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Curving Crack 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Tink Wilson, 1961 FFA Pat Ament and Dave Rearick, 1964
Page Views: 8,184
Submitted By: Matt Bauman on Jan 1, 2001

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David Herr prepping to pull over the top. (Photo: ...

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  • Description 

    Start on the west face of Castle Rock, about 15' left of Bailey's Overhang. Climb a beautiful left-curving dihedral with THIN crack/seam ... looks very Yosemite-esque. Starts out with lieback or hand jams up a steep crack and continues up the beautiful and slippery corner ... stem like crazy to the top, turn a small roof and cruise to the anchor.


    Small cams (Aliens or TCUs) for the meat...hand-sized for the start. The anchor is a 2-bolt chain of the bolts seemed pretty loose, so if you TR, I suggest backing it up with a #0.75 Camalot Jr. or equivalent in a nearby crack.

    Photos of Curving Crack Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Curving Crack and Bailey's Overhang, showing the l...
    BETA PHOTO: Curving Crack and Bailey's Overhang, showing the l...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Curving Crack and Bailey's Overhang
    BETA PHOTO: Curving Crack and Bailey's Overhang
    Rock Climbing Photo: Peter Dillon high-stepping in the sustained upper ...
    Peter Dillon high-stepping in the sustained upper ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: A Cuban climber's first American climb - Carlos Pi...
    A Cuban climber's first American climb - Carlos Pi...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Peter Dillon cranking the final hard move.
    Peter Dillon cranking the final hard move.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Stan loving the cold January friction... and the i...
    Stan loving the cold January friction... and the i...

    Comments on Curving Crack Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 1, 2012
    By Matt Bauman
    Jul 9, 2001

    Went up and led this again a few days ago.....what a GREAT pitch. It's got it all, face climbing, perfect hands, liebacking, finger jams and wide stemming to a roof with some steep jug-hauling and a couple finger/hand jams to the!
    By Matt Bauman
    Aug 3, 2001

    Man, I was up there with my kids in the creek the other day and these guys were eyeing up curving crack..... i told them it's awesome and they decided to do it. The guy hung at the hand crack, hung on the stemming in many places and fell off the roof a couple times....then he almost made it over the roof but fell and pulled a yellow alien and a blue alien and fell probably 40 feet upside down and was saved by the fixed pin.Man, it was fuckin' scary fall but he was ok with a helmet on too. Make sure you get a good placement in that upper chalked up crack (easy to do) and extend it cuz turning the roof pulls that cam around a bit and probably walked it enuff to cause it to pull on that guy...... careful out there but climb hard.
    By Shane Zentner
    From: Colorado
    Oct 3, 2002

    Another solid 5.9 that I recently discovered. I found the rock above the piton to be a little slick. It was difficult to smear/stem until I reached the overhang. Good climb though.
    By Karl Nichols
    May 18, 2003

    Great Climb - 3 Stars!!! Get there early on weekends - it get's busy and when we were climbing there were two other parties waiting.

    What's up with the grafitti around the base of Castle? It's in spanish and I have no idea what it means. Is it some kind of anti-climber political thing or just the work of complete moron with too much time on this hands?
    By Jason Shatek
    Nov 22, 2004

    Did this route two weeks ago. My first 5.9 trad lead. I can sauce a 5.8+ but this thing was very tough for me. The protection wasn't super good but certainly adequate. The first section is a piece of cake, it gets interesting after the piton. The rock on this route is very slick and the foot holds suck! I wouldn't recommend this route for new 5.9 leaders! It felt like I was on my hands a lot with no real rests. Because of the approach I give it one star. Also, I believe the hangers at the top are on small bolts which aren't recommended for use anymore and one of them is loose.
    By Umph!
    Oct 11, 2005

    What? This is great 5.9 maybe 5.9+ climbing on very solid rock. The pro is great and as I recall, bomber. Its not friction-granite (but little is at Castle), so may feel a bit slick. There are 2 pretty damn good rest positions/gear placing if you stem out with your left foot. As you can belay from your car there is zero approach. The climb is short but sweet. 2+ stars (3 if it was longer).
    By Ped
    Aug 7, 2008

    If you smeared vaseline all over this route, I don't think it would make a difference.
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Aug 7, 2008
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    That's why I can't figure out why so many people like this climb. I think 2 stars at best, and that's in cool weather.
    By Rob Davies UK
    From: Cheshire, UK
    May 8, 2009
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    Good line but very stiff for the grade even seconding, as feet tend to slip off. More like 5.10a (UK E1 5b) it seemed to me, but I guess the 5.9 grade is "traditional".
    By D. Shaw
    Aug 28, 2009
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13

    Seemed same difficulty as Dmentia over on Happy Hour to me, so I said 10a, as that is what Dementia is thought to be. Rating might be influenced by doing the right exit at the roof, instead of left, and it continues to be hard there. Chains/bolts for anchor seemed fine. Excellent pitch, and definitely easier than Skunk Crack (less greasy).
    By Matt Swartz
    From: Los Angeles, CA
    Sep 27, 2009

    Led this today, great and safe 5.9 I would definitely recommend this as there is plenty of gear to be placed making falling safe. I don't think this route is slick due to high traffic but rather due to the rock - actually adding to the character of this climb, it makes you think, starting with bigger jams, going to smearing with your feet and using the two walls of the dihedral. Climb this.
    By Luke Childers
    Feb 1, 2010
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

    "Curving Crack" is sooo good. What can you say... it's another great "Castle Rock" sandbag classic. Boulder Canyon, Co.
    By Benten
    From: Denver
    May 6, 2011

    A great, delicate stemfest through a beautiful crack, then a jug rest before a small roof, what can I say? This thing brings out the footwork.
    By Jeff McLeod
    Sep 1, 2012
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    The crux section takes small gear (<0.4 C4), and one of the best holds is also one of the better placements, so that was a bummer for me on lead as I couldn't crank off of it. But the liebacking and stemming is great fun. Come on, 5.9? More BC sandbaggin', I have no problem giving this a 5.10a for my on-sight.

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