Type: Trad, 80 ft
FA: Greg Lowe, 1965
Page Views: 22,455 total · 126/month
Shared By: Guy H. on Jun 8, 2004
Admins: grk10vq, Mike Engle

You & This Route

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This is "the" 5.11 crack climb at the City. It is just to the right of Power Tools.

The start is protected by a fixed pin, which can be stick clipped. A fixed nut has remained in place about 2 feet above the pin for the last couple years. These 2 pieces protect the opening crux moves very well.

Start on the shelf to the left and traverse into the crack. Grab the correct holds and these moves are only 5.11a/b. Work the face on the right and get established in the thin finger crack. Thin crack and stem moves will lead you to a rest jam at the roof.

The second crux is moving into the hand crack above the small roof. (#3.5 Camalot and poor feet) A continuous slightly overhanging hand crack leads to a 2 bolt anchor.


Handful of TCUs, Ballnuts, and nuts for the first half of the route. #1-3.5 Camalots for the second half of the route.
C Miller
C Miller   CA  
Stick clip the pin, then it's bascially a boulder problem into the crack which slowly widens. Make sure to take some big pieces for up high; when I did this a single #3 Camalot was the biggest piece I had, which made me feel a bit unprepared. Jan 25, 2006
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
The bottom moves are just plain hard - and seem to get harder each time I do it. I've yet to get the bottom clean. Definitely bring a good helping of #2 and #3 Camalots with one #4 Camalot for the pod. The finger crack protects well with small cams from a green C3 (blue Alien?) to #0.5 Camalot. The bottom is the crux - obviously - but the top delivers a pump that will be remembered. Jul 30, 2006
Since I haven't climbed much at the City, this is a qualified endorsement, but of the routes I have done there, Crack of Doom is easily my favorite. Great gear, a much easier than it looks (impossible) boulder start, followed by a few feet of hard thin crack sets you up for 40' of woo-hoo hands to OW crack climbing on immaculate, smooth sided granite.

Experienced crack climbers will likely find the bouldery moves at the start about two number grades harder than the OW "2nd crux".

An old style (purple or black) #4 Camalot is too large for the OW, a #4 Friend works better. You could also get by w/ 2 #3 Camalots.

Beta Alert: I went lower than the guy doing the left handed pinch in one of the photos. Taking the low road, a hard to see crystal crimp on the right arete (above the right hand pinch) was crucial. Aug 28, 2006
bbrock   Al
Not stickclipping the fixed pin bumps the grade up and turns it into a more serious deal for sure. Apr 13, 2007
I say keep your head in check, style the route, and don't stick-clip the first piece. The gear is already there after all. Aug 5, 2008
bheller   SL UT
Don't believe that with the correct holds the start is only 11a... its a V3 boulder problem to a short 11a bit until you get your fingers in the crack, then 5.10 to the top. Also, the top hardly qualifies as off-width- there are a few wide bits that one can reach right past with a little technique. As classic as they come.

Update- 10/05/14

I just climbed this again after many years- and i used to climb it freqently- I discovered where the clean crack actually starts at the stance about 18 ft up or so what was once a decent right hand patina crimp/gaston on the right side of the crack has broken off. I have fat fingers and cannot get my pinky in the one slot/lock the crack offers here. In the past I have always relied on that gaston/crimp to get my feet up a little higher to where I can get a real left hand pinky lock. Without this gaston/crimp this is now the new crux for me. It means COD now has two 11c sections in the first 20 feet. Those with small fingers probably won't even notice. Jun 23, 2009
Vandalia, Appalachia
camhead   Vandalia, Appalachia
I just got on this route again, about five years after first climbing it, and it is every bit as wonderful as it was the first time around. Definitely the best crack climb I've done at the City. Very diverse route frmo the boulder problem into an Indian Creek-styled featureless crack with changing corners. Runs the full range of sizes, with the exception of off-fingers. As the above comments mention, I think the opening moves may be a bit harder than 11c, but as soon as the crack widens beyond fingers, it is definitely easier than the grade. The "offwidth" at the top is not too bad, in my opinion. Sep 5, 2009
Curt Nelson
Fort Collins, CO
Curt Nelson   Fort Collins, CO
Congratulations Guy! Jun 29, 2010
chuck claude
Flagstaff, Az
chuck claude   Flagstaff, Az
The route is good (and one of my favorite at the City- led it twice on my last trip) and once in 2005. The only reason I gave it two stars is because its a 5.11 boulder problem (which was really fun) with a 5.10 crack. The offwidth is really mellow where you can reach through most of the wide stuff. Gear: a quickdraw for the piton, two small stoppers, a few green and red C3's, a couple of blue and grey 0.3 and 0.4 C4's, 1 0.5 C4 and then a a couple of yellow (2) and blue (3) C4's and if you wish a 3.5 (grey) C4. Jul 1, 2011
Vandalia, Appalachia
camhead   Vandalia, Appalachia
Ok, I've just got to say here, be very careful on this climb. We stick clipped the pin, just as everyone else has (and as I have about 4 times over the past decade), and it fell out. I know this is THE classic climb, and that plenty of people have probably hung on the pin, but it is definitely not bomber, as many people have perhaps implicitly assumed. Jul 15, 2011
Ryan Williams
London (sort of)
Ryan Williams   London (sort of)
Just to add to camhead's comment, I'm glad that the pin fell out when we clipped it instead of coming out during a fall. I had a mini-epic that day and I'll tell the story at some point but the current situation is as follows:

We left the pin at the base of the route and camhead spoke with the climbing ranger at the City who said he'll probably just hammer a new pin into the existing scar. Both of us disagree with this plan, but we aren't rangers...

Be careful! Jul 18, 2011
Fink Fink
Jackson, WY & Bozeman, MT
Fink Fink   Jackson, WY & Bozeman, MT
Attempted this route on July 17th, without any fixed pin present. Ended up stick clipping the first bolt on Power Tools, swinging over to get in a couple solid pieces, etc... 'twas exhausting to say the least.

On the last day of the trip over (July 19th), we ran into several climbing rangers, who had just replaced the fixed pin (new hardware). Looked pretty solid. Sadly, giving it another burn wasn't on the agenda. Jul 25, 2011
Della   SLC, UT
The fixed nut is gone, but the pin is there as of 9/4/11 Sep 5, 2011
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
I would not describe the 2.5 feet of 4" crack as OW since it's trivial to reach past it on good jams. This section does provide a great spot to stuff your elbow in and take a rest though. Fun climb, although I think that the pin is sorta silly. Any normal biner stickclipped on there is going to be loaded on the nose. Time for a bolt. Sep 23, 2011
steven sadler
steven sadler   SLC, UT
This is an amazing route. Definately a good one for those trying to push their limits. Don't overload on gear, a number 4 could be placed but 2's and 3's can go in above or below so don't bring it. I stick clipped the pin and the biner needs to be flipped upside down so it's not loaded on the nose of the biner. There is also a stuck stopper above the pin which made things nice. Jun 25, 2012
benjaminleaton Eaton   Sandy, UT
Crack of Doom Video May 24, 2013
Jack Lazar
Portland, OR
Jack Lazar   Portland, OR
Be aware: The upper crack likes to eat #2 camalots. Keep that in mind if you plan to belay a follower up--the belay rope may encourage the #2 to walk deep into the crack if the second hangdogs. An extra spotter is nice for the starting boulder problem if the climber feels ethically or aesthetically disinclined toward stick clipping. Jun 28, 2014
Adam Peters
Salt Lake City, Utah
Adam Peters   Salt Lake City, Utah
Curious about the start to this thing. I didn't read the MP.com thread or description before we climbed this route last week, so I wasn't aware that the prescribed way was to start to the left and sort and move in to the right at the height of the pin (after watching the video). My wife and I just climbed straight up into the pinch and then made one move to the right, more of a direct, and in my opinion, better way to start. However, this way seemed to bump the grade to 12-. Does that sound right to anyone? Kim Miller was there and confirmed that the way we were climbing it was a direct version that rarely gets done. Is this a thing? Seemed like a pretty standard way to start this thing. Apr 25, 2016
Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
RKM   Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
My understanding of the route, having been there a couple of times with Greg Lowe and climbing it once with Greg belaying (mid '70's), is that he did the direct start - straight up from the ground. Most everyone I have seen work or climb the route since has come in from the left side.

Greg was the strongest boulderer I have ever seen. After hours of circuit climbing in the boulders behind his house in Ogden, he would come home and traverse back and forth on the bricks of his house. Unbelievable finger strength.

Adam Peters sent this thing last Friday (straight up from the ground) in an amazing display of calm strength and climbing ability. It was a rarity for me to witness. Apr 26, 2016
Adam Peters
Salt Lake City, Utah
Adam Peters   Salt Lake City, Utah
Thanks Kim, I appreciate the compliment. What a great pitch! It was nice to meet you and Joe that day. Apr 27, 2016
Where's Walden
  5.11c PG13
Where's Walden  
  5.11c PG13
Onsighted today in good conditions. The clip from the foot ledge is secure, but if you can't reach from there the full lead warrants PG13. The qualities of this line are improbable and inspiring. One of the coolest things ever! Jun 12, 2016
Brian Hestetune
Logan, UT
Brian Hestetune   Logan, UT
Raddam6, which book were you using? The Bingham guide rates it a 5.11c. Jun 13, 2016
bheller   SL UT
@radspray...recent historical information confirms the direct start is the "only way" to climb COD. Pity this knowledge compromises your footledge start and therefore we cannot consider your attempt a "lead" in the official B.S. (Book of Spray). Jun 14, 2016
Wasatch Back, UT
drewford   Wasatch Back, UT
Originally called "5.9 with a bouldery start" by the FA Lowe clan. Sep 19, 2016
MisterE Wolfe
Bishop, CA
MisterE Wolfe   Bishop, CA
I onsighted this route in 1994, starting in the crack. Direct start makes it solid .11+. I think stick clipping & coming in from the side reduces the quality of the climb as a "pure crack", as well as knocking the grade down to .11b.
YMMV. Apr 7, 2018