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Routes in Pagoda Rock

Blue Zenith S,TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Dry December T,S 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Pillar, The T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Unsung War, The T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Type: Trad, 120 ft, 2 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 5,551 total, 39/month
Shared By: Salamanizer suchoski on Mar 15, 2006
Admins: Aron Quiter, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Falcon Nesting Closure at Castle Rock Details

Description

Most of the bolts were replaced on this route in late 05. The bolts on the anchors came out by hand. "Please, if you have never placed bolts in soft sandstone....DON'T". Some think the crux is just above the third bolt on the first pitch, some think its just below the top out on the second. Personally, I think its the top out. The rock is really solid for the most part on this route and it takes gear well. The bolts on the first pitch are a bit spacy but seem to come just before you might actually need one. This is a great route, one definitely worth doing.

Location

Obvious crack system to the far right side of the Pagoda. Follow the water stain past three bolts to the start of the crack system. You can bail from a 60m rope at any time. If you top out, make a short rap off the chains down the back side of the formation.

Protection

Cams 1ea. .3"-3" and about 4 QD's. Bolted anchors.
Daniel Howe  
 
First pitch is fun and a good warm-up or getting started with climbing lead. However, the block just to the right of the anchors feels unstable. A few knocks with a knuckle revealed a hollow sound and when my partner cleaned a nut I had placed to the side of it, I could feel the block moving beneath my feet. Quickly adjusted the belay so as to not stand on or near it.

We bailed before attempting second pitch. There was a nest in the roof, and sparrows(?) were diving us at the belay. Oct 6, 2017
Burlen Loring
Albany, CA
  5.8
Burlen Loring   Albany, CA
  5.8
Second pitch was super fun. Very chossy though. Especially as you pass the last couple of bolts. & not just little flakes like the other routes. blocks that could be pulled if not careful to avoid. Lots of bird crap too. Given choss and crap I don't think I'll be climbing this one again. Sep 20, 2016
Steve Leahy
San Francisco, California
Steve Leahy   San Francisco, California
Super fun lead! Not trivial :) Like Salamanizer says, you can definitely sew up the cruxy upper crack. Say hello to the dive bomber swallow for me. Crux move surprise! :) So stoked to discover Pine Canyon!!! See you out there :) Oct 5, 2015
Salamanizer suchoski
Vacaville Ca.
 
Salamanizer suchoski   Vacaville Ca.  
 
It's another route, see "The Unsung War".

You can finish via these bolts from the Pillar if you wanted too as a variation that goes at about 5.8. Nov 20, 2013
I noticed a couple bolts to the right at the top of this route…do those belong to Evolution? Or is there another route here?

Edit - I meant Unsung War, not Evolution…not sure what I was thinking…thanks! Nov 19, 2013
Salamanizer suchoski
Vacaville Ca.
 
Salamanizer suchoski   Vacaville Ca.  
 
I've lead it in one pitch with a 60m rope. But I don't place much gear, three or four pieces and the bolts. It's 150ft of climbing. Oct 18, 2013
Elizabeth Leddy
  5.9- PG13
Elizabeth Leddy  
  5.9- PG13
The second pitch is definitely scarier than the first. If you aren't comfortable with crack climbing yet you shouldn't make this a first lead. I found the crux to be right off the second bolt, coming out of an awkward crack. This is harder to protect than most routes and there are runouts so I would recommend only for experienced 5.8 leaders on this one.

It says this can be done in one pitch with a 70m rope but I disagree. Its too tall and even if you could get up there the drag would be too horrendous.

Great route for pushing "placement" technique. Oct 16, 2013
Salamanizer suchoski
Vacaville Ca.
 
Salamanizer suchoski   Vacaville Ca.  
 
It's 150 ft almost exactly. Oct 7, 2013
Floyd Hayes
  5.9 PG13
Floyd Hayes  
  5.9 PG13
I thought pitch 1 was 5.7 and pitch 2 was 5.9 (way harder!). And I thought pitch 2 was well protected. Also, the climb is definitely longer than 120 feet. I measured pitch 2 at about 90' but didn't think to measure pitch 1. Oct 6, 2013
Salamanizer suchoski
Vacaville Ca.
 
Salamanizer suchoski   Vacaville Ca.  
 
Right off the anchor on the second pitch is a splitter .5" crack that widens in a few spots to 1.5". The gear in this corner is solid up to and over the roof. It's after you pull the roof that the flakes and loose blocks prevent protection for a short bit. The two old bolts were placed long before Cams and nuts were invented or used. They were to prevent damaging the soft rock with pitons of the day. They are no longer needed to protect the route. The only reason they are still there is because that type of bolt in that rock is absolutely bomber...still. I pulled a couple of the other ones years back and they were unbelievably difficult to remove. I didn't want to risk damaging the rock to remove them. So if you want, clip em, they'll still hold a fall, but don't replace them. They are unneeded with modern gear.

The first pitch is protected as was originally done. It was surely done in basically hiking boots so I'm sure you (like the hundreds of others who have climbed the route in the past 50 years) can manage the meager runnouts with your high tech, sticky rubber shoes of the day.

I like the gentle spice of the route, it's part of the appeal and adds to the enjoyment for many when climbing it. Almost all the routes in Pine Canyon are like that if you haven't noticed.

Enjoy it as is IMO. Oct 2, 2013
Kelley Gilleran
Sacramento, Ca
Kelley Gilleran   Sacramento, Ca
No Sep 30, 2013
aaron hope
Walnut Creek, CA
aaron hope   Walnut Creek, CA
This is probably one of my favorite trad leads in the area. But I wouldn't say you could sew up the second pitch (at least the beginning part anyway). I found one good pocket for a red camalot and then nothing again until the roof after the bolts. Sure, there are cracks, but they are very hollow or depend on a single sketchy block which, IMO, shouldn't be used for pro. If the two old bolts were replaced and a bolt added on the first pitch, this would be fantastic and safe lead. Any thoughts on that? Sep 30, 2013
Phil McAllister
  5.10a PG13
Phil McAllister  
  5.10a PG13
I've climbed this twice and the crux is probably the off width crack heading up from the anchors at the top of the first pitch. Probably more psychological than difficult. Back up the old bolts with cams - a 0.4" in crack under the small roof. Use long runners and you can do the whole climb in a single pitch. Jan 30, 2012
Salamanizer suchoski
Vacaville Ca.
 
Salamanizer suchoski   Vacaville Ca.  
 
You can sew the second pitch up pretty tight right from the anchors all the way to the top actually. You may have to excivate a little to place a piece but there's a splitter 3/4in crack that takes bomber pro right off the anchors. Those old bolts are what I'd be worried about clipping, not the pro. Cams hold better than you'd think in that P Canyon stone. All the newer looking bolts are just that... new and bomber. The first pitch is the only pitch that has any sort of runnout as falling while clipping the second bolt will result in a ground fall. Mar 19, 2008
Leading the second pitch could result in a dangerous fall directly onto the anchors due to a missing bolt and no pro (usefull pro at least) for the first 10 to 15 feet. Please exercise carefull judgement before leading the second pitch (or just do it as one long pitch.) Mar 4, 2008
Salamanizer suchoski
Vacaville Ca.
 
Salamanizer suchoski   Vacaville Ca.  
 
It's not that old, maybe 15 years. I gave it a thuro inspection, seemed fine to me. Oct 9, 2007
aa-lex  
I just climbed the first pitch of this route and the anchors at the top of this pitch looked bomber to me. I rapped off them. The last bolt on the first pitch (the fourth bolt) before the anchors is OLD SCHOOL. Just don't fall on it! Oct 8, 2007