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Cap'm Pissgums 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 400', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Dave Baker, Mark Axen
Page Views: 4,103
Submitted By: Orphaned on May 8, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (11)
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Easy section above the crux

Closed from March 1 to June 30 MORE INFO >>>


pitch 1-clip a bolt and stem a strenuous face (very, very tricky 5.10/10+) into a bottomless chimney past 2 bolts to alcove (18m).pitch 2 Step around right to gain main crack and belay at bolt at base of chimney (5.7, 25m).pitch 3 Climb right side of chimney past 'death block' (repeat, do not touch) and belay in 3" crack w/ one bolt (5.7, 25m).pitch 4 Climb the spectacular overhanging crack in V chimney (mostly 2", 5.10+) to belay above "Y" w/ heads and cams (35m).pitch 5 follow crack up and right, then left at bulge to sloping ledge below 2 1/4" aid bolts (5.7). pitch 6, A.0 to summit OR step right to a newer bolt and 5.10 face to summit (10m).


NE face of End Dome (polar opposite of Days of Future Past). It is the obvious crack system.


Double camming units, .4 - #4 w/ extra 2", stoppers, and a ballnut can help at start.

Photos of Cap'm Pissgums Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up at pitch 3
Looking up at pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: After the climb. The route is the first great crac...
BETA PHOTO: After the climb. The route is the first great crac...
Rock Climbing Photo: Eric D looking down from the top as I hang  half w...
BETA PHOTO: Eric D looking down from the top as I hang half w...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down on the crux pitch as I hang half way ...
BETA PHOTO: Looking down on the crux pitch as I hang half way ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 1
Pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Clay battles the crux pitch
Clay battles the crux pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Clay at the top of Pitch 1
Clay at the top of Pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3 seen from the base of the formation
Pitch 3 seen from the base of the formation
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down on pitch 1
Looking down on pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Taking care of business on the handcrack pitch.
Taking care of business on the handcrack pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: No description needed.
No description needed.
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading up to the chimney pitch in one pitch from ...
Leading up to the chimney pitch in one pitch from ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Me heading up the "crux" pitch. Proud on...
Me heading up the "crux" pitch. Proud on...
Rock Climbing Photo: Eric D starting the second pitch.
Eric D starting the second pitch.

Comments on Cap'm Pissgums Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 20, 2015
By Minty Alpinist
May 14, 2007

RickD - I recall you once calling this "The commensurate hardman route." Did you get any photos when you climbed this?
By jbak
May 16, 2007

I think you mean "consummate".

I love this route name. I suppose I'm one of the few who remember the Cap'm.
By jbak
May 29, 2007

This is from the cover of Zap #3 I think.........

By Aleix
Nov 5, 2007

The bolt at the end of the third pitch (the chimney) is not there anymore. It broke when I hanged on it, it must have been from the very first ascent (30+ years ago ?), a piece of history. I had set up a real belay, of course, and only fell 6 inches.

If the crux pitch is really 10+, then I should downgrade all the 10+ I've tried in my life. Including Abra.

Amazing route, my admiration for DB and MA who must have done the first ascent with mostly hexes and nuts.
By Jimbo
Nov 5, 2007

I agree with Aleix, the crux pitch of Pissgums is 12 number grades harder than the crux of Abra. But I was stupid enough to climb it in shorts with no knee pad and no tape on the right hand. My blood stains should still be on the route in spots.
Pissgums is thee tick in the Stronghold, IMO.
By jbak
Nov 7, 2007

Aleix...good should post some more details about how it went.
By Aleix
Nov 7, 2007

Thanks John, since there is a request:
The crux pitch kicked my butt. I didn't tape my hand either, but I was following it. The kneepads did make a difference, EFR had strongly suggested them for a better "enjoyment" of the route.

Pitch 1: The hardest thing is to get off the ground... well there is no ground, but stepping over the "bottomless chimney" from the boulder and doing the first moves. Ends in a comfortable belay on gear.
Pitch 2: Grungy rock, interesting moves. Comfortable belay on two bolts.
Pitch 3: The most runout vertical pitch I've ever led. But it feels good, there is nowhere to fall in a squeeze chimney (!?). Half way up it narrows to the point I had to go to the lip and maybe do a couple of offwidth moves. Mostly hanging belay in a palm/fist sized crack.
Pitch 4: I followed it, so ask Eric D for leader account. Gearwise, the crack is palm size all the way. Crack at belay is also palm size.
Pitch 5: The belay on top of pitch 5 is on a horizontal groove-seam with a "shrub", which was definitely my best "anchor" :-) Placed many cams but didn't trust any. Must have been amazing with hexes, hip belay from a groove? :-)
Pitch 6: Committing move to a bolt, two friction moves and you just did Cap'm Pissgums !

If you guys think this is too much beta/talking, let me know and I'll delete this entry.
By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Nov 7, 2007

Bien hecho Alex! Por las fotos se ve de miedo esa ruta!
By KyleKent
Nov 28, 2009

I thought this was a decent climb at best. The rock was sharp and loose/hollow in some places. The hand crack pitch stands out as the best pitch by far. The "runout" chimney is not very runout at all, there are gear placements.

Not a recommended route, although I absolutely loved the hand crack pitch. I can't imagine a 2" crack being any more difficult. I felt like puking after on-sighting it.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 26, 2012

Fun adventure climbing that will challenge your trad skills and mettle. The crux pitch is very, very burly.

If you are interested in a topo for this route, feel free to PM me and I will send you one. You can also get one by registering at the toofasttopos website.
By J. Hickok
Mar 20, 2012
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

I felt like the first pitch was more difficult than the handcrack/slot. Handcrack/slot 5.10+ and first pitch 5.11- ... just my opinion - maybe I missed something on the first pitch that made it easier? Probably! As someone said, a decent route at best. Still very fun and worth doing of course!
By MattB
Oct 10, 2012

Yeah, the bottom ten feet is pretty stout, I fell once there, and I know some good climbers have just pulled on the bolts.
By Clay Mansfield
Feb 3, 2014


When we did this a while back, in the 3rd pitch chimney, Geir placed a bomber segment of 2 x 4 lumber cut into a taper. This turns this horrifying pitch into a downright reasonable scary pitch.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 5, 2014

Hahaha Clay I just saw this. I will have to find that photo.
By Jimbo
Feb 6, 2014

Oh boy, Geir banged in a 2X4 to protect a pitch in the Stronghold.

Cue the righteous outrage, in three, two, one....
By Clay Mansfield
Feb 7, 2014

Maybe I wasn't clear in my oh-so-clever comment, but the 2x4 is not fixed. I deftly cleaned it using an upper cut karate chop.
By Jimbo
Feb 10, 2014

and then whittled it into a tooth pick using just your finger nails.
By Austin Sobotka
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 20, 2015

I'm not usually one to up-grade a route. In fact I think that, generally, I'm prone to down-grading. That being said, to rate this route 10+ is a total sandbag: this is one of the burliest routes I've ever been on (which includes an ".11+" offwidth (Matricide, Skillsaw crag)). Here is my pitch-by-pitch review:
P1: Intense, burly stemming from the moment you clip the first bolt. At one point I ended up in a legitimate iron cross, with my right hand palming a lichen covered sloper and my left pressing on the opposite face. The rock is a bit friable here, so perhaps there used to exist some holds that made this easier. Either way, the hardest ".10" I've ever been on and definitely the technical crux of the route. Belay from finger-sized pieces in a not-so-inspiring flake (which, despite its appearance, held a few falls without incident while I was belaying).
P2: A bit of crunchy rock followed by easy, low-angle climbing. Belay from two bolts.
P3: Not the death-pitch it's made out to be. My partner led this and managed to get four solid pieces in, and probably could have gotten a few more. The climbing is really secure and not too strenuous if you take your time. Also, I actually sat on the "death block" and it felt totally solid. I probably wouldn't recommend jumping on it with your partner below, but it doesn't seem to be as insecure as it looks. Belay from two #3s.
P4: Although there is a 1-2" crack available for use throughout the meat of the pitch it climbs like a brutal offwidth; progress is slow and I, at least, had to find a balance between hyperventilating from upward progress and sheer exhaustion from "resting" and placing gear. One of, if not the, most physical pitches I've been on and definitely one of my proudest onsights. I belayed just above a large chickenhead from two large nuts and a .75 (we only had doubles of #1 and #2).
P5: Easy, low-angle crack climbing to some chicken heads. Belay atop a bulge from two #4s.
P6: I down-climbed about 10' then went directly right about 15' to the first visible bolt below the roof. After clipping it I noticed another bolt about 15' below me. I'm not sure if I traversed too early or if the lower bolt is part of another route. Either way, the traverse was not out of grade, nor was it out of character, for the route (~5.9, ~pg13). From here there was a few moves in the .10 range up to the roof and a few more thoughtful moves to get over the roof. Easy slab led to the summit. Belay from two bolts in a large hueco.
Descent: We took the standard descent (starting off of the pine tree) and made two double rope rappels and one single rope rappel without any issues. The only possibly confusing part of the descent is the last rappel; once in the dark chimney there are two sources of light: one which is lower and one which is higher. Take the high-road.
Gear: We had doubles to #4 and triples in #3 (which, honestly, was of no real advantage). Two #4s is definitely recommendable for both p3 and the belay for p5. Also, extras in #1 and #2 would make p4 feel much safer (with only doubles in #1 and #2 I had a few points where falling would have been rather uncomfortable).
If you're willing to take the bad rock with a grain of granite, then the climb, overall, is really quite good. If not, you probably don't like the Stronghold to begin with. Finally, to agree with two previous comments: P4 probably is about as hard as a handcrack can feel (to compare, I was way more exhausted after p4 than I was after Separate Reality (5.21a)), and, if there ever was a "consumate hard-man route" for southern Arizona climbers, this would be a very likely candidate. Now, if you're this far down in the comments you're either really bored or else you're considering this as your next outing. Either way you should go and get on (or, rather in) it; it'll definitely cure boredom and will certainly serve as a worthy tick.

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