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El Malpais
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1096 T 
A Moment's Respite T 
Breech Baby T 
Crack of Heraclitus T 
Easy Come, Easy Go T 
Icebreaker T 
Mt. Cosmic Debris T 
Mushroom, The T 
New Frontier T 
Overdrive T 
Rotten Peach T 
Screaming Yellow Yum-Yums T 
Strensuous Curve T 
Surfin' the Turf T 
Sword of Cimmeria T 
Trudy Buns T,S 
Unknown V2 
Unknown V3 
Unknown V5 
Unsorted Routes:

Crack of Heraclitus 

YDS: 5.12- French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a R

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 250', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.12- French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a R [details]
FA: Embick & Baltz, Spring 1977, FFA Baltz & Horak, July 1977
Page Views: 1,436
Submitted By: David Baltz on Nov 9, 2009

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Heraclitus Peter Prandoni @ crux Photo by Karen Wr...


(1) Begin on the face to the right of the crack and traverse into the dihedral at the 6-ft level (5.12-). Once established in the dihedral, have the rack & rope thrown up to you. Sustained climbing leads up a hand crack to an alcove below a roof (5.10b). Belay off a 5" cam or tube chock. (2) Stem and jam out the roof and make hard moves to gain the dihedral above (5.10c) then continue up the moderate but large crack to the back of a cave and an uncomfortable belay below a huge roof. (3) Traverse left under the roof on a narrow ledge to the lip, then climb an unprotected dihedral (5.10c) to a point where a move right leads to jugs and the summit.

Pitches two and three can be combined if you're feeling fresh and don't mind a bit (a lot?) of rope drag on the crux.

Descent: walk off.


You can't miss this one. Only fifty feet from the road, the prominent dihedral faces north and is capped by a huge roof. This climb is 3.9 miles south of the Sandstone Bluffs Overlook turnoff. Park down the road a bit to avoid gawkers.


P1: Well protected with 0.5 to 5" cams or hexes and tubes.
P2: 2 sets of 2" to 4" cams, singles of 5 and 6.
P3: Small cams again with mid-range stoppers for upper headwall.

Photos of Crack of Heraclitus Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching the Crack of Heraclitus from the north...
Approaching the Crack of Heraclitus from the north...

Comments on Crack of Heraclitus Add Comment
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By William Penner
From: The 505
Nov 10, 2009


Thanks for posting up the Malpais climbing. We used to boulder in the picnic area on the south end where the Dakota caprock dips to ground level and provides some fairly decent rock climbing.

Is the crux on Heraclitus actually just a low traverse into the crack? I have always looked at this line and wanted to try it (once the Zuni sandstone gets a little harder and more reliable).

By David Baltz
From: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Nov 10, 2009

Yes, the crux of Heraclitus is a boulder problem off the ground. I'd call it V4/5 and spent months working it before finally figuring it out. The moves above the lip of the big roof are probably 10+ and poorly protected for about 15 ft. Embick aided them--Horak freed it.

I hope to add a lot of additional routes and photos over the next few months.
By Matthias Lang
From: Albuquerque
Jul 17, 2011

I drove by this crack today. Looks amazing. The Jackson guide talks about a 3-drilled-angle belay after traversing the big roof, which make a rap after the second pitch possible. Can anyone tell me if this anchor is still there and if, what condition it is in?

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