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Climbin' Punishment 

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

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 180'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Herb Laeger, Mike Goft, John Markwell
Page Views: 8,972
Submitted By: Kris Gorny on Oct 10, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (69)
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5.8 roof on Pitch 2. Photo: Pat McCarthy.


Superb and well-protected route. Usually done in three pitches but, with a 60m rope, can be done in one long pitch, if you don't mind long slings for pro and tough communication with the belayer. First two pitches make for an excellent 5.8.

P1: Start in a left-facing corner just to the left of Roy Gap Chimney. Go up 40 feet (5.7) and step left onto the ledge under a crack in the corner.
P1 variation: Start in a left facing corner 10 feet left of the original start. Climb towards the bulge and traverse right onto the ledge under Pitch 2.

P2: Go up the crack towards the roof. Climb the roof (#4 BD cam) and continue on awesome 5.8 hand jams and liebacks to a stance under a large roof with a rusty piton. It is possible to descent from here by traversing 20 feet right onto a large ledge with rap anchors on Roy Gap Chimney.

P3: Climb up and traverse left under the roof (5.9). Continue diagonally up and right towards rap anchors. A pair of 60m ropes reaches the ground.


Hike up the hill on the west side of the Southern Pillar towards the large corner with Roy Gap Chimney. Locate the hand crack capped with a roof in the left facing corner to the left of the Chimney. This is the route.


Small to medium nuts and cams. Doubles on #.75 - #2 BD cams. #4 BD cam is useful at the roof on Pitch 2.

Photos of Climbin' Punishment Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: This photo shows the entire route (without the opt...
BETA PHOTO: This photo shows the entire route (without the opt...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3, just above the 5.9 roof. 5.8 hand cracks ...
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 3, just above the 5.9 roof. 5.8 hand cracks ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Patric McCarthy on Pitch 2 of Climbin' Punishment....
BETA PHOTO: Patric McCarthy on Pitch 2 of Climbin' Punishment....

Comments on Climbin' Punishment Add Comment
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By Floridaputz
From: Oakland Park, Florida
Feb 19, 2008

This is an amazing climb. I did the first two pitches in one and belayed below the crux overhang. The climb is sustained.
By Jesse Morehouse
From: CO
Jun 26, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

[edit] While the guide book and above description both recommend 3 pitches, I like to climb Climbin' P in 2 pitches ending at the anchors at the end of "P3" (as described above).

I have always understood the 5.9 bit to be located on a pitch above the climbing described in the description. My understanding is that this pitch is a little ways up the gully above the top of the climbing described both in the description above and here. The final pitch is rarely climbed and reportedly quite loose "like climbing a library book shelf and trying not to pull out the books while you climb them" according to one old timer whose advice always kept me from checking it out.

All the climbing up to the end of "P3" above has always felt like 5.8 to me even when I led it as a 5.8 leader and is the consensus grade for that part of the route. The only reason I mention that is because if you are a 5.8 leader, it is a great climb and the 5.9 rating in the book should not dissuade you from doing it.

The following is the way to pitch out this route as 2 pitches:

P1. From the ground, climb a long first pitch ending on the moderate sloping ramp above the 2 overlaps pictured in the photo in this section. The overlaps are cruxy. You will need to build a gear anchor.

P2. This is basically the "P3" in the route description above. From the ramp you will see a roof above you. Bypass on the left and then move right once above the roof looking for an anchor.

A rack of one of everything to #3 camalot(std Seneca rack) seems to work fine.

Thanks, Kris for adding and maintaining/improving the beta on this great climb!
By Kris Gorny
Jul 4, 2008

[edit]Jesse -- after our correspondence I see your point and I believe now that the pitch you're referring to is a rarely done loose 5.9 that requires some bushwacking after the anchors. The way I described Climbin' Punishment is the way we always pitched it out, which in my opinion is best as far as belayer's comfort and communication is concerned, although I do mention the entire climb can be done in a single pitch.

So, to conclude, I think I am describing the most popular 5.8 part of Climbin' Punishment (the roof at P3 always seemed to me 5.9 but it's Seneca). I will research and add a description regarding the "phantom" pitch. Thank you for your contribution!
By Patrick McCarthy
From: Columbus Ohio
Jul 4, 2008
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

Kris's route description is consistent with Tony Barnes's Seneca Climbing Guide as well as with my own experience. The final (crux) pitch, rated by Barnes as 5.9+ PG, is a little off the line but is an excellent clean crack with very little loose rock (40'). Barnes does say that pitch 3 is rarely done. It is easy to bail before this final crux pitch, making for a very good 5.8 climb, but then, in my humble opinion, you really haven't climbed the route...
By Schurman
Aug 5, 2010

I find this climb best as one long pitch instead of two or three.
By Andy Weinmann
From: Silver Spring, MD
May 7, 2012
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

After reading Ross Purnell's comment I realized when this was two years ago. I watched him fall on this from the shuts on Skyline Traverse. Little did I realize the epic weekend I would have nearly 2 years later on this.

T-storm blew in on us just as my 2nd came up. We rapped off from the anchor I had built on the ramp below the crux pitch. Luckily we had a 70m rope and could reach the ground. Left the rope up and top-roped back up to the anchor on Sunday once it had 'sorta' dried. Brought up a dry rope for the final pitch.

Crux was sopping wet and I still don't know how I didn't come off. All in all this is a fantastic climb that will work your layback-jamming technique. I just happened to get some serious Climbin' Punishment this past weekend...whew!

5.8+. If Ye Gods and Little Fishes and the Burn are both 5.8, this gets a "+" in my book.
By Brian Adzima
From: San Francisco
Sep 17, 2012

The first 60 m is awesome. The third pitch looks considerable less appealing.
By Benjaminadk
From: San Pedro, California
Sep 21, 2013

To me it seems odd that what Barnes is calling p3 isnt worthy of being called a separate climb or a direct finish. Being that there is a short scramble to reach the crack and that it is a grade harder than the first 200'. That being said, the first two pitches (5.8) are super classic on their own. Overhang after overhang up the beautiful crack in a corner with great gear. I ran it from the ground to the bolt anchor, as one pitch, using everything from a BD#4 to my micros. 18 pieces and one piton. I thought the hardest moves were pulling over the last bulge to the anchors, although fatigue and only having a manky mirco nut between myself and a 30 footer no doubt enhanced this feeling. A special climb.
By Fan Zhang
From: Washington, DC
Sep 12, 2016
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

A fun climb that stays in the shade into the afternoon. A lot of fun hand jams.
We did this in three pitches, as described above, to help with communication and stopped at the first bolted anchor (i.e., one pitch above the piton that is 15-20' left of big roof on RGCs). So without having done the "rarely climbed"/"loose" final pitch, this route personally felt similar in difficulty to Tomato and Ye Gods, but easier than Alcoa and Triple S.

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