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Superman T,TR 
V8 T,TR 

Black Rib 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c R

Type:  Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'
Original:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c R [details]
FA: First Lead: Pete Cleveland
Page Views: 1,074
Submitted By: James Schroeder on Mar 23, 2003

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (14)
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Black Rib is an archetypal Devil's Lake face climb and considered one of the benchmarks for the 5.11a grade (at least according to the Swartling guides and tall climbers in possession of a healthy positive apex) in the park. Black Rib uses big reaches to link thin, yet positive edges on its namesake feature. That feature is a black-stained, arete-like protrusion that is imperceptibly less-than vertical. Black Rib is a beautiful and obvious line that will undoubtedly both please the eye and draw the attention of true connoisseurs.

Black Rib is archetypal to Devil's Lake in another, less-inspiring way; it has rules. For full-credit the aspiring ascensionist must start "in the pit" just downhill and right from the feature itself. Starting from the obvious block avoids several difficult (perhaps crux) moves and will certainly draw the ire of the route police. Route police notwithstanding, a partial-credit ascent starting from the block is still a worthy and rewarding consolation prize.

All-told, Black Rib is an excellent route, and should be on the to-do list of all climbers pursuing the 5.11 grade.


Black Rib is the obvious water-streaked protrusion on the SW face of Many Pines Buttress about halfway between the obvious gash of Michael's Project and the cleft hiding Sewing Machine.


Despite having been led and soloed in the past, most climbers will opt for the security of a top rope given the combined lack of solid protection and insecure climbing on this route.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 6, 2015
By Dave Bohn aka "Old Fart"
Aug 29, 2005

5.11a ? This was my first F10a back in '71 wearing an old pair of RD's.
By Steve Sangdahl
From: eldo sprngs,co
Aug 29, 2005

dave, F10a is the equivlent of 5.11a. the f scale and the yosemite decimal are 2 different systems.
By James Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Oct 18, 2006
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

This felt harder than 5.11a to me. I found it harder than ABM(5.11a/b), Thouroughfare (5.11a) and Beginner's Demise (5.11a).
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Oct 18, 2006
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

The comments above are funny because when I saw the 11a designation I chucked about how my partner, a local, sandbagged me into this and Flatus few other climbs "they are only 10a!" he insisted...
I bought it for a while that I was just not dialed in to the local rock and was spooked by the lack of friction.
But after he got me to do Flatus 3D (Flatus Triple Direct) saying it was only 10b then finally Cesarean Direct at "10c", (I finished only after a hang with bloody fingers) I seized the book and noted that the scale ended at "F10c." So much for that. I understand that those are 12's now?
Regardless of the read grade, Black Rib is of the nicest thin climbs at Devil's Lake and one of the few I remember by name a decade and a half later. Take your edging shoes and get ready to crimp!
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Mar 2, 2007
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Yeah Tony, Bagatelle, formerly F10c is now 5.12c/d. Talk about grade inflation...

As for Black Rib, it's a 5.11 with a 12a move on it, in classic Devil's Lake tradition.
By Dave Bohn aka "Old Fart"
Nov 30, 2008

Quote: Jay Knower, "As for Black Rib, it's a 5.11 with a 12a move on it, in classic Devil's Lake tradition. "

So now I was climbing 5.12 in '71 ??

My first 5.10, and one of my favorite 5.10's, next to Flatus that is.

My question, were we actually climbing that hard, back in '69-'73 during my stint at "The Lake", were I ticked essentially every F10 in the old "Red Book of Westmarch", in my way too big RD's, plus freeing a bunch of aid routes, and a few of our own ?

Or are Devil's Lake standards, starting to slip ?
By Isaac Therneau
From: Rochester, MN
Dec 1, 2008

Unless you consider some of the ratings going from insane to marginally rediculous as slipping. Many of the 5.11's I've managed to flail my way up seem nearly impossible the first time I TR them, often there are hard to find holds or improbable sequences needed. It usually isn't untill I have the route wired that it feels appropriate for the grade. Flatus is a prime example of this.
By James Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Dec 1, 2008
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c


As I've said before - this is not 5.10, it is F10, and there is a world of difference. As for it being 5.12 I think Jay's point is that typically Devils Lake routes are graded not by their hardest move (which in this case is almost certainly harder than 5.11a for anyone under 6 foot), but by the rough average of the difficulty of the climbing.

I'm also curious to know what you would rate Thouroughfare and ABM?
By Steve Sangdahl
From: eldo sprngs,co
Oct 4, 2015

Chris, can we turn this one over to for a better description. Also this has been soloed a number of times by various folks over the years.
By Chris treggE
From: Madison, WI
Oct 4, 2015

Yo who's done this one lately, and can write a good description?
By James Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Oct 5, 2015
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Send it my way Eggs
By Steve Sangdahl
From: eldo sprngs,co
Oct 6, 2015

Nice description James. Thanks
By James Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Oct 6, 2015
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Thanks Steve! Can you tell me how/where Black Fetus would go?
By Steve Sangdahl
From: eldo sprngs,co
Oct 6, 2015

James, Black Fetus was another classic contrived squeeze job that makes perfect sense once you climb it.
It was conceived by the twisted mind of Dr. Cleveland during one of our infamous top roping sessions on that section of cliff. It might have involved consuming some alcoholic beverages. We were quite surprised when the Doctor suggested the name Black Fetus.
As I recall it goes straight up in between Black Rib and Flatus. Thin and complicated it fits right in with the nature of the other climbs there. Peace and F-nes Steve s

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