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Under the Big Top 
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Under the Big Top 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  , 4 pitches, 250', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Kimball & Harrison, 1980
Page Views: 534
Submitted By: david goldstein on Jul 2, 2003

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Starting the Turnkorner technical crux.

Season raptor closures MORE INFO >>>


This climb is a variation to Turnkorner and as such the grade and rating, which apply only to the pitches that are unique to UTBT, are misleading. This climb traverses in from the right and joins TK at the start of its first 5.10 pitch. In conjuction w/ TK this climb is two stars, is rated the same as TK and is about a pitch longer than TK.

This seldom traveled variation is not quite as enjoyable as the pitches of TK it replaces, but is arguably more interesting . It is worth doing if you want to repeat the crux (wide) ptiches of TK or another party got to TK just ahead of you and you don't feel like hanging out on the ground while they climb.

This climb starts just to the right of the huge boulder which leans against the base of Sundance. (TK starts just to the left of this boulder.)

P1. 5.8+, 120'. Climb the crack/groove for about 40' until it forks. Take the left fork, belaying at a mediocre stance at about the same level as some rap slings which are on another route about 30' to the right. A pretty good pitch.

P2. 5.9, 80'. Traverse left about 15' (easy, no pro) to the base of a right facing, right leaning handing corner. Ascend the corner (5.9, good pro, long slings required on lower pieces) for about 20' to a stance. Easily follow an obvious weakness up and left past some bushes. Pass a small roof and belay above this, at a stance below a larger roof with a fixed sling. It is tempting to link P1 and P2, or at least lengthen P1, but doing so is an invitation to hideous rope drag at the hardest moves.

P3. 5.9, 100'. Traverse left about 20' on face holds with scant pro to the base of a thin crack (~5.7). (This crack is visible from the ground.) Some sweet moves lead up the fingery crack (easy 5.9) Veer slightly right as the crack eases. Where the crack ends at the top of a pillar, head left to a cluster of slings and pins, below the formidable Icarus roof, next to which Turnkorner looks like a sport climb; this belay deserves a place in the Birdshit Hall of Fame.

P4. 5.7, 30' Traverse left, not hard, but little pro, to TK belay, just below its first 5.10 section.

Continue up Turnkorner.


Turnkorner rack. We had double 1-4 Rocks and single 5-7 Rocks and used them all. RPs are not required.

Photos of Under the Big Top Slideshow Add Photo
Dave on the first pitch. It looks like the crack r...
Dave on the first pitch. It looks like the crack r...
Heading toward Sundance.
Heading toward Sundance.
Dave on the pitch 3 traverse.
Dave on the pitch 3 traverse.
After the crux comes 'the business'. The section j...
After the crux comes 'the business'. The section j...

Comments on Under the Big Top Add Comment
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By S. Kimball
Aug 29, 2004

D.Snively,J.Belser and myself did a direct start to "Under the Big Top"aka:"Under Babylon" 5.10+.Start up "Idiot Wind"/ leftmost of the Nose variations ,then cut left up a thin crack and foot traverse.Bridge past a 3/8thby2.25in. stainless steel bolt and a bulge to a fine finger /hand crack Belay at fixed slings on "Precipitation".Definately an upgrade to this big time adventure.
By S. Kimball
Aug 31, 2004

Pitch #1 as David describes is "Precipitation".Definately 5.9 and better to belay on "Precipitation's" fixed slings.
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