Type: Trad, 200 ft (61 m), 2 pitches, Grade II
FA: Jim Erickson, free solo (hence the name), 1972
Page Views: 36,606 total · 136/month
Shared By: Andrew Wellman on Dec 31, 2000 · Updates
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Access Issue: Seasonal Closures Details


This exquisite crack can be found in the middle of the West Face of the Bastille. Considering that the first ascent was done free solo by Jim Erickson in 1972, the name seems to have some true meaning.

The route is not hard to recognize, it is a hand-sized crack that runs diagonally up and right for about 100 feet. Start P1 by jamming up an easy crack to some more technical moves in the middle of the pitch. Eventually move past a short chimney and the crux becomes quite apparent. The crack splits into two options, the left crack is solid hand size and easily swallows pro as it ascends an overhanging bulge (5.10a). The right hand crack is a very thin crack that probably takes very small TCUs or nuts as it ascends the same bulge (5.10c). Belay on a ledge right after pulling the bulge. This entire pitch has some exquisite climbing that is never desperate and easily protectable. Good stuff.

P2 starts out by ascending a blocky bulge that is more overhanging than it first appears (5.9). Make off balance move to pull over a bulge. The pro is good and the pitch gets easier as it scales a wide chimney to the summit (5.6). This is a short but really good quality route. I recommend climbing it once first before trying it in the original style, though.


Standard rack of cams and nuts. No RPs or cams larger than a #2 Camalot are needed.

Eds. some suggest that #3 and even #4 C4s, while not necessary, are useful.