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Surprise Direct

5.9 R, Trad, 300 ft, 3 pitches,  Avg: 2.7 from 15 votes
FA: Pat Callis & Mike Dent, August 1966
California > Tahquitz & Suic… > Suicide Rock > (m) The Weeping Wall


This is a third pitch variation to Surprise that improves upon that route with a slightly harder but much cleaner last pitch.

P1) Start in the middle of the wall and climb a short right-facing corner system (thin pro), then continue up and left on unprotected but very easy face (5.0) to a 3 bolt anchor.

P2) Up and right along a ramp/flake system to reach a bolt (5.8) and then into an easy right-facing corner atop which is a 3 bolt belay (the regular belay for Surprise). Clip this anchor and continue right to a separate 2 bolt anchor.

P3) Steep friction face (5.9) past three bolts to a gear belay on top.

Descend via the Bye Gully.


Bolts, gear to 3 inches

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Fun pitch, but a serious lead. The first bolt is 20 feet out from the belay, and the moves just before the bolt are not trivial. Another 25 ft runout leads to the second bolt (actually doubled bolts.) The third bolt lies on easy terrain above where it's not really needed.

The pitch is fun, but I felt more "R" than the first pitch. I'm not sure why "Surprise" gets an R but this pitch doesn't. Jun 25, 2006
C Miller
[Hide Comment] Thanks Adam, I've changed the protection rating on this. Jun 27, 2006
Brandon R
Sacramento, CA
[Hide Comment] I remember the topo showing a bolt on the third pitch that isn't there in reality. Very serious pitch! Sep 25, 2006
Robin like the bird
Philomath, or
[Hide Comment] climbed this the other day and it was heads up for sure. I think that i must of done some variation because, the second bolt that i clipped was not the double set of bolts but a bolt about ten or so feet down to the right of the double set of bolts. Running it out the the double set is training for Valhalla in my option. moving to the right was not that hard. Also I did not end up clipping the last bolt that was off to the left I just followed easy terrain up and right May 9, 2010
  5.9 R
[Hide Comment] Did this one yesterday. 1st pitch easy and fun. Place a small piece or 2 and head up easy ground to the anchor. 2nd pitch a rope stretcher with some thin and challenging sections for a 5.9. I set up a belay right behind the tree (small/medium cams). 3rd pitch is easy 3rd/4th class to the top. 2 raps and a bit of downclimbing to get back to the ground. Jul 26, 2010
Ryan Strickland
Idyllwild, CA
  5.9 R
[Hide Comment] Pretty challenging pitch. Like Robin, I think the second bolt I clipped was on Duck Soup. I climbed up for 30 feet or so past the first bolt and was getting a bit nervous because I couldn't see any more bolts. But I looked down and right, maybe 10 feet right at most, and saw a bolt that seemed on route. I stepped down to it, clipped it, and then climbed up another 20 feet or so to the "double bolt". After that, the climbing got less serious, leading to the final bolt.

This pitch felt sustained, most of it felt 5.8/5.9 to me. The holds felt more slick than usual for the upper pitches of most Weeping Wall routes. However, there were frequent rest stances on large sloping holds.

This pitch was more mentally challenging for me than Ten Karat Gold because it had more rests for me to contemplate why I was climbing runout slab. Oct 6, 2013
[Hide Comment] Yea, R. The mystery bolt out right is off-route. Should be from the three bolt anchor, past a two bolt anchor (clip if you want), single bolt, double bolts, then single bolt. Pretty standard slab climbing with some extra excitement. Jul 25, 2016