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Jellyroll Arch 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 200'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: John Hoffman and Skip Casey, 1972
Page Views: 11,715
Submitted By: ClimbandMine on Feb 18, 2003

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (103)
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John on Jellyroll Arch, pitch 2.

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This is a must-do route on the east face of Grouse Slab. The route climbs slab underneath the obvious diagonal roof (the Arch), then turns the corner and climbs cracks for another 70 feet or so. Start at the blocks below the terminus of the Arch. Climb up into it and traverse left, protecting in the crack. After turning the corner, belay at the ledge system when rope drag becomes a bitch. A couple 2-3" pieces are helpful. Climb through the crack/roof system abover (its easy 5.5-5.6) and up to a tree belay. Descend to the south.


A set of stoppers and a set of cams to 3". The route has a reputation for being difficult to protect, and therefore runout, but I found it was plenty safe with solid gear when I needed it.

Photos of Jellyroll Arch Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: John on Jellyroll Arch, pitch 1.
John on Jellyroll Arch, pitch 1.
Rock Climbing Photo: Joe heading past the corner
Joe heading past the corner
Rock Climbing Photo: Paul setting the first piece of pro on jellyroll
Paul setting the first piece of pro on jellyroll
Rock Climbing Photo: Jelly Roll Arch, 2nd Pitch (unknown climber)
BETA PHOTO: Jelly Roll Arch, 2nd Pitch (unknown climber)
Rock Climbing Photo: Jelly Roll Arch, 1st Pitch (unknown climber)
BETA PHOTO: Jelly Roll Arch, 1st Pitch (unknown climber)

Comments on Jellyroll Arch Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 7, 2015
By Scott "Scoboni" Powell
From: Reno, Nevada
Feb 19, 2006

Climbing under the arch is done by smearing and small handholds in the small crack under the arch. Protection under the arch is accomplished by using small stoppers, hexes and mini-cams. We did it in two pitches to reduce rope drag. Our first belay was at the end of the arch. The second belay was at the trees. We have seen other climbers do this in one pitch, but the rope drag at get really bad at the end. The second pitch is relatively easy.
By Paul Rezucha
From: Alameda
Jun 25, 2006

Jellyroll Arch is a great climb which protects fine but there are sections traversing under the arch that are a little runout. Basically I face climbed the whole way with only using holds under the arch while placing gear. Mine was an all cam ascent... Although Scott belayed at the end of the arch (probably because of rope drag), I continued up the lieback flakes to just below the alcove/overhang to a comfortable spot with good gear. To reduce drag, I didn't place gear till up at the arch eliminating drag from gear in the corner. I really didn't feel anything this way. The second pitch is a fun pitch that protects easily. My second walked all the way up with feet in the crack. Halfway up I ended up below the crack smearing up the face with decent lieback/jams. Walking up the crack sure looked easier. All in all, a fun climb that was more exciting than I thought it would be!
By Brad Allender
From: Alameda, CA
Dec 15, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Great route, lots of fun. If you are climbing with a group of 3, make sure the second climber clips all the pieces with the second rope. Otherwise, you could leave the third climber with a potential groundfall pendulum as he cleans.
By Jake Jamison
Jun 11, 2011

This is one of the best all around routes in Tahoe comparable to a mini White Punks on Dope. The start is a solid layback that leads to fiction feet and fingertip under-clings then up to the finger cracks leading out the roofs. Altogether four stars and makes a great solo after you get to know the sequence.
By rafael
From: Berkeley, CA
Aug 7, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

not runout if you have small cams. There were a couple fixed nuts to clip, but I had a hard time getting nuts in the arch, since the crack faces downwards.
By BruceB
From: Reno, NV
Oct 19, 2011

I tried the 5.9(+?) variation on pitch 2 (the right exit crack through the roof). I saw Aerili's comment on the beta photo saying don't wear a helmet, and was a bit confused. Not anymore!. It is incredibly awkward transitioning from the undercling to pulling around the edge of the roof. My helmet kept getting in the way! But I figured it out in the end, without removing my helmet.
Great rock, protects well and takes great hand jams, but expect a bit of a fight!
Definitely a more exciting finish than the regular route.
By Josh Cameron
From: California in my Mind
Apr 24, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

I agree with Jake: this is one of the better routes in Tahoe. For the 5.9+ roof variation, no need to remove the helmet unless you have a very long neck; reach around the roof for a right hand jam then lieback your feet way up and you're over.
By mattymck
From: Rocklin, Ca
Jun 13, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

This is one of my all-time favorites, ANY WHERE! Love this route. The climbing is not hard, but I almost want to give it an 8+, just because the pro on the first pitch is some what tricky, use slings for the piece or two in the corner and sling at least the first two pieces under the roof to avoid rope drag. Since it is a left trending route make sure your pieces will protect your swing, but dont forget that your follower will swing in the oposite direction and could zipper out a bunch of pieces and deck or swing into the gulley if they don't hold. That means you have to take the placements where they are right, not where ever you may want them. Despite that still plenty of protection options if you are comfortable with micro to small cams and nuts. Do not belay under the roof, as the posted photo shows, instead continue another 30' up past the roof to nice broken ledges for you first belay. If you take the rightward option under the roof on the second pitch it is a really fun, kind of commiting(1-1/2"-2" cam in the undercling) 10a/10b pitch? Guidebook calls either option an 8. The left variation is a really fun roof traverse to a short but cool laser cut left-trending crack. Right is my prefered finish if you are comfortable with the move.
By DJ Reyes
From: Northern Nevada
Jul 24, 2012

A really fun route which to me seemed pretty soft for a 5.8. A must do if you're in the area.
By Colonel Mustard
From: Sacramento, CA
Sep 4, 2012

A very cool route that I found fairly sustained for the grade. My buddy, a 5.8/9 trad leader thought so too, and I wouldn't suggest it as an easy example of the grade.

No rope drag issues for me, but I back cleaned one piece to have my first pro about 4-6 feet out from where the arch basically goes in horizontal mode and used a fully extended shoulder length sling.

Cams from tiny to about .75 (green camalot) rule for leader and follower, although there's a big fixed stopper to clip as of 9-2-12 (not mine).
By christoph benells
From: tahoma
Apr 2, 2015

I don't think this route is runout at all. About 5-10 feet between spots that you can place small cams under the arch. You can't just place wherever you want though.

It's very good to do in one pitch, but you will need 6-10 24 inch slings, and to communicate with your second before you start up.
By Tracey Pomeroy
From: Brisbane, CA
Aug 13, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

Can't protect the top 25% of the arch. The crack is tiny and full of moss, so clearly everyone just runs it out.
By christoph benells
From: tahoma
Sep 7, 2015

you may need to reevaluate the way you climb it...if the top 25% percent of the arch on this well-traveled-classic at a busy climbing area with super-clean granite is filled with moss, that may be a clue that you are doing it different then everyone else.

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