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Routes in East Face

Don's Crack T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Easy Snow
Fellowship, The 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b A4 X
Humungous Woosey T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Luca and the Fishes T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A2+ X
Moonscapes T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a R
Southeast Arete T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
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Type: Trad, Snow, 900 ft, 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: Joanna McComb and Dan Jones, 1966 FFA Mike McEwan, Marti Woerner, Dave Baker 1971
Page Views: 2,461 total · 30/month
Shared By: Charles Vernon on Mar 25, 2012
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

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Access Issue: Caution: Human and Drug Trafficking Details


Sustained meat and potatoes crack climbing--with a couple of cruxy forays onto the face--up the most obvious line on Babo. The 2-star rating is somewhat aspirational as the crack is very dirty (and when we did it, running with water the whole way). Nevertheless as the guidebook says, there is a lot of fun climbing on this route and the rock, once unearthed, is good. If it got a lot of traffic, this route might resemble a classic, but I can't imagine that happening. Still, it's very enjoyable with the right mindset, and it does get better the higher you go. I would say you want to be at least a solid 5.9 climber to do this route.

I'm guessing the best time to do this route might be late fall before the first snow, as it is most likely to be dry at that time. Or perhaps late spring just before it gets too hot.

The easy snow rating is seasonal :)

Kerry's description is accurate, bearing in mind that the route does join the SE Arete at the notch.


See Kerry's description. Obvious crack/chimney on the left side of the east face. The route starts with face climbing about 100' right of the crack system, which does not reach the ground. Locate the bolts and you will be in the right spot; just don't make the mistake of continuing up into Moonscape, which shares the first 40 feet and then continues up on more bolted, but runout 5.10 climbing.


We had a single set of nuts & cams to a #3 camalot, plus some small to medium tricams. This was adequate, but doubles of .5-2 or 3 camalot would not go unused. 4 is not necessary but would get used. The tricams were quite useful in spots. Leader should have a nut tool to clean the crack.


On this page, the FFA is stated to be in '77. Huh?

Just for the record, Doug Hill and I climbed Don's Crack all free on March 25, 1976. We bivied on Lion's Ledge the night before and the night after the climb. During each night, we were visited by a ringtail and had to hold our food in our sleeping bags, to avoid losing it. On the approach from Rigg's Ranch, I fell off of a switchback when a rattler buzzed me.

Anyway, I led the first pitch, which felt awkward in stiff shoes, and felt runout past a 1/4" bolt. I also led the direct variation up the wide crack in the dihedral, climbing the snaky branches of a tree at one point. Mar 13, 2014
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
  5.8+ Easy Snow
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
  5.8+ Easy Snow
Funny, I had similar experiences. A ringtail (or maybe a was dark) stole our steak out of camp. And I definitely did some tree climbing on this route...right after kicking steps in the snow!

As far as the FFA, I got that info from Backcountry Rockclimbing in Southern Arizona (see the link above) you know of an earlier free ascent other than yours? Maybe it's just a typo with the date and those guys did it earlier in the '70s? Mar 13, 2014
Must be a typo, because I recall going into the Summit Hut, which was tiny in those days, and getting beta. I think Dave Baker was behind the counter and helped us. Mar 14, 2014
brian benedon
brian benedon   tucson
you guy's climbed that 5.8 free, holy cow.just kidding dudes.

I'll tell you my story;
It was 20 yrs ago, I met and jammed with a bass player, Mike.
He said he climbed, so I suggested we do Don's Crack. We replaced the bucket catching water, and the first bolt of the route, then camped in the cave, a very special place.

The next morning we started up the route. We got about 2 pitches up and were hit by a bad snow storm. I insisted on continuing up, leaving cams to bail was not an option.
Mike refused to lead so I said I would do the leading. The route was soaking wet, I remember climbing though dirt, afraid to get out onto the wet face and clip thode rusty old bolts. It was freezing cold and miserable and the route just kept going. It was weird climbing in total whiteout conditions; there was no exposure. we cruzed the route, rapped the SE Arete. I never saw Mike again.

I'm stoked, I think I'll climb it again next week. Mar 14, 2014
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
  5.8+ Easy Snow
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
  5.8+ Easy Snow
At the amazing Heart of Stone event this past weekend, Dave Baker confirmed that the FFA was actually in 1971. It was awesome to hear Joanna Coleman and Dave Baker reminisce about this climb. They asked how many people in the audience had done it and I was really surprised at how many people raised their hands. I was tempted to ask why they didn't do a better job cleaning it, but I decided not to be a smart-ass. Mar 17, 2014
brian benedon
brian benedon   tucson
I went up to repeat Don's Crack with hopes of replaceing any needed bad fixed pro.

My friend lead the first pitch and took the last whipper onto the old leaper, it held. I decided to place a new bolt. I triied to pull out the 1/4" bolt with the aluminum hanger and bail off ring, but the bolt broke.

The first half of the first pitch is good, however the route becomes very over grown after that. Aid climbing that pitch looks harder than it was to free climb it. Besure to protect the second after the crux on the first pitch, the move felt a little harder than .8+. In Joanna's original description she placed a piton in the rotten ledge before making the 44' traverse. People have been using a bolt on Moonscape, I removed a 20' long tattard sling.

I stared up the second pitch and came to a good nut placement. We bailed off leaving the bail ring on the nut.

The SE Arete was fun. Mar 25, 2014

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