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Expect No Mercy 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 300'
Original:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Ed Webster and Jeff Butterfield, 1980
Page Views: 591
Submitted By: kalockwood on Dec 7, 2014

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A striking line

Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed MORE INFO >>>


This route may have the most fitting name I have ever come across. This route is continuous and difficult.

P1: Start at the base of the Standard Thumb route near the chimney. Belay here or scramble up into the gulley above the chimney. The first crack leads up and left directly above the chimney. There are two crack systems from here, take the cleaner, right one. Climb up some broken rock out of the gulley into an awesome handcrack. Follow the crack up to a two-bolt anchor next to some bushes You will be at the base of the dihedral. 5.7+

P2: Follow the dihedral, it cleans up the higher you go. Optional belay at a single bolt halfway up the dihedral near a bush. 5.10

P3: Continue up the dihedral through the bombay chimney. Exit above the chimney onto a ledge with two bolts, some old-ish slings, and a couple leaver-biners. It is possible to link P2 and P3 with a 60 m rope.

Descent: Double rope rappel from the top of P3 will put you back in the gulley above the chimney. Use the optional rap station here in the gulley or downclimb back to the base. There is another optional rappel below the gulley, above and right (climbers right) of the chimney to get down the slabs.

A cool story from bsmoot about the route:
In the early 80’s Les Ellison was leading the final pitch of Expect No Mercy 5.10d, a continuous three-pitch line on the West Wind Buttress (LCC) with Steve Carruthers. The third pitch is an awkward-leaning wide crack. Les decided to go all out by swinging into a layback instead of jamming. Knowing he likely had to run it out 25 feet or more to the top, he committed to the barn-door layback. Inching higher and higher above his last piece, he was unable to find a possible rest or foot hold to place protection. The edge of the crack was slightly rounded, which only added to the difficulty. With dwindling strength he struggled to an elusive "thank-God" hold. One move shy, his foot popped, causing him to plunge nearly sixty feet. The cart-wheeling, out-of-control fall landed him even with the belay. Steve, who was using a hip-belay, was badly burned on his hip and brake hand, but he held on! Les suffered a head laceration that would eventually require 10 stitches. Gathering his wits, Les successfully re-led the pitch, this time jamming the crack.


Far right side of Westwind Buttress.


Double rack to #4 camalot. You may find a place for a #5 but I didn't. Offset nuts were useful. The smallest piece I placed was a 0.3 camalot (blue).

Two ropes for the rappel.

Photos of Expect No Mercy Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Expect No Mercy, 5.10d
Expect No Mercy, 5.10d
Rock Climbing Photo: Note the splitter to the left of me
Note the splitter to the left of me
Rock Climbing Photo: The merciless second pitch
The merciless second pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Rapping out of the thumb gully. Be sure to have yo...
Rapping out of the thumb gully. Be sure to have yo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Almost to the pitch 2 belay.
Almost to the pitch 2 belay.
Rock Climbing Photo: Kristin coming up pitch 2.
Kristin coming up pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Kristin leading pitch 1.
Kristin leading pitch 1.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the Expect No Mercy dihedral.
BETA PHOTO: Looking down the Expect No Mercy dihedral.

Comments on Expect No Mercy Add Comment
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By Greg Gavin
From: SLC, UT
Sep 8, 2015

A really good route! I don't know why it doesn't get climbed more often. Perhaps the vortex of the Green A is to strong? When you consider that the base of the thumb has this thing, plumb line, boomerang, coyne crack, S crack, and spring and fall you'd think the area would be more popular.

I used 2 #4's, but a strong climber could get away with 1 or non. Smallest piece we used was a blue metolius. Used medium to large stoppers as well, no micros.

Fresh cord on the top anchor as of 9/6/2015. Pitch 1 anchor is tat, and could simply have the webbing removed as you don't hit that anchor on the descent.
By Nick Coletti
Oct 23, 2016

First pitch included a very fun crack system. I was able to lay back the second pitch all the way to the bolt/base of P3 (pumpy). Pitch 3 started out with a similar crack as P2 through a couple shitty bushes that eventually led up to a chimney at the top. You could fight your way through the awful chimney and place plenty of protection (good luck), or stay outside of it and run it out 25 feet or so.

Fun climb overall, but beware the final section of that 3rd pitch!

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