Type: Trad, 7 pitches
FA: FA: Bridwell & Chapman - 1973FFA: Kauk & Bachar - 1975
Page Views: 9,352 total · 53/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Sep 30, 2006
Admins: Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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Hotline, commonly thought to be the first 5.12 in the Valley (though this is not actually the case), is a fantastic crack system that has the "feel" of a cragging route even though it's technically 7 pitches long. It takes the obvious roof to splitter system on the left side of the main face of the giant pillar on Elephant Rock. This system climbs along the margin of a rectangular orange scar of rock -- many people incorrectly assume that the beautiful splitter of Fatal Mistake which is visible from the road is Hotline, but Hotline is actually just left of this.

P1: Climb up a corner system up and into the obvious roof. Pull this roof at 5.10 and then continue up the crack to a single bolt belay (supplemental gear is available). 5.10. This pitch is easily linked with the next one (recommended) if gear is well-runnered under the roof.

P2: Continue up the crack system on increasingly difficult jams that eventually lead to a stretch of 5.11+ finger stacks. Near the end of the crack, bust a finger-traverse right along a horizontal dike at 5.12 all the way to a nice bolted anchor. There aren't many good options for doing this traverse, unfortunately: If your last bit of pro is before the traverse, you're looking at a swinging fall, but the only other option is to climb up past the traverse, clip a fixed wire, then downclimb to the traverse (strenuous and it makes things scary for the second). A single bolt along the traverse would have made this section much nicer for both free climbing or aiding your way through.

P3: Splitter 5.10 hands forever. Belay at the top of the crack.

P4: Climb a 5.9+ corner -- a short pitch, easily linked with the next.

P5: Climb another 5.9+ corner to a bolted belay.

P6: Option one goes straight up then pulls the strenuous roof at 5.11d. Option two goes up, skirts the roof to the right, and then goes up a very weird chimney system. Somewhat reminiscent of the Wilson Overhang, this interesting pitch requires some contortion and has less than optimal gear, but is significantly less difficult than the roof. However, if you do the roof you can link this pitch into the next one, thus reducing the climb to four pitches.

P7: Climb the short face past a lone bolt to an anchor. The Reid guide gives this 10a, but I thought it was closer to 10c.

Rap the route with two ropes.


Approach: From below park at first pullout on the south side of the road west of the Cookie parking lots. Cross the river just upstream of the pool below the parking area. Although difficult to locate, find your way directly up from where you crossed the Merced. A cairned trail emerges and generally goes up and left and will take you to the base of the Worst Error Pinnacle. Continue to traverse up left and past the amazing Fatal Mistake and look for a jumbled block right facing dihedral with a finger crack splitter going through the roof.

With double 70m ropes, you can get down in 3 raps (7-6, 5-4, 3-ground). I think with double 60s you could do it in 4 raps.


Double set of cams to #3 Camalot (possibly three #2's). A few wires and slings.