Type: Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Greg Lowe, Jeff Lowe, 1972 FFA: Jeff Rhodes, 1990s
Page Views: 17,553 total · 124/month
Shared By: Clint Cummins on Jul 20, 2007 with updates from Arthur and 1 other
Admins: Mike Engle

You & This Route

47 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick


A stunning line with superb position above a steep wall with blank rock to either side.

The first pitch of this route has a series of crux sections each getting a little more difficult as you progress on the pitch. After that, many fun 5.9 and easy 5.10 pitches up the single crack follow. Eventually it traverses onto the moderate upper pitches of the Beckey Route.

p1 was originally done by Fred Beckey, et al, then bolted and freed in the 1990s by Jeff Rhodes.


center of SW face


standard rack
The rating for this route is a mistake. It is 5.11+. The crux is by the last bolt, where the topo shows a "5.11a" move. In addition, if you climb straight up by the first bolt, it is solid 5.11. You can go left and climb up, and then go back right into the corner to reduce the difficulty. An exceptionally good route. Jul 30, 2008
Brad Brooks  
I would second the notion that 11a is slightly off. If I would dare to enter a subjective rating, I would say 11b/c, but the crux is short and well protected, and the climb is outstanding. Aug 2, 2008
I agree that the 5.11a rating is a sandbag. It's also on the first pitch which is usually quite cool in the morning shade. Make sure to warm up! Mar 25, 2009
Yep, the original Becky / Fine Line sure feels harder than "one move" of 11a shown on the topo. Original ratings tend to linger, but there's no shame in telling it like it is. My vote is 11d. Jun 29, 2010
Spencer Weiler
Salt Lake city
Spencer Weiler   Salt Lake city
Amazing line! Super fun climbing. The 2nd pitch is by far the best pitch on the route. Finger locks for 110 feet with occasional hand jams and a fun wide section to the top. Jeff G.'s topo is spot on and was a great help. A couple thoughts: 1. Small gear is critical. Doubles in the TCU's sizes is adequate, with lots of nuts, but bring more if you have them. We rarely placed anything bigger than a #2 camalot. 2. On the last pitch, I highly recommend going up the 9+ crack on the left as shown on Jeff's topo. The right .9 crack around the bulge and up the 10a rp seam causes HEINOUS rope drag if you are trying to do it all in one pitch. 3. The descent gully is a breeze. Walk along the south ridge of the perch and down the south gully. One 80 foot rappel at the bottom is all that is required. 4. Pitch 4's wild flake is indeed wild! The mental crux of the route. Jul 26, 2010
Monica Jones
Bishop, CA
Monica Jones   Bishop, CA
I took the right side up and fell right off the bat at the first bolt going to the jug. Damn! Came down and restarted for the redpoint. Super fun, I would call it 11b also, pumpy with multiple cruxes but lots of good rests to dissipate the difficulty. Favorite route we did! Aug 19, 2010
Wasatch Back, UT
drewford   Wasatch Back, UT
Definitely worth doing the first three or so pitches before joining the direct Becky. Aug 29, 2010
Historical correction: The "Lowe's"did the first clean (no piton) ascent, not the FFA. The first pitch was equipped and free climbed by Reid Dowdle of Hailey in the early 90's. Jul 6, 2012
Mark SLC
Salt Lake City, UT
Mark SLC   Salt Lake City, UT
+ 1 for Drew's comment. We took his advice last year and it seemed like the best way to do it. The first pitches of fine line are sustained and amazing. Agreed the 11a first pitch felt harder, maybe 11+ or maybe it was just a tough warm up. Pitch 2 is phenomenal fingers. Pitch 3 to join the beckey we aided for time and as it was pretty full on stemming. After that, joining the beckey, pitch after pitch of some of the best granite 5.10 you will ever do. Smiling the whole way. Jul 30, 2012
Amir Erez
Boulder, CO
Amir Erez   Boulder, CO
Incredible. We were really happy to do this one before Myopia, as Myopia is in my opinion a bigger day physically and mentally. One of the great granite walls in the states! Aug 1, 2012
James Yates
Salt Lake City, Utah
James Yates   Salt Lake City, Utah
This is a really fun climb... After climbing Myopia this route felt like a walk in the park in terms of seriousness and sustained difficulty (we were pretty whipped after myopia, and still had enough to cruise this stellar line the next day). That being said the first pitch of Fine line is considerably harder than the crux of myopia. However, it is way better protected and the rest of the route is not near as sustained. Fine line is just good clean safe fun... This would be a great climb for a 5.10 leader.

My two cents of the rating discussion... Ratings are subjective and will vary from person to person... I was shocked that I got the first crux pitch clean... I am 5'8" and I think the difficulty can be height dependent considering that I was stretched to the absolute max with the highest possible feet. Also, I thought it was hard in several spots leading up to the very thin crux. To put this into prospective for those Wasatch climbers... I think the crux of this pitch was considerably harder than concrete jungle (11c) and slightly harder than Fuego (12a). The crux sequence felt very similar in difficulty to All Chalk and No Action (12a). I dont care to assign it a subjective grade, I am just trying to give a few comparisons. Aug 7, 2012
the giant hanging fang on p1 is very loose it was moving 2 to 3 inches very scary!Its easy to aid past this though. Sep 4, 2012
I agree with heppnerd... We climbed the Fine Line just over a week ago. The big flake (see white cross on my photo) is just hanging free and moves about 3". You don't need to actually use it and can reach around it with a long reach to a finger jam off the big rock spike to the left of the base of the flake, without aiding. One thing for sure, if (when) it does come off, it WILL kill the climber...

I'd also add that I think that the crux of that pitch (some ten metres above the flake) is much harder than anything on Positive Vibrations, which we did about a week later. Definitely not 11a. Sep 22, 2012
Aaron Miller
Santa Fe, NM
Aaron Miller   Santa Fe, NM
And it wouldn't hurt to replace maybe one of the first few pieces of fixed gear with something "modern". Those bolts are spooky. Jun 21, 2013
Las Vegas
JF1   Las Vegas
Death flake is now gone. Climbed it before and after, seems like the grade wasn't effected. Jul 19, 2013
Excellent! Did you pull it off or was it already gone? How much of the flake came off? As I said above, it moved about 3" - but I couldn't see any fracture line. Jul 19, 2013
El Manzano
kirkadirka   El Manzano
It looks like most of the death flake came off. But there is still a small amount of rotten rock that will come off over time.

Fine line is good but not as good as the Direct Beckey.

Reasons for this route only getting 3 stars:

  • Some less than perfect rock on P1 combined with old fixed protection. The climbing on P1 is brilliant however. I wish I could have convinced myself to go for it but it is past my risk tolerance in it's current state.
  • The second half of P4 and the first half of P5 are comprised of a giant stacked block and flake system. Seemed solid enough, but again, not as good quality of rock as the direct Beckey.
  • The traverse pitch back into the Beckey route detracts from the route.

Perhaps linking the Fine Line into the Beckey route via the 11+ stemming corner would improve the quality (AKA Original Beckey). We did not do this. I would say the Fine Line is right on par with the Direct Beckey in terms of overall difficulty (calories burned). Jul 26, 2013
Mike Rowley
Boise, Idaho
Mike Rowley   Boise, Idaho
Whew! That first pitch means business! I managed to pull off the onsight, but I would not have wanted to fall on those old rusted bolts. Felt pretty solid 11c to me. Great climbing up through the 4th pitch but then it starts to lose quality. Fantastic outing though. Highly recommend Jun 24, 2015
Topher Dabrowski
Portland, OR
Topher Dabrowski   Portland, OR
All the bolts on the first pitch are crap and should be replaced. Hardware that old which has been subject to temperature extremes as well as moisture ingress is just asking for trouble. The Leeper hangers have been recalled and I don't know why they are still hanging on this line.

Time for the ASCA to get in and bring this line as well as others on the Perch back up to standards.

The original Becky rivets on pitch 7 are nice for historical purposes but again offer nothing in the way of protection. 1 bolt here would be adequate. I'd suggest leaving the old rivets if they didn't risk ripping a rope up should one fall on/past them but unfortunately I doubt that would be the case.

The bolts on the top of pitch 1 are also button heads and if one looks from the side of the hanger you will note that a good part of the bolt isn't even in the rock. Pull them and add a set of 1/2" stainless bolts with stainless rap rings, Fixe makes a nice combo.

Sep 1, 2015
Kat A
Boulder, CO
Kat A   Boulder, CO
The first pitch of Fine Line felt much harder to me than any of the cruxes of the Direct Becky route - including the 5.11+ Original Becky dihedral pitch. Perhaps this is style and/or height-dependent (I'm 5'3") or the temps were just really cold that morning...

Once you are past the first pitch, the Fine Line is easier and less sustained than the Becky route, making for a shorter day. IMO, it's not as spectacular as the Direct Becky, but it's definitely a great line.

Gear beta - mostly thin gear for the harder sections, though if you finish via the OW pitch of the Becky route, a #3 and 2 #2 camalots will protect the OW well (cams deep in the crack). We didn't do the 5.9 face variation (old bolts) nor did other parties when we were up there so can't speak for that variation leading up to the Becky tree.

Agree with the previous suggestion of running the fourth pitch long to reach a nice ledge after the thin flake system, to where you are just left of the large block system. I think a 60m rope worked well enough for the party below us (we had lots of rope left on our 70m stretching this pitch, so maybe it was closer to 175' versus 200'). Sep 3, 2015
Stephen Sh
Stephen Sh   Portland
Really enjoyable fun route! We followed Kat and Dan (see comment above) on this route on 8/28. A few notes:

  • On pitch 4, a 60m rope was adequate to get to the upper belay ledge. The straight-line distance on this pitch from P3 anchor to upper P4 anchor is about 49m, measured by our tag line. The P4 “wild flake” is really fun climbing. Wild doesn’t mean loose or dangerous.
  • Above the Becky Tree, we did the Fine Line ending to the route. It’s a long and winding way to the “big ledge” from the Becky Tree. I recommend to minimize rope drag by climbing in 2 pitches to big ledge and then belaying on the ledge, which offers a beautiful position and view.
  • As mentioned above, the bolts on P1 are old and have Leeper hangers, which have been recalled due to defects. An ASCF replacement project? I found P1 hard (technical and difficult) and took a couple falls, but still really enjoyable and fun.
  • It would be helpful if the old rivets on P8 were pounded back in, flush with the wall so that the climber’s rope can’t slip underneath the sharp-edged aluminum hangers.

Gear: The thin cracks flare on this route, so I found offsets more useful than traditional nuts, in thin and medium sizes. Sep 16, 2015
Boise, ID
Trevor.   Boise, ID
Definitely a few spooky blocks on this one, including a few we would have liked to trundle had we known the base was clear for sure. Be careful.

This was our rack, which we found nearly perfect as fairly cautious climbers:
Offset Micronuts
DMM Alloy Offsets
Large Nuts (SUPER USEFUL!!!)
Singles BD 0.1-3
Doubles BD 0.3-2
X4 Offsets .2/.3 - .4/.5 (Not necessary but we definitely used them)
Lots of slings

If you wanna trim down on weight, you could make a single #2 and no #3 work. Jun 27, 2016
Las Vegas
JF1   Las Vegas
This National Forest has a set in stone no bolting allowed policy, including rebolting. Better get on it while you can.

Someone could certainly legally go up and just replace the hangers. I'd suggest taking a small bottle of something (silicone lubricant) or even a candle to help when trying to re-thread nut on the bolt. Jul 2, 2016
Colin Szehner
Oakland, Ca
Colin Szehner   Oakland, Ca
Something must be done about the bolts, needs to be fixed before there is an accident. Sep 7, 2016
Phil Lauffen
Innsbruck, AT
Phil Lauffen   Innsbruck, AT  
Ok. If something needs to be done about the bolts, what can we do? How strict is the no rebolting ban? What size hangers would work if we can only change the hangers? What is the climbing organization in the area?

I'm going to be heading to Elephant's perch this summer and want to get my revenge on this route, but I see the bolt situation has only deteriorated. I'm going up there anyway, so what can happen? Feb 28, 2017
Jesse Wees
Jesse Wees   Boise
Thanks for the update, Dave! May 3, 2017
Jeff G's topo is spot on. Where you step right from the alternate pitch 4 belay, there is a 4' tall detached block, just waiting to fall off. I knocked off the top foot of it with just a nudge. It'd probably be best to trundle it when the area isn't busy. Jul 25, 2017
The four protection bolts on P-1 of the Fine Line have been replaced with SS bolts donated by ASCA, in cooperation with the US Forest Service and the Access Fund. Enjoy! Aug 3, 2017
Mike Marmar
Salt Lake City, UT
Mike Marmar   Salt Lake City, UT
Thanks Dave. The brand new bolts were very nice to have!

This is a phenomenal route, even if you have to aid through the cruxes on P1 (we did). P2 is one of the best 5.10 pitches I have ever climbed.

Edit to add: micro and small nuts are pretty crucial on this climb. DMM offsets, peenuts, and HBs are really nice to have. Aug 23, 2017
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
Great route, even for those of us who needed to aid the first pitch :) The topo in the photos is spot-on.

P1 - New bolts and plenty of options for small gear (for those who need to aid the crux :)
P2 - Absolutely fabulous climbing - fingers in a corner. Steep and pumpy. This thing will take as much gear as as you can throw at it.
P3 - More good finger crack climbing - quite a bit easier than the 2nd pitch
P4 - I elected to break this pitch up and belayed at the beginning of the ramp. It was a comfy belay stance and I preferred to have an attentive belay during the flake traverse. Without this belay, you'll be takling the crux tips crack out of sight and with ALOT of rope out. The tips crack is spectacular, well protected, and pretty reasonable for the grade. Great movement!
P5 - Watch out for rope drag on this pitch. The belay ledge shown in the topo doesn't have great gear, so my partner belayed at the top of the crack rather than moving right
P6 - Easy traverse with a 5.7 move at the start and finish. Take the high road when looking at the options from the belay stance. Have a camera ready!
P7 - Kind of a weird move off the belay (not great gear) and then easy climbing up to the left and the ledge below the three corners
P8 - We took the left dihedral / 5.8 option. Those bolts are REALLY bad....... and the move isn't totally trivial. One day maybe someone can replace those
P9 - Up, right, up the flared corner and below at a nice stance.
P10 - The awkard 5.7 slot is just up and right and looks improbable for the grade, but it goes. We belayed at the big ledge below the 9+ corner. The party ahead of us kept going and ended up simulclimbing for 50' or so
P11 - Sweet 5.9+ corner/lieback.. then easy ground to the summit.

Climb went into the sun at 12:30 in mid-July. if you get an early start, you can be done with the hard climbing before the sun hits you.

Rack: Double set of nuts (thin/RPs to med/large) will get used. This thing eats nuts and you can use them for the belay anchors as well. Double set of cams to #3 camalot, maybe a third set of finger sized cams if you are at your limit. I can't recall if we placed the two #3s, but we had them and definitely placed one often. Lots of slings.

Descent: Loose towards the bottom, but super chill. We took a liesurely place and it was somewhere a little over an hour all the way back to camp. One rappel off a tree at the bottom left of the gully. Jul 15, 2018
Amazing route as others have pointed out. P1 is just plain hard. 11a,c, 12a,c?? Who knows. It’s hard and you may or may not pull on the gear. Did Sunrise Book the next day and if that is 12a then I’d say Fine Line is 12d but neither is the case. The new bolts are a great addition and the two leading to the Beckey Tree are a homicide waiting to happen. The loose blocks that many folks mention on P4 and P2 are now gone. They took less than 5 pounds of pressure to pull off and would have killed who knows how many people. If you’re on a route and can SAFELY make it better, just take the two minutes and do it. Enjoy Aug 12, 2018