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El Camino Real 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Royal Robbins, Harry Daley and Janie Taylor, November 1961
Page Views: 18,767
Submitted By: Dpurf on Feb 23, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (173)
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Todd Smith on El Camino Real (5.10a)


From Fingertrip, walk around and up about 80 feet. Look for a pine tree with it top missing - that is the base of the climb. 3rd class up to it.

Pitch 1 - (5.10a) Bouldery start just left of a thin, thin crack up to a small overlap move left and up. Belay at a block ledge. Be careful with you anchor here.
Pitch 2 - Climb past 2 bolts then make a long friction traverse left past another bolt to the Jungle. Belay here.
Pitch 3 *** -(5.10a) Climb up the classic lieback crack for 80 feet. Pro is good, but at the top I would sink a good piece in and go for a small run out. The crack gets thin and less secure. 2 bolt belay.
Pitch 4 - Climb the (5.8) crack up and left then traverse right to join Jensen's Jaunt.

Or at end of pitch 3 you can mover over and down to get in to Traitor Horn, which makes for a great climb.


Pro is several thin to 2 inches

Photos of El Camino Real Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: El Camino Real
El Camino Real
Rock Climbing Photo: Geir leading P3 of ECR
Geir leading P3 of ECR
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo
Rock Climbing Photo: B. Anamuro on the $$$. 4th class to the top was sc...
B. Anamuro on the $$$. 4th class to the top was sc...
Rock Climbing Photo: The thin start
BETA PHOTO: The thin start
Rock Climbing Photo: Z man leading 3rd pitch
Z man leading 3rd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3 Lieback.  Nice and sustained.
Pitch 3 Lieback. Nice and sustained.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from p3
Looking down from p3
Rock Climbing Photo: El Camino Real.
El Camino Real.
Rock Climbing Photo: T_SCHNIZZLE
Rock Climbing Photo: Steve Cox on the classic lieback third pitch
Steve Cox on the classic lieback third pitch

Comments on El Camino Real Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 9, 2017
By C Miller
From: CA
Feb 23, 2006
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Great climbing and the 3rd pitch lieback is a classic not to be missed.

The name El Camino Real, which translates loosely to the King's Road, refers to the 600 mile road which linked 21 missions from San Diego to Sonoma County.
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Mar 12, 2006

Took a fall (story of my life) off the top of P3 and sheared the roll pins off a small TCU.
Jun 11, 2006

nice variation for the first pitch is shit for brains
By mschlocker
From: San Diego, CA
Mar 12, 2007
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

One of the cleanest lines I have ever done anywhere(lieback pitch). I highly recommend it. Got confused by the runout beta though, kept looking for the crack to close off when I should have been more focused on my climbing. Save a selection of nuts and small cams (say to ~.5 Camalot) for the top half of the pitch and make your own judgement about protection. It gets steep toward the top so placing gear is more difficult but the crack changes shape enough to take a variety of small gear almost anywhere. I never felt run out but I did feel pumped out.
By Bruce Diffenbaugh
From: Cheyenne,Wyoming
Feb 12, 2008

I must have led this route a dozen or more times over the years never get tired of ECR. A truly great line.
By Mar' Himmerich
From: Santa Fe, NM
Aug 25, 2008

On my absolutely worst day of climbing I took four 10~15 foot falls on my rope at the P3 crux!
By tallmark515
From: San Francisco
Sep 14, 2008

I accidentally linked P1 & P2, not much of a problem if you don't mind a bit of rope drag during the traverse (5.9?) at the top of P2. Not much pro for the bouldery start, but there is a spot for a margional gear placement at the first rest stance. Also worth noting that above the first bolt on P1 there is a bit of a run out, be a confident .9/.10- slab climber. (mental crux)

I didn't struggle much on P3, move fast and don't fidget with gear. The crux at the top is only a few moves and although the crack thins in spots, there are still plenty of spots to get purchase for the lieback.

We finished on Jenson's Jaunt (5.easy/boring climbing) because there was a line for Traitor Horn. Finish up on the Traitor Horn for one of the best climbing experiences in Tahquitz.
By Shipp
From: laguna beach, ca
Oct 15, 2008

Did this route last thursday. Linked pitch 1 and 2. I didn't place any gear on pitch 1 until I was up the initial slab and around the left side above, otherwise there will be rope drag as the route goes up right and then way left to the jungle.

The crux pitch 3 takes all sorts of pro to 1" or so. You know when you get to the crux at the top. Place gear before the crux and then don't bother with anymore till you do one more move to top out of the crack. I took a #3 camalot and placed it in the wider crack above the lie-back - worked prfect.

We rapped straight back down w/ a 60M. To the jungle and then the bottom.

I recommend doing the the 5.11 just to right - This was a short and fun route w/ a hairy step across to get onto the slab.
By Sean
From: Oak Park, CA
Jul 24, 2010

Beautiful dihedral pitch. Entire crack takes cams very well, and stoppers if one really wants to fiddle. A gem of a second pitch in between mellow pitches. Aesthetic and engaging.
By Mike Rice
Sep 18, 2011

The 2nd Best 10a trad route I have ever climbed!!!
By natebloser
Oct 3, 2011

Definitely a little spicy up there without that third bolt!
By Tommy G.
From: Killeen, Texas
Oct 10, 2011

P3 is DOPE. Really no hard moves, but the pump can catch up to you. Charge it and SEND! Jugs @ the top of the pitch.

Cinch a nut on the 3rd bolt of P3 if the hanger is still MIA and you want that pro (I did). Bomber-esque.
By tom donnelly
From: san diego
May 14, 2012

The third bolt on P2 is still missing a hangar. I cinched 2 nuts on it - the outer one slung with more slack since it's just helping hold the first nut in place. You might get an offset alien to hold but very dubious.
If you rap from the jungle, you then downclimb the easy bottom of Fingertip traverse.
By T.J. Esposito
From: San Diego, CA
May 29, 2012

Last bolt on P2 still hangerless. Did this after a little icestorm and the belay in the jungle was awesome (and cold), sitting under an ice-covered tree! The crack on P3 is amazing.
By Jan Tarculas
From: Riverside, Ca
Jun 26, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Did this climb on Saturday, classic route. 3rd bolt on pitch two still missing hanger, can cinch a nut to it to clip onto for protection or can be a pretty big fall/swing. Classic pitch 3 also ends at 3 bolts and route can be rappeled back to the Jungle then rap back close to the ground with some 3rd class scrambling to get to base of route to avoid Friction Descent.
By S. Saunders
Jul 23, 2012

My partner and I replaced the hanger on the 2nd pitch yesterday. There are no threads protruding from the nut - the bolt just wasn't long enough, unfortunately. That said, the nut tightened flush with the end of the bolt, and there's a shiny new hanger. Should be good to go for a while. I know I felt better busting the move with a solid clip.

You guys owe me $3.50. :)
By generationfourth
From: Irvine, CA
Aug 8, 2012

I love how straight forward this climb is. Crux pitch takes gear really well although it does take some extra energy while lie backing. In a couple of spots I placed a couple of pieces when one would've sufficed. I think this was the difference between falling and onsighting it for me. I would say at the crux, the hands are all there but the feet get worse. Place good gear and clip directly into it– no need to extend any slings (a habit formed when climbing 8's/9's), there is no drag on this pitch... keep moving!

If you want (or only have) a minimal rack I would take doubles with only one #1, and #2 C4. Small to medium nuts. You don't need tiny micro cams– smallest piece I placed was a #1 metolius master cam. "Several" finger sized pieces are recommended, and if that means triples I disagree–the crux pitch isn't that long and you don't need gear for the anchor. Someone mentioned lugging up a #3 C4, which is really not needed at all because by the time you can place it your standing on the belay ledge with bolts right at your face if you turned around.
By Jan Tarculas
From: Riverside, Ca
Jul 7, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

did this route again after top roping the classic 3rd pitch over a year ago. route still feels easy to me. We did whodunit earlier in the morning and had plenty of sun left. 5.9 on that route felt way harder then any move on the 10a 3rd pitch of this route. dont need big gear either or plenty of it. I placed my first piece about 20-25 feet up on after easy climbing on flakes. Can place a bomber nut then just small cams. I think i put like 5-6 pieces on the route. Just move and dont pump your self out. if section your on feels hard, make one mover move and its a jug/nice finger slot
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Oct 13, 2013

From Jungle Ledge a 60 or 70m will reach near the bottom, but both require some easy 3rd/4th class scrambling.
By Ryan-G Gittins
From: San Diego
Oct 14, 2013

I had a few of these comments go through my head after pulling the crux and realized just then how you could be so pumped out that you can't grab the giant jug 6 inches away and are going to take a 20+...that gave me the last ounce of energy to just get it. Incredible pitch, and stout for those of us breaking into the grade. Placing gear blind is definitely the crux of the route, otherwise surprisingly good locks, if semi-slick feet. Lot's of small C4 .4-, if you want to sew the crux up.
By Tradiban
Oct 22, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I skipped the first pitches, just scrambled to The Jungle, didn't seem to be any rave reviews for the first two pitches. The $ pitch seemed pretty easy and short for 10a.
By somillionaire Viradia
From: Los Angeles, California
May 4, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Dont let the comments intimidate you if youre breaking into the 10s. This thing was way shorter than I thought it was going to be. There are good foot dishes every couple feet and bomber finger locks almost the whole way up so you dont have to muscle up the whole thing just laybacking. Also, the whole thing takes bomber gear, even the supposed run out end section. I placed a small cam easily 4 feet before the anchors. Place from the best stance and not indiscriminately, use good foot technique and you should save yourself a pump. Also, p3 was the only worthwhile pitch for me. If possible, I would skip p1 and 2 and link p3 to Traitor Horn for an ultra classic 2 pitch climb.
By Chris Bersbach
From: Arroyo Grande, CA
Mar 30, 2015
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Agreed with many comments above re: the quality and approachability of the classic P3. It offers generous stances for pro, especially considering the short length of the pitch (which is literally the only bad thing about it). Protect well right before the crux and then fire to the chains; you'll burn far more energy trying to place mid-crux than doing one more move and grabbing the finish jug.

A worthwhile note - of you take P3 past the intended chains and the 15 feet of barely-fifth-class climbing to the right, you can build your anchor on a slightly higher set of chains that will let you rap directly into Coffin Nail. ECR 1-3 to Coffin Nail to Traitor Horn makes for a pretty marvelous trip up the rock.
By Norman Bradley
From: Joshua Tree
Aug 17, 2016

Lead P3 2 days ago.
Didn't place nothing smaller then a .4 BD.
The crack never really gets very thin.
Lots of good feet.
The pitch seems more like 60ft vs 80ft.
We did this as an "add on" pitch while doing Fingertrip to Fingertip Tx.
Yeah.....its really good and not that hard for the grade!!
By Dustin Stephens
Jan 9, 2017

"Third" pitch is very slick and classic. Pitches 1 and 2 link pretty easily, and I linked the "3rd" into pitch 4 to get to the top. Thought pitch 1 was rather contrived, runout, and forgettable, meh. Pitch 2 feels kind of squeezy and also contrived.

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