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Blockbuster Ballet 

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

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Rich Thompson Gary Axen, 1974
Season: spring, summer, fall
Page Views: 1,465
Submitted By: Charles Vernon on Oct 12, 2010

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (9)
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great view of the splitter third pitch (and wild h...


If 5.8 is your limit, this route will keep you on your toes. This is a good route for someone who wants to experience the Reef, but doesn't yet feel ready for the 5.10 climbing on classics like Warm and Free to Rapture and Reefer Madness. There are fun moves on every pitch.

P1: Climb the curving flake and around the right side of the roof (route crux), then up the ramp/corner that leads up left to a belay. This pitch is about 80 feet and I am pretty sure could be linked to P2 with a 60 rope, but I didn't actually attempt it.

P2: The Tarantella variation, 5.9 R leads up left and looks awesome, I checked it out but saw no pro at all for a long ways, so I stuck with the original.

Depending where you belayed, either climb straight up or up and right through short cracks and flakes. Continue up a corner, past a tree, and up easier ground to a belay ledge below a chimney.

P3: there is a massive flake above you, with a visible, cool-looking 5.6 chimney on the right side, and a 5.7 offwidth (not visible) on the left. Having done the latter, I recommend the former. This is a short pitch but would be difficult to link to the last pitch without unbearable drag.

[edit] Came back and did the route a 2nd time, this time with the chimney. The chimney is waaay better than the offwidth; it's really fun, one of the better chimneys around. The route is a solid two stars done this way, I think.

P4: from the belay atop the flake, head up and left, with several variations possible and nice exposure. Stretch the rope out to the top.


Best way to access is to take the ledge system that splits the formations in half. It makes sense to begin with a route on lower Aegir, such as Coriolis. BB itself starts on the far right side of Aegir's upper west face, i.e. the far right end of the ledge system. It starts with a short curving flake that leads to the right end of a long roof band.


standard rack with optional #5 camalot for the offwidth on P3. I had up to a #3 camalot and the top part was poorly protected. If you do the chimney variation (recommended!) the initial section will be poorly protected without a #4 camalot (new or old). I managed a #4 friend that was uncomfortably tipped-out.

Photos of Blockbuster Ballet Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: top of the 5.7 offwidth: "dyno for the chicke...
top of the 5.7 offwidth: "dyno for the chicke...
Rock Climbing Photo: taken from the middle of the last pitch; the 5.7 o...
taken from the middle of the last pitch; the 5.7 o...
Rock Climbing Photo: the route starts up the curving flakes and turns t...
BETA PHOTO: the route starts up the curving flakes and turns t...

Comments on Blockbuster Ballet Add Comment
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By Craig Childre
From: Lubbock, Texas
Jun 7, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I know we got off route I think at the very end of the first pitch. I climbed up the fading crack and went up into a sheltered belay stance/cave just past half way on my 70m. Baking in the sun, this seemed to be a good option. Our 2nd pitch we climbed a series of blocks up to a decent belay 100'. From the pictures, we were about 30' left mid 3rd pitch. Last pitch I cheated left, placed one piece and belayed my partner up with no anchor for a mellow finish. The first pitch was awesome, and I wish we would have stayed more left than we did.
By Sasquach Broom
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 15, 2011

It sounds like we did the same exact first pitch as you, which was long and really fun. We had no topo so we didn't actually know what we were climbing. For the second pitch, I led straight up the face to the big ledge to the right of the massive roof. The pro was minimal but the climbing was easy enough and pretty fun. (I think the described 5.6 chimney was to my left but the face looked like more fun - not a bad variation to a fun route).

Also, with double ropes you can build an anchor and rap down to do the middle 2 pitches of Reefer Madness (the good ones) which I highly recommend. Traverse under the big roof to the right to grab your gear and top out from there.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 11, 2012

I did this route for the second time and liked it much better than the first time. All the pitches were fun. This time, we did the chimney which was great--much more interesting than the meh offwidth. It's one of the better chimneys around and has a protectable crack in the back the whole way, but since it's flared, the climbing is harder if you squeeze in there--a classic dilemma. A great primer for this type of climbing which must be grappled with in destination areas like Yosemite.
By Aerili
From: Los Alamos, NM
Jul 2, 2012

I remember this route seeming somewhat run-out, but it was a long time ago when I did it. I do remember thinking a new #5 would have been nice to have for p3 (left-facing 5.7 wide flake...or something like that).
By 1Eric Rhicard
Jul 3, 2012

Good memory Aerili. Did this last weekend. A lot of places you do not want to fall off. A number 5 would make you happier if this grade is near your limit.

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