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Back to the future 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c PG13

Type:  Trad
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c PG13 [details]
FA: 1950s, unknown
Page Views: 165
Submitted By: Dana Bartlett on Apr 19, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (6)
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BETA PHOTO: I'm right below the crux flake on Back to the ...


Climb straight up to the thin vertical seam that has, as of 2012, only one one vintage piton of dubious quality remaining as your only protection for this move. Climb up the seam (crux), move right and climb an easy roof, then move left to the edge of the face and climb past an overhang to the top, or move around the corner and up an easy face to the ledge.

Rappel from a tree over Fat and Weak, to climbers' right.


Approximately 125 feet left of Grease Gun Groove, the trail rises a bit and there is a large amphitheater that is bordered on the left by a large corner and on the right by a short buttress with a pine tree on its top. The seam with the pitons is easily seen. This route is on the left arete before the corner of Lonely Challenge.


Very small nuts, e.g., RPs and/or tiny camming units. The pitons don't look very trustworthy.

Photos of Back to the future Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: this is your protection for the crux
BETA PHOTO: this is your protection for the crux

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 1, 2017
By Michael G
Jul 19, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

It's called a "G" in the guidebook. I didn't see anything other than a half driven Lost Arrow at the crux. You've been warned.
By Eric8
From: Maynard, MA
Aug 11, 2009

Is there a rappel station or do you have to walk off?
By Michael G
Aug 12, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

There is a rap station. The climb ends on the 5.5/6 section of the route to the left (can't remember the name, but think its a 5.9 R).
By chewtoynj
From: NJ
Jun 25, 2010

The tree at the top has fallen over, but lays on the ledge. traverse right for a better rap station.
By BrianRH
From: Jersey City, NJ
Apr 16, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

definitely PG13... One of the two pitons (the downward facing one) that protected the crux is gone and the very uninspiring remaining piton is all you have with some small pieces below your feet. The difficulty eased above, but had some runout as well if you go straight up.
By Dana Bartlett
From: CT
Apr 16, 2012

I agree with Brian. I did this again yesterday - third or fourth time, I believe. The protection for the crux is not far below you, but the cams and/or nuts are behind a rather small, thin flake and the placements are shallow, as well. It wouldn't be too surprising to see that flake snap off if someone fell on any gear that was placed behind it.
By gblauer Blauer
From: Wayne, PA
Apr 22, 2014

Not G. Dirty and not really that much fun.
By Gunkiemike
Oct 2, 2015

Fun pitch but definitely NOT G rated. The gear to protect the moves up the thin flake is small and a bit sketchy; a classic case of, "Do I want to use this slot for a handhold or do I want to plug it up with gear?". And once past that difficulty, the last 25 feet were a complete mystery to me. Lacking a route photo in the guidebook, I was never sure which of the several overhangs up there was the "small pointy" hang that DW refers to. So I looked at going straight up (tight rock and no gear), then going right (lichen, rounded features, and no gear. Was I at the "unprotectable groove" that DW mentions?), then left toward the arete (steep tight rock and NO GEAR). Ended up going around the arete and finishing on the last few moves of Lonely Challenge. Once established on the ledge above, we all tried the moves up the arete (actually a foot or two right of it) past the final overhang. It was reachy 5.8ish and PG-at-best; for some reason we thought it should be easier. Re-reading the book for these routes, I don't know where we got that idea.
Oct 2, 2015

This route horrified my husband, who was onsighting 5.10 at the time. I was also horrified on TR. Not worth it, at all.
By rgold
From: Poughkeepsie, NY
Jul 4, 2016

I don't know about the "pointy overhang" either. After the crux moves past the thin flake, I stepped right and then climbed more or less straight up to the belay ledge, with little if any protection. Definitely R, maybe X---I'm not sure how big the runout was or what is lurking below to collide with. But the moves above the crux flake were nowhere near 5.8. It's a little hard to be objective when you are near soloing, but I'd say somewhere in the 5.4--5.6 range, but steep enough to get into trouble fast if you don't keep things under control.
By SethG
May 1, 2017

Gosh I'm glad I didn't read all of this negative talk before leading Back to the Future yesterday! Allow me to politely disagree with all of this negativity.

The crux face climbing is protected by nuts in the flake. I put in two good ones, I thought. The ancient relic of a piton is at a stance AFTER the moves. So I felt protected for the harder climbing, and there are face holds-- you don't need to worry about blocking the holds with your gear.

Up above, you cross over the roof (crux number two) and then you have a choice as to whether to go left or right. I thought the features matched the description in the guidebook. I chose to go up and left-- all the way to the left edge of the face-- to the fun pointed overhang. There is good gear just around the corner.

This climb ain't a classic, that's for sure, but it has three interesting parts. I wouldn't say it is G but neither is it a waste of time or a horror show.

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