Type: Trad, Aid, Alpine, 500 ft (152 m), 4 pitches, Grade III
FA: Paul Ross, John Bragg and Mike Peloquin, 1971
Page Views: 37,205 total · 206/month
Shared By: Jay Knower on Nov 20, 2006
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, Lee Hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall

You & This Route

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Vertigo is a classic (mostly) free route that offers sustained and varied climbing. A lead of the fearsome Half Moon Crack is a feather in a trad climber's cap.

Locate the undeniable splitter of Reppy's Crack and head to the right past a death gully. The next section of solid rock to the right holds Union Jack and Vertigo. Vertigo starts in the center of the low angled pane of granite at a wide crack.

Pitch 1, 5.6: Head up the wide crack to easier climbing. Belay on a comfortable ledge.

Pitch 2, 5.9 AO: A long 50 meter pitch. Climb up the slab to a roof. Skirt the roof on the right and climb up a beautiful cleaved flake to a mass of slings attached to a new bolt. Clip the bolt, lower down about 15 feet and pendulum or tension traverse right to a stance below a large left facing corner.

If you are using double ropes, it is useful to lead the first part of the pitch, including the pendulum, on one of the ropes and then use the other rope after swinging into the corner. This way, you will have little drag and your second will have an easier time cleaning the pendulum. It is still a good idea, however, to climb as high as possible in the corner before putting a piece in.

Once established in the corner, follow the amazing fingercrack in the left wall. The technical crux of the route is found here. This part reminds me of Serenity Crack in Yosemite- thin technical jams in lower angled rock. Finally, belay off two bolts at an awkward stance.

The pendulum section of this pitch was freed a few years ago by Tim Kemple at 5.12.

Pitch 3, 5.9: Make commiting moves right off the belay and then make a big span move to a crack out right. Follow this crack as it widens and goes through a bulge. Belay at a stance at the base of the unmistakable wide crack. This is a short pitch and can be combined with the next pitch.

Pitch 4, 5.9R: The Half Moon Crack. Routefinding is not an issue on this pitch: simply climb the wide crack. Pro can be placed at the start of the crack, but after that, there is no pro for the rest of the pitch since the crack is just too wide for gear. All goes swimmingly until the final few moves when the crack trends rightward and the angle steepens.

Do not underestimate this pitch. I did and scared myself silly at the top when I found myself desperately thrutching up the crack all the while contemplating a 60 foot fall onto the slab below. It's really a memorable lead.

Most climbers rap from the bolts atop The Half Moon Crack. Three double rope raps will get you down.


Standard rack. A #5 Camalot will not fit in The Half Moon Crack. It's just too wide. I have heard that a Big Bro might fit, but I'm not entirely sure about that. The crack is about 18 inches wide.

Two ropes for rappelling. As always at Cannon, don't forget your helmet.