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The Big Deal

5.9, Trad, 400 ft, 4 pitches,  Avg: 3.3 from 117 votes
FA: Rick Ziegler/Austin Archer
California > Sierra Eastside > Bishop Area > Pine Creek Canyon > Scheelite Crags… > PSOM Slab


The Big Deal starts from the top of “The High Life” (5.8), which is a 35m right trending flake system located 100 feet left of "PBR Streetgang."

The Big Deal is 2/3 crack climbing and 1/3 slab and face features that connect the crack systems left of "PBR Streetgang." Clean, well protected and fun.


At the far right of PSOM Slab
APPROACH: Follow directions for PSOM Pinnacle. Continue on approach trail until at base on “The High Life.” “The High Life” starts 100 feet left of “PBR Streetgang” in a right trending flake, 5.8 (35m).


Stoppers. Double of small to medium cams. Singles #1 - #4 Camalot.


P1 -From 2 bolt anchor atop The High Life, follow a slabby, right trending crack for 40 meters. Where crack peters out, step left into seams protected with small to med nuts lead to 2 bolt anchor. 5.7. Gear: Nuts, doubles of small to med cams, single #1-#4 Camalot.
P2- Can be broken into 2 shorter pitches or 1, 60 m pitch. From the belay stem up seams (5.8, gear and a bolt). Step right to a bolted slab move, then up left facing flake, pull over this to the right to a bolt and optional 2 bolt anchor. Move up easy but hollow flakes to a left facing corner that climbs over 2 roofs to 2 bolt anchor on right. 5.8, gear to 3.
P3- Move right into low angle fist crack, to a ledge. Follow left arching flake protected by small cams. Near top of arch step right and follow 4 bolts (5.9) to left leaning lieback protected by gear to 2 bolt anchor. 20 m.
Rappel route with 1 – 70m rope or 2 60m. The fourth rappel uses a 2 bolt anchor 30m below the P1 anchor.


At the far right of PSOM Slab
APPROACH: Follow directions for PSOM Pinnacle. Continue on approach trail until at base on “The High Life.” “The High Life” starts 100 feet left of “PBR Streetgang” in a right trending flake, 5.8 (35m).


Stoppers. Double of small to medium cams. Singles #1 - #4 Camalot.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

looking down the first pitch as butters makes his way up.
[Hide Photo] looking down the first pitch as butters makes his way up.
The beginning of Pitch 3 on The Big Deal
[Hide Photo] The beginning of Pitch 3 on The Big Deal
Starting up Pitch 2.
[Hide Photo] Starting up Pitch 2.
Looking up pitch 1
[Hide Photo] Looking up pitch 1
DK Sending crux pitch 5!!!
[Hide Photo] DK Sending crux pitch 5!!!
The High Life (5.8) start.  The Big Deal starts from the top anchors of this right trending flake system.
[Hide Photo] The High Life (5.8) start. The Big Deal starts from the top anchors of this right trending flake system.
a pitch
[Hide Photo] a pitch
Climbing the first pitch of The Big Deal.  Right leaning , slabby crack climbing.
[Hide Photo] Climbing the first pitch of The Big Deal. Right leaning , slabby crack climbing.
High up on pitch 2.
[Hide Photo] High up on pitch 2.
My good friend Keith Enjoying the big deal.
[Hide Photo] My good friend Keith Enjoying the big deal.
Fun climbing on Pitch 2
[Hide Photo] Fun climbing on Pitch 2
another pitch.
[Hide Photo] another pitch.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Todd Townsend
Bishop, CA
[Hide Comment] Great route, destined to become a new classic of Pine Creek! Solid 5.9 friction on the last pitch.

One small correction to the route description. At the end of pitch 2 the bolted anchor is on the left, not on the right.

We took the suggested rack and felt like we could have used more hand sized pieces and fewer tiny cams. Next time, I'd probably bring a set of nuts, single #00 and #0 metolius, doubles from #1 metolius to #2 camalot, and a single #3 and #4.

All in all, good gear and clean rock. Go climb it! May 1, 2013
[Hide Comment] Rick, glad to see you and Austin are still getting after it over there. The route looks good. I need a tour when the pass opens. May 2, 2013
Morgan Nutting
Bishop, CA
[Hide Comment] Some hollow blocks on the 2nd pitch that may come off at some point. Never the less, this thing is an instant classic. Nice addition by the Ziegler/Archer team. May 5, 2013
Amy W.
[Hide Comment] Great Route! Fun crack climbing and long. Worth doing again! I'd probable bring more hand size pieces and less tiny cams next time (see Todd's comment).

Climbed it with Todd Townsend and I lead The High Life and pitch 2 of The Big Deal. I would recommend using a long runner on the bolt after the mid anchor for less rope drag. Usually intimidated by roofs, but these 2 were not that scary thanks to face holds. May 5, 2013
[Hide Comment] We climbed The Big Deal last weekend and had A Great Time. I would definitely recommend it as a moderate outing, or to combine with other PSOM multi-pitch for a pretty big day. A few things we thought -

- we did not think a #4 was at all necessary - there were always other options for gear. Small nuts came in very handy on P1, we had doubles and placed almost all of the small size.

- definitely link the middle pitches - bring a few extra slings if you need to make sure.

- the crux of the last pitch felt like fairly easy 5.9 friction. We were there on a cool, cloudy day, and in the hot sun it would feel a few grades harder. Like other routes on the PSOM, it might get more difficult if some of the small edges break off.

- on the first rappel, our rope got hopelessly stuck behind the top of the flake you climb up to start the last pitch. It was easy to lead up and free it, but did take a few minutes to tie into the other end, etc. The flake is well positioned to suck up a rope, but a hard pull to the right when the rope is coming through might avoid it. May 11, 2013
Anne Stanley
[Hide Comment] I did this route with Deb Leyh. We thought it was a fun moderate route. We used the suggested rack and it had everything we needed. I thought gear placements were easy to find and solid. The route offers great crack, friction and small roofs and the 5.9 friction section is well protected. A fun must do route. Cheers Rick and Austin May 22, 2013
Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
[Hide Comment] As fun as Three Hour Arete, but much easier.
P1 - long, and soooooo much fun. Seam on top actually protects pretty well with small pro, even if it doesn't look like it at first. A big cam will protect the transition from diagonal crack to seam better if you're so inclined.
P2 - the 'choss' pitch. Some loose/hollow flakes, but really fun and strangely aesthetic. The two 'roofs' are cake and I thought this pitch was easier than the first. Definitely not 5.8 in comparison to Digi or High Life. Watch rope drag (easily avoided).
P3 - the money pitch, solid 5.9, clean and fun

A couple of general notes:
-The intermediate belay on P2 is a bit superfluous and unsightly (unless you're climbing on a 50m). Three bolts (2xbelay, 1xlead) clustered really close together.
-The flake on P3 ate our rope (and we actually were aware of the problem and tried to avoid it). Not a big deal since it's fairly easy to retrieve, but something to think about. Sep 3, 2013
[Hide Comment] Really great route!

DESCENT: As noted already above, on the first rap if you go straight down to the previous anchors your rope will get caught. There are anchors to the right, perhaps it would have been best to go over there.

#4 was not needed. I found a bomber blue Metolius TCU (#1) placement in a run out section. Bring the small stuff, doubles to BD #.75 and single 1,2,3. Nov 4, 2013
Garret Nuzzo-Jones
Salt Lake City, UT
[Hide Comment] Could probably get by without a #4. If you drag it up there you'll find a home for it though.

You can rap down with a single 70m. A 60m would not work. We rapped down the 4th pitch, then switched to the anchors on PBR Streetgang. Rapped straight down that route to the ground. Several of the raps are rope stretchers, it would be very easy to go off the end of your rope if you aren't careful.

This route is just fantastic the whole way up. Mar 9, 2014
Bishop, CA
[Hide Comment] Great route. beautiful day, no clouds, no wind. Pitch 2 was my first trad lead! and it went smoothly. Looking forward to climbing on the wall some more. Apr 9, 2014
Mammoth Lakes, CA
[Hide Comment] Great fun. An area classic for sure. Oct 22, 2014
liveit P
Mammoth Lakes, Ca
[Hide Comment] Climbed the first pitch yesterday, but bailed off due to high winds and frozen fingers. Rapped from the top of pitch 1 and had to downclimb 20 feet to the ledge, Did I miss a mid anchor, I was 30 feet above the top anchor for The High Life on my 70M. Nov 16, 2014
Todd Townsend
Bishop, CA
[Hide Comment] Yeah, there's a mid anchor about halfway down the first pitch. It's off to the right and a little hidden, so it's easy to miss if you don't know that it's there.

It puts you down close to the anchor at the top of the first pitch of PBR Streetgang. Nov 16, 2014
Miranda Serene
Bishop, CA
[Hide Comment] Classic and fun from bottom to top. Only a few 5.9 slab moves on the last pitch. Jun 19, 2015
Austin Archer
Bishop, Ca.
[Hide Comment] The anchors on the top of the last pitch have been moved over and to the right about 8 ft or so. This seemed to have fixed the problem with folks getting their ropes snagged on the "pillar/flake" above the 2nd pitch belay. Also, the last rappel anchor that gets one down to the "big ledge," has been moved out and is more visible now whereas before, it was somewhat hidden under a little visor. AGAIN, this route has its own equipped rappel stations separate of PBR. Some of the rappels are short and some are longer, but they're all there. One 70 meter rope will get you down. One of the rappel stations entails stopping at the 1st pitch anchor. Have fun. Oct 28, 2015
Todd Townsend
Bishop, CA
[Hide Comment] Thanks for moving the anchors, makes a great route even better! (Nobody has even stolen the rap rings yet. ;) )

Climbed it again yesterday, and everything was good. There's a loose flake in the corner before the roofs on pitch 2, but it's easily avoidable.

A word of advice: make sure to sling long at the start of the second pitch before the slab traverse at the third bolt, or maybe even skip placing a piece before stepping up to the bolt. (it's not a hard move.) I made that mistake and had heinous rope drag by the time that I got to the roofs. Apr 6, 2016
[Hide Comment] Fun, intersting moderate route which eats up gear. New anchor at top of route on the right works great to avoid the flake --thanks! Doubles in med sizes, you can place a grey #4 but its not needed (I used it a training weight for my wife - ditching low every pitch). There's a new grid bolted face climb just right of the 2/3rd pitches - it's ugly and do we really need another 5.10 something slab between two more natural lines? There are already enough rap anchors to TR any inch of this face. I thought the new gray/brown bolts to the right were really an eyesore - but maybe this is a "crag" now? May 28, 2016
[Hide Comment] Did this route yesterday. Stellar route, every pitch was a gem. Highly recommend linking the two linkable pitches.

For the descent, we followed the described beta down to the top of High Life. We then switched over to the anchors for PBR streetgang, which is the anchor to the right (closer to the water drainage) on that big ledge. From here, we rapped with our 70m and baaarely made it to the ground, but we had to hop over the waterfall rather than going directly down to the base of the climb. Not sure if the drainage is always flowing this high or if its just because of the big winter we just had. We, and our rope, got wet doing this last rap. May 5, 2017
MisterE Wolfe
Bishop, CA
[Hide Comment] Reminded again today how uber-classic this excursion is.

Pitch 2-3/1-2? are so long and so good! In our assessment the best of the bunch.

Thanks Austin & Rick! May 11, 2017
Rick Ziegler
Bishop, CA
[Hide Comment] Thanks Erik! It's great to see people on this one May 12, 2017
Tatiana Cottam
Oakland, CA
[Hide Comment] The first pitch of The Big Deal felt just as--if not more--tricky than the second pitch. It was definitely more slick.
The placement of the anchors on the last pitch is great for avoiding getting your rope caught on the raps, but it really felt like the last pitch ended suddenly and in an awkward section of the wall. Looked like there was 30+ feet more of decent slab climbing to be done, as well as half the flake left to lieback.
Our single 70 meter seemed to come up about 10 feet short of a couple of the rap stations, making our total number of raps 6, not 4. Oct 16, 2017
Blurie .
San Diego, Ca
[Hide Comment] Really fun route with great crack climbing, mostly very well protected. P1: High Life. Might be the crux of the route! P2: Looong easy crack climbing. Save a C4 .4, .5, .75 for the top seam if you really want to sew it up. P3: "choss pitch", still pretty fun, stay right. P4: Not the crux or the money pitch IMO, felt like 5.8 friction that was very well bolted. We rapped the route working our way right to the PBR street gang rap anchors. Tie knots in a 70m.

Protection: Standard rack, bring a #4 if you really want it but there is no 4" fist crack climbing, just select places where it opens up. Dec 31, 2017
[Hide Comment] Great route, thanks for developing! P2 is only 45m total so 50m double ropes work well Oct 4, 2018
Jan Tarculas
Riverside, Ca
[Hide Comment] Doubles in smalls to 0.75, single #1-3 (only need the #3 on last pitch). Leave #4 home

Descent took 6 raps, don’t see how you can do in 5 Apr 28, 2019