REI Community
White Cliffs of Dover - Left Side
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Ace of Spades T 
Conqueror Worm TR 
Digital Watch T 
Field and Stream T 
Good Housekeeping T 
High Anxiety T 
High Tension T 
Jack of Hearts T 
Make or Break Flake T 
Nolina Crack T 
Perennial Favorite T 
Popular Mechanics T 
Quest for Fire T 
Scientific Americans T 
Sen Blen T 
Sharon Stone T 
Solar Flare T 
Stone Hinge T 
Wilted Flower Children T 
Unsorted Routes:

Ace of Spades 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Mike Lechlinski, John Long & Craig Fry, November 1977
Page Views: 4,458
Submitted By: Josh Beck on Mar 7, 2003

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (109)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Heading up the twin cracks.


Start up Popular Mechanics, the very clean, right facing, off-vertical dihedral that is the centerpiece of the White Cliffs of Dover, and about 1/3 of the way up diverge left into the middle of the 3 parallel cracks that head up the left wall of the dihedral. Excellent steep hand jamming makes this a great route and worth doing even if you've done Popular Mechanics already.


Standard selection from thin to 3", bolted anchor/rap station (3/8")

Photos of Ace of Spades Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down while climbing Ace of Spades. The cor...
BETA PHOTO: Looking down while climbing Ace of Spades. The cor...
Rock Climbing Photo: Anchors are up and left. Don't be tempted by the a...
BETA PHOTO: Anchors are up and left. Don't be tempted by the a...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Holley cruising the double cracks up high. (A...
Mike Holley cruising the double cracks up high. (A...

Comments on Ace of Spades Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 5, 2016
By C Miller
From: CA
Sep 3, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This excellent route with clean rock, good position and memorable moves is a treat for those who like quality crack climbing, and is one of the recommended routes at the White Cliffs Of Dover area. Four stars out of five.
By C Miller
From: CA
Sep 3, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The bolts at the anchor are 3/8"
By Richard Beller
Dec 30, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I remember this as one of the best 5.9 routes in the park, and just as good as Touch N Go or Pope's Crack. Do it!
By Woody Stark
May 20, 2005
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

A fine route, well protected, but no more than 5.8.
By Joe Dawson
Jan 18, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

This climb is plently of fun, even if you already did Popular Mechanics. The climb is 5.9, the guy who said it is no more than 5.8 must have had a low gravity day.

The anchor is about 10 vertical feet above the Popular Mechanics anchor and it is a little to the left of the end of the crack. You cannot see it from the base of the climb, but it is there. Rap is about 90 feet.
By Ryan Kelly
From: work.
Oct 6, 2008

I'm surprised at the low ratings, especially compared to Popular Mechanics. I think this is the better of the two, as you get to do the meat of P.M., and then veer off the dihedral into a splitter crack for some varied climbing on great rock. Fantastic route, I'm tempted to give it 4 stars, if it was a 5-star system I certainly would.

5.8? Meh, could be. Not the toughest .9 in the park, but it's fairly sustained and has a few moves. It's close enough, not worth worrying about. I have absolutely no idea how you would assign a PG-13 rating to this climb.
By BrendanC
From: Sherman oaks, ca
May 14, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Beautiful line! Three cracks go up the steep face starting at about the midpoint of popular mechanics. The center crack is the money. I made this harder than it had to be by using only the center crack (5.9+ IMO if you do this, which I highly recommend) since I showed up dead set on pure jam climbing. If you use the right crack as well, which gives you a positive rail whenever you need it, it's 5.9- at most with pro aplenty. In any case, the fact that you climb the best section of Popular Mechanics and then get 50 plus feet of this gorgeous line on the highest quality stone in the park makes this arguably the best 90 feet of 5.9 climbing in Josh. Add the several hundred vertical foot hike to the base and you feel like you're 400 feet off the deck while you're cruising the crux. SSSSWEET!
By Fluoride
From: Los Angeles, CA
Nov 5, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

This route never gets old. So classic. Climb the first part of Popular Mechanics and when the crux breaks, head left up the double crack system to a great anchor.
By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Dec 6, 2012

One Beaut of a route!!! Crux down low, but protects well with small stuff. Climb the double cracks with some amazing quality rock! The anchors are up high and left, slightly strange, but they are there and that's all that matters at the Tree.

A Must do at the White Cliffs Of Dover!!! AMazing!!
By Kevin Dahlstrom
From: Fort Worth, TX
Dec 8, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

As fine a pitch as you'll find anywhere. Reminded me of Bishop's Terrace at Yosemite - similar style and difficulty. This route is only 5.9 because of the thin corner move on the lower section that is shared with Popular Mechanics. The upper crack felt like 5.8.
By Chad Namolik
From: Three Rivers, CA
Feb 5, 2013

Great climb. Loads of fun on good stone. Lol it does kinda climb like Bishops Terrace in a couple moves or so. good call
By Jeff Davis
Sep 21, 2014

Very good climb. I like this one better than Popular Mechanics. Solid Jams and feet the whole way up utilizing 3 different cracks. In the shade all day making it a perfect climb for warmer days. Earns a 5.9 because of the shared beginning with Popular Mechanics IMO.
By kmyee
From: Los Angeles, CA
Feb 3, 2015

I think it's better than Popular Mechanics. You basically do the best part of Popular Mechanics (crux) and then swim up the double hand cracks to a bolted anchor.
By Jan Tarculas
From: Riverside, Ca
Nov 5, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I agree with comment above. They both share the same crux down low, while Popular mechanics get drastically easier up high, you still pull some good moves on the twin cracks on Ace of Spades

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About