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Routes in 3. Fisherman's Wall

Babe TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Cheetah T,TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Cro-Magnon T,TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Diagonal T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Dune T 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b R
Jane T,TR 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Strawberry Fields TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Tarzan T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Topaz T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Wizard, The T 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a PG13
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Type: Trad, 60 ft
FA: Robert Hall, and members of Lowell Tech Outing Club, Nov. 1968
Page Views: 5,983 total · 48/month
Shared By: brianmiller on Aug 9, 2008 with updates from Robert Hall
Admins: Joe M., Old Timer, jim.dangle

You & This Route

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In the far right corner on this face, mantle past a ledge and up to good pod to reach the bottom of the crux section. I write "section", because it's rather strenuous and sustained for roughly 20 feet and not just one or two moves. Keep working through it - and remember to stem.


The route is in the obvious book on the right-hand side of the face. After getting through the crux section, the climb backs off a great deal as it ascends a ramp to the left. Walk off from the top of the ramp.

Alternative descent: almost halfway up the face on the climb to the left (Jane) are some slings than can be used to get off the route. A ledge facilitates the traverse from Tarzan.


A standard rack. The crack starts very wide and gets more narrow as your elevation increases.
Jason Antin
Golden, CO
Jason Antin   Golden, CO
A #4 Camalot will protect the area near the manky pin, but certainly not necessary. Aug 10, 2009
Traditional finish is to move onto the face under the roof on the right at the top of the easy ramp. Move out right to clear roof and up crack, or continue right and finish on arete. Short but fun and more aesthetic finish. Feb 13, 2011
Westerly, RI
RhodeIslandJeff   Westerly, RI
I got a first hand lesson on why it's called Tarzan today. I was top rope soloing and slipped just under the crux. Mind you I put a sling on the horn coming down, but I still ended up swinging way over and a good 2-3 feet from the wall. I spent the next 35/40 minutes prussiking to the ramp. That did me in, and it didn't help that the black flies were waiting for me at the top. The morning was fine, once the day kicked in, they were a real bother. Awesome route. May 10, 2011
Leominster, MA
JD1984   Leominster, MA
Tarzan saw a serious fall in Fall/2011 when a climber decked from the crux "section." Something to keep in mind before trying this climb if 5.8 is your limit... this climb scares the crap out of me and I have not lead it yet. The climber did sustain serious injuries (obviously) but will recover. Jan 3, 2012
Leominster, MA
JD1984   Leominster, MA
If there is a harder 5.8 out there, I don't know about it.... Very serious climb at the grade. That said... spectacular route! Sep 17, 2014
Kristian Starheim
Trondheim, Norway
Kristian Starheim   Trondheim, Norway
Finished this one up the open book going from the ramp (there are two open books, and this is the one to the left of the diving board). Commiting traverse out to the right under an overhang and up to the book.

This adds another 5.8-section to the route, topping out with some serious exposure and commitment. The crack under the roof takes gear. Oct 20, 2014
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
A bit of historical info. First, as one commenter mentioned, the climb is named for the swing, but not the "little swing" from the horn. The climb was first cleaned (of poison ivy vines) on top rope by Gerry Malone of the Lowell Tech Outing club in, I believe, spring 1967, or maybe fall 1966. The TR (two 150 ft ropes tied together) ran all the way from the top, over the overhang. One of Gerry's hands was gloved, the other was not. At one point while cleaning, his non-gloved hand slipped out, the resulting swing was something like 30-40 feet (it seemed like 50 at the time!) "swinging though the air with the greatest of easy"...just like Tarzan.

The same day it was cleaned, RH led the climb (driving the now-gone piton at the crux), and Gerry followed. In the days of even pre-"RRs" ( a climbing shoe of the late '60s & early '70s) not to mention pre-EBs or even pre-sticky rubber, the climb was first led in mountain boots. It was thought to be comparable to such climbs as "Han's Puss", "Ken's Crack", "High Exposure", and "Sound and Fury" at the Gunks, all then were rated 5.7; hence the original 5.7 rating.

Sam Streibert's reference (in the 1975 guide "Climbing in Eastern MA") to "Kevin Bein's gardening effort" is simply incorrect. Kevin was very active in Eastern MA during that time, including Crow Hill (e.g. FA Diagonal, possibly where Sam got confused, although that climb is correctly attributed) but not the FA of Tarzan.

It is with consternation that I read about the bad fall taken on this route. I have followed the route in the past 3-4 years and agree with the difficulty of both the rating and the awkward protection-placement. As the first ascentionist, I hereby give permission for a bolt to be placed if the current climbing community believes it to be warranted. After all, the FA was led with what-was-at-the-time a "bombproof" piton. Oct 28, 2014
Robert, thanks for the historical perspective. Great stuff. Tarzan is a great climb. In addition, no matter how many times you have been up, it is always a very challenging lead.

Regarding "thought to be comparable" with reference to Han's Puss, Ken's Crack, and High E, I have led all three several times, and IMHO Tarzan is a grade and half harder than those climbs. I think it is a very solid 5.8 if not 5.8+. Perhaps not as hard as Bonnie's Roof or Double Crack but closer to them in grade than Han's Puss, Ken's Crack, or High E.

Regarding your comment about the horn, was this the slightly larger than hand-sized, rhinoceros horn-like feature at the beginning of the crux. If so, this was pulled off by a climber a number of years ago. I think it definitely increased the difficulty of the climb, since you now have to rely on a fist jam at this point rather than simply grabbing the horn.

Finally regarding adding a bolt, are you sure it is necessary? There is a solid #7 or #8 nut just below the beginning of the crux and a very good #3 BD cam placement, which I have personally "tested" 2 or 3 times, in the wide triangular bit of the crack just above it where the piton used to be. Even if you run it up to the jugs at the end of the crack and fall, you are not going to hit the ledge. Also if you can hang in your stem long enough you can plug a good #2 BD cam 5 feet above the #3 before you tackle the last couple of tough moves to finish the crack.

BTW I was there the day the last piton at the crux was "removed". A very large climber clipped the piton, climbed up, and fell as he was attempting to step on the little ledge at the top of the crack. He snapped the piton in half. The eye portion of the piton with draw attached slid down to the knot on his harness. The remaining piece of the shaft was found on the ground beneath the climb. The climber was caught by the aforementioned nut placement, he had not place a cam in the triangular feature where the piton was. It was a long fall, but it did not take him to the ledge. He gathered himself, got back on, and sent it. If it had been me, I would have called it a day, gone home to apply some Scotch to my wounded psyche, and got a dry pair of pants. Oct 30, 2014
Leominster, MA
JD1984   Leominster, MA
I should probably clarify that the accident on Tarzan in 2011 was the result of what appeared to be a leader being unfamiliar with an auto-locking belay device. The leader had completed the first pitch and was belaying his second. When the second asked to be lowered in order to get back on the crux section, the leader dropped him into free-fall all the way to the ground, approximately 40 feet.

I have always found the protection to be adequate, and a bolt would not have prevented this accident. Nov 3, 2014
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
Re' the "horn" and its demise: yes, the route did seem harder than 5.7 when I followed it a couple of years ago, and now that you say such a "Thank God" hold is gone, that's probably why! (i.e., that it seemed harder) My comments referred to the "original" grade.

Re' the possibility of a bolt at the level of the original pin. I leave that 100% up to the climbing community that now uses Crow Hill, I just wanted to indicate I would have no objection if that is what is decided.
R. B. Hall Jan 27, 2015

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