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Angel's Fright 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: Jim Smith and William Rice, September 1936
Page Views: 28,562
Submitted By: Stephanie on Feb 21, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (210)
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The exposed view as you move into the fingertip tr...


The crux is the first 40' of the climb. Start up a chimney then move into a nice crack system. The second and third pitches follow the crack system up to lunch ledge. From lunch ledge climb the crack to the runout 5.4 friction slab (1 bolt).


1 set of nuts, 1 set of hexes, BD Cams: .5 - 2

Photos of Angel's Fright Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber scampering up the slabs at the last pitch....
Climber scampering up the slabs at the last pitch....
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing topo of Angel's Fright at Tahquitz. The m...
BETA PHOTO: Climbing topo of Angel's Fright at Tahquitz. The m...
Rock Climbing Photo: Following P4
Following P4
Rock Climbing Photo: At P2 Belay
At P2 Belay
Rock Climbing Photo: Graham coming up P2
Graham coming up P2
Rock Climbing Photo: Angel's Fright franger grippin' good
Angel's Fright franger grippin' good
Rock Climbing Photo: bring my brother up the friction slab
bring my brother up the friction slab
Rock Climbing Photo: Belaying Kendall up the 3rd pitch
Belaying Kendall up the 3rd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Kendall leading 2nd pitch
Kendall leading 2nd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up at pitch 1.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at pitch 1.
Rock Climbing Photo: Brett coming up Angel's Fright; just about to join...
Brett coming up Angel's Fright; just about to join...
Rock Climbing Photo: Brad climbing below lunch ledge on Angel's Fright.
Brad climbing below lunch ledge on Angel's Fright.
Rock Climbing Photo: Fun and easy second pitch of Angel's Fright.
Fun and easy second pitch of Angel's Fright.
Rock Climbing Photo: Paul Goss on pitch below Lunch Ledge.
Paul Goss on pitch below Lunch Ledge.

Comments on Angel's Fright Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 16, 2017
By Roger Linfield
Feb 21, 2006

The belay ledges on this climb are all quite large, making this a good choice if you have three or more climbers.
By C Miller
From: CA
Mar 3, 2006
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

A great moderate (of which there are many) at Tahquitz that features fun climbing up a corner system and a very exposed finish on the upper slab.

The name is a take-off of Angel's Flight, the "World's shortest railroad".
By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 9, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Fun climb! I thought the steep section of P1 (P2 in the guidebook) was the crux. Got off-route up high but figured it out and finished with the fingertip "lieback" crack. Nice!
By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Aug 27, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

I recommend the fingertip lieback variation at the top - it is super FUN!
By Mark L
May 14, 2008

The steep face climbing after the chimney felt the toughest part of the climb - deciding whether to go left or right. Went right and it might have been a little harder that way + rope drag got bad. Dihedral pitch is super easy and the roof is easier than it looks. For those leaving lunch ledge the first time, could be helpful to get beta from someone while you are there if you want to do the 5.3 slab finish instead of the crack.
By Dan Costello
Apr 19, 2009
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

This was a lot of fun and one of the first routes I ever led, so I learned some lessons here. As mentioned by others, Pitch 1 (Pitch 2 in the Vogel/Gaines guidebook) after the chimney does present a little route-finding opportunity, or it did for me.

The topo, route description, chalk marks, and old fixed gear are useful guides. But in the end being alert to the rock, looking around, thinking ahead, and developing a picture of the route when your vision affords is better. I earned myself a little downclimb from trying to treat this route like a Joshua Tree chalk railroad.

I'll echo some of the other commentators again: bring plenty of slings, and plan your placements to minimize rope drag. There's nothing like rope drag to turn a 5-nothing topout on smooth slab into a nightmare as having to fight your body weight in rope friction with only your own poor planning to blame :/

All things considered, though, a worthwhile and memorable route!
By Ron Thompson
From: Idlewild, CA
Mar 21, 2010

Try climbing the last pitch at night that's what happen with us. I had to climb the last pitch in total darkness, missing the protection bolts. This is what happens when you drink beer before climbing,"liquid courage."
By Billy Bylund
Jul 21, 2011

Here's some beta, pitch 2 video. The audio is out of sync a bit.
By Chris D
From: the couch
Aug 26, 2011

On the last pitch, you can almost eliminate rope drag by saving a couple of long runners for the gear you place just before you get into the left-trending crack that leads out under the slab with the bolt.

You don't need to extend all your gear...As you leave lunch ledge, wander as you see fit, but reserve gear placements for spots where you're directly above the belay. Extend a couple of pieces near the spot where you head out left as mentioned above, then put in one extended piece as you walk out the crack toward the little bush below the slab. If you do this, you won't feel like you're dragging a carcass behind you on the slab. Also, this permits a 60m rope to comfortably get you to a nice belay spot where it'll be an easy walk to the descent for everyone.
By Josh Cameron
From: Sacramento, California
Aug 31, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Not sure why this climb is so popular and I love Tahquitz.
By Jace Mullen
From: Oceanside, Ca
Sep 5, 2011

Maybe I'm a wussy but I felt like the chimney in the guidebook felt harder then the 5.4 the guidebook gives it.
By Chris D
From: the couch
Oct 16, 2011

The chimney is hard if you don't use the crack inside the chimney and the couple of chockstones. In that case, it's probably more of a 5.6 or 7 off-width, but if you use everything available to you, it's not hard, and easily protected.
By Chris Norwood
From: San Diego, CA
Jun 14, 2012

Fun Climb. Did it today in 3 pitches with a 60m rope. The entire corner is a little less than a full rope length to lunch ledge (maybe 55-57 m in total?), and you should not suffer any rope drag if you're mindful with placement locations since it's a pretty straight line.

Definitely link it unless you and your partner both want in on leading the corner. I enjoyed it more toward the top anyhow. The slab finish was good too and pretty mellow!
By Jan Tarculas
From: Riverside, Ca
Jun 20, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Just did this yesterday with a friend (His first time ever doing trad/multipitch climb) and went very smooth. Climb can be done in 3 pitches. Ended the climb with the 5.5/5.6 slab with one bolt to the top.
By Tradiban
Sep 16, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

If you aren't up for the slab finish go right around the corner in a trough to an easy top out in a short corner, passing by the 5.6 layback finish on the way.
By warrentheape
Jul 2, 2013

Just climbed this route a few days ago for the first time. Bob Gaines' book describes this as a five pitch route. We did it in three without significant rope drag (except at the top) using long alpine runners. For the last pitch, we climbed the finger crack directly above the last tree/bush, rather than moving left for the slab. The finger crack was beautiful and I only wish it has been longer. Fun route with lots of variation. Toughest part for me was the first two placements in the book/chimney on the first pitch.
By TacoDelRio
From: All up in yo bidniss.
Oct 20, 2013

Linked P1-2 with a 70m. Not a fan of what would've been P2's steep section, though I was in approach shoes. Did P3 normal to the huge belay/bivy ledge where one has ample room to shout obscenities (good for communication with follower). P4 was cool, steep, nice finish but would've been easier with rock shoes on. Fixed Rock Empire cam in crack above that. Sorta awkward rapp anchor around tree. Easy rapps down but be smart with pulling ropes or you could get them stuck. Had to reclimb P3 to get rope out from behind a chockstone. 70m makes it from top of P2 to ground with a little to spare.

By Tradiban
Oct 21, 2013
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Forget just linking 1+2, with a few feet of simul-climbing and a 70m you can link all the way to lunch ledge.
By K-Tanz
From: Phoenix, AZ
Feb 9, 2015

About 90 feet up there is a tree with a bunch of slings around it where one can still rap to the ground. Is this the first belay station or is it best to make way up and right for the first belay?
By Tim Heid
From: AZ
Aug 24, 2015
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Pretty delayed on answering your question K-Tanz, but the tree you described was about even with where I ended up belaying for pitch 1. I didn't use that tree b/c it looked like a more uncomfortable belay spot than the ledge just to the right(which also has a tree with a few horizontal cracks nearby).
By The Gray Tradster
Aug 30, 2015


On the second pitch, after the steep bit (in the photo Kendal leading...) the route jogs right a bit and ascends several ledges. One of these has a car engine block size chunk of a bit decomposed rock that is completely detached and vibrates. It's right where you want to go.

Trundling this one would likely kill anyone on the route below or standing at the base.

It's marked for now with an X, but the bad section extends for a couple of feet to the left as well.

No Touchee!!!!!

Given that this route is popular for the relatively inexperienced and often generates a conga line, someone local should consider taking a crowbar to it mid week.

FWIW I've done this route several dozen times over the past 45 years and this is the first time I've seen something really hazardous on this route and the first time I've ever suggested cleaning something off any route.

In any case, next winters freeze thaw cycle should remove it.
By Ben Crowell
Sep 16, 2017
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

I've added a topo. I've only done this route twice, and the first time was a long time ago, so this is still pretty rough. If I've made mistakes, please let me know.

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