Type: Trad, 50 ft
FA: Richard Harrison
Page Views: 3,450 total · 15/month
Shared By: Kristin McNamara on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Stout lead. The bottom is low angle (and mostly soloable for 5.9 leader) and is the start for P Crack as well, but instead of heading left, go up.


1 manky bolt plus 1.5"-2.5"


Bob Hill
Bob Hill  
This is the best, and most honest, hand crack in the Morros that is on legally accessible rock. I say that it is honest because you really need to know how to set solid hand and foot jams - there's no faking it like on P-Crack. For me it is both thumbs up and thumbs down jams, but it will depend on the size of your hands. My personal variation is to traverse from the top of the crack over to Out of Hangers and on up to those anchors. It is probably 5.10a to go this way and slightly run out between the routes. Now if only that crack were just a little bit longer... Feb 9, 2004
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Traversing right to join P-Crack may be 10a, but climbing straight up to the anchor after the crack peters out (as indicated in the photo) is decidedly difficult and should be considered a very serious undertaking on lead. There is a single bolt above the crack, but the crux occurs a good 20-25' above. The crack itself is perhaps 5.9. Jan 23, 2005
Bob Hill
Bob Hill  
Indeed, to go straight up and out of the Stool Crack is very serious climbing. A good way to go that I am fond of is to trend left after the crack ends to the "Out of Hangers" line and finish up at those anchors. This is probably .10a or so. As Mike indicates, the crack itself is straight-in, 5.9 hands. If done as described above, this is an excellent rock climb. Jan 24, 2005
Menlo Park, CA
JP.8d   Menlo Park, CA
I felt this route to be burlesque for 5.9. While the crack itself is short, it is full value. And yes, heading straight up to the anchors after clipping the bolt would be very serious. If you popped from high enough up, you would have a one way ticket to splatterville as the slab beneath the crack is low angle. Apr 3, 2007
Richard Shore
Richard Shore  
there are now 3 bolts on the face above the crack, making the direct finish a more sane lead. Crux is a few feet above the third and final bolt, and THIN. 5.10+ Feb 20, 2011
"making the direct finish a more sane lead"

That seems to miss the point. Did the FA party (Richard Harrison) do this? Or do we all get to now add bolts wherever we want to?
Many routes on Bishop are not "sane" but why does that give someone the right to add bolts? What if someone thinks there should be 4 bolts? or only 2? Where does it stop and who gets to decide? These are rhetorical questions obviously.

Whoever is adding bolts, please stop. You're being immature. Feb 25, 2011
Jon Hanlon
Jon Hanlon   SLO
I was pretty irritated when somebody added bolts to Harlots Slot, and renamed it. In my opinion, when somebody adds bolts to an existing TR, they are retrobolting an existing climb...not doing a first ascent. Many climbers feel that a TR is fair game for bolting and renaming, I do not. I think retrobolting TRs is unacceptable and a little pathetic, but not everyone agrees. mountainproject.com/v/calif…

The difference with the retrobolting of Impacted Stool Crack is that this was not a TR. This is an established lead with a ballsy finish. No different than a dozen other routes at Bishop. Nearly everyone agrees (except for the bolter and a few others) that retrobolting established lead lines is intolerable.

So, who thinks they have the right to alter existing lead climbs at Bishop by adding bolts? Feb 25, 2011
Richard Shore
Richard Shore  
This was my first time climbing at Bishop Peak, and I've never altered or added bolts to a route - I'm just reporting the facts here, gentlemen. If the bolts were added without the FA's consent, they should be removed. (I'll admit to clipping them happily though) Feb 27, 2011
Richard, nobody said you did it.

Whoever is needs to stop please.
Bishop Peak has a lot of tradition and history.
It isn't anyone's place to rewrite it and bring these routes down to their level. They are what they are. If you don't like it, top rope them... or climb somewhere else. Mar 1, 2011
gary ohm
Paso Robles
gary ohm   Paso Robles
This is an interesting discussion. Mr Slater and Mr Hanlon, I'd love to meet up with you guys some time at Bishops. I'd like to get some old school insight there.
Do you still get out there often?

I'm new to the BP area, so I don't have the historical feel that you fellows do, so for me everything is just as it should be.

I do know that someone is spending a tremendous amount of time, effort, and probably money to replace old bolts and hangers there to keep everyone safe.

I think this is a good thing. Mar 5, 2011
Tyler Alves
Santa Barbara, Ca
Tyler Alves   Santa Barbara, Ca
Gary, I think the problem here is a distinct difference between REPLACING manky bolts and ADDING new bolts. Without permission from the FA party, this practice is not welcome at any area I've climbed at. Jan 7, 2012
I led this again recently with the desire to see what the climb was like before the 2nd and 3rd bolt were added. I must admit, i felt like an idiot skipping the second bolt and chickened out, clipping the last bolt.

Personally i would love the route with just bolt 1+3, but the rock shouldn't be bolted to just my comfort level (unless i'm on the FA.) In conclusion, I agree that all the added bolts should be chopped, even if it turns the direct route into 5.10X or whatever.

Obviously, as other have described, if you wanted to climb the crack that bad, there are other ways to do it and avoid the run-out. Hell, chuck a mallion on that first bolt and you could just do the crack and rap. Jan 19, 2012
Ryan Nevius
Chiang Mai, TH
  5.9 R
Ryan Nevius   Chiang Mai, TH
  5.9 R
Originally a line I had avoided due to the runout after the crack, I noticed the "new" bolts and decided to give it an onsight attempt. Perfect (albeit short) crack! As for the climbing above the crack...it still felt no harder than 5.9. Maybe the mental security of clipping the bolts lowered the mental grade? Either way, I don't agree with the retro-bolting. Mar 31, 2012
Atascadero, CA
FrankPS   Atascadero, CA
The "new" bolts above the crack have been removed. The original one just above the crack is still there. Noticed this today. May 28, 2012
Stellar line! Legit crack moves lead to sweet face. Relatively long pitch length and solid rock quality enhance. At the top of the crack go left (a few easy face moves) to "Out of Hangers" or right (5.8ish traverse) into "P-Crack". As other posters have noted, going straight up puts one smack dab into "R/X" terrain. Gold sized and smaller camalots sew up the crack. Both the "P-Crack" and "Out of Hangers" finishes are classic. The climbing on the "Out of Hangers" arete is in the "PG/R" range and the exposure is airy and memorable. Aug 8, 2016
Jack Moe
San Luis Obispo, CA
Jack Moe   San Luis Obispo, CA
I don't intend to beat a dead horse here, but I'd just like to add my perspective to the ongoing retro-bolting debate as it is especially pertinent at a place like Bishop's.

Yes, adding bolts changes the nature of the climb. It disregards the vision of the first ascent and I can understand the sentiment that it is unacceptable. However, I'd like to introduce a couple questions that I would like to here some insight on.

1. If people are upset that adding bolts will change the nature of the climb, why not just ignore the new bolts and climb it as it was originally set? This is not to say anyone should be able to add bolts to any route at any time, but in extreme circumstances where a fall could lead to serious injury or death (conditions present on many of the routes at Bishop's), is it not reasonable to add a bolt or two?

2. Is it reasonable that such a large portion of climbs at Bishop's are bolted in a way that makes them dangerous to the point of R and X ratings? I certainly appreciate the mental side of lead climbing, I am not trying to devalue that. However much of P-Wall, Shadow Wall, and more is claimed by VERY bold climbs that 90% of us are not willing to roll the dice on. That means that so much quality rock is basically reserved for a minority of bold enough climbers that are willing to take a much higher level of risk. Are we willing to respect the initial vision of these sparsely bolted climbs so much that we deprive SLO climbers of the ability to enjoy all that Bishop's has to offer, unless they are willing to accept a significant level of risk?

I'd love to hear some insight because I am honestly torn on the issue. To me, it just seems a shame that SLO has so much good rock but such a large portion of it is reserved for the boldest of climbers. May 8, 2017
Alex Bury
Ojai, CA
Alex Bury   Ojai, CA
A couple notes from my corner...

The concern and confusion regarding runout routes at Bishop is understandable, as today's climbing culture is very different from the one that produced these risky leads.

One thing to understand is that old routes like this aren't just runout because of someone's vision. Back in the day, routes were established from the ground. Placing bolts on lead is really tough, so less got placed in general. Today's standard (rappelling in to clean, top-rope, and bolt) was considered poor form. This is the essence of traditional climbing, whether the route is bolted or if it's a crack.

This approach gave the climbing at places like Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Tahquitz, and others, the adventurous character that they have. Climbing at these places would be a much different experience today if they had been developed from the top with safety front and foremost.

Adding bolts to old routes is not merely disrespectful to what was likely a very considerable effort. It actually diminishes the merit of the entire area.

And the 'just don't clip em' argument doesn't work. Adding bolts reduces the level of commitment required to complete the route, changing the experience for everyone.

Despite its proximity to town and relatively small stature, Bishop Peak does have a strong traditional background. Any place with tales of Sorenson on-sight solo FA's certainly qualifies.

My advice is to appreciate the area for what it is. Understanding the routes and climbing the ones you can will cross over to your experiences in places like Tuolumne Meadows and elsewhere.

-ab May 9, 2017
Jack Moe
San Luis Obispo, CA
Jack Moe   San Luis Obispo, CA
Adding bolts reduces the level of commitment required to complete the route, changing the experience for everyone.

Sure, I see the logic in that. But at the same time, very few people get to have any experience with the route when it is bolted in such a way to make the climb have a serious risk of injury or death. The experience of the few people climbing it is prioritized over the ability for others to share in any experience of the route. I see the value in keeping some routes in some areas like that, but having nearly half the climbs on Shadow and P with R or X ratings seems unnecessarily excluding of so many climbers. May 9, 2017
I found three gear placements on the face above the crack. Two #7 DMM offset nuts go in within a foot of each other about 10-15 feet above and a few feet right of the bolt. A .75 camalot goes in a few moves higher and left of the nuts (an equivalent sized alien would probably go in better as it is three cams not four and is slightly narrower than a camalot). Good stances for all three placements. One of the nut placements seemed good to me, the other just okay. The cam placement was in a shallow pod but seemed decent. It would be easy to TR the line from the P-Crack anchors and check the placement quality for yourself. The face above the crack overall felt like 10a to me. The three placements made the lead feel heady but doable. Definitely a classic BP line (with an awful name). Oct 22, 2017
Chris Bersbach
Arroyo Grande, CA
  5.9+ R
Chris Bersbach   Arroyo Grande, CA
  5.9+ R
...very few people get to have any experience with the route when it is bolted in such a way to make the climb have a serious risk of injury or death.

Anybody who wants to experience the crack, face holds, movement, etc. can toprope the route. That's an awful lot of what the route has to offer. You can also lead the crack and traverse right to P-Crack or left to Out of Hangers, and "experience" a good portion of the route on lead. So the only "experience" you or anyone else is being deprived of is the opportunity to lead the top half of ISC as a sport climb.

Overall, the Peak offers an impressive array of climbing experiences from safely bolted sport leads to serious testpieces. But almost every serious route on the Peak can be toproped, allowing all of us to experience a great range of climbing, while preserving most of the central coast's climbing history. I think it's fair to say that a lot of us would feel the "experience" of climbing on the Peak would be permanently diminished if every route was bolted down to the lowest common denominator leader. Oct 23, 2017