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Upper Refuse 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ British: MS 4a

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 200'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ British: MS 4a [details]
FA: John Turner
Page Views: 10,475
Submitted By: lee hansche on Mar 29, 2007
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Hollywood working his way up this great line.

Description 

Upper Refuse is an awesome, moderate route with great climbing, great protection, and great exposure for the grade--a true Cathedral classic. One of very few, real moderates on the cliff, this is a perfect first trad climb.

It can be accessed by hiking around from the top along the big ledge. If you are a beginner, you might want to rope up for the last part of the scramble due to the danger of a BIG fall if you slip. Most people climb Upper Refuse after coming up Fun House (5.7) or another moderate route, though as the name implies there is a Lower Refuse which is not nearly as popular.

Pitch 1: (5.3) Start up the ramp on really easy climbing, and keep an eye out for a few good slots for cam placements. Belay at a good stance at a few pins (back em up with gear) at the top of the ramp section.

Pitch 2: (5.5) Choose your own adventure. Go right up a groveling "V" chimney (not hard but not too fun, in my opinion), or from the belay go up and left following cracks to a layback and a few slabby moves (much more fun). These two choices meet up in a gully formation which you follow to another choice. Breaking right up a crack directly to a pine tree ledge is preferred by most; however, you can avoid a little difficulty by continuing up the gully, then stepping right on to the ledge. Belay from a pine tree on a very comfortable ledge.

Pitch 3: (5.5) Two choices again: follow cracks and face climbing straight up above the ledge (this is the usual finish and the one I like better), or if exposure isn't your thing, stick to the corner on the left following a wide, layback crack. Both of these lead to the same ledge at the top where you can go up a short slab to belay from trees. The pins were removed from the top of the climb last season and I think it stayed that way.

The climb can be done in one long rope stretch with a 60m rope. Rope drag can be rough so plan for that in advance. This is one of the most crowded climbs on the cliff, so on a busy day, plan on making a day of it and meeting lots of new friends.


Location 

Upper Refuse is found on the far right end of the big ledge splitting the left side of the cliff just right of the nice open book of The Book of Solemnity (5.10a). Look for the obvious weakness in the cliff: an easy looking ramp to the summit with a few obstacles. Take care on the approach as the last part of the scramble is a little technical and a fall would be fatal. When in doubt, rope up.


Protection 

Standard rack



Photos of Upper Refuse Slideshow Add Photo
The tree ledge of Upper Refuse.
The tree ledge of Upper Refuse.
2 climbers (left) on what seems to be the ledge where the double pins are
2 climbers (left) on what seems to be the ledge wh...
PW and I on our first trip to Cathedral Ledge in November 2008.
PW and I on our first trip to Cathedral Ledge in N...
Andy Ross on the finish to Refuse. about 1977
Andy Ross on the finish to Refuse. about 1977
Christopher Lane reaching the belay on Pitch 2
Christopher Lane reaching the belay on Pitch 2
Wait for Uncle G to get to the top of this amazing climb...
Wait for Uncle G to get to the top of this amazing...
Christopher Lane on the 3rd pitch
Christopher Lane on the 3rd pitch
My buddy AJ climbing UR
My buddy AJ climbing UR
alex...
alex...
Alex on the exposed upper pitch of Upper Refuse...
Alex on the exposed upper pitch of Upper Refuse...
Alan Jenkins and Christopher Lane at the pitch 2 belay
Alan Jenkins and Christopher Lane at the pitch 2 b...
Crista starting the last pitch of Upper Refuse.
Crista starting the last pitch of Upper Refuse.
Christopher Lane on the crux moves of pitch 2
Christopher Lane on the crux moves of pitch 2
Crushin' it!
Crushin' it!
The top pitch of UR, I'm exiting the climb, my wife is belaying on the tree ledge.
The top pitch of UR, I'm exiting the climb, my wif...
Comments on Upper Refuse Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 9, 2013
By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
Jun 16, 2007
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

It is a little bit of a rope-strecher but you can run all three pitches together with very little rope drag, Belay up your second with maybe 4 feet of rope left at the top of the crack, then have them short rope you the rest of the way up to the path.

By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Jun 17, 2007

it is fun to run this in to one pitch (or better yet, black lung 5.8 to upper ref).... but care must be taken to avoid rope drag....
i would only recomend it to folks who are very comfortable on the route so you can run out sections that many would protect....

By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
Jun 18, 2007
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

You can avoid rope drag if you extend the heck out of the lowest placements, take the right variation to the tree ledge and finish up with the left wide layback crack variation at the top, true I probably didn't protect as frequently as a would have if I wasn't comfortable at the grade.

By Yev
Jul 18, 2007

ditto on the other 3 comments.. there's really no need to do this in 3 pitches.

I prefer to link 1 & 2 and belay at a nice shady tree (instead of belaying in the hot sun at the double pins)

black lung to upper refuse is a good linkup, if you're fairly solid at 5.8

By David Aguasca!
From: New York
Apr 18, 2009

pshh. The chimney grovel is tons of fun.

By Victor Grau Serrat
From: Cambridge, MA
May 31, 2010
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

The pins at the top of Pitch 3 are still there. They were there when I climbed this route last year, and they are still in the same spot when I climbed the route yesterday. If anything, they may not be obvious to see: they are on a horizontal crack on a flat stretch of the rock as you finish the climb. They are on the ground, and if you don't see them, you literally step over them.

By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Jun 16, 2010
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

If you want to do it in one pitch and comfy at the grade, clip the pin (at anchor) and clip the tree, no more gear necessary . Easily done in one pitch.

By Meghan Spiro
Aug 22, 2012

I linked the first two pitches together and couldn't prevent the rope drag. It's better to link the second and third pitch (money pitch) instead. There are variations on the second and third pitches - stay straight up the crack all the way (rather than left) - higher quality climbing and great exposure.

By Ian Dibbs
Aug 28, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

Linking 1st and second pitch (to the tree belay) works however, expect annoying rope drag. I suspect doing the route in one long pitch would have extreme rope drag. The final pitch from tree up is only 50 feet. Enjoyable moderate route much easier than Fun House below it. After finishing Fun House you have to walk right 75 feet(climbers right) on the small trail and then over some sloped exposed rock to get to the base of Upper Refuse which should require a rope, since a slip or fall would be fatal.

By AlpineStart78
From: Conway, New Hampshire
Jun 7, 2013

Regarding the exposed scramble move reaching the base of the climb; 5 feet left of the exposed slab is a 5.0 crack that is MUCH safer to solo than the slabby exposed move. You could easily stick the ledge if you somehow fell here. I didnít know about this safer approach until years after first climbing Upper Refuse... Youíll notice all guided parties short rope this way with clients and use trees as friction belays for clients.

By Ryan Nelling
Aug 9, 2013
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

Pitches 2 & 3 can be linked quite easily if you don't feel like stopping to build an anchor at the end of pitch 2. Or, if it's raining and you want to GTF off this thing!