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Brinton's Buttress
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YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R

Type:  Trad, TR, 60'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R [details]
FA: First Lead: Jim Erickson
Page Views: 3,878
Submitted By: Chris treggE on Jan 1, 2002  with updates from Zach Ciaglia

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (103)
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Ryan on Chicago. Photo : Giulia Bartolotta


Chicago is an old school bold lead that has been tamed significantly by the advent of spring loaded cams and better small gear. Start up the crack system with good gear options on the beautiful vertical face. Essentially the same start as Berkely, although perhaps a touch left. At around 20 feet you come to a perfect triangular niche. The crux of the climb is exiting this niche. Once you commit to the moves to take you above the niche, a few more insecure moves deposit you high up on the wall where you can breathe a sigh of relief and take in the scenery.


The Book calls this route a "Hero Climb", and you know I do belive they are right. The Pro on this route is bad.

A #1 tri Cam fits up in the triangular nitch, which protects the harder section at the top

I left this section untouched from the original contributor, as I thought it was kind of funny. That, and there is a lot of gear beta found below in the comments. I also left the safety rating as "R" as originally submitted but I feel that PG-13 would be more appropriate. Leader beware.

Photos of Chicago Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Winter aid.  Climbing in winter without freezing y...
Winter aid. Climbing in winter without freezing y...
Rock Climbing Photo: Another View
Another View
Rock Climbing Photo: Crux of Chicago on the AAC craggin classic poster....
Crux of Chicago on the AAC craggin classic poster....
Rock Climbing Photo: Chicago on a mild November Day.
Chicago on a mild November Day.
Rock Climbing Photo: This man can Climb!
This man can Climb!

Comments on Chicago Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 16, 2015
By Anonymous Coward
Aug 31, 2004

This is a great climb. It's rated F9 in the old book, 5.8 in the newer older guidebook and 5.8+ in the Falcon guide. At 5.8 it's probably a sandbag.

The crux for me was getting to a rest with your feet just above the triagle alcove 30ft up.

Near the top there is a roof thing that provides awesome jams and great position.

All in all, a great climb.
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Jun 14, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

HB offsets work very well, and may take some of the sting out of the climb. I got an average-looking #1 Camalot in the niche. It may have held a fall, though I was fortunate enough not to test it.
By Doug Hemken
From: Madison, WI
Jul 3, 2006

Small cams help a lot - aliens or tcus.
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Oct 12, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

From "The Climbers and Hikers Guide to Devils Lake" (1970): "If you see a leader on this route, he will not fall, that is, he must not fall. The quality of the protection is unspeakably poor."
By Paul Huebner
From: Portage, WI
Aug 18, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R

I've only climbed Chicago once and on TR, but I watched a 57-year old Professor from UW-Madison lead it back in about 1988, while his student/girl friend looked on with me at the base in awe. It was kind of like when I watched Pete Cleveland in 97 or 98 go up the End (5.10?) barefoot with amazing grace and wearing a swami-belt for a harness.
By EricB
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 22, 2007

I'm glad you guys are rating this 5.9 because it was kicking my ass!
By Isaac Therneau
From: Rochester, MN
Oct 30, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

With offset aliens you can sew this route up very well. Great movement, and an enjoyable lead with modern gear.
By Dave Bohn aka "Old Fart"
Nov 30, 2008

Just thinking back, but in '69 as we were rappelling down this route we passed a very old man with no rope, climbing up beside us. He told me "Why don't you try climbing up instead of rapping down" and out of this, resulted my lifelong passion. The old man was Dave Slinger, my "mentor" and probably one of the greatest climbers of the "Golden Age". He kind of adopted us as his grand kids and took us around showing his favorites and in the process teaching me how to climb. I can still remember how proud he was to send "Thoroughfare" on his 70'th birthday ! I really think this humble, unassuming man was probably when of the greatest climbers of the time; if not in all time considering his age.

This is all in relation to a chance encounter with a young kid at my local gym here in CO a few years ago. The owner had told him that I used to climb at "The Lake" and he asked me "How long ago" and I told him. He asked me "Did you ever know of a man named Dave Slinger". I said yes, and how he taught me to climb; and that's when he told me that Dave was his grandfather and he'd heard stories about him that his father had told him but never actually had any memories of him ! I was very proud to tell him how great his grandfather really was. (Tears in my eyes) !
By Tradiban
Aug 29, 2009

I vaguely remember a nice #5 Metolius Cam (The black one) in a small niche right before the triangle alcove that keep this safe. It was a "Power Cam" then but the new, more flexible, "Master Cam" would make it even better.
Classic DL.
By Andy Hansen
From: Longmont, Colorado
May 3, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Oh, how I wished I had my brass offsets! That would have made this not such a heady lead for sure... But nonetheless this is an awesome route that protects decently well. The moves are pretty damn good. Didn't feel as hard as Upper D but still... 5.9 is right on.
By Tradiban
May 6, 2011

I over-heard a story about this today from some nearby climbers. They said they were up here last fall and there was a couple of guys wearing suits that were hiking along the base and one asked if he could try Chicago, then proceed to tie a swami and cruise it barefoot. I thought, I bet it was Steve at Rich's memorial, true?
By Steve Sangdahl
From: eldo sprngs,co
May 10, 2011

Nick,I wish the weather had been nice enough to climb bare foot.It was 25 degrees the first day and we did manage to tr easy stuff on Leaning tower. It snowed 5 inches that nite!
It would be cool to know who those guys were climbing it in swamis and barefoot. In suits????.Chicago is a great route and I seem to remember leading it once barefoot.
By Ryan Strong
From: Golden, CO
Jun 18, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R

I was able to fish a #3 bd nut in below the crux which was super good. After pulling the crux the next piece was marginal.(.3 camalot) It def would have held body weight, but I wouldnt want to fall on such a shallow cam placement that is not in the correct direction.
By Josh Knapp
From: East Troy, Wisconsin
Jun 19, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

I'd hesitate to give it a R rating. With a few small cams this thing sews up pretty well. Its R rating is a historic rating before the advent of microcams. PG 13 with microcams. Really good route! True Classic!
By Ted Bjorklund
Apr 30, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

I'd have to agree with Josh; without micro cams this would be much scarier. I used both the purple and green C3 in a couple critical spots and it really reduced the sketch factor! The unlikely black master cam / red C4 around the crux also helped, although I didn't want to test it :)
By CCas
From: Chicago, IL
Aug 24, 2014
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

I climbed this yesterday 8/23/14. There is a wasps nest right above the large vertical crack near the top where u can sink a bomber hand jam (about 80% of the way up). It is directly in the line of the climb and they were quick to let me know to retreat. Just FYI to anyone else who wants to get on the line...
By Mike Robinson
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 16, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Plenty of gear beta on here on already but I'll add my 2 cents.

I was not able to find a placement I liked in the niche, so I relied on a bomber green alien a body length below the niche and a pink tricam just above. Would've been a ride if a blew the moves exiting the niche but likely not a ground fall...

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