Mountain Project Logo
To save paper & ink, use the [Hide] controls next to photos and comments so you only print what you need.

Swallow Crack

5.6, Trad, Sport, 90 ft,  Avg: 2.6 from 94 votes
FA: Dave and Phil Bircheff, 1965
California > Central Coast > Pinnacles NP > E Side > Discovery Wall
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures Details


This is located un the middle of the east face of the discovery wall, uphill where the climbers path begins to flatten out. From the path, head up about 15 feet to a large open area, where you will find the bulge that leads to the Swallow Crack.

Start on a bulgy face that leads to a wide left faced crack on a slab where excellent hands and feet are available. There is certainly some rock that will eventually pull out on this route, so use caution! After the crack, move left to the bolt, and climb some class 4 rock that will lead you to the top of the Discovery Wall.

This route is about 90 feet long, and due to the leftward movement of the route, top roping this roue either requires some interesting directionals and a long rope, or some ballsy climbers. A fall on a top rope from the anchors will swing you about 50 feet left and crash you into the slabby section of Fly-By (5.9+), the next climb over.


Bring some Friends for the crack, and you will find 2 pitons and a bolt along the way. Old pitons are not to be trusted however, so if you're uncertain, add some more pro!

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Swallow Crack
[Hide Photo] Swallow Crack
Swallow Crack
[Hide Photo] Swallow Crack
Karl rapping off Discovery Wall after climbing Swallow Crack.
[Hide Photo] Karl rapping off Discovery Wall after climbing Swallow Crack.
Trans taking a moment to chalk up about halfway up Swallow Crack.
[Hide Photo] Trans taking a moment to chalk up about halfway up Swallow Crack.
Sean heading up Swallow Crack
[Hide Photo] Sean heading up Swallow Crack
Michael coming up Swallow Crack
[Hide Photo] Michael coming up Swallow Crack
John K leading Swallow Crack
[Hide Photo] John K leading Swallow Crack

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] This was my first "trad" climb. A single pitch, with good to great foot placements on the face of the crag/route. Some pro left by other climbers are in place with a couple of strategically placed bolts makes this an excellent place to practice trad climbing. Sep 11, 2003
[Hide Comment] Another OK route. Sep 25, 2006
Lisa E
[Hide Comment] A fun route. Mar 29, 2007
San Francisco, CA
[Hide Comment] You can rappel down from rap rings on the large boulder directly above this climb. A 60m rope reaches the ground with a few feet to spare. Mar 25, 2008
[Hide Comment] A great crack for placing gear, two old pins that still appear bomber and a monster exit muffin...add to it all that in the summer the routes get afternoon shade, a big airy rap from the large boulder on top when it's done, everything one could ask for. Aug 11, 2008
Santa Cruz, CA
[Hide Comment] This was my first outdoor climb, ever. The crack is generous and makes for a fun and quick route. Since you're using the crack most of the way up, you're not tapping on rock as much as other routes at Pinnacles. Still, beware falling rock - helmets are always handy. A great first-timer's climb. Dec 19, 2009
Santa Cruz, California
[Hide Comment] This was our first outdoor climb and first wall.
I recommend this to every outdoor beginner climber.
It wasn't too hard, but hard enough for me to proceed slowly and feel the rocks. You will be able to get comfortable on this rock. Jan 23, 2013
Nicole BI
Mariposa, CA
[Hide Comment] Does anyone know what type of bolt hanger that is on top, climber's right of the two anchor bolts? Sep 22, 2014
Beau Griffith
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] This was also my first trad lead and although it was a little scary (I was a little psyched out from all the beta out there about how terrible the rock quality us), it was a LOT of fun.

Some information/updates on previous questions/beta:
-The only fixed pro I found was a piton about halfway up the crack, and the bolt just above the end of the crack.
-Anchors on the top are oddly places but serviceable. One a metolius hangar, the other an old rusty angle-iron.
-The beta regarding top-roping being logistically difficult without some serious redirects is correct. Rope drag causes an issue and is just generally difficult. It is doable though, but make sure your second can handle some creativity when lowering to reset the redirects.
-Rock quality on this climb appears good. I did not find anything loose or suspect on the line itself. Went a little bit off route on TR and there were a couple crumblies but nothing awful. Mar 6, 2017