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Back to Basics

5.7, Trad, 30 ft,  Avg: 2.1 from 28 votes
FA: Unknown Pre-1983
California > San Diego > S SD > Mission Gorge > Limbo Area
Access Issue: Current San Diego County Advisories Details


This "classic" wide crack/offwidth is listed as 5.6 in both the county guide and the online PDF. My thoughts differ but I am interested in what others have to say.


Most obvious offwidth crack on the Standard Deviation wall. Right of Kathy's Memorial.


You would need some WIDE stuff. Bolt Anchor at top

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Fun route, Get on it! Found that the right foot heel-toe greatly aids upward progress. TR solo.
[Hide Photo] Fun route, Get on it! Found that the right foot heel-toe greatly aids upward progress. TR solo.
Kathys Memorial and Back to Basics Topo
[Hide Photo] Kathys Memorial and Back to Basics Topo
looking back down @ Back to Basics from just in front of Standard Deviation
[Hide Photo] looking back down @ Back to Basics from just in front of Standard Deviation
Back to Basics and Monkey Dance Topo
[Hide Photo] Back to Basics and Monkey Dance Topo
31- Back to Basics<br>
29- Kathy's Memorial
[Hide Photo] 31- Back to Basics 29- Kathy's Memorial

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Kyle Wills
Chicago, IL
[Hide Comment] THE RATING 5.6 in both big guides- and frankly either my Offwidth technique is complete and utter garbage, or its ridiculously sandbagged, or its a mistake that has persevered through multiple guides because no one climbs it. I attempted two days ago to get to the top on a top rope solo set-up and got hardcore shut down and ended up finishing and then leading Kathy's and then came back today and committed myself to finish BcktoBasics, and found the 10a Kathy's substantially easier. Mar 29, 2010
[Hide Comment] In my online guide I have this route listed as 5.7. Having climbed it, that would be my opinion on the grade. Mar 31, 2010
Kyle Wills
Chicago, IL
[Hide Comment] Ridiculous! Mar 31, 2010
[Hide Comment] Offwidth grading consolidated in the 60's and 70's in Yosemite when offwidth cracks were often the primary routes up walls and the world's best climbers were doing them and rating them. In contrast, face climbs of those days done without sticky rubber shoes often seem over graded today. The grading system reflects the historical perspective. This offwidth grade would be consistent with offwidth grades in Yosemite or more locally at Woodson. Offwidth grades should generally be cross referenced with other offwidths rather than other types of routes. I think you will find agreement with most climbers including offwidth specialists that offwidth climbing is indeed often ridiculous. Mar 31, 2010
Kyle Wills
Chicago, IL
[Hide Comment] I can accept this. Jul 9, 2010
[Hide Comment] Couldn't even make it up this on TR. No doubt it goes at 5.7, but it's offwidth so be aware if you want to lead this one Mar 19, 2011
Brad W
San Diego
[Hide Comment] Damn this feels hard for the grade. Really need to work on my OW technique. Too big for footjams, too small for heel-toe. Good armbar/chickenwing practice. No cheat holds on the inside, and it's dirty as hell.

Rock Wrestling is a cruise in comparison, but it's narrower. What other OW is there at MG? Oct 2, 2012
[Hide Comment] With the right combo of hand-stacking and thigh-jamming one can more easily ascend to the point where the heel-toe becomes viable. Chickenwinging definitely makes B to B feel a couple of grades harder! Dec 20, 2012
Flagstaff, Arizona
[Hide Comment] Climbed this route on TR solo. 5.7 grade is accurate in my opinion. Went left side in with very secure knee jams and slippery hand/fist stacks. Short but very sweet! #5 C4 (new style) protects the lower section quite well. Good route to learn offwidth as there is a few footholds that make getting established in the crack relatively ;) easy. Jun 13, 2015
San Diego, CA
[Hide Comment] I arm-barred up with my right side in the crack, felt like 5.8 to me. However my partner used some liebacks at the crux, seemed to go easier for him. Mar 30, 2016
MariaZ Zimmerman
San Diego, CA
[Hide Comment] I led this one today with BD #4, and a #5. I put a 0.4 in the block with an X on it because it didn't shift under my light weight, but it shifted under my follower's.

Deceptively scary. I think the rating should be bumped up a little (to 5.8+) since the crack overhangs just a tad. Sep 25, 2017
San Diego, CA
[Hide Comment] Lead this yesterday with a BD 5 and 6 (because thats what I had). Would've been much nicer with a couple of 4s or a second 5. I agree with the 5.7 rating, definitely wouldn't go higher. The first few feet were perfect hand fist stacks, and the rest can either be arm bars or alternating stacks and pulling on holds. Oct 21, 2018
Andrew G
San Diego, CA
[Hide Comment] as someone who's just starting to try to figure out offwidth, i thought this was a great climb. the face holds on the left get progressively worse, forcing you to eventually make at least a few genuine offwidth moves. it protects really well if you've got some big gear (two #5s is nice, but a 5 and a 6 would be fine, less if you know what you're doing). i went right in, fwiw. Apr 9, 2019