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The Best Worst Classics


Original Post
Hale · · Boston · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 30

Once in a while, a middling rock climb earns the status of "classic" in a climbing area despite the availability of much better rock climbs in that area. Sometimes these climbs attain their "classic" status because they are the only climbs of the grade in the area. Other times, they attain their status because they look cool (but climb poorly), or because they are one of the first stops on the circuit. Sometimes, they earn their status for no other reason than their pre-existence as a "classic." It's not that they aren't good, it's just that they aren't great. Here is my list of contenders for the best worst classic in the U.S.:

- Hobbit Hole, Pawtuckaway, NH: Climbs poorly, often slimy, awkward. Always has a crowd.

- Monkey Traverse, Flagstaff Mountain, Boulder, CO: First, it's a traverse. Second, it's not very good. Always has a crowd.

- 80 Feet of Meat, Rifle, CO: More polished than the worst politician. You have to race to this thing in the morning to get in line.

- Raven, Shelf Road, CO: Not good. 

- Redneck, Horse Pens 40, AL: Some of the worst rock in the park.

What do you consider to be the best worst classic in the U.S.?

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175

Durrance on Devils Tower

like you said its not a bad climb, but if it wasnt for history, there would be so many others on the tower put ahead of it

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,480

Anything at Seneca Choss.  errr... Rocks I mean.

Jon Frisby · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 100

Technosurfing at Rumney is way overrated

BigNobody · · all over, mostly Utah · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 10

The Standard Thumb route in Little Cottonwood Canyon

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,470

I thought the climbing on Kor Ingalls was not that great, and also Traveller Buttress at Lover's Leap. I think those are both in the 50 classics?  Way better climbing nearby at both areas.  

bkozak · · Sterling, VA · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 70
Jake Jones wrote:

Anything at Seneca Choss.  errr... Rocks I mean.

Yeah.  Gunsight to South Peak Direct, Critter Crack, Candy Corner, Ecstasy, Westpole, Soler, Pleasant Overhangs, and Triple S are total choss piles for sure.

Boissal · · Small Lake, UT · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 1,315
BigNobody wrote:

The Standard Thumb route in Little Cottonwood Canyon

What could you possibly not like about 4 pitches of wide flaring water runnels?

Ben Schuldt · · Joplin, MO · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 85

Cotton Candy (5.6) and Orange Crush (5.9) at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas. CC isn't anything special. It is just the longest 5.6 at HCR. Same story for Orange Crush though at least the crux move is somewhat thought provoking.

Peter Lewis · · Bridgton, Maine · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 160

Remission on Cathedral as a rock climb. Three kinda scary chimney pitches that smell like low tide at Spooge State Park, but with more seaweed. 

Seth Derr · · harrisburg, pa · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 2,020
bkozak wrote:

Yeah.  Gunsight to South Peak Direct, Critter Crack, Candy Corner, Ecstasy, Westpole, Soler, Pleasant Overhangs, and Triple S are total choss piles for sure.

Ecstasy is shit.  The rest of those climbs are great.  Plus so many more.  Jake's just mad because nobody told him you're not supposed to be up there when the sky is actively puking lightning. 

Creed A · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 775

Pear Buttress in Lumpy is kinda dumb. It only has one good pitch.

bkozak · · Sterling, VA · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 70
Seth Derr wrote:

Ecstasy is shit.  The rest of those climbs are great.  Plus so many more.  Jake's just mad because nobody told him you're not supposed to be up there when the sky is actively puking lightning. 

Seems to be a lot of hate on Ecstasy.  I personally thought that climb was fantastic when I did it (and we even had a party of 4 on the 2nd pitch hanging belay), but different strokes for different folks.  But yeah, saying Seneca is all choss is fightin' words for sure.  Gunsight Direct would be a classic anywhere.  Pretty rare to climb such a wild, exposed feature and still have it be a 5.4

Pnelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 160

 Bastille Crack.  It has like 20 feet of tolerable crack climbing on it.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

The Naked Edge. Not that it's a bad route. It's actually pretty decent. But the hype is way out of control. It is frequently listed as one of the top 5 multipitch routes. No way. It doesn't even come close in quality to many routes in The Needles, Squamish, the Cascades, Yosemite, Castle Valley, Red Rocks, etc... Even the east coast has some multipitches better than the Edge.

Issues with the Edge are short pitches, ok rock, and a somewhat wandering route. Still fun, but no national-level classic. The applies the Eldo generally, actually.

Mark O'Neal · · Nicholson, GA · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 1,285
Seth Derr wrote:

Ecstasy is shit.  The rest of those climbs are great.  Plus so many more.  Jake's just mad because nobody told him you're not supposed to be up there when the sky is actively puking lightning. 

+1. Ecstasy sucks. That hanging belay ruins the whole thing

bkozak · · Sterling, VA · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 70
Mark O'Neal wrote:

+1. Ecstasy sucks. That hanging belay ruins the whole thing

Hahahaha.  Okay, if that is the deciding factor that everyone hates it for, I can totally understand that.  Hanging there for like an hour and then spending probably 20 minutes cleaning the anchor because of a very stubborn red C3 was definitely not fun.  But the last pitch made up for it for me.  

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,480
bkozak wrote:

Yeah.  Gunsight to South Peak Direct, Critter Crack, Candy Corner, Ecstasy, Westpole, Soler, Pleasant Overhangs, and Triple S are total choss piles for sure.

They almost all have loose rock.  I've run into it on Ecstacy, West Pole and the other "classics".  And if they don't, there's some shitbird peeling some off from above you somewhere.  Much of the rock is suspect.  The area is steeped in history for sure, but that sometimes slippery, always irregular, sometimes awkward to protect crumbling pile of shit isn't what I'd consider classic at all.  If the NRG was 100 feet taller, everyone would be like "where's this 'Seneca' place"?  It's one of the few "destination" areas in the east that when you're driving up to it, you look at it and you're like "Jesus, that thing is going to fall over any day now".  If you like dodging chunks of rock, peeling some off yourself, getting sandbagged a little, all on a big fin getting ready to fall over, have at it.  That's not classic to me.  It sucks.  Just because it's a rite of passage somewhat to many mid atlantic climbers and is steeped in history, doesn't make it classic.  When compared to other moderate classics in the east like the Prowesse at NRG, the Nose on Looking Glass, Zoo View at Moore's, etc., etc. Seneca doesn't measure up in my eyes.  Furthermore, I find it difficult to believe that more people don't have this opinion and many consider it blasphemy to call a shitpile a shitpile.  YMMV.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483

For guidebook BS 4 stars I'd go with Spontaneity Arete near WA pass. I think supertopo book gave it 4 stars so the guides could make their clients feel good when the Beckey route was too full (which is all the time). Shitty schwacky approach, brief moments of mid 5th spaced with scrambling with a rope. Chossy 2nd class in the middle of the route. A position that leaves you looking at Liberty Bell when you top out thinking "man I would rather be over there right now". Total POS.

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/spontaneity-arete/107213171

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,480
Seth Derr wrote:

Ecstasy is shit.  The rest of those climbs are great.  Plus so many more.  Jake's just mad because nobody told him you're not supposed to be up there when the sky is actively puking lightning. 

Hahaha!  Yeah.  In my defense there was only a 30% chance that day.  Could have been far worse, and that probably does, in all fairness contribute to my opinion.  Maybe I am overly critical, and certainly there seems to be a big fan base.  But after sampling many of the areas in WV, VA and NC, Seneca is near the bottom, especially for its size.  If you dig it, have at it.  I'm a NRG fanboy for sure.

Ian McAfee · · Concord, NH · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 75

I'll second Hobbit Hole.

Hale PM me your contact info, we should get out, and I still have footage of you in Chattanooga to send your way.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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