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Clarks Cramps 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches, 800', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Mike Roybal, Clark Gray 1973
Season: Spring-fall
Page Views: 1,924
Submitted By: Clark Gray on Jan 25, 2008

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Mike Roybal Clarks Cramps 1973


There has been some confusion where this route goes and how long it is due to it being inaccurate in Mike Hills guide book. Here is the original route description written just after the first ascent.

Start this route at the large ramp at the bottom of the SW face.

Two easy 5.2 leads take you to the bottom of a short 5.7 layback. At the top of this layback there is nice ledge. Set up your belay on the far left side.

From this belay traverse to the right and upward one pitch to a nice belay ledge on the SW ridge.

From here it is an easy full pitch 5.5 traverse left following a ledge and crack system that ends at football ledge.

From football ledge climb the obvious crack system that starts with an awkward off width crack right above the ledge. follow this for four pitches.

When the crack system ends traverse up and right

Traverse back left to a small clean belay ledge at the bottom of an open book with a hand jam crack above it.

The last lead 5.6/5.7 goes up this crack 30 Ft to the summit.


There is (or was) a bolt at the start of the crack system off football ledge.

Take protection for fist size cracks as well as usual assortment.

Photos of Clarks Cramps Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch off of football ledge Clarks Cramps
First pitch off of football ledge Clarks Cramps
Rock Climbing Photo: The 1/4" bolt and SMC hanger on the crux pitc...
The 1/4" bolt and SMC hanger on the crux pitc...
Rock Climbing Photo: Me  Clarks Cramps
Me Clarks Cramps

Comments on Clarks Cramps Add Comment
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By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Jan 25, 2008

Clark, Is there an interesting story behind the name of the route? Regardless, thanks for posting the original description.
By Clark Gray
Jan 25, 2008

When Mike and I first climbed this no one had done any routes on the main face of Muralla Grande so we went loaded for bear. We had a full set of aid equipment hamocks and food and water for a couple of days. We camped on the top of Chimney canyon the night before so we could get an early start. Mike always led and so I was the packhorse climbing alpine style with a fairly heavy rucksack with all our gear in it. By the second to last pitch I was having some cramping with my forearms and just after the start of the pitch my hands crampted (is that a word?) shut so I had to climb that pitch with two clubs. After we got to the top Mike thought it was so funny he named the climb Clarks Cramps. As a note since we didn't know what to expect we got on the route by 6am and pushed so hard we were off it by 1pm.
By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Jan 25, 2008

Ten pitches, largely unknown, loaded for bear, and in seven hours: I would say that is an interesting story. Mike must have been greatful for your effort. I will climb Clark's Cramps this season and be sure that my partner knows the story.
By Clark Gray
Jan 29, 2008

I've been out of the rock climbing scene for a while now so I'm not sure where the new route is I just know thats where we went back in 73. The buldge above the bolt was the hardest move on the climb.
By Mark Dalen
From: Albuquerque, NM
Jun 8, 2013

Clark - I never knew that story. I had always thought it to be more along the lines of Robbie Baker on Chicken Chop Suey ...

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