Type: Trad, 180 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Herb Laeger & John McGowen, November 1976
Page Views: 7,166 total · 38/month
Shared By: M. Morley on Sep 25, 2003 with updates from nathanael
Admins: C Miller, Greg Opland, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Ball Bearing lies on the East Face of The Sentinel. Start left of Fote Hog (5.7) in left-trending finger crack that protects nicely with smaller size cams. Move right along horizontal crack and gain another left-trending crack. When this crack runs out just below the anchors, make a couple of spicy face moves to the 2-bolt anchor. Either rap from here (~100') as we did or continue up second pitch. First pitch is generally well-protected. The second pitch is a bit spicy.


Nothing bigger than #2 Camalot. Double set of TCU's are helpful.
I think the 2nd pitch is pretty good. Getting through the left leaning roof/crack just out of the belay is challenging and just a bit spicy. Towards the top I have gone left both times on the route. You have to extend everything to avoid horrendous drag, and there are some interesting moves. In retrospect I wonder if the right would be a better finish, but I haven't done it. Oct 24, 2003
Art Morimitsu
Huntington Beach, Ca
Art Morimitsu   Huntington Beach, Ca
I agree that the moves off the belay on the second pitch are spicy. if you come off you fall directly on top of your belayer. I finished to the left and don't remember any hard moves or the slightest bit of rope drag. Oct 24, 2003
tom donnelly
san diego
tom donnelly   san diego
First pitch is 5.9 3 starsSecond pitch is 10a spicy.Very shady & cold route. Nov 8, 2005
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
Great route, and one of the longest routes in the area. The first pitch is a pure joy and the second is almost as good. I thought the moves up onto the shelf were a little weird - I was prepared to really tweek in some pro above the bad nut that was obvious, but then I saw an inobvious move to get up on the ramp that was more like 5.8 than 5.10 to perform - so I didn't bother. Stop there and look around and it's no big deal. Mind your slings low on the climb and the drag up top is not too bad. Jan 9, 2006
Awsome route!!!!!! pro was good, moves fun.A gimmie first pitch.Second p. a balancy adventure, I blind placed a .5 for the first really solid piece, you can get a small piece just off the belay May 2, 2006
Meredith DB
Boulder, CO
Meredith DB   Boulder, CO
Beautiful climb. Both pitches are well worth doing. May 11, 2006
Edward Jenner
Edward Jenner  
Do both pitches, or as one pitch (double ropes helpful).

Definitely on of Josh's easy 10a's - more like 8+ by Eldo standards, but very fun.

Also starting in the left crack (as in the photo above), rather than the one marked in the guidebook seems like the nicest way to go. Nov 1, 2006
Boise, ID
MJW   Boise, ID
First pitch is barely 5.9 with outstanding pro. Bring 4-5 long runners up with you. Got to go 2-3 moves above your gear to get to the belay. Second pitch is 10a...little funky and good!! May 4, 2008
Kyle P.
Lander, WY
Kyle P.   Lander, WY
My bro Nick A. and I intended on climbing Fote Hog which was listed in our "Trad Climbing Guide to J. Tree, 5.5 to 5.9" Fote looked run out. Maybe not, but we looked up at the kick ass crack system that turned out to be Ball Bearing. What a surprise. Butts kicked on the first cold day attempt. Success on the second. An amazing route with lots of gear ops. and clean rock. Face holds show when the cracks end. Good times. May 4, 2008
Pat C
Pat C   Honolulu
This is quite an exciting warm up for a 5.10 leader. Moves are tricky, but it's more a mental 10a than a physical 10a, if ya know what i mean. May 3, 2009
Both pitches are excellent.

Make sure to have a hand-size piece for beginning of ramp / crux on P2.

Going right up hand crack after ramp on P2 minimizes rope drag and makes for a great finish up 5.7ish hand crack. Mar 24, 2010
San Diego, CA
mschlocker   San Diego, CA
On the first pitch I went straight up throught two left slanting slashes and added some diffuculty to the route. If you are looking for a 10b variation, do this. It protects with nuts and small cams.

This was linked with P2 (almost) all the way to the top. I needed more slings for the zig-sags. Apr 19, 2010
Tommy G.
Killeen, Texas
Tommy G.   Killeen, Texas
Doing this in one pitch (+ short finish) is the way to go.

Belay when you get to the end of the ramp before you move over the top back to the right. No rope drag to this point if you manage it well (might make it a little spicier).

Great route! Nov 2, 2011
I really liked this one and protected the "spicy" moves of the P1 belay with a small brassie but just do the move and sink a C4 .75. The layback after was definitely interesting.

I finished left and belayed in a corner to save rope drag. I think I wish I would have gone right to do it all in two pitches instead. Feb 13, 2012
First pitch feels harder than 5.9. Crux moves just below and right of anchor protected with blue TCU. Really, really cool route. Can get great pictures of people on Fote Hog! Nov 22, 2012
Nick Russell
Bristol, UK
Nick Russell   Bristol, UK
Be careful not to follow the line on the topo in the Wolverine guide too closely. It will take you directly up the first pitch rather than to the right at the horizontal (mentioned earlier as a 10b variation), and then directly through the roof at the start of pitch 2. I did this "variation" on pitch 2 and, although probably not harder than 10a (maybe 10b tops) the holds are gritty and it doesn't protect well. Nov 26, 2012
Chris M
Hailey, ID
Chris M   Hailey, ID
Climbed directly up thin cracks above initial finger crack. Its all there but you've got to work a bit for good placements. Aug 22, 2013
Rob Albert
Rob Albert  
Great climb. Definitely do the second pitch, as it is unique. DO NOT do it in one pitch from the ground - the rope drag will kill you. Apr 7, 2014
Brighton, CO
plantmandan   Brighton, CO
I only did the first pitch, but it was super fun. I was able to protect the top moves with a decent green C3 placement. Oct 18, 2014
First pitch is really fun and well protected. The second pitch is by far the weirdest and most insane climbing I have ever done, but REALLY FUN! If you don't do the second pitch you will be missing out for sure... After the first pitch, move right and pull the roof on the right side, then lay back and walk up the ramp. If you fell here you would probably come close to your belayer, but it's not terribly hard, just heady. Get some good gear as the crack peters out then drop down and step left. CRAZY, WEIRD but AMAZING! Where the crack spits, I went left which I wouldn't do again because the rope drag was terrible even with every piece extended. Plus the top is not well protected for the second. Going right seems like the way. Much better position for the second. Oct 27, 2014
San Pedro, California
Benjaminadk   San Pedro, California
its been a couple years buy the moves to start the second pitch stand out in my memory as being really unique. i led the first pitch and thought it was nice climbing with really good small gear. i followed the second pitch and remember it being pretty easy but super weird....and balancey. im glad we got on this thing in our very limitted time passing through. Nov 16, 2014
Izzy Nawfal
Redondo Beach, CA
Izzy Nawfal   Redondo Beach, CA
My friends and I hopped on this while we waited for a party to finish up Illusion Dweller and were pleasantly surprised. The first pitch was easy to protect with some fun moves. Getting out of the belay had some great exposure followed by some balance moves and a bit of a run out traverse on the second pitch. Definitely do both pitches. Apr 13, 2015
Climbed this back in 2011. I linked both pitches for one VERY long pitch. Honestly thought it was a much better route than Illusion Dweller which kind of left me wanting. Ball Bearing has beautiful and thoughtful moves. Just a big open face that makes you think which direction is gonna be most enjoyable. It took a little thought to get a clean rope line. The lower pitch was so much fun, the roof move wasn't a gimme and barely made it to a gear anchor on top. It's been a few years, but I'd probably recommend doing it in two pitches and place the anchor in a crack a bit below the bolts so the leader has no chance of nailing the belayer. Oct 6, 2016
Matt Hagny  
The first pitch is spectacular, and the second pitch even better! If I could give it 5 stars, I would. Oct 17, 2016
Dustin Stephens
Dustin Stephens  
Nice linkup to start on this and traverse right along sloping horizontal before the bolt anchor to finish on the 2nd pitch of Hog Heaven to the right. Maybe 10a or so this way, some crumblies but overall a great 180' of climbing. Dec 4, 2016
Jason Kim
Encinitas, CA
Jason Kim   Encinitas, CA
Only did the first pitch, which is very sustained and protects well. Harder than expected! Nov 19, 2017
Mike McL
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Mike McL   South Lake Tahoe, CA
Fantastic route. Lots of variety. Crux is memorable!

Offset cams were useful on the first pitch, as the crack is pretty flaring, especially at the start.

Gear beta: a silver DMM Peanut protects the last thin move before the 1st belay very well. Feb 3, 2018
Hobo Greg
My Van
Hobo Greg   My Van
All the sketchy talk made us think it went left after belay. That is shit rock. Going right is not at all sketchy, so yet another example of weenieism on MP. Dec 18, 2018