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A.C.E. S 
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Climb-Eye-Knight S 
Crack of Desperation T 
Fear of Sunlight S 
Good, The Bad, and The Jacked, The T 
Heart of the Narrows S 
Le Stat S 
Monkey's Sister S 
Monkey's Uncle S 
Pin Cushion S 
Politician, The S 
Stage Fright T 
That's Weak S,TR 
Trash It and Move On T,S 
Vampire, The T 
Wanker S 

Crack of Desperation 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 100'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Layton Kor and Herb Swedlund, 1963
Page Views: 2,207
Submitted By: Rich Farnham on Aug 21, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (20)
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Aaron leading. Taken from That's Weak belay anchor...

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  • Description 

    This sustained pitch combines good exposure and wild moves to make a great climb. While not particularly hard, this is not the climb for the 5.9 leader looking to break into 5.10 trad.

    It is halfway up the wall, necessitating an approach pitch. The obvious choice is "That's Weak" (bolted 5.10a), an unremarkable, but not unenjoyable face climb. From the bolted anchor at the top of "That's Weak", head up and right to the obvious, wide crack. The rock quality at the start of this pitch isn't great, but it doesn't detract from the overall quality of the route. Grunt up the slightly right-leaning wide crack. I recall some fist jamming, liebacking, and placing my #4 Camalot here. As you continue up the corner, it is possible to get a rest before you have to commit to the roof.

    I got a good #3 Camalot deep in the crack before swinging into the roof moves, but you may be able to get a #2 instead. The roof is a spectacular mix of stemming and liebacking, and I actually found a no hands rest near the top of it by wedging myself into the slot. Once you are established above the roof, continue up for 10-15 feet to a horizontal crack. From here, it is possible to get a directional and head right to the ledge near the top of "Trash It and Move On" and place a gear anchor on the ledge. Or, if you aren't too pumped, continue up the final bulge of "Trash It..." (2-3 bolts, 5.10+) to a bolted rap station.

    It is possible to do all the routes on this area of the wall with one 60m rope. From the top of "Trash It...", it is less than 100 feet back to the bolts at the top of "That's Weak".


    SR to a #4 Camalot. I recall thinking that doubles from #1-3 would not go unused. Anyone else remember?

    Photos of Crack of Desperation Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron leading.
    Aaron leading.

    Comments on Crack of Desperation Add Comment
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    By stephen sangdahl
    Sep 23, 2002

    The original line above the roof went up and left via some funky climbing ,then up and angle right to a ledge about 10 feet above the anchor on "Trash It."
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jul 18, 2003

    Two thumbs down. Whatever that equals in stars.

    How the hell did this route get a 5.10a rating? My partner and I both thought is was a lot freaking harder than that- the roof is this huge overhanging flake that only an anorexic person could wedge themselves in to. I'd just like to know how this rating stands, it's pretty darn misleading and could get someone in trouble.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jul 12, 2004

    I found this to be a great route. Definitely an old school-type classic. good pro and solid jams up to the crux roof. The roof goes pretty easily if you walk your feet up the left side until you are horizontal and then reach up. did the climb in '02 and don't remember the sequence that well, but, I found a no hands rest here leaning back after getting my feet up high as mentioned above. I am hardly a solid 5.10 leader, and found this climb to be right on or even a little easy for its grade, though good stemming skills and a strong "head" are required for the exposed crux moves.
    By Joe Collins
    Jul 14, 2004
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    Far from 3 stars, but worth doing if you're on the ledge above That's Weak. The roof move is easy-5.10 if you find the easiest way, which didn't involve any grovelling
    By Aaron Martinuzzi
    Jun 22, 2010
    rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

    Definitely a spectacular route. Calling it 10a is a legit sandbag, because the crux isn't at all obvious or easy, but with some sussing it goes without any grunting. Not easy ten, but definitely not hard ten, either.
    By Vincent K
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 15, 2014
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    I thought this pitch was really fun. The jamming up to the roof thing is solid even though the rock is a little quartzy (weak). Before firing the roof, get a shake on the jug to the left on the arete - the exposure is quite nice. After the roof, I wanted to go straight up on the left, but there really wasn't any pro, so I came down and traversed right to finish with "Trash It and Move On". This finish is good, but make sure you extend after the roof and on the following bolt or you'll have a fair amount of rope drag. Do your best to protect your second on the traverse.

    I didn't take a number 4 and was fine - there are tons of other opportunities.
    By claytown
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 9, 2016

    Climbed this route again years after the first time. The rock is quite a bit worse than I remember. I recommend a #4 for the roof so you can place it deeper in the ear where it's less of a flake. You could also take another large cam to place lower on the pitch where the rock is crap instead of searching for the couple of ok places deeper in the crack.

    Now that I'm done bashing the route, the roof move is fun!
    By pfwein
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 11, 2017

    Three stars for general weirdness at the crux, but that may be a little generous. Also seemed to take very good gear (save #3 C4 for crux) although not all rock quality was perfect. I traversed right into the bolted climb some ways above the crux. Brought back memories of when I first tried, probably close to 20 years ago--as a crack newb then I was somewhat overmatched.

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