Type: Trad, 950 ft (288 m), 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: Webster & Dreiman
Page Views: 34,978 total · 122/month
Shared By: Steve Levin on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac, Tyler KC

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Description Suggest change

Comic Relief is an excellent introduction to 5.10 climbing in the Black, with clean rock, good pro, easy routefinding, and a relatively short day. The climb stays in the shade until early afternoon, so it's a good choice for hot weather. This is one of the more popular routes in the canyon. It is easier, shorter, and better protected than Journey Home.

Descend SOB gully to a white, polished slabby area under the third prominent buttress on your left. Look for a prominent left-angling feature low down (the "Vector Traverse" on Escape Artist) and a beautiful, thin, curving crack to the right of this. Head up the slab to a worn path leading to a 100 foot shoulder of broken rock. Scramble 4th and easy 5th Class up and right to a large block/flake and the bottom of the route. All pitch lengths are approximates, and like many routes here, optional belay points may be used.

Pitch 1 (75'). Begin in a nice 5.9- corner which leads to the base of the splitter crack. Variation: the thin tips crack to the right (with a little bush in it) is hard 5.10, but somewhat dirty. Belay at the base of the splitter (or keep going - you can combine these 2 pitches).

Pitch 2 (100'). Climb the splitter (excellent 5.10b, RPs at start) to a stance and belay (extra thin hands pro).

Pitch 3 (140'). Climb a left-facing corner, and move right where it ends. Climb the short wall above, or move around right to the base of a slab (optional belay at some blocks). Climb the slab (5.7), and a second short slabby/corner (5.8), to the base of an overhanging, black corner, and belay (good anchors, a little sloping stance though).

Pitch 4 (120'). Traverse straight left, to a 5.9 hand crack groove which leads to a nice ledge. Variation: climb the strenuous "Black Corner" above (5.10), then hand traverse straight left (5.6) to the belay ledge (optional 4" cam to protect the 2nd). Note that if you used the optional belay on pitch 3, you can climb the slab and traverse left to below the 5.9 groove and belay in one pitch.

Pitch 5 (120'). Several options: climb up and right to a thin crack at a bulge, slightly sporty 5.9 or easy 5.10; or up, then left around the outside corner to join Escape Artist, and onto a steep pegmatite wall with a crack (5.9 or so) which leads to the large, sloping shelf at the "Lightning Bolt" crack, and belay below the prominent corner.

Pitch 6 (85'). Climb the grungy-looking corner with a precarious block (5.9+ if dry) to a short pegmatite section, and a belay ledge on the right. This pitch climbs better than it looks. Variation: Climb the striking lightening bolt crack (5.11- or so) on the overhanging right wall, sharp, strenuous, but well protected with large wired nuts to 2" cams. Variation 2: the runout arete left of the corner is 5.8, dirty and best ignored.

Pitches 7-8 (300' or more). Climb the lower angle, but at times runout, wall above (some 5.6) to the top of the summit ridge.

Go to the leftmost set of rap anchors, just over the edge, and above a big chockstone. A single 60m rope will take you down to a rubble ledge system. Ascend the obvious and loose gully to the north- do not take the gully to the right (east) - and hit a vague trail back to the campground. This is the "standard exit".

With the black corner and the lightning bolt cracks, the climb is a more sustained challenge. If you combine P1 & P2 and simul-climb the upper wall, the route goes fast in about 6 pitches. Watch out if you are climbing below another party, since stuff on the exit wall is loose, and a rope could easily dislodge something big.

Protection Suggest change

Double set wires to 3" cams, one set RPs, a 3.5" piece. A single 60m rope will get you off the top of the summit ridge. Helmet.