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Elder Cleavage Direct 

YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 320', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Ivan Rezucha, 1980
Page Views: 3,403
Submitted By: proto on Jun 5, 2009  with updates from SethG and 1 more

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (42)
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Don't miss the top pitch...


P1: Start by making interesting bouldery moves to reach a thin crack, go left over an overhang, then up and right to finally reach a belay in a pine tree.

Ivan Rezucha: The original P2 went up an obvious 5.8 jagged crack that had been done earlier as a variation of a nearby route. That 5.8 crack was one of the "cleavages" that led to the name Elder Cleavage.

Pitch 2 as it is usually done today (and as described in guidebook), 5.4: From the tree at the end of pitch one, move up and a little bit right, through an overhang. Then follow the path of least resistance past several more ledges with trees, some of them with fixed gear on them, until you reach the large ledge. The climbing is all 5.4 with occasional loose crap and dirty horizontals. It is pretty much straight up with some slight jogs to the left and right. Avoid the thickest fields of lichen and you'll stay on track. This pitch is worth doing just to get to the third pitch. Once you reach the big ledge, move to the right about 15 feet to a good-sized tree that is just to the left of a pile of blocks that is leaning against the wall of the cliff.

Pitch 3, 5.10b: This is one of the best 5.10 roofs in the Gunks! Start up the right-facing corner above the stacked blocks. Climb easily up to a stance beneath the large roof with a hanging, left-facing corner just to the right. Make the committing moves up and into the roof; there is good gear to be had next to some blown-out old fixed nuts. Once you are fully into the roof, move right to the pointed block/outside edge of the left-facing corner. Then move up and escape the roof. Climb easily to the top through a forest of lichen.

On P3, from Seth: If you are doing P3 of Elder Cleavage you are cheating yourself if you don't also do Boob Job (5.10b), another awesome roof pitch twenty feet to the left off of the big ledge.

Descent: Right now I would not use the existing chain anchor around the dead/dying tree to get back down. Instead I would put a cordalette around the big tree at the Elder Cleavage topout, rap down to the big ledge to do Boob Job, then walk off.


About 100 feet downhill of Lonely Challenge, and just right of the right-leaning ramp and crack of Up Yours. Start 10 feet left of a small boulder standing very close to the cliff.


Standard rack - get a spotter for the bouldery start.

Photos of Elder Cleavage Direct Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: TR of first pitch.
TR of first pitch.

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By proto
From: Falmouth (MA)
Jun 5, 2009

I led the first pitch last Sunday but it was too late to finish the route. So I've described the first pitch only ...
It's definitely a nice one.
By Ivan Rezucha
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jun 8, 2009

First ascent was NOT Annie O'Neill. Maybe Rod Schwartz? I forget!
By paulmadry
Aug 6, 2009
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Make sure you have tiny cams (blue-black aliens) for the 2nd pitch. Run out the begining of 3rd pitch- (it seems like 5.5 if you pick the right route) to avoid rope drag.
By gblauer Blauer
From: Wayne, PA
Aug 17, 2009

My what a climb. P1 is hard, thin and has a set of moves under a flake that feel very awkward and slippery (feet). P2 is beatiful with a very cool (but easy) roof move. The crux (for me) were the moves right up under the roof, getting there was a bit tricky.
By chris_vultaggio
From: The Gunks
Apr 29, 2014
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Definitely don't miss the top pitch - it adds some adventure and intimidation to compliment the technical first pitch.

Just beware the loose blocks up high, I've had a party above knock off some microwave-sized blocks in a shower of quartz-conglomerate death from above...
By Sardocius
From: Old Lyme, CT
Nov 18, 2014

Hey everyone, I attempted to lead this onsight a few weeks ago and found the moves off of the ledge to be really kind of sketchy (at least onsight). This being the "5.9" section after pulling through the harder section. Without knowing that there is pro after a move or two off of the ledge (which there is) you risk falling back onto the ledge. Any thoughts on this? I did not send the route until I was able to set a TR, so I will not offer a PG13 rating but this seems a little sketchy.
By Gunkiemike
Oct 2, 2015

The moves up the second pitch off that ledge/slab are indeed committing. A few years back someone fell and broke their back there. That was enough to keep me from leading it (did it on TR, led all the other pitches).
By SethG
Apr 24, 2017

Regarding Sardocius' comment above: I take it he or she is talking about the moves to start up the left-facing, arching flake in the middle of what most people do as pitch one these days. This is just after the route crosses Up Yours. It is an interesting/big move off of the ledge. I was able to reach up and place a good nut over my head, just below the obvious sidepull/jug that you are reaching for. This nut gave me some comfort although I still was very careful not to blow the move as I was still worried about the ledge.
By SethG
Apr 24, 2017

Anchor alert: The rap route established for this route is not good. There is a steel cable around an oak tree about twenty feet left of the topout. The cable is encased in a black rubber tube so it can't be evaluated. And the tree is dead or dying. It gave me the willies. Also, the next station down is not a "threaded anchor" as described in the book (or at least I couldn't find it), but a tree with five or six bleached, stiff slings, and one cord that looks newer but is still rather faded. I thought this station was better than the one above but it is a time bomb. We decided to walk off.

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