Avg: 4 from 5
FA: FFA: Steve Hong, 1982. 1st ascent in 1 pitch: Tony Yaniro
> South Platte
> Pine Area
> Sphinx Rock
Access Issue: Closed: Private Property - Sphinx Rock is on private property
6/3/06 -- Sphinx Rock (aka Elephant Rock) in Pinegrove, Colorado, is located on private property. Trespassing for any reason is illegal. Trespassing will now be enforced with the assistance of the local sheriff's office. Violators will be held accountable for towed vehicles, citations, and any legal actions.
Barring, I dunno, the Phoenix or Supercrack or something, this is probably the best-known crack climb in the U.S., one of the most famous in the world. That said, it consistently spits me off every couple of moves - on TR. The crack would be 5.10 if it was A) less steep, B) less slanted to the left, or C) less slippery. The jams are actually not bad, but feet are god-awful, and the angle of the crack makes every right hand jam awkward and tenuous. People have been known to lieback sections. It is easy to set a TR on, so go throw yourself at one of the nation's hardest crack lines! If you have an experience like mine, you'll come away with MAD respect for guys like Suzuki, Hong, and Takeda who have set the standard for free ascents in good style.
Addendum: This crack was, as oral word goes, created by a engineering challenge to create a perfect split in the rock using blasting devices. If true, they succeeded.
If nervous on 5.10 (better not be!) take some small stoppers for the first 15 feet. A hand-sized cam will protect the easy moves to get under the roof, then clip the bolt at the lip and rack a bunch of 0.5-1.5 Friends. Most folks rack on the right, though I've only TR'd.
Sphinx Crack on the cover. Photo by Anne-Marie Weber.
Knarly fingers on the Sphinx Crack. Bob Horan Collection.
The infamous Sphinx Crack man at crux.
Harrison Dekker attempting the FA of Sphinx Crack (5.13b), South Platte. Photo by Glenn Randall.
Sphnix Rock, Bob Horan Collection.