Type: Trad, 300 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Pat Callis and Larry Harrell, 1967
Page Views: 9,682 total · 60/month
Shared By: Roger Linfield on Jan 23, 2006 with improvements by BrentNorum
Admins: C Miller, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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This is a high quality slab route on great rock. It has three pitches: 5.8, 5.9, and 5.7. The bolts are fairly easy to spot - the biggest danger is heading for a bolt on a nearby (harder) route by mistake. This climb gets morning sun, and then goes into the shade in mid-afternoon.

The descent is easy - just walk to the right until you can scramble down and back along the base of the rock or rappel and down-climb Bye Gully.


Almost all bolts but small stoppers or a tiny cam can be placed in the flake on pitch 1, before the first bolt. After that, no other gear until the anchor at the top of the climb - tie off a tree or use a #1 or #2 cam to build an anchor left of tree in horizontal crack at top of 3rd.
Adam Stackhouse    
This is one of the best moderates on this wall (or at Suicide for that matter.) Mar 24, 2006
david baker
jamul, ca
david baker   jamul, ca
On the first pitch use a green or yellow alien to protect. Also, the decent is done by traversing left 75 feet. A short exposed down climb leads to a rap station directly across from Piasono Pinnacle. Two raps will take you near the bottom of Bye Gully. From here there is a short down climb to the base of the Weeping Wall. May 10, 2007
Dave Daly
Kernville, CA
Dave Daly   Kernville, CA
A quality route! Certainly NOT a soft 5.9. Even though the first pitch is 5.8, it is sustained and slick. The second pitch, (past the second bolt, is the crux. The grade is solid.....as better be your skills on slick slab with moderate runouts.

Additionally, the gear suggested by the page author is incorrect. The small, short crack on the face (left of the larger crack corner) is the start of the route. This crack indeed takes one or two medium nuts, or as suggested by the above comment, a yellow or green Alien (they fit perfectly!) Apr 18, 2008
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
Besides quickdraws - all you need is a wire for the solid placement in the slot before the first bolt. Sling the tree at the top of the climb for a belay anchor. May 22, 2009
Cory Harelson
Boise, ID
Cory Harelson   Boise, ID
My first route at Suicide. I hadn't been climbing that long when I lead this one. I had never led a trad route at 5.9 (actually my first trad lead was the day before on 5.4 White Maidens Walkway . . .), but I figured it would be no big deal since it was "bolted". I climbed it with 2 friends, Nick and Charles. On the second pitch I remember constantly feeling like I was way above the bolts, and the thought going through my head with each step was "please don't slip, please don't slip, please don't slip . . .".

My wife and Nick's girlfriend, Lauren, sat at the bottom and shared a bottle of wine while we climbed. The whole time Lauren and my wife were laughing hysterically at my Elvis leg, and heckling me from below. "Aww look, he's scared! HAHAHA"

After climbing pitch 2, the third 5.7 pitch felt really easy, and the fact that there was only one bolt didn't bug me too much :).

It was a fantastic climb. I'd love to climb it again today, since I'm sure it wouldn't seem nearly as scary as it did then . . . May 29, 2009
One of the slickest, most slippery pieces of stone you'll ever set foot on. Listen to your feet squeak as you slab and edge your way up this pane of glass! Climb this in cool/cold weather. Jan 11, 2012
J Dowd
Idyllwild, Ca
J Dowd   Idyllwild, Ca
Bye Gully is a rope eater! Consider downclimbing it. Feb 21, 2012
Be careful when you start this route. The flake system that runs to the right looks very nice if you prefer crack to slab, and you might consider climbing that then traversing left onto the first bolt. My father thought the same thing then popped at the top of the flake, shattered his leg, bad day. The flake system apparently runs about 5.10b and the landing is RIGHT into a pot hole/tree root that loves to eat legs/feet.

Sadly having never climbed this I cant make a comment on the climbing, but just be careful about where you start the route, you could end up in a pretty bad situation. Jun 6, 2012
Colin, are you referring to the larger left-facing flake? The route normally heads up the smaller right-facing flake below the bolt. Either one will take small gear, and I recall placing a small alien at the top of the smaller right-facing flake in a pin scar just before it peters out. That's sufficient to keep you safe to the first bolt.

Sorry to hear about the injury. I'm currently recovering from a tib/fib fracture, so I can definitely sympathize! I wish your partner well... Jun 20, 2012
el cajon, CA
  5.9+ R
sdrockstar81   el cajon, CA
  5.9+ R
I very possibly over-starred, over-rated the climb and under-rated the protection but, for me, this was pushing my level of climbing and was such an amazing climb! On sighted it and just put any consequence of falling out of my head and just climbed! The crux is great especially 12ft above your last bolt!!!

P1: 5.8 ( with a traverse) Left facing dihedral small nut placements, traverse up and to the left x3 bolts. up and right 1 bolt then straight up to first belay.

P2: 5.9+ Crux pitch kinda of zigzags back and forth sometimes the bolts are hard to spot. I believe the crux is after the 2nd or 3rd bolt and it gets pretty run out. !!!Crux is not well protected, it was bolted on lead.

P3: 5.8 R This pitch is really run out at the end... Trad anchor!!! two #3's and #2's

Have fun and get in the zone! Sep 13, 2012
  5.9- PG13
  5.9- PG13
This is a great slab route, but after a few pitches of slab no matter how good I usually would like to move on to some crack climbing.

-P1. At the third bolt it seems from the Vogel topo that you should be moving far right but the fourth bolt is actually directly above you. I climbed to the right and then stepped back left to clip the bolt because going straight up looked blank. You only need one medium nut to protect the start, right facing flake.

-P2. Yea the crux but pretty well protected for ground-up slab climbing.

-P3. Run out but easy. Mar 25, 2013
Gavin Bridgeman
Orange County, CA
Gavin Bridgeman   Orange County, CA
This route is not run out (for suicide), bring a yellow master cam for the start and you will be safe. Oct 12, 2013
Matt N
Santa Barbara, CA
  5.9 PG13
Matt N   Santa Barbara, CA
  5.9 PG13
P1 and 2 felt about the same difficulty-wise. Getting to the first bolt (and having to leave that nut placement) was the mental crux. Oct 19, 2013
#11 stopper gets you to the first bolt on the first pitch. Loop a long sling on the tree to pro the top of the climb...other than that, it's all bolts. Best to do this route when the slab is in the shade, so hit the Buttress of Cracks first, then come over here.
When I taught climbing up there in Idyllwild, I used to tell my clients to silently touch their boot edge on to the edge, then pour their full weight into that edge, and never move the ankle or foot again, which got them out of the habit of "Kick Starting the Harley". This metaphor seemed to help, especially when we were doing the edging typical of this route. They began to think of their boots as buckets, and they would pour their weight from one bucket to the next, like pouring sand from one cup into another.
Every climber I took up this route became a much better face climber, so I always considered "The Serpentine" to be
Edging 101...
a mandatory freshman class in the art of face climbing. Mar 22, 2015
Claremont, CA
BrentNorum   Claremont, CA
I use one or two smallish stoppers (in the #3-#5 range) and/or a tiny cam to protect the flake to the first bolt. Super fun, quality all the way! Oct 22, 2015
Jim Dover
Idyllwild, CA
Jim Dover   Idyllwild, CA
Led this twice in the last two weeks. Very slippery, that is true, but plenty of places to step around the slippery parts. A .75 protects the start--although it seems there are plenty of options. Sep 15, 2017
San Diego, CA
ColinW   San Diego, CA
The first pitch felt a lot trickier than 5.8.... Sep 29, 2018