Type: Trad, 90 ft (27 m)
FA: FFA: Steve Wunsch and John Bragg, 1974
Page Views: 983 total · 27/month
Shared By: Crack Climber on Apr 3, 2021
Admins: Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer Ski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Description Suggest change

This is one of my favorite crag routes in Yosemite Valley, and is a much better direct finish to Outer Limits.  It has a fearsome reputation, but strangely many folks avoid it because they think it requires off-width crack climbing.  The crack does have a wide section near the beginning, but that section is easily managed at around 5.8 via laybacking and some great face holds.   The crux, as it turns out, is actually a 10 to 15 ft. stretch of thin hands.

This pitch is so much fun I must have done it at least 6 or 7 times, however success on OA has to be earned. Once you start the hard climbing you have to battle all the way to the belay, but in that challenge is the route’s appeal, as well as the fact that the difficulty is probably closer to 11d than 11b. Be sure to think of Wunsch and Bragg trying to fiddle in hexes for protection during their FFA back in 1974 as you desperately slam in cams while on lead.

A few more words regarding the nature of this route’s difficulties.  The crux involves passing a stretch of typical Yosemite-style flared crack that goes from about 1.5” to 2”, however this section is close to horizontal so using your feet becomes difficult.  The bottom side of the flare forms a sloping almost-shelf  that some folks can get their entire right-side on in order to almost-rest. Therein lie Orangutan’s challenges. Note: this section was dubbed “The Dormitory” by a long-time partner.  Note also: it may be helpful to wear long pants.

Start by climbing above the bolts from the belay above P1 of Outer Limits. Head up the beautiful 2.5 inch, left-angling crack to the roof where Outer Limits traverses off to the right.  Make an awkward move around the roof to the left and pull onto a stance with a large, grainy block.  The hard climbing starts here.

Stand up on the block and layback a few moves (5” piece) up the left-facing corner to where the crack starts to narrow and arch to the left.  From the last set of good jams place a 3.5 inch piece and face the crux, a short discontinuous section that must be navigated in order to get re-established in the crack. Make a strenuous move and reach up and left to some marginal thin-hands jams and pull up and into The Dormitory.  Battle left until the crack widens, the difficulty finally relents, and you can swing out from The Dormitory and back onto the wall. Climb off left and up into a loose, debris-filled gully and belay. Take care not to dislodge anything here since the gully is directly above Crack-a-Go-Go.

Location Suggest change

This is an alternate 2nd pitch to Outer Limits

Protection Suggest change

Cams: 1” to 5”, with extra 1” to 2.5” pieces