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Grand Central 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 160'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Bonnie Prudden, Hans Kraus, Dick Hirschland, 1947. FFA: Jim McCarthy, 1963
Page Views: 4,715
Submitted By: John Peterson on Mar 11, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (86)
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Melissa at the overhang


A great climb with lots of variety.

Start about 20' left of Layback, at a clean corner with two cracks.

P1: Climb the easy corner to a roof. Traverse 10' or so left around the roof (optional belay), work your way up 10 to 15' to a horizontal, then head back right around the nose. Above, a thin crack (crux) leads up. The pro is a bit tricky to place. Suddenly a big jug appears and you're up to a belay below the final overhang. 5.9, 120'.

P2: A short pitch through the overhang takes you to the top. 5.8, 40'.


Small wires at the crux. Double ropes are useful.

Photos of Grand Central Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: start of Grand Central
BETA PHOTO: start of Grand Central
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climber at the crux bulge on p. 2 of Grand...
Unknown climber at the crux bulge on p. 2 of Grand...
Rock Climbing Photo: After the traverse  and before my partner lost sig...
After the traverse and before my partner lost sig...

Comments on Grand Central Add Comment
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By Kalil Oldham
From: Brooklyn, NY
Jun 20, 2011

The climbing above the crux section is run out. Not the crux itself, but the (easier) climbing above it. Gear was sparse. I built an anchor in the alcove because of rope drag. The first move into the roof is exciting - a bomber left hand jam but then a dynamic move to only a decent right hand. Bump higher and it's all over. I can understand why the previous pitch is rated more difficult, but for me, this was the hardest single move on the route.
By BrianRH
From: Jersey City, NJ
Jun 29, 2011

Spoiler alert: go under, not over the tree on the first traverse.

Rope management may be the crux on this. I linked the two pitches with doubles once, but I don't recommend it due to sheer weight of the ropes on the second pitch crux combined with the ugly potential consequences of coming off said crux with lots of stretch in your rope. not sure it'd catch you before you hit the slab below.
By rgold
From: Poughkeepsie, NY
Apr 21, 2013

"...Above, a thin crack (crux) leads up. The pro is a bit tricky to place. Suddenly a big jug appears and you're up to a belay below the final overhang. 5.9, 120'."

It isn't hard to do this as a single pitch with double ropes and no drag, but there is a trick: only clip the right rope up to the first roof (of course use a long runner under the roof), traverse left and pass the left rope in front of the tree. (You have to untie to do this of course. I just clip the left rope to me with a biner, unclip it and pass it around the tree, and then tie in with it at the "optional belay" stance after I've stepped past the tree.)

Use the left rope on the one or two pieces you place for the left-hand face. After traversing back right, revert to clipping the right rope, and don't use the left rope again until you get to the alcove and are climbing the final bulge. (By the way, the "bomber hand jam" referred to above depends on your hand size. The jam I get isn't even remotely bomber and once, on an extremely humid day, came flying out mid-move.)
By Pawel Janowski
From: WA
Jun 10, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

What a creative route! But in all fairness, I think the overhang move on the last pitch is solid 5.9 for short people (short being less than 6 feet).

Single rope beta: either split it up in three pitches or run it out from the tree to the nose where the crux starts. Otherwise, the rope drag will spoil the very fun crux.
By christopher adams
Sep 22, 2014

Does anyone ever head right at the top of the p.1 corner instead of left?
By Simon Thompson
From: New Paltz, NY
Jul 30, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Mostly a 5.6 jug haul with a 15' 5.9 crux and a two-move 5.8 boulder problem to top out. I second rgold's above comment. I used double ropes and only clipped the right rope until I could pass the left rope around the tree from just above it. I then ran it out to the horizontal that begins the traverse to the nose, and placed bombed gear there with a double-length sling clipped to the left rope. Like this, the climb protected beautifully for my second and I experienced zero rope drag. Good climb!
By Logan Schiff
From: Brooklyn, NY
Jun 13, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Sweet route. Was able to do it as one pitch with a 70m without terrible drag using long slings and not placing much under the nose on the traverse. At 5'11 the roof move felt like a 5.8+/9- move.

Gear at lower crux was strenuous to place. I put a crappy C3 out far right, stretched up and got a nut in a little slanting crack that later pulled out after I was 10 feet above it.
By Systematic
Sep 29, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Absolute classic. I linked P2+P3. Is there a reason not to do this? I had no significant drag even with conservative slinging. Otherwise the roof crux is the first move after the belay...
Also depending on reach, the roof (5.8?) crux might be more tricky then the P2 crux (5.9?). My follower on this, a pretty strong climber, had no significant difficulties on P2, but really had to work (and fall a bunch) at the P3 roof...
By rgold
From: Poughkeepsie, NY
Jan 27, 2017

Does anyone ever head right at the top of the p.1 corner instead of left?

Steve Wunsch and I did that many years ago. After a short traverse right, you climb a steep wall, angling back left a touch, and join GC at the point where the usual route traverses back around to the face from the left. We called the variation Penn Station. The climbing is quite good, around 5.10b I think.
By M Bageant
From: Cambridge, MA
May 29, 2017

Excellent route.

Highly recommended to do it in 3 pitches if you have only one rope, unless you just looooove rope drag. Small cams are nice for P2.

BETA SPOILER (routefinding):

I have seen a few people make this mistake, but after you pass the tree and are standing on the ledge at the top of the arete at the optional belay, don't start hand traversing back right! That is much harder.

Instead you need to continue left around the corner for another 8' or so. The slabby face above looks really improbable but once you make a few moves you will see holds and pro. You are aiming for a horizontal about 10' above you. At this point traverse back right around the arete and you will be near the 5.9 crux section.

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