REI Community
(3) Hand Job Wall
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Blitzen T 
Blitzkrieg T 
Cody's Corner T 
Demander Cody T 
Hand Job T 
Hippo Wrestling S 
Independene Day T 
Into White T 
Killer Jism T 
Lost and Found T 
Lube me up, Scotty T 
McKenzie's Way T 
Mines of Moria T 
My Friend of Misery S 
Original Sin T 
Strawberry Blond T 
Ugly As Sin T 

Hippo Wrestling 

YDS: 5.12+ French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX ZA: 27 British: E6 6b

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.12+ French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX ZA: 27 British: E6 6b [details]
FA: Matt Farrell
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 1,267
Submitted By: Matt Farrell on Mar 26, 2015

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Hippo Wrestling on Hand Job Wall

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


If arete slapping and compression climbing are your bag, and you can boulder v6, then you must come do this route. Unique, thoughtful, bouldery cruxes in the first half and killer compression endurance for the second half add up to one hell of a climb. An aesthetic, striking feature visible from the whole Lower Gorge, one of the hardest lines in the Lower Gorge, and a ridiculously awesome view (and photo op!) only add to the appeal.

Start on the right arete, and be careful clipping the 2nd (very balancey clip). The first half of the climb features boulder problems split by rests that range from just ok to excellent. For me they felt v3ish, v4ish, and v6ish, though I'm not that good of a boulderer, so I could be wrong. The top half is 5.12- compression with one decent rest and a tenuous throw to a horn at the top. From there the Hippo joins Hand Job and climbs ~10 more feet of 5.easy to the chains. The 6th and 8th bolts are a bit tricky to clip, but all the falls are all super clean and safe.

  • Note - due to the density of climbs, and like most of the sport routes in the lower gorge, it is possible to reach into the cracks on either side of this climb. There are 2 places where it is particularly tempting. The grade I have given and the route described are based on not using either crack at all, including compressing on the crack, or resting using the crack.


The proudest arete on the far side of the gorge, between Hand Job and Original Sin on Hand Job Wall.


8 bolts to a 2-bolt anchor with chains.

Photos of Hippo Wrestling Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Hippo Wrestling
Hippo Wrestling
Rock Climbing Photo: Taking the whip from the crux on Hippo Wrestling! ...
Taking the whip from the crux on Hippo Wrestling! ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Romancing the Hippo! On one of my lead burns leadi...
Romancing the Hippo! On one of my lead burns leadi...

Comments on Hippo Wrestling Add Comment
Show which comments
By Matt Farrell
From: Bend, Oregon
Mar 26, 2015

Super key Beta:

By Matt Farrell
From: Bend, Oregon
Mar 26, 2015

Name: I named it "Hippo Wrestling" since as I was working the route, every time I would come down off it I would feel worked across my entire core, chest, shoulders, back, and arms, and one day I described it as feeling "so worked that it was like had just wrestled a hippo!" The name stuck. It is an extremely whole-body physical route, not like many of the other Smith 12s that work the tips of your fingers far more than the rest of your body.
By Blake Allen Green
Mar 28, 2015
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b

Well Matt, it looks like i have a reason to come back to the ol choss pile after all...
By Winston Smith
Mar 30, 2015

This thing is soft as a baby's skull. Once you hit the crack it is CRUISER to the top. Kinda run out if you don't bring any gear. Also, I'm not sure how you are supposed to stretch all the way from the crack to clip most the bolts. Seems poorly bolted.

By Matt Farrell
From: Bend, Oregon
Apr 1, 2015

Blake! Get your ass back here and try this rig!

Winston - nice. You're killing it! I couldn't believe that I didn't think of that beta. You must have long long arms though to be able to reach back over and clip the bolts from the crack... ;-)
By ----------------
May 20, 2015

Sounds like the new route name is hippo caressing. Only doable if you're capable of h7 (hippo-seven) hippo stroking. Keep one hand in the crack, and the other caressing the hippo snout.
By Chuck Becker
From: Portland, OR
Aug 13, 2015
rating: 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b

Harder than The Caning but a hair easier than Resuscitation, with no move as stopper as the crux on Resuscitation. To me this was more straightforward, more sustained, but I disagree that the upper portion is continuous 5.12 climbing – felt like the same 5.11 move repeatedly with little rest, except for the jug halfway through the compression section. However, I have a 6’6” wingspan and think it’s fair to say that these compression moves may be easier for taller folk. I found clips 2 & 5 very balancy
By Jess Groseth
Oct 12, 2015
rating: 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b

Such a great new line! For me, this route was much harder than Resuscitation, and seemed right on par with Body Karate. Regardless of the grade, a super classic line - great find, Matt!!

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About