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Outer Limits

5.10c, Trad, 190 ft, 2 pitches,  Avg: 3.8 from 323 votes
FA: Jim Bridwell and Jim Orey, 1971.
California > Yosemite NP > Lower Merced Ri… > h. Cookie Area > Cookie Cliff
Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details


A true Yosemite Classic! This climbs the beautiful crack to the left of "Elevator Shaft", for two pitches. Traverse right at the top of the second pitch.

People usually do the first pitch, then rappel.


Left of "Elevator Shaft".

Run laps on pitch one with a single 70m rope, or a single 60m rope if the belay is bumped up to the base of the Elevator Shaft.


Pro to 3.5"

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Grant Hiskes on "Outer Limits".<br>
Photo by Blitzo.
[Hide Photo] Grant Hiskes on "Outer Limits". Photo by Blitzo.
Angela on Outer limits
[Hide Photo] Angela on Outer limits
Charlie cruises pitch 1
[Hide Photo] Charlie cruises pitch 1
Rhiannon on Outer Limits
[Hide Photo] Rhiannon on Outer Limits
Outer Limits, Yosemite Valley
[Hide Photo] Outer Limits, Yosemite Valley
Rhiannon on Outer Limits
[Hide Photo] Rhiannon on Outer Limits
Rhiannon on Outer Limits
[Hide Photo] Rhiannon on Outer Limits
Pavel starting up the first pitch
[Hide Photo] Pavel starting up the first pitch
Charles Milligan having fun on Outer Limits.
[Hide Photo] Charles Milligan having fun on Outer Limits.
Outer Limits a long time ago
[Hide Photo] Outer Limits a long time ago
Grant Hiskes on "Outer Limits".<br>
Photo by Blitzo.
[Hide Photo] Grant Hiskes on "Outer Limits". Photo by Blitzo.
Not even halfway? A gloriously long pitch!
[Hide Photo] Not even halfway? A gloriously long pitch!

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Oakland CA
[Hide Comment] It's to the left of elevator shaft if you're facing the rock. Jun 6, 2007
[Hide Comment] 3 #2 Cams and 2 #3 Cams. Glorious. Oct 28, 2008
Ian G.
[Hide Comment] Geez...I took three #3's up this and wish I had brought two more :0 Apr 24, 2009
Colin Simon
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] This climb makes my balls drop!

AWESOME! Aug 28, 2009
[Hide Comment] Steep, sustained and powerful. Thankfully its hand size. Solid for the grade. Sep 11, 2009
[Hide Comment] Run laps on pitch one with a single 70m rope, or a single 60m rope if the belay is bumped up to the base of the Elevator Shaft. Dec 15, 2009
chuck claude
Flagstaff, Az
[Hide Comment] its a great climb. Doing the 2nd pitch going to the left is also very good. Jan 14, 2010
San Francisco
[Hide Comment] P1 is an instant classic, bring three hand size pieces, if you're really scratching for gear, you can probably squeeze in a few fist sized pieces too. P1 seems about .10a, didn't do p2. Mar 12, 2010
George K. Watson
Nederland, CO
[Hide Comment] Beautiful route. If there is a crux, it's low down at a little pod area and then the thing keeps going and going and going at hand size. A fistful of hand size cams enables you to pro this superbly. Jul 10, 2010
Ken Trout
Golden, CO
[Hide Comment] In the Sierra Club's mountaineering journal, Ascent, 1973, Jim Bridwell proposed the use of letter grades in The Innocent, The Ignorant, And The Insecure.

His examples for 5.10c thin cracks were Outer Limits (p2), Lunatic Fringe, Hardly Pinnacle, High Quality, Slack Center, English Breakfast, Sacherer-Fredricks, Hot Line (p1 & p2), and Mental Block (P1).

Pitch one of Outer Limits made the example list for 5.10b thin cracks, along with Gripper, Anathema, Easy Streaks, and New Dimensions (P1). Jan 31, 2011
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] wow. I mean, really... WOW! That is one awesome climb! Great hands for sooo long. Awesome and absolutely bombproof gear. You could take a piece or two that is between #2 and #3 camalot for the hands section as some of the #3s were pretty tight. However you protect it, enjoy some sick, bomber jamming! Jun 10, 2011
Los Alamos, NM
[Hide Comment] I found the "perfect 10a hands" up higher on p1 to be the crux: insecure off-hands for a looong ways in my case! The shorter, 10b crux down lower allowed tight hands and was easier to get through.

You get rests on this route, but many of them are what I would call "active rests"! Sep 13, 2011
Colin Brochard
[Hide Comment] Amazing route! Sooo close to the send, but alas the widening right leaning crack at the end wore me down just before the last rest. One hang. 10c seems dead on for me and my biggish hands, surprising that the consensus is leaning soft.. Nov 26, 2013
Drew Marshall
[Hide Comment] don't skip the second pitch! It is rad. Dec 20, 2013
[Hide Comment] BITD you really couldn't protect the 2nd pitch traverse. There was a fixed pin or two, but they kept falling out and they really only protected the leader. If the second blew the 5.10c moves they were looking at a 25'+ swing into and hopefully, not onto, the Elevator Shaft.

The description only describes the first pitch. The second pitch continues up the good hand crack(5.9) for few feet before launching out into a 30' traverse right under an overhang. When Bridwell opened up this route he had to garden a whole lot of munge out of the 1st pitch crack. To make the 2nd pitch go, he traversed back and forth on aid, pounding in pins to make some finger holds. He also, supposedly, tried to create a few footholds as well, but, whatever is down there isn't very good. I am not sure how you protect the traverse.

The third pitch is a fun 5.10a, or so, lieback up a dark colored wall which is actually the final pitch of Twilight Zone. Descend by walking off to the left. Jun 19, 2014
Reed Gustavsen
Van Life, USA
[Hide Comment] first pitch is a total solid 5.10! great fun fingers down low and most beautiful hands up high. single rack will do with an extra #2 BD cam.. nuts not really needed. fixed alien 10 feet below P1 anchors. maybe lead it twice, too good to rush! Jan 28, 2015
Michael Dom
[Hide Comment] Bring your 3 inch gear, you will be happy with the more you have. You will be happy regardless though. Dec 13, 2015
[Hide Comment] On lead, it felt pretty pumpy, mostly just because it's sustained. If you like to have gear every 10 feet, take lots of #2's and 2 #3's. (Save them for higher up) To me, the "crux" was the middle third of the climb where it's supposed to be easier, but I have giant hands and wasn't getting hand jams until the top 10 feet. (I can hand jam #3's)

On TR, I realized that I was overly stressed on my onsight attempt because I was out of gear... it's all 10a moves, but a LOT of them. The sustained nature of the climb makes it 10b in my book. Jun 26, 2017
blue ribbon
Indian Creek, UT
[Hide Comment] No sense in stopping at the first anchor, that's where it just starts to get good. Continue up the thin hands splitter on sticky rock and go left at the top for a well protected and fun couple of moves to the chainz. Oct 5, 2017
King Tut
Citrus Heights
[Hide Comment] Barry Bates tells the story how he was invited to do this FA with Bridwell...said it looked too dirty lol. But Barry bagged some classics. :) Jan 5, 2018
[Hide Comment] if you like #2's and #3's this climb is for you. I am a shit climber but didnt think a four or any extra gear outside of doubles from #1 to 3 and a few smaller pieces were necessary. Oct 23, 2018