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Captain Jack 

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

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 180'
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: J. Steiger, J. Saviers-Steiger, August 2008
Page Views: 2,850
Submitted By: John Steiger on Sep 1, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (24)
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BETA PHOTO: This is the line of Captain Jack, I think. Sorry f...


Captain Jack climbs the two-tiered arete right of Six Pence in two pitches.

P1: The first pitch climbs either on or slightly left of the lower arete, protected by gear and two bolts, until it slopes back and a belay can be established on a fairly decent ledge from nuts and cams (as noted by one of the comments, a set of chains has been recently added (not by me) just below the ledge). The first pitch starts about 15 feet right of the base of Six Pence, either by climbing the smooth face left of the arete or the arete proper.

P2: The second pitch traverses left to gain the upper arete, then climbs the rib past a bolt to the top, avoiding the ugly chimney/gully to the left.

A better second pitch -- which elevates this climb to two stars -- ascends the face right of the upper arete past 5 bolts (this has been recently posted as Steve the Pirate). It is possible to do this alternative and the first pitch of Captain Jack in one rope-length (a 60m rope may be necessary). This 5-bolt line was established by an unknown party before our ascent of Captain Jack. NB: Tony Calderone's 2017 BCC guide shows the first pitch of Captain Jack and this 5-bolt finish as "Broken Fin" and first climbed in 1997 (but it doesn't say by who).


To the right of Six Pence is a large, dark chimney/gully. Captain Jack climbs the somewhat low-angle arete to the right of the chimney/gully. The easiest way to find Six Pence and Captain Jack is to go to the upper left end of the amphitheater and walk left along the base of the crag up a scree slope to its top, above which the bolts on Six Pence are obvious.


Standard trad rack. The majority of the protection is in horizontal cracks (some ingenuity may be necessary). The 2 bolts on the lower arete and the bolt on the upper arete were added after the FA. Walk off the top to the right.

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By chris21
Aug 30, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

there was a two bolt anchor about 100 or so feet up, about 10-15 above a nice ledge that would be a very comfortable (gear)belay, if you are planning on doing it in two pitches.
By Robert G.
Oct 18, 2010

Did this yesterday and led it on the arete which seems to go at an easy 5.6 at best. Above the first arete its really smooth sailing up to the chains. I had a decent sized group with me so we only did the first pitch so I can't comment on the upper other than it does look more challenging. Out of curiosity I went up the smooth looking section about 5 ft left of the arete when I went up to clean the route. If you're looking for 5.7 on the 1st pitch this is where you find it, much more fun than going up the lower arete!
By Dale Evans
Jul 22, 2013

Read the description and take your trad rack. Looks like its not a sport climb?!
By Dale Evans
Jul 24, 2013

The description did mention this: "The majority of the protection is in horizontal cracks (some ingenuity may be necessary)"
By user id
From: Ogden, Utah
Jul 24, 2013

Tyler N wrote:
Two huge run outs after the bolts of about 20-25 ft. each. There should be another bolt on this climb to make up for the lack of pro or change the safety rating. I did have a rack, myself and my second couldn't find any gear placements for very long runout stretches. I expected there to be adequate pro since the description didn't mention otherwise.

This is a nice example of what D. Raleigh is saying in his latest article: Climbing's Big Mistake

"If climbing isn’t there already, it is fast approaching a perfect storm where there are more climbers than ever who know less than ever about climbing safety. Learning to climb meant starting at the beginning with knots and ropework, placing gear and building anchors. You became self-reliant, learned about gear, and the complexities and technical jiggery helped keep you from getting in over your head."

Read a book, take a class, the problem here isn't the description or the route.
By rging
From: Salt Lake City, Ut
Aug 21, 2013

Some people just don't get it. Climb it again and take the time to look around and study the rock. I recall placing two opposing pieces once or twice and a few other creative solutions. There was no ground fall potential (assuming my gear would hold).

BTW, coming prepared doesn't just mean bringing the right equipment.
By user id
From: Ogden, Utah
Aug 21, 2013

Actually Tyler, I hit it pretty close to the head.

Similar to how you missed my point, you also missed plenty of opportunities for gear. I climbed this last year and did not find it run-out at all. The gear was more creative than your pull and plug pieces, but it was there.

You and your partner thought there fewer opportunities for gear, but only because you both failed to see them.

I'm not going to spell the article out for you, but when you read between the lines, more and more people are going out without knowing the basics. In your case when/how to place gear that is not just a cam and not in a dead-vertical crack.

You didn't get the article, so I don't expect you to get any of this, but the problem here is that you got in over your head, you got scared, then you bitched about it on the internet. You blamed the description and route for its inadequacies, when you should be looking at your own.
By Gabriel Tallent
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 10, 2015
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I've got no opinion on the comments above.

I placed 12 pieces on the first pitch. I wasn't looking too hard, just was curious if they were there after reading this thread. I passed several cam placements right of the arete, and I didn't use any opposing nuts, offsets, or ingenuity. Small nut placements were marginal because the thinner flakes and small cracks are still friable, but there were fine placements to be had. I'd say this is a great place to practice looking for gear in quartzite, but gear was more uninspiring than technical. Maybe practice for the beginning trad leader looking to do Sundial, the last pitch of Steort's, or other similarly featured BCC climbs.

I did have a short "runnout" on the low angle terrain above the first bolt, ~10 feet of 5.easy, in same league as the neighboring sport 5.6s but with easier climbing. If you can climb Six Appeal, Six Pence, Aqualung, or Encore, don't be deterred by this thread. That said, the gear isn't always bomber. If the idea of climbing a move or two between inobvious placements terrifies you, just go climb Layback or Nice Little Crack or Storm Mountain Stupor. They're better climbs.
By Andrew Gram
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 22, 2016
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Good route that takes good gear, and what runouts there are just above the bolts are no different or harder than what is on Six Pence next door. Additional bolts are definitely not necessary.

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