ever-classic Thin Air traverse. PW Lead.
Striking a pose on the ever-classic Thin Air trave...
Looking up the 3rd pitch, you can see the line we took.  The bulge at the top center is the crux, and is quite fun.
Looking up the 3rd pitch, you can see the line we ...
A group practicing guide-client rescue on the first pitch of Thin Air, on Sunday 4/28/13. (Sorry for the blurry picture, it's 5 guides on anchor, and 2 guides playing tired/exhausted 'clients' on rope below) <br />Not the time or the place?
A group practicing guide-client rescue on the firs...
Jason Stone leading off on the second pitch of Thin Air.
Jason Stone leading off on the second pitch of Thi...
At the second belay on Fourth of July weekend, 2008.
At the second belay on Fourth of July weekend, 200...
Tom leading Thin Air
Tom leading Thin Air
Picture looking down from the crux
Picture looking down from the crux
Thin air third pitch belay station, it can get crazy on any weekend with folks climbing in from toe-crack, thinner, turner's flake and thin air.
Thin air third pitch belay station, it can get cra...
Finishing the second pitch of Thin Air.
Finishing the second pitch of Thin Air.
The Thin Air route with Pine Tree Eliminate at the top.  I've used XX to mark belay spots but only the first and second pitch have fixed anchors (bongs and bolts respectively).  Note that the third belay spot I've marked is actually higher up than the standard spot right above the chimney.  I belayed on the ledge slightly below the overlap on the 4th pitch.  I think this was nice and made communication and visibility there really easy.  Obviously, the belay would work from either ledge just fine.
BETA PHOTO: The Thin Air route with Pine Tree Eliminate at the...
Thin Air <br />   Picture starts from the base, Many choices up to the "double bongs" optional belay where the traverse starts. Linking first pitch and traverse requires about 125 feet of rope.
Thin Air
Picture starts from the base, Many cho...
Following the bolt line to the chimney on the third pitch of Thin Air.
Following the bolt line to the chimney on the thir...
Andy entering the chimney at the top of the 3rd pitch of Thin Air.  Fun moves here end at a great belay ledge.
Andy entering the chimney at the top of the 3rd pi...
Dave finishing the crux on Thin Air... check out the exposure... thats a great spot...
Dave finishing the crux on Thin Air... check out t...
From the top of P1, looking towards other party at the end of P2.
BETA PHOTO: From the top of P1, looking towards other party at...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 7, 2014
By Jesse Morehouse
From: CO
Jun 1, 2008
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

My first trad lead and a memorable one. Highly recommended- will leave you with fond memories.
By chris deulen
From: Merriam, Kansas
May 1, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

If by "crux 4th pitch" you mean the random 8 foot boulder problem at the top with a good ledge below it, then yeah, definitely cruxy. Kinda silly, but fun nonetheless.
By D Goldberg
From: NH
Jul 20, 2009

As of July 17, 2009 there is a VERY detached/hollow sounding flake just below the tree/chimney on the third pitch. There was a nice chalk "X" on it when I got there. I didn't dare pull on it.
By Pal Pocsi
From: Budapest, Hungary
Nov 20, 2009

I climbed this route yesterday and the flake was still there. It is indeed super hollow and care should be taken to not pull out on this. I refreshed the X chalk mark. It's relatively easy to just reach up to the next section of flake that is solid and avoid this altogether. Awesome route!
By Nathan Stokes
May 15, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

The spooky flake is still hanging on, its not hard to work around it. No chalk mark on it right now.
Did (seconded) this yesterday as part of a Thin Air -> Hotter Than hell-> Inferno link up. Had the entire climb to ourselves which was nice. We linked the first and second pitches no problem.
By Evan1984
May 30, 2011

We surprisingly got this route to ourselves today, Memorial Day.

We did the traverse pitched but elected to rap(2 ropes) rather than climb the wet third pitch. Water is seeping from the corner down the face off of the first pin on the third pitch. Just FYI.

This is a great climb. The upper portions are also worthwhile.
By Adam Winters
Administrator
From: the Shire
Aug 2, 2011

whats up with the chopped bolts at the pitch 3 anchor?
By M Sprague
Administrator
From: New England
Aug 2, 2011

Don't ask. It is a battle ground for a long standing bolt war, that has generated reams of postings on various sites. I think we will all gag if we have to go through it again.
By Mike McLean
Aug 2, 2011

Actually I wouldn't gag because I don't know the story ...

I'll take a guess though; people were abseiling off the route because of those bolts and given the high traffic, it was always a clusterf*(k. Remove the bolts; problem somewhat solved.

Guess #2: The whole Nichols story.
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Aug 2, 2011

there was a 2 bolt anchor at the ledge even though there are at least 3 places for natural gear anchors...
the last thing i knew there was a meeting and the locals decided to remove that anchor and 3 bolts on the traverse of pitch 2... these bolts were removed well without marring the rock...
this was years ago not sure if more has happened....
By Adam Winters
Administrator
From: the Shire
Aug 2, 2011

Just curious
By Mike McLean
Aug 14, 2011

Lee was talking about the traverse itself. The anchors at the end of the traverse are still live and well.
By Rob C.
From: Freeport, ME
Oct 11, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Pretty good climb; the traverse was exciting, I ran the first two pitches together. I enjoyed the chimney pitch - the final pitch was not my favorite. All in all though, worth the trip from Freeport!
By steitz
From: midcoast, maine
Apr 13, 2012

Current Bolt Status (4/7/2012)

2 bolt anchor at the end of p2 (The Traverse)

that's it. all other bolts have been removed.
By K Baumgartner
Jul 24, 2012

Shaky block still marked with an X in white chalk.

Thought this climb wasn't worth the hoopla as a Classic. Upper Refuse offers more varied climbing with just as scenic of a view. Would have preferred spending my time climbing Toe Crack to gain Pine Tree Eliminate.

Most exciting move was the 5.8 variation move at the top of P4 to gain the belay ledge.
By Meghan Spiro
Aug 21, 2012

Loved the crux on last pitch. A small wire protects it well. Spotting your feet prevents any awkwardness.
By Ev Capitan
From: Portland, Maine
Sep 8, 2012

This was my first multi-pitch climb and I think it was a perfect introduction. If you are introducing someone to climbing who has little experience, this is a great next step in their progression. It was a perfect blend of confidence-building, and confidence-stretching sequences with roomy but not overly large ledges between pitches. P2 was also an intimidating first traverse but is doable for a new climber. The drive in shows off the promontory to awe them a bit. The climb's views motivate/distract them. And hike down is a nice cool down/debrief.
By Ryan Nelling
Aug 9, 2013

^^ I agree with Ev Cap - awesome climb for a beginning leader, especially pitches 1 & 2. It's my partner's first season on trad and she was psyched to lead those pitches. I took 3 & 4, and she did the last 40 or so feet up to the Airation ledge. If someone in your party can lead 5.8 - do Pine Tree!!

If choose to rap, you'll need 2 60 m ropes. Traverse to the far left end of the Airation ledge - I placed a few pieces of gear along the traverse, and you'll find rap bolts. An 80 ft rappel gets you to another ledge with an anchor - this is where you'll need to join 2 ropes to get to the ground. We lugged 2 ropes up Thin Air, only to do a single-strand rap off this one since there was another party chilling on the ledge!
By J Meagher
May 26, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Climbed this today, let me add to the applause: absolutely phenomenal route! The start and the traverse were soaked but I still found the climbing pretty reasonable at 5.6. Just as a heads up, a couple of blocks at the beginning of the third (crux) pitch seemed a bit loose so take care...
By Jeffrey LeCours
From: New Hampshire
May 31, 2014

It shouldn't be bolted... Missing Link
By chris magness
May 31, 2014

Missing Link isn't bolted, although it shares a start with Secret Chimp, which is (still spicey).
By Mthoresz
Sep 7, 2014

I thought this was a great climb. It was my first trip to Cathedral Ledge and I was happy to do a classic climb like this one (bonus: no waiting). Each pitch offered something different, and although not too taxing for the grade, kept it very interesting with the fun traverse, cool chimney moves and scramble up the boulder-y "dirty corner". We finished up with Pine Tree Eliminate, which was a great way to end the day. Exhausting for me, kind of at the top of my grade at the moment, but I was really glad to have gotten it in. All in all, great climbing!