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Great Expectations 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 7,856
Submitted By: Steve Marr on Nov 6, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (53)
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Rusty following up to the top of the first pitch.

  • This area is designated as Charon MORE INFO >>>
  • Access is always an issue here. MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    Great Expectations climbs the prominent crack just to the left of the tiered dihedral system. Climb the slab using the crack for protection until the crack disappears. Head up and right to another lone tree and a two bolt rap anchor located on the wall. The route protects well all the way to the anchors – bring a good assortment of stoppers and cams. You can either rappel from the anchors with two ropes or continue up a second easy pitch. The second pitch climbs the easy flake above the anchors to a headwall. At the headwall, traverse (walk is probably a better description) left to the anchors on the second pitch of Water Streak. This second pitch is pretty short and very easy. Long slings will reduce some of the rope drag caused by the abrupt traverse at the base of the headwall. Even with two ropes, be prepared for a little easy down climbing at the bottom.


    Finding the start of the route is almost as interesting as the climbing. Once you hit the base of the slabs, trend right looking for a ramp that leads to a tree higher up. Belay from the tree.


    Standard rack with a wide range of stoppers and cams. Fixed anchors at the top, two rope rappel.

    Photos of Great Expectations Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Brian Bhark expecting great OK climbing on Great E...
    Brian Bhark expecting great OK climbing on Great E...
    Rock Climbing Photo: -This is a view of the route from just below the f...
    BETA PHOTO: -This is a view of the route from just below the f...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Dalton is working his way up Great Expectations on...
    Dalton is working his way up Great Expectations on...
    Rock Climbing Photo: My kids flashing up
    My kids flashing up
    Rock Climbing Photo: Placing a piece just because I feel I should ;-)
    Placing a piece just because I feel I should ;-)
    Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Leading Great Expectations WMWR Dec 2008
    Mike Leading Great Expectations WMWR Dec 2008

    Comments on Great Expectations Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 22, 2017
    By CalebSimpson
    Feb 11, 2008

    The second pitch of this was my first lead climb ever, done after climbing Dihedral as a second. The Great Expectations route was my second lead. The crack quickly gobbled up nearly a full rack of cams. Only placed one stopper, but probably could have placed more.

    The crux is moving over the lip and traversing over to the anchors. I ended up protecting up high then down climbing a bit before traversing over. This was a great climb, I felt pretty comfortable the entire time, but it did get my heart pumping a bit.

    Cams .5-3 and one small Alien as my mental piece for the traverse.
    By Brian Conforti
    Oct 19, 2008
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    This route eats the big cams up to #4, mostly #1-#4. Don't forget to knot the ends of your rope on rappel! With a 60M you'll be about ten feet above the belay station and about twenty above the tree but the down climb is safe, just don't rap off the ends
    By Stan Jones
    From: Benbrook, TX
    Nov 29, 2009
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    Climbed this on a 50m rope and just barely had enough to reach the P1 belay station. The rap off P1 is about 150 ft, so two 50's are fine. If you rap off P2, don't even consider trying to reach the middle belay station on the Water Streak wall with a single 60m - you'll come up about 10 ft short.
    By Craig Childre
    From: Lubbock, Texas
    Nov 11, 2010

    I lead this in approach shoes. Great gear, but you really don't need it on this bomber crack.
    By Tom Harris
    From: Edmond, OK
    Nov 26, 2010

    Great Expectation was my second trad lead after Tree Route. Watch out for loose rock/gravel up to 6" diameter at P1 belay station on Great Expectations. P2 was an easy climb but a lot of fun traversing along the head wall. We rapped down from the top of Water Streak with a 60m and 70m rope that got us down to the ramp at the beginning of Great Expectations.

    Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing second pitch of Great Expectations.
    Climbing second pitch of Great Expectations.

    Rock Climbing Photo: Rap from anchors atop Water Streak.  We used a 60m...
    Rap from anchors atop Water Streak. We used a 60m and 70m rope and reached the ramp at the base of Great Expectations
    By Jeremy Bauman
    From: Lakewood, CO
    Jan 31, 2011
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

    Climbed to the anchors on a 60m rope with about 15ft of rope left. Rappelled 25m down to a bomber slung block. Pulled the rope and rappelled to the tree at the bottom.
    By Jeremy Higle
    From: Marietta, Oklahoma
    Apr 1, 2011

    My favorite way to climb this route is to traverse under the roof to the second set of bolts. Then go left clipping the bolt and around the corner as the "Select" book says. But instead of ending the route by rappelling/walking off to the left pull up onto the slab to the right and angle up and right to a vertical crack across the upper face. It is moderate 5.5 with sparse pro but a bomber thread and a big horizontal crack. It is about a 45m pitch from the bolts with a good bit of rope drag. You can easily put in a couple of cams and belay from the crack. From there you can continue with a fourth short pitch straight up the crack to the summit with sensational view. From there you can walk down the big crack / ramp to the bolts at the top of the tree route. That gives you a very moderate, very fun 3 1/2 pitch climb with a fun summit experience.
    By Jim D
    Nov 23, 2011

    Great route. Solid rock, perfect hand jams, very sticky feet on the face or in the crack. Wish it was a bit steeper for a little more challenge. You could put in three full sets of cams if you wanted to. I think I placed four. A bit of a pain to set a toprope up on, I recommend slinging out the anchors long (20 feet+), placing a directional, and maybe even a pulley to reduce rope drag.

    Once led, you can easily toprope the next dihedral right (about the same grade, slightly worse protection) and the next, next dihedral to the right (again, about the same grade, but you have to get pretty deep into the chimney to protect it.) Don't worry, you don't have to chimney in there. You can easily face climb.

    We took 11 kids, ages 2 to 10 to this route. Half of them made it to the top, the other half made it about halfway.

    Didn't realize from the guidebook that there was another pitch. But it didn't seem like I was missing too much.
    By Drew Nevius
    From: Oklahoma
    Jun 29, 2012
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    I saw Craig's post about doing this in approach shoes and tried that - it made the lead feel harder than 5.6. Definitely take rock shoes.

    From the belay ledge, we walked down the block, then pulled right onto the Nike slab and ranout the easy slab, clipped the Nike anchor, then continued on up to the "Sundeck" up top. Built a natural anchor to bring up followers. From there, you can unrope and enjoy the view. Descend by rapping on Tree Route
    By Eric Klammer
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jan 24, 2014
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

    After seeing photos of this route I indeed had great expectations. These were completely fulfilled. This pitch was without a doubt the best 5.5 I have had the pleasure of climbing. It looks like offwidth from the bottom but is in fact mostly hand sized all the way up. Doesn't get much better than that.
    By Craig Childre
    From: Lubbock, Texas
    Apr 28, 2014

    As a note... when I lead Great Expectation wearing approach shoes... It was half a mistake... I racked up fast and got over half way up before I realized I forgot the sticky rubber. Just pressed on. The very last move on the first pitch was about the only place that I paused to consider backing down. Left the 2nd pitch alone, and just went back down to the Water Streak. Point being... the hand jams are so secure on GE, you could almost send it in high heels! ;) This all reminds me of the footwear grading we'd use down at Hueco, especially near the days end. There's a normal flash, an approach flash, a Chaco flash, and the caveman flash (barefoot).
    By Daniel Winsor
    Mar 29, 2015
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    GREAT route. I followed it after my wife led it and I found it a little tough for 5.5. There's a lot of friction climbing, not a ton of footholds outside of foot jams. The description is a bit misleading. When the crack runs out, you're about 10 feet above and to the left of the anchor... so don't look right and up for an anchor, look for the dead (well, dead in March), small tree to the right with a huge belay ledge to stand on where the bolts are. A 70m rope got us back down to our shoes from there, but just barely. Tie those end knots.

    BEWARE OF STUCK ROPES. We saw pieces of cut ropes in the crack of Great Expectations, and sure enough, when we tossed our rope down to rappel it went right for the crack where I had to delicately use a nut pick to get the rope out. Careful.
    By Chris Walden
    From: Soldotna, Alaska
    Apr 8, 2015
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

    Super fun and easy route. Sure the gigantic crack can eat any gear your throw at it, however, you can nearly just walk up this route. If you want to practice an easy climb and placing gear in a crack this is the route to do it on.
    By Joshua Oliver
    Apr 19, 2017
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

    -This route is a fun easy one to get better at placing gear and learning what a good placement can look like. Lots of good no hand stances to practice putting gear in.

    -If it has been wet the day or 2 before you climb here there will be some water at the top of water streak which made for a tricky long step to get to the anchors of Water Streak. Not hard, just odd and uncomfortable if you aren't used to it.

    -P1 I used up to a #3 cam but could have used a #4 also. P2 could take #3 and #4 on the way up and then on the traverse it was useful to have a 1 and a couple 2's

    -A 60m rope comes up to be about 6ft short of the mid-anchors of water streak on the rap (I know because I rapped down there and had to climb back up). I swung over to the belay ledge of Great Expectations and then tied my 60m and 50m together and it worked perfectly. I would advise to plan on doing the same and just leave a rope on the belay ledge when starting P2.
    By Dalton Burnett
    May 21, 2017
    rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

    I recommend using long runners on all the pieces of pro you place at the top before the traverse to the anchor. I didn't and the rope drag nearly pulled me off.
    By Michael A Parker
    From: Tulsa, OK
    May 22, 2017
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    You can rap from the shared anchors for pitch 1 of Great Expectations and The Dihedral with 1 70m rope. It won't get you all the way back to the belay ledge, but it will get you back down to the well featured ledge just above the belay ledge. Don't forget to put knots in the ends of your rope! You will need to downclimb like 15ft of 5.3 to get all the way down. Much easier than messing with 2 ropes.

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