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Routes in Cupids Bower

Bachelor's T,TR 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Master's T,TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Ph.D. (Coffin Climb) T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Post-Ph.D Right T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Post-Ph.D. Left T,TR 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Post-Post Ph.D. T,TR 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Waining Strength T,TR 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Type: Trad, TR, 40 ft
FA: Marshal Wood - 1936
Page Views: 97 total · 2/month
Shared By: Brian Malone on Oct 16, 2014
Admins: Frances Fierst

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Start: In the center of the overhanging wall of Cupid's Bower is a large crack with triangular and coffin shaped recesses.
Climb the crack.


In the center of the overhanging wall of Cupid's Bower is a large crack with triangular and coffin shaped recesses.


Trees on top (TR)


- No Photos -
It's likely that I led the first clean (piton-free and non-top rope) ascent of this route in 1972 or 1973. I was 14 years old, and I had read Doug Robinson's article "The Whole Natural Art of Protection" that had appeared in the Chouinard catalog. I was just getting into climbing, and I had bought my set of Chouinard stoppers and hexentrics, and I had one home-brewed piece manufactured by my crafts teacher, Mr. Tom Soles. I led the route clean, but I did leave the home-brew piece behind, because my second was not able to remove it. I have not been back in decades, but I suspect that piece is long gone. Mar 22, 2017
Elliott Becker
Washington, DC
Elliott Becker   Washington, DC
From Up Rope, August 8, 1945: Harold Stimson promises you the degree "Doctor of Rock Climbing" if you climb it. And Stimmy, you can be sure, knows what he is talking about. After you've conquered the nearby Bachelor's and Master's degree climbs, if you are still game to try for your Ph.D., take
a look at the Coffin. It's a 28 degree overhang about 35 feet high. It's on the highest and most sharply overhanging of the rock-walled table" of Cupid's Bower island, 200 feet from the eastern tip of the island. The triangular and coffin-shaped recesses in the wall identify the route.

A short initial pitch brings the candidate onto the starting platform at the foot of the overhang directly below the triangle. Moving slightly to the right, he suddenly finds his entire weight hanging from moderately poor handholds, while his feet struggle for elevation in a wide spraddle. One
hand then reaches upward to a jam hold in the base of the triangle, which provides the necessary key for admission to the lower of the two recesses. The climber is cautioned against jamming himself into the back of the recess; instead he should keep his weight out, with his hands in the layback crack in the right wall of the triangle. Higher handholds and footholds on
the face to the right give elevation, Until one hand finally seizes the "thank God" hold on the back wall P1 the coffin. Chimneying between the sides of the funereal box, the Climber will find himself boxed in
at its top. But with a right hand hold in the crack under the coffin's
roof end with his feet as high as possible, his left hand can reach out and over to the top of the cliff. A tree growing at the edge is a tempting convenience for the last pull. I leave it to the scholastic honor of the prospective Ph.D. whether or not he use it.

The first ascent of the Coffin was made in 1936 by Marshall Wood. Degrees have since been handed out not too frequently, the only lady doctorate belonging
to Marian Churchill. May 19, 2016
Brian Malone
Olney, Maryland
Brian Malone   Olney, Maryland
Originally called the Coffin, its first asecnt was made by Marshall Wood in 1936. The climb has been referred to as Ph.D. ever since Harold Stimson promised a "Doctor of Rock Climbing" if you climbed it. Oct 16, 2014