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Stone Mountain South Face
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Unsorted Routes:

Entrance Crack 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c R

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 90'
Original:  YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c R [details]
FA: George DeWolfe, John Thorne ('65)
Page Views: 5,235
Submitted By: EricD on Oct 15, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (77)
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Justin muscling his way up the crack.


This route (apparently) is the easiest way to the tree ledge and the climbs that leave from it. It begins on some easy face climbing following a crack that tends left. Once at the large tree, follow the offwidth crack (protectable by some big bros or a #6 Camalot) to the Tree Ledge. Set up your own anchor to belay. Two ropes to get down from here are necessary.

People comfortable with easy, unprotectable, friction climbing will find the face on the right of the crack the best route up. However, those not comfortable with this style will likely find the runout a bit heady and the offwidth a huge pain.


This route is located about 75-100 ft. to the right of U-slot and about 25 ft. to the left of The Pulpit. It can be identified by two cracks (one from the ground going to the right, one from the ground to the left) that meet at a big pine tree. Descend using the rap anchors near the top of the route.


Some slings and a couple cams at the beginning...some extra large stuff for the offwidth.

Photos of Entrance Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Orange sling is attached to quick draw that is att...
Orange sling is attached to quick draw that is att...
Rock Climbing Photo: The best way to tree ledge for beginners!
The best way to tree ledge for beginners!
Rock Climbing Photo: I used 3 placements after the big tree - small cam...
I used 3 placements after the big tree - small cam...
Rock Climbing Photo: Entrance Crack
Entrance Crack

Comments on Entrance Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 6, 2015
By nbrown
From: western NC
Nov 8, 2007

There is a good placement on the right side of the offwidth, just below the crux. Look hard for the short red alien size crack. Many times, I've seen people solo this route carrying packs and wearing sandals. Though I still think this is the hardest 5.4 that I've ever done.
By Charles Danforth
From: L'ville, CO
May 12, 2009

As of about ten years ago, there was a hangerless 1/4" bolt a few feet right of the crack part way up the off-width. I have no idea if it would hold a fall, but it made me feel (marginally) better to sling it with a small nut on the way up this otherwise unprotected pitch.
By ziggy
Sep 2, 2009

I remember getting either a #1 or #2 in right before the crack begins to widen, not much else though. Once you step out of the crack onto the slab it seems to get easier for the final run-out.
By Adam Paashaus
From: Greensboro, North Carolina
Apr 13, 2010

Ive actually placed 2 small flaring cam placements in the small crack to the right of the offwidth just to see them walk out after being mostly up the pitch. I too remember the old hangerless bolt. ahh the days.
By Shawn Heath
From: Forchheim, Germany
Aug 18, 2010
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R

I read a comment or trip report or something where this guy decided to do this climb, then got up into the crack and found himself slowly inching his way up with his whole body buried in the crack and trembling with fear. I thought, "What a whuss!" Then I showed up at Stone and hopped on this only to do the exact same thing... Talk about humbled.
By Matt Thorum
From: Urbana, IL
Oct 27, 2010

Even with a green and a blue big bro this thing felt runout and scary to lead. Walking a #6 camalot up the crack would be a better way to go if you want to feel protected.
By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Oct 20, 2011

Awesome way to access tree ledge! Easy climbing, but that huge crack at the top throws many people for a loop. If you have a #6 Cam bring that sucker for a bomber placement, but if not don't worry because run outs are the name of the game at Stone. It is almost easier to trend right of the crack onto the face and continue up from there.
By Walt Barker
From: Reno NV
Sep 5, 2012
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R

Certainly the most spicey 5.4 I've ever led. Walked a #5 and a #6 Camalot up the OW section to feel protected. Worked great until the #5 tipped-out less than half-way up and then the same with #6 about 20' above that, at which point I traversed right to easier but exposed ground. Also, after much fiddling, I did manage to plug a #1 C3 into the afore-mentioned crack below the crux.
By Rodger Raubach
Apr 19, 2013
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13

I did this climb on the day before Christmas, 1986. I didn't have a guidebook other than "Dixie Crystals," and I sure didn't have a #6 Camalot (they didn't exist then!). In fact, I don't even remember placing any pro after the tree. I thought it was mentally more difficult than anything on the Great Arch Route that my GF and I did subsequently.
By Russ Keane
Oct 22, 2013

A frightening experience. Not a 5.4 at all. More like 5.7 R, or maybe 5.6 if you want to "keep it real".

Listing this as 5.4 is going to get someone killed.
By Edward Medina
From: Ridgway, CO
Oct 24, 2013

This one can feel tough for the grade Russ. I remember trying to cram myself into the crack the first time I did this route. But once you get your slab head on right the climbing begins to feel more mellow. Fortunately no fatalities on this route in the 50 years since it was first put up.
By ViperScale
Sep 1, 2014

WOW, is all i can say. We left keys to the car on the ledge and were already dead tired. I figured 5.4 won't be so bad to get up there. I thought although there was no move harder than block route (which really only has a small run out at the start on thin holds, big runout on a staircase, and 1 hard move at the end), but over all it was much harder of a climb. At least the run out on block route is like walking up stairs.

This thing really could use 1 bolt about 10 ft below the big open section of the crack. If you are not a 5.10+ climber don't even consider leading this route. I was ok until i hit the big crack section and the 100ft fall came into the back of my mind. The last 10ft or so my leg was shaking so bad i stuck it into the crack and belly flopped up the rest. I then got to the big tree at the end and sad there for a good 15+ mins before i was able to get my nerves down and finish the last bit.

Highly unrecommend doing this route unless you can walk up every other 5.8 route without thinking twice.
By Mike Fisch
Feb 16, 2015

Here's a very interesting account of a recent lead fall at Stone told to me today from Jim Gravely. It is very timely because I was at the same spot two days ago and was spooked by the bad fall potential and whimpered out and asked for a belay from above. Lucky for me Will Soper was above. Not so lucky for Jim.

This Entrance Crack pitch at Stone Mountain has an interesting history. Not sure who did the very first ascent, but in the early '70's Gerald Laws, later to become one of the most talented and prolific first ascentionist's at Stone, placed a 1/4" bolt at the crux. Someone chopped it. Gerald put in another. Someone chopped it too. We never knew who did it. There were very few climbers in N.C. at that time.

We used to free solo up that pitch to gain the tree ledge. Psychologically it felt more reasonable back then because there was a huge bushy ledge at the base of the off width crack. You figured if you fell, you would just land in the bushes.

The past two times I have climbed that crack I have thought how bad a fall would be from that spot for a leader without good pro.

There is quite a bit of banter about that crack on Mountain Project. com. One comment said that someone is going to get hurt bad because the crack is rated 5.4R. I agree. And Jim agrees.

Here's what happened:

Jim led up into the off width and fell at the crux moves. His foot got stuck in the crack and he flipped upside down. He tried to cam his other foot and actually considered trying to down climb the crack head first. All of the sudden both feet popped and he started down the mountain head first. Luckily he got caught up in the rope as it left a cam lower down and passed through pro on the pine tree at the base of the crack. He fell about 20' instead of 40'.

He had a few scrapes and a bad cut on the ear, discovered later, but otherwise he felt okay. He proceeded back up the crack ( a braver man than I ) and working his way upward inside the crack, gained the tree ledge and topped out after he and his partner, Robert Seevers, completed the Great Arch.

Without Big Bros or huge cams (#6) that crack has the potential for serious injury, especially to climbers misled by the 5.4 R rating.

Please spread the word about the seriousness of that pitch.


Mike Fischesser
Cell: 828-443-3795
By Michael Middleton
From: Pyeongtaek
Apr 23, 2015

Dropped a #3 BD Cam right where the big offwidth starts. If anyone can reach far enough down in there its yours.
By Robert Michael
Jun 27, 2015

Scary at times, but not as bad as some describe.

I climbed this a few days ago on a humid morning when sweat became a factor as well. My pro consisted of a #5 Camalot, a #6 Camalot, a #2 Big Bro, a #3 Big Bro (I was wishing I had the #4), and a full set of DMM nuts plus the three largest Wild Country Rocks. Also, I had a 0.1 and 0.2 X4 for the small placements I thought I might find beside the off-width. I never used them, though as I was desperately reaching for the #3 Big Bro, I must have unclipped the 0.2, for I could not find it when reorganizing my gear on the ledge; it must have fallen into the crack, so if you can reach it, put it to good use.

Shortly up the off-width, I placed one of the big WC Rocks; I think it was the 12. It was a bomber placement and my follower had a little trouble cleaning it, which in a way made me feel better about it. Past that, I made three decent placements, though I don't remember the exact order: I slung a tree off to the side (possibly sketchy but a psychological boost), the #2 Big Bro, and the #5 Camalot.

Originally, it was my intention to place all my pieces except the #6 Camalot and then walk that piece up the rest of the way. Maybe I wasn't reaching in deep enough or something, but by the time I was ready to do that, the crack was way too wide, and staying too wide, for that piece. I was just able to get in an iffy placement of the #3 Big Bro, and then finish to the ledge.

Those who said that one should be a 5.8 or 5.10 leader for this one are overstating it a bit. I am neither. The holds or the friction were always there, but it was more a mental game because of the pro. On toprope, this route would be fun and interesting. On lead, it's different; the climbing is really not that hard, but how many people have enough huge pro to adequately protect this, and how many want to haul it along for whatever the next climb is?

For those who are cleaning-- my follower was my 10-year-old son, who is already a stronger climber than I am but cannot place pro yet. When I asked him how he dealt with the route, he said he avoided the crack and stuck to the face, only getting into the crack as needed to clean the gear.
By Jake Jones
From: Richmond, VA
Jun 27, 2015

Looks like this is the go-to route for booty.
By Robert Michael
Jun 28, 2015

Lol, Jake. If you want booty, go to Little Stony Man in Shenandoah, a shorter drive for you. We climbed there last Friday, and I found stuck cams on two different routes. One was a green C4 that looked pretty good, but I couldn't get it out. The other was a Metolius TCU, pretty rusted but jammed in there wonderfully. I pretended it was a bolt and clipped it. Why the hell not?
By Russ Keane
Oct 5, 2015

"....not as bad as some describe.
My pro consisted of a #5 Camalot, a #6 Camalot, a #2 Big Bro, a #3 Big Bro"

With these big pieces of gear, I too would feel quite comfortable. I think that's the whole thing.
By Robert Michael
Oct 27, 2015

No, that's not really the thing. If you do some homework as I did and have the right gear, it's not so bad. If you show up with a "regular" rack because you think 5.4 is always cake, then yeah, you might be asking for trouble.
By bkplmmns
From: Asheville, NC
Dec 6, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R

Run-out off-width that tests your fitness. Never felt as if I would fall, although I thought I might faint from sucking wind so hard.

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