Type: Sport, TR, 40 ft
FA: Jacob Valdez--1991
Page Views: 5,988 total · 30/month
Shared By: Dan Dewell on Aug 29, 2002 with updates from Nathan D Johnson
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty

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Valdez Overhang is a classic 'gym' line in the Chopping Block climbing area. Finding it is a bit tricky your first time, but this route gets so much traffic that the trail becomes obvious.

From the CB sign-in (with your back to the road) walk on the trail leading to your left. Follow this up a smaller run, down a little, then way up a steep hill past large granite faces on your left. See such lines as "Slang" and "Snow Emergency Route" overhead on the left. Follow this trail to the crest of the hill. The trail will again lead to the left through smaller pines, toward Rushmore Memorial, Monster, Middle Marker,Olton's Shoulder, etc. Keep walking this path for a couple minutes and another granite formation will show itself. Walk to the Rushmore side of the formation, in between two formations, and downhill. Valdez Overhang is on your left in a funky river of schist stretching approximately forty feet high. Chalk marks an obvious line through the route on jugs.

This is a great first 5.9 lead for beginners; whippers are very gentle. Also a wonderful place to run laps on at the end of the day. Feel the burn! Overall, a wonderful route anytime of year, any time of day!


FIve or six draws are required. Drop-in anchors up top!
Dan Dewell
Dan Dewell  
Interesting note: Record for number of times this route has been lead up and lead down continuously (without stopping at the top or bottom) is TEN!!!

M.S. holds the record. Any challengers? :) Aug 29, 2002
Peter Gram
Portland, OR
Peter Gram   Portland, OR  
I was on this route earlier this summer, and a small hive of wasps was living in a pocket somewhere around the 3rd bolt (just to the right). Although they buzzed around each person who climbed it, only one of us got stung. Aug 29, 2002
Greg Parker
Cardiff, CA
Greg Parker   Cardiff, CA  
The photo below isn't of Valdez Overhang. It looks like Jeremiah is on Double Chin (11c) (just before it cuts out right) or he is on Tomcat Tracer (13a) that goes straight out the roof above him. Feb 17, 2003
Greg is right. That is not Valdez. It looks more like Double Chin, as Tomcat Tracer is, I think, a bit left of where the climber is positioned. Good eye Greg. Not only do you know every hold in the northern hills, but the southern as well. Ha!

Love, David Feb 19, 2003
Brad Boner  
This route is nowhere near the Chopping Block formation. It is on a formation called Birthday Rock that is well southeast of the major formations in the Chopping Block area. Oct 4, 2003
Dan Dewell
Dan Dewell  
Brad! You're nowhere near the Chopping Block, silly! You are in Gillette! So, is Valdez Overhang in Monster then? Or is it at Sylvan Lake!? How about South Seas? Which area is it closest to? Oh, now I am all mixed-up. See what you've done, you big gerbil. :) Oct 5, 2003
Brad Boner  
While Valdez is in the Chopping Block Area, it is not on the Chopping Block formation (The formation that contains Baba Cool, Twelve White Sticks, Meat is Murder, Puppy Stew, Going Up to Harlem with a Pistol in My Jeans, ect.), where you have it listed... Posting it on the same rock as Baba Cool might lead to confusion... and who are you calling a gerbil? I think Verdell needs his supper, you fruity little man! Oct 6, 2003
Dan Dewell
Dan Dewell  
Oh, I see what you mean. Yeah, this route isn't on the Chopping Block per se. It's at Inner Outlet at Sylvan Lake.

Brad, you should've seen Verdell the other day after you left. He was SOOOOO tired! He hadn't drank any water in...must've been eight hours, and he hadn't eaten since the night before. He was practically passing out!! He's funny like that--passing out when he's severely dehydrated. I just yelled at him to move whenever he woke up and he did...kind of--he twitched. It was funny. Anyway, this silly, fruity bastado is going to shoot some video with some Minneapolis freaks. Peace in the Middow East, Bones. And when it gets hard, well you know the rest. Gottagetitgoodmyman!

Oct 6, 2003
Hey Dan, I once ran up and down a ladder 32 times without stopping. Any takers? Seriously is this what you all have reduced climbing to in the hills? Lame!!! Not Anonymous Coward!

R. Oakley Asscherick Jun 19, 2004
Dan Dewell
Dan Dewell  
Yo, Asscherick!

You ran up a ladder 32 times! SWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!! Any climbing is good climbing, right!?! I'm really excited for you. You should seriously post some pics of you climbing that ladder, dude! Pictures and stuff help to motivate when the weather's this crappy.

  • Rain, rain go away; come again on a rest day* (opera-style singing)

Rock on!

Love Always,

The Veal Chop

PS. Renegades: when are you coming back down to Baldy? I need a good laugh. Oh, and you need to shave Noah, Bo. I want to see the reactions of the climbers in South Seas when you bring your yellow-haired Chow in there shaved like a lion. Do you have to have a permit to walk your lion in the monument area? Jun 19, 2004
This route is an awesome route. The holds are sweet all the way up. I climb this route any time I come to Rushmore. Except the third bolt is getting a little loose. other than that the route kicks ass. Jun 14, 2005
I find this route appeals to those whom are to lazy or uncapable of climbing 100+ foot pitches. The route is okay at best. Not a good lead for the begining 5.9 leader. This route would be rated 5.8 in Spearfish or Lander. Jun 26, 2005
Eric Krantz
Black Hills
Eric Krantz   Black Hills
For AC submitted 6/26/05: Why the negativity? Why even take the time to write in if you gotta slam something someone else has taken the time to put up? There is so much good to say about this route. Why isn't it good for the beginning 5.9 leader? You say that but don't explain why. I think it's great for the 5.8/5.9 leader. Great route to practice downclimbing, great for a lazy day after 3 days of burly ripping (which is subjective, by the way), well-protected, great hangers on top, great for beginners looking to step up from routes like toy boat and boxcars, great for getting your head together if you're not used to leading steep climbs... Some of us don't have the head space to be 20 feet above the last bolt on little crimpers with 10 feet to go, but hey, we can encourage those who don't and admire those who do.

Not everyone starts off leading 100'+ pitches in the canyon or up in Lander. The vast majority start on easier, short climbs and work their way up from there. Climbs like Valdez are rungs on the ladder that we all have to step on to get to the harder, longer stuff. It takes all types to make this world diverse, and diversity is what keeps it interesting!

I would encourage 5.9 leaders to get up there and give it a try. If it's too short for your taste, do it twice.

Also, I see alot of people trying to compare granite to limestone. Why even try? They're so different... Let's be thankful that we have both in the hills and the freedom to choose where we go.

Eric Jun 27, 2005
Eric,No negativity, just my humble opinion.I disagree with most of what you post but don't attack you.AC Jun 28, 2005
Eric Krantz
Black Hills
Eric Krantz   Black Hills
AC - thanks for not attacking. I respect disagreement, but I believe it would be more constructive if you took time to give reasons why the route sucks. I am curious, and perhaps would agree with you and see it in a different light if I knew your reasons. To a new climber like me, a comment like "this route appeals to those lazy or unable" doesn't say anything except that you are bitter for some reason. Peace,

Eric Jun 29, 2005
Eric,I did not say the route sucks. I just believe it to not be very engaging nor thought provoking plus it is very short in the land of longer pitches (Lead Fillings or Roadside Plum). Likewise in the City of Rocks,ID or Boulder Canyon, CO it would be rated 5.8. Ratings are ratings... Opinions are opinions! The Canyon is stiff but on a national standard Valdez is 5.8 when compared to other granite areas. There are some whom believe it is only 5.7. Expand your horizons and travel, travel, travel. Sorry to have a delayed response but I've been on the road myself the last couple of weeks.AC Jul 16, 2005
Cameron Luth  
This route kicks A**. The holds are massive and all the moves and clips a awesome. Mar 20, 2006
Joe M
Beckley, wv
Joe M   Beckley, wv
This is a very fun route, but I really didnt think it was 5.9, seemd a bit easier that a .9 should. But definitely a must do! Aug 27, 2007
mason boos
fo co
mason boos   fo co
very fun! lil hike and hard to find but go with someone who knows where this is and its weellll worth it! My favorite in the hills so far! Mar 30, 2011
DreadsNropes Lewton   sd
in my opinion i would put this one at an 5.8 or 5.7+ as a new climber about 3/4 years ago, it was my very first lead. ya, as a beginner it was intimidating, but as i have moved to spear and been in the canyon for the last year and a half, and there is virtually no T/R'ing, coming back to this yesterday was a walk in the park. top move is fun for the short guy. a good one for the beginning climber is waves over in the south seas area. 2 pitch, well protected, exposed, and one hell of a view Jul 13, 2012