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Surrealistic Pillar Direct

5.10b, Trad, 70 ft,  Avg: 3.5 from 238 votes
FA: Lowe and Vives, 1969
California > Lake Tahoe > Highway 50 Corr… > Lover's Leap > Lower Buttress


This is a great starting pitch to Surrealistic Pillar. It can be easily TR'ed after leading the first 5.7 pitch to the right.

Follow a right-facing dihedral with a large hand crack. A combination of stemming and jamming will lead to the crux. There are a couple fixed pins near the crux.


Gear to 3"

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

I think I went with the hex
[Hide Photo] I think I went with the hex
Surrealistic pillar direct
[Hide Photo] Surrealistic pillar direct
Sucha stellar line!
[Hide Photo] Sucha stellar line!
Mountain Biking?
[Hide Photo] Mountain Biking?
Wade follows, ready for the hand crack.
[Hide Photo] Wade follows, ready for the hand crack.
thank god for dikes
[Hide Photo] thank god for dikes
Surrealistic Pillar Direct
[Hide Photo] Surrealistic Pillar Direct
A good pitch to run laps on, when there are no crowds...
[Hide Photo] A good pitch to run laps on, when there are no crowds...

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] A really fun alternative is to combine the starting crack of the 10a variation to SP and then traverse on a dike just below the (10d?) roof of the variation. Good pro (blue Camalot - extend!) before making the traverse and good pro after before committing to the strenuous crux moves going through the roof. Beats the run-out 5.6 or so knob slinging of the 10d variation (in my book) and the traverse is really straightforward for those around 6' tall. Despite not being one of the 3 versions - I think this is the most obvious line of all. Jul 14, 2006
Salamanizer suchoski
Janesville Ca.
[Hide Comment] What 10d roof? There is no way any of those variations (including yours) is any bit harder than 10b. You're right though, the way you explain it is the most obvious line. However, it is one of the three variations (of four) that most people do. In fact, it's the variation most people do when they lead the direct....because it's got the best pro. Jul 17, 2006
[Hide Comment] Cool Route! Sep 8, 2006
Oakland CA
[Hide Comment] this is a fabulous crack pitch, a rarity at the leap! fun stemming start, thin traverse, roof pull to overhanging pumpy hands, what more can you ask for? If you like the hands section, do the first part of the sinbad herbert next. May 1, 2007
San Francisco
[Hide Comment] Fun stemming and crack climbing at the bottom, tricky and steep off fingers crux to steep tight-hands crack.

Watch the rope drag when doing the traverse, extend your pieces.

Entering into the steep crack is definitely, no harder than .10b though. The rest of the crack above is probably .10a.

Jun 28, 2009
[Hide Comment] Would be 5.10 without all the dykes and jugs in and around the crack. Ditto for the variation. Jan 28, 2013
Tyson Waldron
Reno, NV
[Hide Comment] I don't think Chris Mac actually climbed this thing, cause he only gave it 4 of 5 stars in the SuperTaco. I simply cannot find the part of the route that deserves the one star deduction...

Most classic variation IMO is climbing the corner until a chalked dike and traversing right to the crack below the roof and pulling it to the chains. Apr 20, 2015
Sam Cannon
Salt Lake City, UT
[Hide Comment] What is the actual route? I never traversed anywhere in my attempt, just stayed in the corner on the left and got stymied by a crazy mantel I didn't have the sand to pull. My partner went right just below the roof to pull it up into the tight hands crack. Apr 30, 2015
calder davey
[Hide Comment] Absolutely fantastic pitch of crack climbing. Went up the crack all the way to the mini roof, then directly over right to the next crack. One of my favorite climbs at the Leap. Must do! May 12, 2015
Pavel Burov
[Hide Comment] There is a cool bouldery move after the piton.

Beta warning!

Cool high stepping, dropping knee, and reach left high. The right side pull jug is well chalked, thus it seems to be a popular move.

Is there anybody to clarify things - is this move an "original" route or yet another variation (it is easier to traverse to the right just below this move)? Aug 17, 2015
Colonel Mustard
Sacramento, CA
[Hide Comment] If you hit a piton, you have bypassed (I believe) what is the most popular option, which is to climb just under the roof, traverse right, and then pull the steepest moves into the #1 size hand crack. The left variation that bypasses this below-the-roof traverse is probably a skosh easier than the variation I outlined. But whatever floats your dingy. Nov 10, 2015
Michael Dom
[Hide Comment] Ended up doing this route when a local suggested it. What a cool route to do at night! Dec 13, 2015
Josh Lowy
Sacramento, CA
[Hide Comment] Superb line! Got tripped up for a bit at the widest part of the corner crack and ended up climbing the corner all the way up above the roof. Excited to go try traversing underneath next time! So far, my favorite at the Leap. Aug 26, 2017
Ryan Pfleger
North Lake Tahoe, CA
[Hide Comment] Super fun! Maybe one of the best at the Leap? Oct 24, 2017
Andrew D.
San Francisco, CA
[Hide Comment] Absolutely stellar line. Everyone should get on this thing. May 10, 2018
James Ovens
San Francisco
[Hide Comment] I lead the standard SP route to the anchors on 5/11/19 to top-rope this route. The right hand bolt hanger is loose and spins. The bolt felt solid but it might be worth someone taking a bolt key up there and tightening it to stop the hanger from spinning. May 14, 2019