Type: Trad, 80 ft
FA: Dan Davis, Pat Callis, 1963 (FFA Dan Lepeska, John Stoddard) 1985
Page Views: 1,008 total · 6/month
Shared By: Karsten Duncan on Mar 27, 2006
Admins: Scott Coldiron, Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick

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DDD follows insipient cracks and small edges up the face to the left of Damnation Crack. There is pro but it can be thin and difficult to fish in while on the tiny edges. This route should only be led by those confident at the grade.

The route, originally put with 3 bolts one of which was also used as a belay. The original and additional bolts have appeared and disappeared several times over the years and the route remains a contentious poster child of bolting wars.

Most climbers now climb the route as a TR accessible from any of the routes that top out on the Jello Tower.


The route goes up the vertical wall to the left of Damnation crack and the Jello Tower.


Pro to #1 camalot with many micro nuts


Olympia, WA
Drederek   Olympia, WA
This route is 100 feet to the chains Jun 30, 2008
geoff georges
Seattle, Wa.
geoff georges   Seattle, Wa.
The Dan of the Dreadful Direct was Dan Davis.
FA- Dan Davis, Pat Callis, 1963. Contrary to what's said above they placed 3) 3/8" studs, used 20 pitons.
FFA- as listed above using the bolts, which were chopped later, having nothing to do with the first ascent or the first free ascent. May 19, 2014
Jon Nelson
Redmond, WA
Jon Nelson   Redmond, WA  
I wonder who that "Don Stoddard" is in the FFA listing above. (I updated the info as per Geoff's comment above.)

Perhaps the author meant "John Stoddard" (who was quite actively doing new, hard ascents during that time)? Apr 18, 2016
Karsten Duncan
Sacramento, CA
Karsten Duncan   Sacramento, CA
Thank you Geoff and Jon for corrections. Description edited.

For the record, looks like 2 bolts placed for pro and a third as an anchor. Appears only 2 pins used for aid. Description does say 20 pitons but those may have also been used to protect free portions of the route.

Pic below from 1965 Leavenworth Guide.

Thanks to Blake for the above pic from the guide. Apr 19, 2016
In 1963 I think basically the entire pitch was the "direct aid" portion of the pitch. Graded 5.7 A3, I'd guess that only the top few meters were free climbed.

I think the specific mention of placing and aiding from bolts, a RURP and a KB isn't meant to imply that the remaining +/- 20 pitons were used as freeclimbing pro in a modern sense, but rather that the pitch required some atypical or specialized aid gear in addition to the normal rack of arrows, angles, etc. Apr 19, 2016
Wenatchee, WA
  5.12a R
Jplotz   Wenatchee, WA
  5.12a R
Interesting commentary from FFA'ist Dan Lepeska, taken from a Cascade climbers topic after DDD was bolted then chopped in 2001:

It has been some time since I have climbed, a retirement forced from stress injuries to joints from stupid training. Recently it came to my attention that there was some controversy surrounding Dan's Dreadful Direct, and I thought it appropriate I should add my voice to the equation, since I had the moment of privelege granted to me by Jim Yoder and had the belay and support of John Stoddard to free climb this wonderful route for the first time.

Indeed, John's point of view, that the existing manky old fixed pin on Damnation Crack did contribute to some level of safety for the crux section of the route, is an accurate statement. It was an ackward clip, but it was also a critical piece of protection.

Personally, I have no problem with the addition of a good bolt in a location that would be in about the same area as the original pin. One bolt is more than adequate. Additional bolts to make a sport climb of this route is not acceptable.

When Jim, John, and I did the climb we did it with the idea of using the natural protection available on the climb. The use of RP's was critical to success, and I understand that new protection has replaced RP's as the gear of choice for ultra small placements.

For many of my climbs I logged "air time" figuring out moves, with many a fall onto RP's down to #1 size. When used properly they provide psychological and sometimes real protection.

Climbs that are conceived as bold statements of ability for control with long runouts over difficult rock should stand in as original condition as possible. In the event the original climb is altered with the loss of a fixed pin or bolt, then the climb should be restored to as near to original condition as possible. In my opinion this climb, while having an element of danger, was not a lethal proposition, but certainly had the potential for painful consequences for failure.

Not all climbs are for all people. In fact the ability to do a given climb is a temporary condition and a privelege that should be enjoyed fully at the moment.

Full CC.com thread here if you want to waste a good hour for some entertaining reading: cascadeclimbers.com/forum/u… Apr 19, 2016
Sol Wertkin
Leavenworth, Washington
Sol Wertkin   Leavenworth, Washington
I made a redpoint ascent of this route recently and despite overlooking it for years when deeming it too dangerous without the fixed pins and too contrived to bother I actually found the pro good and somewhat plentiful and the lead brilliant, sustained, and long.


Initial seam/crack:
HB Brass Offset Nut #6
Red Slider Nut
HB Alum Offset Nut #7
(a Purple Mastercam can be placed in a pod slightly higher then the slider nut)

Blue Alien R side of undercling

.75 in pod with middle cam lobes facing R
Purple Mastercam in seam above pod
Fixed (for now) Yellow Slider Nut

Red/Yellow Offset Alien in small flaring pod

.75 in large horizontal
#6 BD Nut above cam

Yellow Alien in horizontal mantle shelf

Red Alien in flaring crack
.75 in horizontal

Yellow/Green Offset Alien in L Flake

000 TCU in horizontal out R

Green C3 in horizontal

Orange TCU before anchor Apr 30, 2017
Matthew Tangeman
Bellingham, WA
Matthew Tangeman   Bellingham, WA
Though leading this is way beyond me currently, the movement of this climb just on TR makes it easily one of the best Castle pitches. Sustained, intricate and thought-provoking. Decidedly more thought-provoking on lead I'm sure. Get on it! Jul 6, 2017
Wenatchee, WA
  5.12a R
Jplotz   Wenatchee, WA
  5.12a R
Sol summed it up perfectly, "brilliant, sustained and long." The gear is surprisingly good but spaced.

Even though I had ruthlessly wired the moves and gear on this route on top rope, it felt immediately more serious and scary on lead. An onsight lead of this would be burly. If you're going to onsight lead this, then I bet it would feel harder than 5.11a. Or 5.11d for that matter. Oct 29, 2017
  5.11c/d R
  5.11c/d R
No kidding John! Downgrading that beast to 5.11a is absurd!

Heck, I even have to laugh at my own TR grade posted at 5.11c/d R...because to onisight lead DDD would likely truly be 5.12a if not even harder. I mean...for realz...has it ever been onsight led? I seriously doubt it. I'd love to know how many people have ever led it redpoint...I'll bet it could easily be counted on two hands!

Psyched that I know two of them! Awesome leads Sol and John! After multiple toprope burns on that thang over the years I have at least a clue as to how incredibly impressive that is! Oct 30, 2017
  5.11b/c R
  5.11b/c R
This is a wonderful face climb despite being somewhat contrived. I found the gear to be quite good, but runout in several sections. The start is certainly heads-up with no pin or bolt, but It protects with small nuts and TCUs. As a lead it is definitely engaging and serious but not outright dangerous so long as you wire the lower crux. Sol mentions the use of ballnuts - and I'm sure they'd work great on this route - but I was able to protect the route just fine with a good selection of tcus, brass offsets, and camalots up to #1. Sep 27, 2018