Type: Trad, 550 ft, 5 pitches
FA: Doug Robinson & Jay Jensen / Dean Hobbs & Andy Selters
Page Views: 6,474 total · 55/month
Shared By: AWinters on Jun 9, 2009
Admins: Aron Quiter, Euan Cameron, AWinters, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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An excellent route with cracks of all sizes. It offers just about every crack technique and is highlighted by the 3rd pitch finger crack.

This route links the original routes 'Crack of No Hope' - FA-Doug Robinson/Jay Jensen, and 'Wild Kingdom' - FA-Dean Hobbs/Andy Selters. This combination is the recommended way to go...

Pitch 1: Begin as 'West Face', but at the big ledge near the top of P-1 break left off 'West Face' and traverse along the big ledge, passing the rappel anchor and the obvious off-width. Build a belay at the base of the next short arching crack on a nice little perch. To decrease rope-drag belay at the rap anchor then have the follower continue past to the proper belay stance. (5.10a)

Pitch 2: Climb up the short right-arching crack past broken blocks to a thin chimney on the right side of a large detached block. Tackle the next short off-width then left into the funky flare/V-groove (crux). Follow the easy low-angle chimney to its top then step down and left to belay on a ledge below the obvious left-facing corner. (5.10-)

Pitch 3: Up the nice corner to the steep finger crack that leads up and right out of the corner. Pop over the lip (crux) following the crack out right, then back left to a short traverse around the arete to a short splitter thin-hands crack. Follow this up to a big ledge and belay at the base of the short and thin right-facing flake. (5.10)

Pitch 4: Up the flake (crux), then thru some scrambling to the big ledge below the true summit. Another short 4th class scramble will sit you on the top. (5.10)

Descent: Rappel, downclimb, or lower 40 feet down and right to the first proper rappel station on the exposed block. (5.5) From here you have four 35 meter rappels (two 60m ropes/one 70m)


Northwest face of the Pinnacle. Find the 15 foot block/flake at the base with finger cracks in both sides to start.


Standard rack to 4"

Doubles from small fingers to big hands are useful


This is my favorite of the routes I've done on Cardinal. The pitch3 finger crack is truly stellar. Jun 10, 2009
Bruce Willey
Bishop, CA
Bruce Willey   Bishop, CA
Got a left knee stuck in the off-width exit move on P-2. Never thought it would come out and had visions of that dude in Utah who cut off his arm. At first I thought it was a cool, no hands rest, only to discover the knee had cammed in there pretty good. Took about half hour to free and now my knee is the size of a small, seedless watermelon. Great route, though. Aug 15, 2009
Fantastic and varied climbing on perfect rock.

I would recommend bringing 2 #4 camalots for the offwidth pitch. Jun 30, 2014
Ryan Huetter
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Ryan Huetter   Mammoth Lakes, CA
Gear: Doubles from tips to fists. Second bringing 2 #4 Camalots, and if you are leading at your limit consider some extra finger sized pieces.

Go farther than you think on the 2nd pitch (all the way to top of easy chimney, to base of steep clean corner.

Belay at top of ledge requires a long cordalette or a couple #3s to rig something up.

We belayed a downclimb to the rap anchor from the top then down led (easy 5th class) Aug 6, 2014
At the end of P3 it's also possible to go straight up instead of traversing left. I followed the flaring opening to a wide crack (another opportunity to use that #4 and do some butterfly hands!); after you get through the OW moves it turns into a wide-hands crack. Not sure how hard it was--the #4 bit seemed burly, but I was tired. Aug 10, 2015
Tyler Logan
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Tyler Logan   Mammoth Lakes, CA
If there's a queue at the start of W. Face, consider starting on the next crack over to the left (maybe 10' or so). Look for a left-facing corner with a thin crack about 20 or so feet off the ground and aim for it. Pro before and after this corner is a bit tricky and thin in places, but the corner itself protects well with 1/4" to 1/2" cams. Going straight up from the corner lands you on the ledge right in between the rap station and the start of Crack Kingdom's 2nd pitch. Has anyone else done this variation? Any opinions as to its difficulty? It felt 10+ to me, with the corner being the crux and much harder than it looks from the ground. Jun 21, 2016
Derek Field
Derek Field   California
Pitch grades if this route were located in Yosemite Valley:
P1: 5.9
P2: 5.9+ (one-move wonder)
P3: 5.10a (finger crack, sustained and awesome!)
P4: 5.8 (one layback move off massive ledge) Aug 23, 2017
Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
old5ten   Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
about that yosemite 10a grade - when i'm thinking steeper finger cruxes in the valley, catchy (10d), and sherrie's crack (10c) comes to mind for the 10/10+ side of things. i would say that p3 on crack kingdom falls in line nicely with the technical difficulty of sherrie's crack and is way more sustained (albeit slightly easier) than catchy. 10a would be a serious sandbag.

much of the climbing on p3 is also really dependent on finger size. i imagine smaller fingers have an easier time than larger fingers, since much of the climbing is in the green/yellow alien range (nice to have a bunch of those).

regardless of the grade, that 3rd pitch is stellar! Aug 26, 2018