Type: Trad, 790 ft (239 m), 10 pitches, Grade II
FA: Roman Laba and Joe Kelsey, 1969 (?)
Page Views: 2,754 total · 32/month
Shared By: Simon Thompson on Apr 16, 2014
Admins: RJ B

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Tree Preservation and Rappelling Details


This is a surprisingly partial traverse of the Near Trapps. We still felt very close to the overlook when we topped out. Ten pitches take you from the foot of the cliff to the top of Gelsa via a lot of moderate climbing with a few routefinding and technical cruxes. Best climbed on low-traffic days because it intersects many popular routes. Don't forget the camera on this one. I don't know if anyone continues on past Gelsa but it's theoretically possible...

P1 5.8+ PG 80':
(Same as Outer Space) Starting from the high point/boulder pile/nose slab climb up and then slightly right around a bulge to an overhang with a protruding rectangular block. Crank up and clip a piton, then make a difficult traverse left on small holds and up to a thank god jug and then a horizontal with good gear. Traverse left 10 or so feet to notch and then up through, moving left again along hand rail past another notch to an awkward finish and belay at the prow.

P2 5.6 G 115':
Climb left and slightly up on lichen and ledges for 30 ft 5.5 PG. Step down a few moves to a finger horizontal below an overlap and make a long traverse left to a stance in the notch (on Broken Sling) in the overhangs. Climb through the notch and step left to make a belay.

P3 5.7 G 100':
Step down and lieback into a diagonal rail/jug. Place gear and make a reachy step left (crux) to better holds. Move left and reverse the Disneyland pitch 2 traverse. There are some pumpy downclimb/traverse moves with great protection. Move left past flakes in the horizontal and keep moving left until you spot a wide open book. (Intersects Swing Time and Te Dum here). Make a belay on great gear in the open book.

P4 5.7 G 50':
Step down(or up, depending on where you make the belay) to a 10" sloping ledge with a few small, loose, blocks. Traverse left and around a nose and eventually make a step-across to large boulders above the Inverted Layback crux. Continue another 20' to spacious ledges on Layback. We used this as a nice break in the middle of the climb.

P5 5.2 G 40':
Climb left on an amazing and airy 5.2 traverse past a nose/arete to a semi-hanging belay on small ledges.

P6* 5.9 G/PG 75':
Traverse left past small nose on good horizontals to piton. Step down to disguised horizontal rift for feet and small edges for hands. Move left to the Alphonse corner. Continue left with hands on Alphonse's lower horizontal to Alphonse's optional belay on a small arete. From there you can spot the next belay: at an awkward rap station near questionable blocks on Yellow Belly. I chose to belay down and right of this on more solid rock.

  • This is where things got interesting for us. After the piton, I continued left to a small horizontal (BD #00 and #000) below the ceiling. There are good high feet and good low hands but I couldn't figure it out and had to use 3 points of aid (including a sketchy #00 in poor rock that left me hanging by one lobe and another #00 that later pulled when my partner fell following the pitch) to get to a key "jug" and gear placement just right of the Alphonse corner and directly across from the foot crack of Alphonse's leftward traverse. This is the crux of the route and Dick Williams's guidebook clocks it at 5.9-. After studying the limited available beta in print I think that I missed a key horizontal about 10' down from the piton for feet. Would love to hear from others about their experiences with this pitch. The above beta is the best I can piece together from what I saw and the pictures we took.

P7 5.6 G 35':
Move left of the rap station along a horizontal and meet up with Yellow Ridge's 2nd pitch traverse and use its belay.

P8 5.7 PG, 70':
Climb the first part of Yellow Ridge's 3rd pitch to a stance at a piton on a small prow. Step down and left to slanting horizontals and make long step to a slab. Up the slab and left to a horizontal with many small flakes (careful what you pull on here). Move about 12' left and downclimb (follower risks a shitty fall here) just past the lichen to a ledge system. Move left to a tat belay on Baskerville.

Pitch 9 5.3 G, 120':
Diagonal up and left to a pin and then continue left following the path of least resistance for about 60' past chain anchor to where it seems convenient to diagonal down and left onto a ramp/slab. Downclimb a few "crux" moves to an easier ledge that leads to a gear belay in the massive right-facing corner of Gelsa.

Pitch 10 5.4 G, 110':
Climb the up and traverse left then up past a notch(crux) and continue to the top.


Start near the beginning of the Near Trapps at a tree and small boulder pile at a nose/slab, as for Outer Space. Bailing is possible from many fixed anchors on and visible from the route. At the end walk off or continue...


Mostly good pro. We took BD sized #00-#3 with doubles in the mid ranges. The crux moves on P1 require a lot of attention and a nasty fall onto the slab is possible. Pitch 8 features some spots where it would be unwise for the follower to fall. There are a few spots with questionable and dirty rock so keep your wits about you.