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Bong Bong Firecracker 

YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 90'
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Ellsworth and McQuarrie ('64!)
Page Views: 4,104
Submitted By: Mark Michaels on Aug 10, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (64)
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The interesting tunnel move at the end.

Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed MORE INFO >>>


A really nice splitter, great rock until the last few feet, where it gets a little coarse/gritty. An interesting tunnel move to finish the route. Belay back from the edge off a mahogany. Walk off west.


Standard LCC rack.

Photos of Bong Bong Firecracker Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Chains near the top of Bong Bong, to the right of ...
BETA PHOTO: Chains near the top of Bong Bong, to the right of ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Eric F. Working his way into the wide section.
Eric F. Working his way into the wide section.
Rock Climbing Photo: Lindsey cruising up the hand jams (and body jams) ...
Lindsey cruising up the hand jams (and body jams) ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pluggin and chuggin
Pluggin and chuggin
Rock Climbing Photo: J-Sexy sailing up The Sail
J-Sexy sailing up The Sail
Rock Climbing Photo: Bomber feet and hand jams!
Bomber feet and hand jams!
Rock Climbing Photo: Getting to the business
BETA PHOTO: Getting to the business
Rock Climbing Photo: J-Sexy ready to show her seamanship on The Sail!!
J-Sexy ready to show her seamanship on The Sail!!
Rock Climbing Photo: A classic historic line!
A classic historic line!
Rock Climbing Photo: From the base
BETA PHOTO: From the base

Comments on Bong Bong Firecracker Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 4, 2016
By Tea
Mar 23, 2006

When the guide says "large nuts helpful" they mean hand/fist size hexes. Rack accordingly.
By Brian B Ballard
From: Laramie, WY
Oct 16, 2009

For some of us big guys that tunnel aught to be avoided for some face moves..
By ZachB
Nov 19, 2009

Rap down from the horn at the top of the dutchman instead of walking off. A 60m will just barely make it.
By samg Gileadi
Mar 14, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Splitter hand crack, old school rating, consistent in difficulty.
By Greg Gavin
From: SLC, UT
Apr 9, 2010

3 #3 c4 and 3 #4 c4's
By zoso
Apr 11, 2010

Maybe, but I led it years ago with only 2 #3's and 1 #4 and it didn't seem run out. But that was then...
By samg Gileadi
Apr 19, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I agree with Zoso. Three #4's definitely seems excessive for this route, two would do maybe if you like to sew things up. With one #4 and two #3's it didn't seem super runout.
By Fast Eddie. McBradish
May 12, 2010

This climb is true to its rating. I carried a standard assortment of eight Friends, three Hexentrics, and rack of nuts. I fired every one of the cams and deployed at least one Hex and one nut in persuit of the summit. A sustained crack with a variety of moves from perfect hands to wide, followed by a bonus section of caving at the top. Worth the hike!
By Michael Buchanan
Sep 2, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Some history. The Wasatch Granite guide by Dave Smith (1977) book said you needed large nuts. This seemed to prevail to all the guidebooks, including the current one. Did they distinguish between hexes and stoppers in the mid to late 70's? Reading Dave's guidebook makes me believe they didn't. He clearly distinguished between bolts, "nuts" and pitons, but not hexes. Dough Robsinson never mention hexes in his infamous 1972 Chouinard Catalogue. I think that the "large nuts" pro recommendation just filtered through the guidebooks from year to year. I placed a medium stopper at the bottom (there is a fixed angle pin, but would you trust it?, the routes FA was in '64, who knows how old that thing is?) a .75 through 3 camolot throughout the climb, with the addition of the three largest hexes. A sweet old school route that needs to be done again and again!

If you are a climber of the era, I would like you to weigh in. What did you call a large nut back in the late 70s?
By flyk
Oct 10, 2010

Seemed harder than 5.7 to me. Judging by other wideish 5.7 cracks like parts of tingeys, and hatchet crack, this felt harder. Felt harder than bushwhack (5.8) to me. Maybe my fat crack technique sucks.
By Spencer Weiler
From: Salt Lake city
Jul 9, 2011

Another beaut up here on the sail. This thing looks wide, and it is in a few sections, but the middle is nothing but slammer hand jams, though you kind of have to dig for them. I only placed 1 each of #2, #3 and #4 camalots but I felt really secure in that middle section so doubles in each wouldn't be unreasonable. Don't tunnel at the top, it will just ruin your shirt/back. Fun.
By Ben Folsom
Dec 19, 2011

One of the best hand cracks in the Wasatch.
By Phil
From: Salt Lake City
Mar 12, 2012

If this route had an easier approach it would be a really popular 5.7. Nice jams and great gear the whole way up
By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 6, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Great route the whole way up. Sandbagged for sure, but it's more just about the effort it takes to climb through the awkward sections than the insecurity you'll feel at any point. Lovely jams for those of use with larger hands and feet.

I took doubles in Camalot #4 and triples in #3 and I didn't feel unsafe at all. The route will take as many #3s as you want to haul up there. A BD #.75 is a nice final piece of pro once you pull up towards the tree area.

No bolts up top but there is the slung horn and a great tree to belay off of.
By Eric Chabot
From: Salt Lake City, UT
May 16, 2014

Didn't carry the #4 up to the sail, but made do with 2 #3s. If 5.7 is your limit you'll probably want one.
By PeterSLenz
From: Salt Lake City
Mar 28, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Re: Michael Buchanan's question:
I can only speak for myself, but I called all artificial chock stones, including large hexes, "nuts," in the 1970's. The origin of the term "nut," was the early practice of using machine nuts, threaded with rope, as artificial chockstones. Nearly any piece of passive protection that wasn't a piton or sling, might have been called a "nut," or a "chock," in my youth. Most of these were divided into the "hex," and "stopper," categories, which also happened to be the commercial names of the Chouinard products. Then, as now, there were other "nuts," that did not quite fit into these categories, such as Peck "Crackers," and a bit later the SMC "Camlocks," (a fairly large triangular cross sectioned, hollow extruded nut.) Some climbers even used wood to make wedges to protect large cracks, although I never did.
By the way, I just climbed Bong-Bong Firecracker yesterday, and thought it was a superb route. Like everything else I climb at age 59, it felt difficult for the grade. What's that whining sound I hear every time I get on the rock?
By rging
From: Salt Lake City, Ut
Nov 7, 2015

In true Wasatch style there was a a great November weekend so I headed up to the sail with a friend that wanted to get payback. Three years ago he was bailing off and broke his ankle in the process. After placing one piece he was five feet above it in the small shallow part of the crack and slipped on some grit and came tumbling down along with his one piece as he rolled past his belayer toward the cliff edge. Fortunately the small trees stopped him. After another attempt he lost his nerve and finished up but he followed in fine style. At least he didn't break anything this time.
By Crag Turkey
From: Holladay, UT
Mar 17, 2016
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

As one with big mitts, this is my favorite hand crack in the canyon. Seems to offer a lot of aspects of Little Cottonwood climbing. Not to mention the easy TR set up for the Dutchman! As mentioned before its sandbagged, so bring extra 3's and 4's if you want to sew it up. I like 3 #3s and 2 #4s. Easy four stars
By Nicholas Spiropulos
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Oct 4, 2016
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Definitley bring your big cams. There are a set of chains near the edge at the bottom of Bong Bong that you can rap down from. That way you don't have to walk back down the way you came up, which is a huge pain in the ass.

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