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Grand Illusion 

YDS: 5.13b/c French: 8a+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: X- ZA: 30 British: E7 6c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.13b/c French: 8a+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: X- ZA: 30 British: E7 6c [details]
FA: Unknown, FFA: Tony Yaniro, 1979
Page Views: 14,351
Submitted By: Blitzo on Oct 19, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (4)
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Bill Price on "Grand Illusion". Photo by...


Originally this climb was the third pitch of "The Fracture" and climbed on aid, but in 1979, Tony Yaniro freed this demanding route producing what at the time was probably the hardest climb in the world.

This was climbed in 1979, and recorded as the first 5.13b/c. Yosemite's "Phoenix" was climbed in some style in 1977, but is generally considered 5.13a.

This starts in an alcove and the route is obvious. Take the Eastern Terrace to this alcove and go for it!


Thin to 1.5".

Photos of Grand Illusion Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Topping out of the Grand Illusion on the send.  Ap...
Topping out of the Grand Illusion on the send. Ap...
Rock Climbing Photo: "Grand Illusion".  Photo by Blitzo.
"Grand Illusion". Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Belaying below Grand Illusion after doing Dominion...
Belaying below Grand Illusion after doing Dominion...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bill Price on "Grand Illusion", 1982. Ph...
Bill Price on "Grand Illusion", 1982. Ph...

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By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Jun 1, 2007

The book "Wizards of Rock" by Pat Ament (highly recommended for history buffs) attempts to clarify the first 5.13 and many other "firsts" in free climbing.

In regards to Phoenix being the first 5.13, apparently Jardine "did" the route in 77, but he never redpointed it. His idea of "working" a route (a term he apparently coined?) was to get to a point where he could do all the moves in 3 or 4 sections between hangs. Once he achieved that, he moved on. In the case of the Phoenix, he TR-ed it free, and he lead it with 3 hangs. Obviously this would be considered totally invalid today, but back in those days any hang-dogging in the valley was completely cheating, so this style wasn't thought of as any different then hang-dogging on the route for weeks and then ulimately redpointing -- it was all considired "invalid" by traditionalists.

Apparently John Long did some route at Taquiz called "Hangover" in 1976. Long gave it the grade 5.13, and apparently it has never been down-rated, so perhaps that was the first 5.13.

Also, prior to this Pete Cleveland (of Needles fame) TR-ed two routes at Devil's Lake that are now thought to have been 5.13.

Grand Illusion was probably the first route harder than 5.13 'minus'.
By sam.f
From: Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 13, 2010

"The Hangover" at Tahquitz is pretty stout, but is rated 12c in Vogel's guidebook. I did it last summer, and would confirm 12c (definitely not 13). Sounds to me like Grand Illusion may have been the first...
By Cunning Linguist
Nov 3, 2011

There's some interesting info out there about this one-I think the first couple of ascents (including the FA) were pinkpoints. I heard secondhand that Tommy Herbert gave this thing solid 13c and probably more like 13d/14a placing all gear on lead, but that's just what I heard.

Pretty big acheivement anyway, like some other pinkpoint FAs-Jumbo Love, etc etc etc. Always that much more rad when done in better style.
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Nov 3, 2011

I think the Illusion has only been led twice placing all the gear? Suzuki was the first and I think Tommy Caldwell the second. That thing can't have that many clean leads, pink or redpoint. Never been onsighted...
By Michaeld916
From: Sacramento, CA
May 24, 2012

It's seen a lot of free ascents without pre placed gear.
By Brian Chastain
Jan 31, 2014

Arno just shared a photo post on Facebook by Jorgeson. He did it second go placing gear. No discrepancy on rating. Felt compelled to check the route out here on MP after seeing the post. Serious pay grade there.
By Craig Smith
Sep 15, 2014

For the record both Tod Skinner and I did it in '86 before Suzuki I think, and we placed all the gear on lead. I'm not aware of anybody who has flashed the route placing all the gear on lead. I think some have pink pointed the route with gear in place.
By Adam Stackhouse
Jun 9, 2016

Great video of the climb.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 19, 2016

That's a neat video, the climber makes it seem rather casual although you do notice him hanging near the top. He also starts out leading but at the top I see a toprope, video trickery?

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