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The Sentinel - East Face
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Ball Bearing T 
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Ball Bearing 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 100'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Herb Laeger & John McGowen, November 1976
Page Views: 5,992
Submitted By: M. Morley on Sep 26, 2003

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Al Swanson on "Ball Bearing". Photo by B...


Ball Bearing lies on the East Face of The Sentinel. Start left of Fote Hog (5.7) in left-trending finger crack that protects nicely with smaller size cams. Move right along horizontal crack and gain another left-trending crack. When this crack runs out just below the anchors, make a couple of spicy face moves to the 2-bolt anchor. Either rap from here (~100') as we did or continue up second pitch which apparently isn't too great. Fun climb with good gear except for last 15' to the anchors (crux). Fairly sustained.


Nothing bigger than #2 Camalot. Double set of TCU's are helpful.

Photos of Ball Bearing Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Bailey Crawford on the first pitch of Ball Bearing...
Bailey Crawford on the first pitch of Ball Bearing...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ball Bearing
Ball Bearing
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the crux. (photo by Rima Mahal)
Pulling the crux. (photo by Rima Mahal)
Rock Climbing Photo: beta shot
beta shot
Rock Climbing Photo: Sarah Hays follows on Ball Bearing. Photo by Tony ...
Sarah Hays follows on Ball Bearing. Photo by Tony ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climbers on the second pitch of Ball Beari...
Unknown climbers on the second pitch of Ball Beari...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ball Bearing, 5.10a.  Under the roof are the chain...
BETA PHOTO: Ball Bearing, 5.10a. Under the roof are the chain...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ivana at the crux.
Ivana at the crux.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 4, 2016
By Murf
Oct 24, 2003

I think the 2nd pitch is pretty good. Getting through the left leaning roof/crack just out of the belay is challenging and just a bit spicy. Towards the top I have gone left both times on the route. You have to extend everything to avoid horrendous drag, and there are some interesting moves. In retrospect I wonder if the right would be a better finish, but I haven't done it.
By Art Morimitsu
From: Huntington Beach, Ca
Oct 24, 2003

I agree that the moves off the belay on the second pitch are spicy. if you come off you fall directly on top of your belayer. I finished to the left and don't remember any hard moves or the slightest bit of rope drag.
By tom donnelly
From: san diego
Nov 8, 2005
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

First pitch is 5.9 3 starsSecond pitch is 10a spicy.Very shady & cold route.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jan 9, 2006
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Great route, and one of the longest routes in the area. The first pitch is a pure joy and the second is almost as good. I thought the moves up onto the shelf were a little weird - I was prepared to really tweek in some pro above the bad nut that was obvious, but then I saw an inobvious move to get up on the ramp that was more like 5.8 than 5.10 to perform - so I didn't bother. Stop there and look around and it's no big deal. Mind your slings low on the climb and the drag up top is not too bad.
By tony grice
May 2, 2006

Awsome route!!!!!! pro was good, moves fun.A gimmie first pitch.Second p. a balancy adventure, I blind placed a .5 for the first really solid piece, you can get a small piece just off the belay
By Meredith DB
From: Boulder, CO
May 11, 2006
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Beautiful climb. Both pitches are well worth doing.
By Edward Jenner
Nov 1, 2006
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Do both pitches, or as one pitch (double ropes helpful).

Definitely on of Josh's easy 10a's - more like 8+ by Eldo standards, but very fun.

Also starting in the left crack (as in the photo above), rather than the one marked in the guidebook seems like the nicest way to go.
From: Boise, ID
May 4, 2008

First pitch is barely 5.9 with outstanding pro. Bring 4-5 long runners up with you. Got to go 2-3 moves above your gear to get to the belay. Second pitch is 10a...little funky and good!!
By Kyle P.
From: Lander, WY
May 4, 2008

My bro Nick A. and I intended on climbing Fote Hog which was listed in our "Trad Climbing Guide to J. Tree, 5.5 to 5.9" Fote looked run out. Maybe not, but we looked up at the kick ass crack system that turned out to be Ball Bearing. What a surprise. Butts kicked on the first cold day attempt. Success on the second. An amazing route with lots of gear ops. and clean rock. Face holds show when the cracks end. Good times.
By Pat C
From: Honolulu
May 3, 2009

This is quite an exciting warm up for a 5.10 leader. Moves are tricky, but it's more a mental 10a than a physical 10a, if ya know what i mean.
By nealg
Mar 24, 2010

Both pitches are excellent.

Make sure to have a hand-size piece for beginning of ramp / crux on P2.

Going right up hand crack after ramp on P2 minimizes rope drag and makes for a great finish up 5.7ish hand crack.
By mschlocker
From: San Diego, CA
Apr 19, 2010

On the first pitch I went straight up throught two left slanting slashes and added some diffuculty to the route. If you are looking for a 10b variation, do this. It protects with nuts and small cams.

This was linked with P2 (almost) all the way to the top. I needed more slings for the zig-sags.
By Tommy G.
From: Killeen, Texas
Nov 2, 2011

Doing this in one pitch (+ short finish) is the way to go.

Belay when you get to the end of the ramp before you move over the top back to the right. No rope drag to this point if you manage it well (might make it a little spicier).

Great route!
By Tradiban
Feb 13, 2012

I really liked this one and protected the "spicy" moves of the P1 belay with a small brassie but just do the move and sink a C4 .75. The layback after was definitely interesting.

I finished left and belayed in a corner to save rope drag. I think I wish I would have gone right to do it all in two pitches instead.
By Canon
Nov 22, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

First pitch feels harder than 5.9. Crux moves just below and right of anchor protected with blue TCU. Really, really cool route. Can get great pictures of people on Fote Hog!
By Nick Russell
From: Bristol, UK
Nov 26, 2012

Be careful not to follow the line on the topo in the Wolverine guide too closely. It will take you directly up the first pitch rather than to the right at the horizontal (mentioned earlier as a 10b variation), and then directly through the roof at the start of pitch 2. I did this "variation" on pitch 2 and, although probably not harder than 10a (maybe 10b tops) the holds are gritty and it doesn't protect well.
By ccmski body
From: Seattle, WA
Aug 22, 2013
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Climbed directly up thin cracks above initial finger crack. Its all there but you've got to work a bit for good placements.
By Rob Albert
Apr 7, 2014
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Great climb. Definitely do the second pitch, as it is unique. DO NOT do it in one pitch from the ground - the rope drag will kill you.
By plantmandan
From: Brighton, CO
Oct 18, 2014
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I only did the first pitch, but it was super fun. I was able to protect the top moves with a decent green C3 placement.
By MOConnor
Oct 27, 2014

First pitch is really fun and well protected. The second pitch is by far the weirdest and most insane climbing I have ever done, but REALLY FUN! If you don't do the second pitch you will be missing out for sure... After the first pitch, move right and pull the roof on the right side, then lay back and walk up the ramp. If you fell here you would probably come close to your belayer, but it's not terribly hard, just heady. Get some good gear as the crack peters out then drop down and step left. CRAZY, WEIRD but AMAZING! Where the crack spits, I went left which I wouldn't do again because the rope drag was terrible even with every piece extended. Plus the top is not well protected for the second. Going right seems like the way. Much better position for the second.
By Benjaminadk
From: San Pedro, California
Nov 16, 2014

its been a couple years buy the moves to start the second pitch stand out in my memory as being really unique. i led the first pitch and thought it was nice climbing with really good small gear. i followed the second pitch and remember it being pretty easy but super weird....and balancey. im glad we got on this thing in our very limitted time passing through.
By Izzy Nawfal
From: Redondo Beach, California
Apr 13, 2015

My friends and I hopped on this while we waited for a party to finish up Illusion Dweller and were pleasantly surprised. The first pitch was easy to protect with some fun moves. Getting out of the belay had some great exposure followed by some balance moves and a bit of a run out traverse on the second pitch. Definitely do both pitches.
By Jason Hurwitz
Oct 6, 2016

Climbed this back in 2011. I linked both pitches for one VERY long pitch. Honestly thought it was a much better route than Illusion Dweller which kind of left me wanting. Ball Bearing has beautiful and thoughtful moves. Just a big open face that makes you think which direction is gonna be most enjoyable. It took a little thought to get a clean rope line. The lower pitch was so much fun, the roof move wasn't a gimme and barely made it to a gear anchor on top. It's been a few years, but I'd probably recommend doing it in two pitches and place the anchor in a crack a bit below the bolts so the leader has no chance of nailing the belayer.
By mhagny
Oct 17, 2016

The first pitch is spectacular, and the second pitch even better! If I could give it 5 stars, I would.
By Dustin Stephens
Dec 4, 2016
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Nice linkup to start on this and traverse right along sloping horizontal before the bolt anchor to finish on the 2nd pitch of Hog Heaven to the right. Maybe 10a or so this way, some crumblies but overall a great 180' of climbing.

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