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Crack Wars 

YDS: 5.11a/b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
Original:  YDS: 5.11a/b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Glen Randall and Charlie Fowler-1982
Page Views: 6,532
Submitted By: Dana Prosser on Sep 22, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (21)
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View from the top- Oh my!

RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek MORE INFO >>>


In response to the Crack epidemic, this climb does not seem to get the traffic it deserves....

Crack wars has amazing hand cracks, fist cracks, and even a little OW thrown in to keep things interesting- so, grab that fat rack and head up the hill for a little fun!

P1-Jam thin hands crack, that slowly widens to hands and fists (4 star pitch!) to ledge on left with bolted anchor-5.10+ 90 ft.

P2-Fun fist/OW climbing leads to short traverse left and small roof, 15 more feet of wide climbing will lead to nice ledge where gear belay can be had- 5.10 70 ft.

P3-Continue up the fist/OW crack towards the obvious roof that looms above. Set up belay under roof with lone bolt and fist sized gear (#3 or 3 1/2 camalots works well here). 5.9+ 70 ft

P4-Jam out the featured fist-sized roof crack, and take a deep breath because it is not quite over yet..Some loose, heady climbing straight up (with short traverse L to corner) finally leads to short squeeze chimney, and the summit. -5.11a/b (crux pitch). Stewart Green's guidebook reports a 5.9 finger crack in R facing corner to summit- we did not see this crack, but perhaps it is a little further L than where we were???

This route is an enjoyable way to top out on the Rectory, and affords an awe-inspiring view of Honeymoon chimney (and beyond). Don't become another party waiting in line to do Fine Jade, when this route is just a few more steps down the trail...


Route is found on the West face , about 80 ft. right of where the nuns meet the rectory. Look for white calcitite covered rock, with obvious crack. Climb starts on top of ledge about 20 ft above trail.


Rack: single camalots to #0.4, double #0.5-#2, triple #3, double # 3.5 and #4, single #5 and #6 Camalots, nuts, long draws, and rope. The only fixed anchor is at the top of the first pitch, so save some cams for the belays. Anchors are found to the climber's left of the last pitch, or rap Fine Jade.

Photos of Crack Wars Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of route
Start of route
Rock Climbing Photo: Top out of Crack Wars, late November afternoon
Top out of Crack Wars, late November afternoon
Rock Climbing Photo: Me on pitch 3. Photo by Pat Peddy.
Me on pitch 3. Photo by Pat Peddy.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from the top of pitch two. Photo by P...
Looking down from the top of pitch two. Photo by P...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pat at the top of the first pitch.
Pat at the top of the first pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Finishing off the roof on P4
Finishing off the roof on P4
Rock Climbing Photo: pitch 2-big, fat fun!
pitch 2-big, fat fun!
Rock Climbing Photo: Following P1
Following P1

Comments on Crack Wars Add Comment
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By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
May 17, 2010
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

The short finger crack on the last pitch is what gets you up to the final squeeze chimney (which is way easier to layback by the way).
By knowbuddy Buddy
Aug 18, 2012

Did this route yesterday and really enjoyed it. Definetly deserves more traffic
By Kirsten KDog
Oct 23, 2012
rating: 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

This route felt haaard. 11b for me. A lot more OW (and squeeze chimney!) than I was expecting. Getting over the roof is tough for those with smaller hands and who can't really reach the foothold out and right of the roof. I basically aided the thing. Above the roof is some pretty hollow, loose rock, and heady climbing to the squeeze chimney right at the top (which I liebacked, by the way!) Interesting route.....not sure I'd do it again, but it does have some good climbing, especially on the lower pitches.
By Drew Thayer
From: Denver, CO
Nov 25, 2012

Awesome route! A good adventure out.

You can do this route dbl .5- 2 camalots, 3x #3 and #4 camalots, and 1 #5 camalot. Use a #3 and #4 for anchor after the 2nd pitch, a #2 and smaller cam for after 3rd pitch. The slot on pitch 3 is definitely the crux, just get funky and press it out.

In Nov 2012 the rap anchor atop Empirical Route (L of Crack Wars) was questionable at best; there's a very solid rap anchor on the N side of the Nuns that drops you down near Holier than Thou.
By Ball
From: Oakridge, OR
Oct 14, 2013

I inadvertently linked 2&3 and didn't really have enough pro. I'd suggest 3x 3s & 3.5s (or new school 4s) and one 4.5 (new school 5). Don't see where a six would be handy.

Lots of cheese-grating off-fists for small hands.

I squeezed the top-out, but only after removing my harness (didn't think I had an effective belay by then). Otherwise it's an overhanging chicken-wing toe-heel thing. I'm skinny as fuck so plan to do that.

Crux for me was the roof. Seemed awkward.
By Kat A
From: Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Nov 3, 2015

We were comfortable with the following rack: small stoppers, 1x blue & green alien, 2x yellow alien/0.4 camalot; triples in 0.5, 0.75, 1, 2, 3, 4 camalots, 2x 3.5 camalots/4 friends, and a new #5. More than others suggested, but we placed it all (perhaps not the blue alien but it's light to carry...)

P1 - 100', Mostly thin gear up to #3 camalot. 3x #0.75 & #1 were very nice.
P2 - ca 70'. Mostly larger gear, #3-3.5 cams for belay (small, wedge-shaped stance)
P3 - ca. 80'. Larger gear, easier than P2 (large cam(s) plus single bolt belay under roof. Can dump the #5 in the belay here.)
P4 - Small-large gear (crux #3, 3.5 camalots). Stoppers, 1-2 yellow alien pieces nice for summit belay.

P1 is stellar thin-hands; P2 is hard OW; P3 is relatively moderate wider crack; P4 has the roof crux followed by adventurous desert tower climbing. Long slings useful here.

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