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The Z Crack

5.10c PG13, Trad, 140 ft,  Avg: 2 from 2 votes
FA: Dave Evans, Craig Fry, Margy Floyd, Todd Battey and Charles Cole, August 1985
California > Tahquitz & Suic… > Tahquitz Rock > (e) Maiden Buttress


Almost never done, The Z Crack pines for attention from those who want to plumb some of Tahquitz's hidden gems. It is also a great way to get the blood pumping for the layback of Zeno's Paradox.

The Z Crack is recognized by the distinctive dogleg crack on the left wall of the Maiden Buttress. It starts at about the same height of The Long Climb. Climb up to the small alcove before the right jog in the crack, passing an interesting finger lock or two. Eyeball as much of the crack to come as you can, as the next stretch is pumpy, with glossy feet and hard to read pro. A few tricky rests can be found. Once to the end of this section, pro must be chosen carefully and extended well. Move right around a flake, clipping the upwardly driven pin (offer a prayer to the gods of your choice that whoever of the FA crowd put the thing in wielded a skillful hammer). Do the crux, which involves a long move to somewhat less than solid rock, which eases considerably in a few pulls. Belay where the pitch joins The Illegitimate.

From here either continue to the top on The Illegitimate or Zeno's Paradox.


Finger sizes work well for the crack, with the occasional hand size. The rack will probably be dictated more by what route you'll choose to get to the top.

The pin is really a key piece of gear, as nothing else can be had for quite a while. The pitch should be considered serious, as if the pin pulls, you'll probably get hurt.

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The start... Great way to get to Zenos.
[Hide Photo] The start... Great way to get to Zenos.

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[Hide Comment] The description is incorrect, go 30ft up a crack to small tree then traverse way LEFT not right as descibed. The traverse left is the crux, smears for feet and tricky jams, good pro though, some little bushes in the way however.

At the end of the left traverse is the small roof with a piton on its right side. The piton is ok, you could hang on it but not fall on it. If it comes out, looks like there's a sweet C3 placement in its place. Regardless there's good pro only a few feet to the left anyway.

Overall this could use some traffic to clean up the left traverse. It's a good challenging 10. Jul 17, 2016