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Crack of Doom 

YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Greg Lowe, 1965
Page Views: 20,390
Submitted By: Guy H. on Jun 9, 2004

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Wei Ming, fingers deep. Lombardphoto


This is "the" 5.11 crack climb at the City. It is just to the right of Power Tools.

The start is protected by a fixed pin, which can be stick clipped. A fixed nut has remained in place about 2 feet above the pin for the last couple years. These 2 pieces protect the opening crux moves very well.

Start on the shelf to the left and traverse into the crack. Grab the correct holds and these moves are only 5.11a. Work the face on the right and get established in the thin finger crack. Thin crack and stem moves will lead you to a rest jam at the roof.

The second crux is moving into the hand crack above the small roof. (#3.5 Camalot and poor feet) A continuous slightly overhanging hand crack leads to a 2 bolt anchor.


Handful of TCUs, Ballnuts, and nuts for the first half of the route. #1-3.5 Camalots for the second half of the route.

Photos of Crack of Doom Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Working the pod...
Working the pod...
Rock Climbing Photo: With a lisp.... "Ooh this IS a nice crack!&qu...
With a lisp.... "Ooh this IS a nice crack!&qu...
Rock Climbing Photo: 'Crack of Doom', City of Rocks, Idaho
'Crack of Doom', City of Rocks, Idaho
Rock Climbing Photo: The crack of doom after the face of doom
The crack of doom after the face of doom
Rock Climbing Photo: Dion getting fully into the jamming section. Onsit...
Dion getting fully into the jamming section. Onsit...
Rock Climbing Photo: the cruxy start.
the cruxy start.
Rock Climbing Photo: Of DOOM!
Rock Climbing Photo: Entering the hand crack half-way up the route.
Entering the hand crack half-way up the route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Price's friend on the COD
Price's friend on the COD
Rock Climbing Photo: Wei Ming, elbows deep.  Lombardphoto
Wei Ming, elbows deep. Lombardphoto
Rock Climbing Photo: Crack of Doom
Crack of Doom
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff taking a lap on Crack of Doom after an awesom...
BETA PHOTO: Jeff taking a lap on Crack of Doom after an awesom...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the splitter hand-fist crack on Crack...
BETA PHOTO: Looking down the splitter hand-fist crack on Crack...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up Crack of Doom.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up Crack of Doom.
Rock Climbing Photo: Crack of Doom is the crack just right of center.
BETA PHOTO: Crack of Doom is the crack just right of center.
Rock Climbing Photo: The opening moves....
The opening moves....
Rock Climbing Photo: Thin crack section...
Thin crack section...
Rock Climbing Photo: the pumpy finsh
the pumpy finsh
Rock Climbing Photo: This is my send of Crack of Doom. Photo: Ron Long
This is my send of Crack of Doom. Photo: Ron Long
Rock Climbing Photo: We found a handy stick at the base of Crack of Doo...
BETA PHOTO: We found a handy stick at the base of Crack of Doo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Crack of Doom .11c
Crack of Doom .11c
Rock Climbing Photo: The Crack of Doom.
The Crack of Doom.

Comments on Crack of Doom Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 12, 2017
By C Miller
From: CA
Jan 25, 2006
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Stick clip the pin, then it's bascially a boulder problem into the crack which slowly widens. Make sure to take some big pieces for up high; when I did this a single #3 Camalot was the biggest piece I had, which made me feel a bit unprepared.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Jul 30, 2006

The bottom moves are just plain hard - and seem to get harder each time I do it. I've yet to get the bottom clean. Definitely bring a good helping of #2 and #3 Camalots with one #4 Camalot for the pod. The finger crack protects well with small cams from a green C3 (blue Alien?) to #0.5 Camalot. The bottom is the crux - obviously - but the top delivers a pump that will be remembered.
By david goldstein
Aug 28, 2006

Since I haven't climbed much at the City, this is a qualified endorsement, but of the routes I have done there, Crack of Doom is easily my favorite. Great gear, a much easier than it looks (impossible) boulder start, followed by a few feet of hard thin crack sets you up for 40' of woo-hoo hands to OW crack climbing on immaculate, smooth sided granite.

Experienced crack climbers will likely find the bouldery moves at the start about two number grades harder than the OW "2nd crux".

An old style (purple or black) #4 Camalot is too large for the OW, a #4 Friend works better. You could also get by w/ 2 #3 Camalots.

Beta Alert: I went lower than the guy doing the left handed pinch in one of the photos. Taking the low road, a hard to see crystal crimp on the right arete (above the right hand pinch) was crucial.
By bbrock
From: Al
Apr 13, 2007

Not stickclipping the fixed pin bumps the grade up and turns it into a more serious deal for sure.
By Squatting Bear
Aug 5, 2008

I say keep your head in check, style the route, and don't stick-clip the first piece. The gear is already there after all.
By bheller
From: SL UT
Jun 23, 2009
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Don't believe that with the correct holds the start is only 11a... its a V3 boulder problem to a short 11a bit until you get your fingers in the crack, then 5.10 to the top. Also, the top hardly qualifies as off-width- there are a few wide bits that one can reach right past with a little technique. As classic as they come.

Update- 10/05/14

I just climbed this again after many years- and i used to climb it freqently- I discovered where the clean crack actually starts at the stance about 18 ft up or so what was once a decent right hand patina crimp/gaston on the right side of the crack has broken off. I have fat fingers and cannot get my pinky in the one slot/lock the crack offers here. In the past I have always relied on that gaston/crimp to get my feet up a little higher to where I can get a real left hand pinky lock. Without this gaston/crimp this is now the new crux for me. It means COD now has two 11c sections in the first 20 feet. Those with small fingers probably won't even notice.
By camhead
From: Vandalia, Appalachia
Sep 5, 2009

I just got on this route again, about five years after first climbing it, and it is every bit as wonderful as it was the first time around. Definitely the best crack climb I've done at the City. Very diverse route frmo the boulder problem into an Indian Creek-styled featureless crack with changing corners. Runs the full range of sizes, with the exception of off-fingers. As the above comments mention, I think the opening moves may be a bit harder than 11c, but as soon as the crack widens beyond fingers, it is definitely easier than the grade. The "offwidth" at the top is not too bad, in my opinion.
By Curt Nelson
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jun 29, 2010

Congratulations Guy!
By chuck claude
From: Flagstaff, Az
Jul 1, 2011

The route is good (and one of my favorite at the City- led it twice on my last trip) and once in 2005. The only reason I gave it two stars is because its a 5.11 boulder problem (which was really fun) with a 5.10 crack. The offwidth is really mellow where you can reach through most of the wide stuff. Gear: a quickdraw for the piton, two small stoppers, a few green and red C3's, a couple of blue and grey 0.3 and 0.4 C4's, 1 0.5 C4 and then a a couple of yellow (2) and blue (3) C4's and if you wish a 3.5 (grey) C4.
By camhead
From: Vandalia, Appalachia
Jul 15, 2011

Ok, I've just got to say here, be very careful on this climb. We stick clipped the pin, just as everyone else has (and as I have about 4 times over the past decade), and it fell out. I know this is THE classic climb, and that plenty of people have probably hung on the pin, but it is definitely not bomber, as many people have perhaps implicitly assumed.
By Ryan Williams
From: London (sort of)
Jul 18, 2011

Just to add to camhead's comment, I'm glad that the pin fell out when we clipped it instead of coming out during a fall. I had a mini-epic that day and I'll tell the story at some point but the current situation is as follows:

We left the pin at the base of the route and camhead spoke with the climbing ranger at the City who said he'll probably just hammer a new pin into the existing scar. Both of us disagree with this plan, but we aren't rangers...

Be careful!
By Fink Fink
From: Jackson, WY & Bozeman, MT
Jul 25, 2011
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Attempted this route on July 17th, without any fixed pin present. Ended up stick clipping the first bolt on Power Tools, swinging over to get in a couple solid pieces, etc... 'twas exhausting to say the least.

On the last day of the trip over (July 19th), we ran into several climbing rangers, who had just replaced the fixed pin (new hardware). Looked pretty solid. Sadly, giving it another burn wasn't on the agenda.
By Della
From: SLC, UT
Sep 5, 2011

The fixed nut is gone, but the pin is there as of 9/4/11
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Sep 23, 2011

I would not describe the 2.5 feet of 4" crack as OW since it's trivial to reach past it on good jams. This section does provide a great spot to stuff your elbow in and take a rest though. Fun climb, although I think that the pin is sorta silly. Any normal biner stickclipped on there is going to be loaded on the nose. Time for a bolt.
By steven sadler
From: SLC, UT
Jun 25, 2012

This is an amazing route. Definately a good one for those trying to push their limits. Don't overload on gear, a number 4 could be placed but 2's and 3's can go in above or below so don't bring it. I stick clipped the pin and the biner needs to be flipped upside down so it's not loaded on the nose of the biner. There is also a stuck stopper above the pin which made things nice.
By benjaminleaton Eaton
From: Sandy, UT
May 24, 2013

Crack of Doom Video
By Jack Lazar
From: Portland, OR
Jun 28, 2014

Be aware: The upper crack likes to eat #2 camalots. Keep that in mind if you plan to belay a follower up--the belay rope may encourage the #2 to walk deep into the crack if the second hangdogs. An extra spotter is nice for the starting boulder problem if the climber feels ethically or aesthetically disinclined toward stick clipping.
By Adam Peters
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Apr 25, 2016

Curious about the start to this thing. I didn't read the thread or description before we climbed this route last week, so I wasn't aware that the prescribed way was to start to the left and sort and move in to the right at the height of the pin (after watching the video). My wife and I just climbed straight up into the pinch and then made one move to the right, more of a direct, and in my opinion, better way to start. However, this way seemed to bump the grade to 12-. Does that sound right to anyone? Kim Miller was there and confirmed that the way we were climbing it was a direct version that rarely gets done. Is this a thing? Seemed like a pretty standard way to start this thing.
From: Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
Apr 26, 2016

My understanding of the route, having been there a couple of times with Greg Lowe and climbing it once with Greg belaying (mid '70's), is that he did the direct start - straight up from the ground. Most everyone I have seen work or climb the route since has come in from the left side.

Greg was the strongest boulderer I have ever seen. After hours of circuit climbing in the boulders behind his house in Ogden, he would come home and traverse back and forth on the bricks of his house. Unbelievable finger strength.

Adam Peters sent this thing last Friday (straight up from the ground) in an amazing display of calm strength and climbing ability. It was a rarity for me to witness.
By Adam Peters
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Apr 27, 2016

Thanks Kim, I appreciate the compliment. What a great pitch! It was nice to meet you and Joe that day.
By Raddam6
From: Salt Lake
Jun 12, 2016
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a PG13

Onsighted today in good conditions. The clip from the foot ledge is secure, but if you can't reach from there the full lead warrants PG13. The qualities of this line are improbable and inspiring. One of the coolest things ever!
By Brian Hestetune
From: Logan, UT
Jun 13, 2016

Raddam6, which book were you using? The Bingham guide rates it a 5.11c.
By bheller
From: SL UT
Jun 14, 2016
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

@radspray...recent historical information confirms the direct start is the "only way" to climb COD. Pity this knowledge compromises your footledge start and therefore we cannot consider your attempt a "lead" in the official B.S. (Book of Spray).
By drewford
From: Wasatch Back, UT
Sep 19, 2016

Originally called "5.9 with a bouldery start" by the FA Lowe clan.
By Raddam6
From: Salt Lake
Jun 12, 2017
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a PG13

There are two ugly fixed nuts above the pin. They would probably come out pretty easily with the tactful use of a hammer and very thin chisel.

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