Type: Trad, 70 ft
FA: Entire route: Amos Clifford & Joe Roland, 1973. Traverse pitch: Chouinard/Bossier?
Page Views: 2,148 total · 22/month
Shared By: Richard Shore on Feb 12, 2011
Admins: andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Classic hand traverse to a left facing corner.

Start on Peanut Gallery ledge, and hand traverse right across the horizontal crack that splits the west face of Gibraltar Rock. Instant exposure. Crack takes gear from 1-3 inches. Enter the alcove at the bottom of the left facing corner, and stem and climb your way up the corner, which takes smaller gear. Towards the top of the corner, the crack gets about 6" wide. Face holds help to keep the difficulty down through the OW section. A 2-bolt belay is conveniently located atop the corner, and can be seen in the photo.

An optional first pitch can be added by climbing the loose blocky slabs below and to the left of 'The Nose'. Climb up and left following the path of least resistance to Peanut Gallery ledge.


Start on Peanut Gallery ledge, on the W face of Gibraltar rock (left and above the start of T-Crack route. Have your belayer clip into one of the bolts on the ledge to keep them from getting pulled off in the event of a leader fall.


if you really want to sew it up, doubles from 0.5 to 3 camalot. A few long slings for the end of the traverse are handy to reduce rope drag.


Richard Shore
Richard Shore  
The money pitch of this route was omitted from the newer Edwards climbing guide. The left facing-corner was a little dirty when I led it, my guess is that this line doesn't see much traffic. A very fun route nonetheless, and not a gimme at 5.6 either. The hand traverse is spectacular! At the grade, it is a much better route (and safer lead) than the south face stuff that is gang-TR'd daily. Feb 12, 2011
A clarification about the original route: It was originally done as multiple short pitches. Here is the route description from Steve Tucker's 1981 Guidebook "Climbing in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties."

"Climb the cracks and loose slabs under the left-hand side of (The Nose roof). Once under the roof, traverse left and around the corner to a bolt. Friction up a short ramp to the left. Keep traversing around the corner and climb up to the Peanut Gallery. Hand-traverse (5.6) or walk (5.8) out the right using the horizontal crack. Once the alcove is attained, climb directly up the chimney/crack. Variation: Instead of climbing up out of the alcove, continue traversing right, beyond the alcove. About 15 feet out, a shallow crack (5.7) leads up to dirty edges and the top."

My memory is vague, but it seems we did this in four short pitches to reduce rope drag around corners etc., which also had the fun effect of making a multi-pitch route on Gibralter Rock, giving us beginners an opportunity to practice swinging leads. Here's some trivia: On the first pitch up to the roof there were some large loose slabs that we climbed over, and that felt like they would fall off "any minute now"; thus the route name. I remember Joe Roland leading the hand-traverse a year or two before we put together the whole route. He was doing some bold and confident climbing for those times. I'm not confident with crediting him for the first ascent of the hand traverse because our elders had been climbing there for years before my generation...people like Yvon Chouinard and Tex Bossier...it's hard to imagine they would let a gem like that hand traverse get away! Mar 18, 2012
Richard Shore
Richard Shore  
Thanks for that interesting bit of history, Amos. Glad you're around to chime in on these forgotten lines. Mar 20, 2012