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Broken Sling 

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

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 140'
Original:  YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c PG13 [details]
FA: Jim McCarthy, 1962
Page Views: 5,990
Submitted By: John Peterson on Mar 7, 2006

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BETA PHOTO: The start of Broken Sling


One of the 5.8 testpieces of the Gunks: the "+" refers to the starting move (certainly harder than 5.8), and to the scary start of the 2nd pitch.

Although short, this climb is often done in 2 pitches to avoid rope drag.

This climb is easy to recognize - it is not far from where the trail brings you to the cliff, and is between the overhanging hand crack of Criss Cross Direct and the huge roof to the right of Disneyland. Broken Sling starts at a left-facing arete just under a right-facing corner and roof.

P1: Locate an obvious boulder problem just right of a low roof. A large jug about 10' up dares you to grab it. The moves up through this are surprisingly tricky - you're definitely risking a twisted ankle or worse. You can protect with a cam on the left (tough to place) or just go for it and place a piece from the big jug. Borrow a crash pad or bring a beefy spotter. Once your feet are on the jug all is well, but there's a lot more climbing ahead.

Above, move up to a small roof, turn it on the left, then climb up meandering towards a large alcove with a fixed anchor. Belay here to avoid rope drag. 5.8+, 75'.

P2: Climb out right of the alcove. A pin that once protected the traverse is gone now, so this part is hard to protect. You can make a long reach straight up if you're tall, or, as most people do, quake right, up, and left on minimal pro to easier ground. A bit more climbing leads to the top. 5.8 PG, 65'.

...More details on P2 from Kurtz: Belay on a small ledge 15 ft below the rap anchor (it's a better stance). The first moves up a hollow flake aren't hard or scary but the pro is suspect until you can sling the anchor webbing (V2). Traverse right (20+ ft) until you find enough holds to move up to the overhang. Then traverse all the way back left on good hands but minimal feet until you are beneath a weakness in the roof. Set a bomber piece here and go! Easier climbing above, to the clifftop.

V2: From the rap anchor at the start of P2, go straight up the flaring crack through an overhang (5.9+ PG). This avoids the traverses on the regular route.

Walk along the cliff to climbers' right, then before the road, scramble back down to the cliff base.


Standad Gunks rack to a #3 camalot. Some small stuff might help on P2.

Photos of Broken Sling Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Traverse at the start of p2.
BETA PHOTO: Traverse at the start of p2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Belay station on top of P1.
BETA PHOTO: Belay station on top of P1.
Rock Climbing Photo: April 5th 1988. The jug on Broken Sling after the ...
April 5th 1988. The jug on Broken Sling after the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff climbing Broken Sling.
Jeff climbing Broken Sling.

Comments on Broken Sling Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 29, 2017
By Tristan Perry
May 11, 2007

This is a very exciting climb, from start to finish. The first pitch is physical and continuously interesting, while the second pitch has a very tricky traverse that is needed to approach the upper overhangs. I thought this sequence was very inobvious, even though it was clear where to go above. The upper overhangs are wild and crazy! So good!
By Spiro
Nov 2, 2008
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

Very fun climb, felt it was not an R rating, once you hit jug off initial moves there was gear abound.
By JohnWesely
From: Red River Gorge
Jan 29, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

The first pitch is a giant bag of sand.
By ntableman
Aug 19, 2012
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

I bailed on the first small roof, rounded to the face and did some sketch face climbing to return to the route. From the chalk, I am not the first person to do this. It is much harder than pulling the roof it would seem!
By Pawel Janowski
From: WA
Apr 29, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Agree with Spiro: once you get the jug, which is two moves off the ground, you can place solid gear in the corner. The scary traverse is well protected with C3's. Interesting climbing all the way.
By R. Ruef
May 6, 2013
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

Awkward move after awkward move. Surprised that Williams gives this three stars. Definitely one of my least favorites.
By Jon Po
From: Mahwah, NJ
Nov 3, 2013
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

I don't understand all the hype about this route being super sand bagged.. It's just like every other Gunk's 5.8.. To call it 5.10a is absurd!
By Kurtz
May 13, 2014

Whew! Toughest Gunks 5.8 so far. IMHO the description of P2 above is a bit thin. Based on the Grey Dick and personal experience...

Thanks for expounding! I moved your description of P2 up to the route --JSH

The P2 traverses are the scary part. Minimal pro, small holds, tricky to protect, double ropes recommended.
By christopher adams
Jun 5, 2014
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13

Definitely 5.8. Start is easily protected- PG13 at worst.

Place a number 1 camalot in the crack on the left side of the block from a good right arm sidepull on the right side of the block, or the right hand crimp on the face of the block. You don't need to reach the jug first. High feet make all the difference.
By Systematic
Sep 29, 2016
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

Careful working your way up the refrigerator. Much fun awaits. Do it.

******Route finding beta****:

After the first overhang -- keep working right towards the big chalked horn.
By M Bageant
From: Cambridge, MA
May 29, 2017

A blue-green offset Alien is a perfect fit in a pod about 2/3 of the way through the thin rightward P2 traverse; with this it felt only PG to me, but without it, definitely would have felt spicy.

If you are going to do P2, either just build an anchor on the little ledge below the rap tat (as suggested in the Kurtz beta), or extend an anchor down to the ledge. The crack on the ledge takes green Camalots.

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