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Karate Crack 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Brad Stewart, Dan Meyers
Page Views: 2,714
Submitted By: John Hegyes on Mar 1, 2007

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Engaging twin fingers pillar to awesome overhangin...

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


This beautiful line soaks up the sun in Willow Springs. It features tricky double finger cracks down low and a stellar overhanging, left-slanting hand crack above.


This route is quite far removed from the Willow Springs picnic area. Drive off the asphalt onto the rugged dirt road about a quarter mile until a 2-car pullout appears on the right. Park and hike up the hillside to the base of the route. To descend from the top, hike twenty feet to the climber's left and rap from a tree with one rope.


Standard rack to #3 Camalot.

Photos of Karate Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up at Karate Crack
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at Karate Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Karate Crack
BETA PHOTO: Karate Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Brett cruxes on Karate Crack. Photo by Allart.
Brett cruxes on Karate Crack. Photo by Allart.
Rock Climbing Photo: Karate Crack
BETA PHOTO: Karate Crack

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 20, 2016
By Cunning Linguist
Mar 16, 2007

This is a worthwhile route that is a nice option for crack fans who don't want to brave the zoo at Ragged Edges.

Edit (years later):
Sandbag at 5.9, the FA team rated it 10b, that's about right. Awkward at the start, be ready to climb some rock. Belay is off TCUs in the vertical seam, Nick N's 2nd pitch looks sandy but gnar if you've got time to clean all the choss out of the initial crack on aid before goin for it. I replaced the slings around the tree today (10/11), should be good for awhile.
By Gaar
From: Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
Nov 7, 2008

You have to get a little creative to build an anchor on this one...TRing from the tree would be a BAD idea
By Ryan Kelly
From: work.
Nov 10, 2008

There's a splitter vertical crack on the back wall that you can easily build an anchor from. C3s to 0.5 Camalots, and/or nuts.
By Gaar
From: Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
Nov 22, 2008

True, But if you look at it....It sucks....and is very hollow
By brucelacroix
From: Carson City, NV.
Mar 28, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Short but sweet.
By Danny Meyers
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 26, 2009
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Brad Stewart & I did the FA on this route on 2-25-86, according to an old topo. Brad got the name from a route at Smith Rocks. Several months earlier Brad Ball and I were hiking north past Kilimanjaro 5.10d, when he spotted the route and said that he was going to do the FA solo. He let it go (too long) and, eventually I told Brad Stewart about it - he drew the short straw and got the lead. He graded it at 5.10b and after looking at the backs of my hands, I couldn't argue. Located about 300 yards north of the Outhouse Wall on the right (east) of the dirt road that leads from Willow Springs to the Red Rock summit. Nick Nordblum subsequently added a second pitch and graded it 5.11b.
By Brandontru
From: Nevada
Mar 4, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

A great clean line. One of my winter favorites :)
By Patrick Mulligan
Nov 3, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I can agree with those that say 5.9 is light for this. Its been 10 years since I've done the route, but I remember, especially up high that I was pulling pretty damn hard to get the route done. Hand size can make a big difference though. Great route.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Nov 12, 2011
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I agree on that vertical crack- the right side is hollow. If you keep a #1 for the top, it fits nicely into a shallow crack on the ledge itself and is bomber. This is a nice supplement to the horizontal crack at the back of the ledge.

Calling this .9 is a bit of a sandbag, the crux on this thing is a VERY hard pull on overhanging terrain. The jam is good, but I certainly wouldn't argue a .10 rating of some sort.
By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
Apr 27, 2012
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

What a great little route! The bottom is fairly technical and then you get those sweet overhanging hand jams at the top. Oh, if this one was longer!
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 28, 2013
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

A beautiful line - Classic crack climbing - too bad it is so short. Honestly I think the crux is the start, not the upper crack but everything is hand size dependent as I could hang off killer jams at the top and the feet were great. Be sure to have a variety of cams - micro cams at the start, medium small up 15 feet and 2.5 - 3 inch up high (1 or 2 yellow camalots and 1 or 2 blue camalots). You won't need any wires. You can walk 15 feet back from the top and toss your rope under a huge bolder for a great solid belay - no gear needed.
By Justin Streit
Nov 20, 2016
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Maybe the steep section was perfect for my hands or maybe I'm actually learning something about crack climbing, but this thing did not feel bad at all. Technical start may be the crux. Use the nice foot ledge to gameplan the top section and then fire away. A couple fists, a thin hand maybe, but mostly just bomber hand jams so why does it matter that your left foot is a smear? Could see this being harder for those with hands like The Donald's. Thought Atman and Small Purchase were much harder.

Oh and I'd call this thing 50 feet tops. No way is this 80 feet.

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