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Lever Action (not Downdraft) 

YDS: 5.11d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 100'
Original:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Bill Gibson, Chris Knuth, and Helmut (from Austria)
Page Views: 1,701
Submitted By: D-Storm on Jun 29, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (31)
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Dave Sims leans out to clip the first bolt in the ...


This is basically the route to the right of Mariscos Lambada with two variations to get to the big roof crack (I think the left is harder and on better rock). Neither are harder than 5.10 to get to the roof and there are also two sets of anchors there.

Once you're standing on the ledge under the business, lean out to the crack (exciting). Flip around and get crankin on this fun, airy boulder problem. The anchors are just after turning the lip.

To me, this feels like an easier and less-scary version of Yosemite's Separate Reality (11d), but the guidebooks have always called this 12a.

Downdraft was the first 5.12 I ever laid eyes on when I was 13 years old, toproping the 5.8 on this wall. I saw some burly looking dudes falling off of it, and thought that it would be amazing if I was ever able to consider climbing something that hard. Not too long ago I climbed this route barefoot -- but I still get a flutter in my heart when I rack up for it! For me, Downdraft has remained the psychological epitome of 5.12a.

If it was more sustained, and not so out of the way, and such a biatch to clean, it would be classic. However, on a hot, crowded morning, it can sure be a lot of fun.

As far as the FA info, my friend Bill said he bolted the three lines in this particular section back in the day, but that the first guidebook gave credit to someone else and assigned different route names. He said he bolted Mariscos Lambada (I forget his name for it) for his wife and daughter.


The route starts off the big, triangular block next the the wall.


12 draws should get ya there. A 60-meter rope might be necessary to lower from the top anchors.

Photos of Lever Action (not Downdraft) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: BAG on Lever Action roof.
BAG on Lever Action roof.
Rock Climbing Photo: Chuck Lepley reaching out at the overhang.
Chuck Lepley reaching out at the overhang.
Rock Climbing Photo: Chuck Lepley attempting the overhang.
Chuck Lepley attempting the overhang.

Comments on Lever Action (not Downdraft) Add Comment
Show which comments
By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
Jul 11, 2010
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a

Super cool roof on this route. I think 11d is an honest grade for this climb but it will feel harder if you don't know how to jam.
By Fred Bonnard
Aug 24, 2010
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a

There are several holds that make it possible to make the moves in the roof without jamming and still fell about 11d. Pretty cool line.
By bagwag Gibson
Apr 5, 2012
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

I put Lever Action (AKA Downdraft) up in the summer of 1995. It has had some differences of opinion on grade, originally .12a. First climbed by myself, Chris Knuth and Helmut, from Austria. Even the FA crew could not find a consensus on the difficulty. I was convinced that hand-jamming was essential to do the roof crack until I watched Knuth send it by just casually palming the crack side slopers. Both those guys were projecting .14 back then, so of course they thought it was moderate.

Fun climb, especially spicy while 'levering' the lip of the roof... hence the name and staying in the spirit of 'Rifle' jargon.

Beta tip: after making the first clip under the roof I would unclip the draw from the anchor at the top of the slab giving the rope a less severe angle, reducing rope drag and easier to clean route while lowering. Cheers, Bill Gibson
By Michael Schneiter
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Jun 26, 2012

All of the lead bolts and the anchor bolts to the first anchor were replaced on this last year with hardware from the ASCA. Several bolts were moved to make this a much better lead. Enjoy!
By Michael Schneiter
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Jul 2, 2013

The four bolts for the roof section of Lever Action and the anchor were replaced with hardware from the ASCA . Two fat WaveBolt glue-ins were used in the roof.
By bagwag Gibson
Oct 7, 2013
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

The roof section of Lever Action now has 4 perma-draws to the anchor. Hence, the back cleaning is a cinch on lowering. August 2013.

Btw, the route name is Lever Action. It was never called Downdraft unless, at some time, someone was referring to the slab portion below the roof with its separate anchor.
By Michael Schneiter
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Mar 28, 2016

As I recall, in an old guidebook it listed the route below the roof and to the first anchor as Downdraft and the extension through the roof, via the crack, as Lever Action. Always seems a bit confusing to me to have different route names for every extension to a route.

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