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Land of the Free 

YDS: 5.12b French: 7b Ewbanks: 26 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 26 British: E5 6b PG13

Type:  Sport, 10 pitches, 1000', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.12b French: 7b Ewbanks: 26 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 26 British: E5 6b PG13 [details]
FA: Terry Christenson & Valerie Ng
Page Views: 3,876
Submitted By: david goldstein on Jan 30, 2007  with updates from Morgan F. Smith

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Second to the last pitch on "Land of the Free...


This climb is absolutely incredible sequential climbing on bomber rock with amazing exposure on the most beautiful rock in the Potrero; solid and crisp w/out being too sharp. Vaguely reminiscent of, but IMO, much better than Levitation 29. If off-vertical technical climbing heavy on the edges is your bag, you'll be close to heaven on the upper half.
It's impossible to not love the upper pitches. Don't miss this one!

P1: We started with Apache Line (11b) which is excellent, steep and a stout warmup, but still probably easier than the 11d guidebook option. ~ 10 Bolts, 35m

P2: 4th class on fixed rope up vertical terrain to another fixed rope on a 3rd class slab.

P3-5: Varieties of 5.10 slabbingon smooth rock with somewhat sparse bolting. This section gives some people the willies.
Pitch 3: (10a), 5 bolts, 25m. Head up a slab to a small crack. End up in the dihedral to below and left of a flaky roof. Can be linked with p4.
Pitch 4: (10c), 4 bolts, 22m. Hollow flaky roof and then right up a larger crack.
Pitch 5: (10d), 9 bolts, 30m. Head toward the wall center on thin crimps interspersed with good holds.

The next three pitches are one intricate, stellar face pitch after another.

Pitch 6: 5.11b, 9 bolts, 30m. Tricky, thin climbing up a nice edge.
Pitch 7: 5.11d, 8 bolts, 27m. Head up to the mini roof to a small pocket throw up to a nice crimp.
Pitch 8: 5.11b, 9 bolts, 30m. Fun traverse right to a dihedral for fantastic chimneying.
Pitch 9: 5.11c, 12 bolts, 28m. Crimpy sequence on a column feature. Head straight up and don't be confused by Prisoneros del Cielo on the right.
Pitch 10: 5.12b, 12 bolts, 20m. Hard immediately, but stick the 3rd bolt and it's basically over. Cruz up jugs to the next wall and boulder around it to the end. Enjoy the view!

P10: 12b. The final pitch is hard right off the belay and ends under a big roof. Supposed to be solid at the grade and tricky.

You should expect some loose rock, vegetation and a little dirty climbing but over all the route is pretty solid and the climbing is great.

Descent: rap the route. A 70 meter rope works for all rappels on simul. Most pitches were about 30m except where noted. I've provided the guidebook ratings which are fairly solid but by no means sandbaggy by Potrero standards, or at least compared to the Mota.


Roughly 50-75 M left of Sendero in the middle of the overhanging part of the crag between "Natural Mystic" and "Freedom Fries" If you have a rest day to burn, it's worth scoping out the approach and deciding which 1st pitch option looks most appealing to you.


About 16 and a couple of long slings. A #1 and #2 can be used to tame some of the runouts. A few small nuts may come in handy.

Photos of Land of the Free Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Holmes enjoying some grassy jugs near the top...
Mike Holmes enjoying some grassy jugs near the top...
Rock Climbing Photo: Land of the Free, 5.12b.
BETA PHOTO: Land of the Free, 5.12b.
Rock Climbing Photo: More Apache Line.
More Apache Line.
Rock Climbing Photo: Steep hanging belays and great views all around. P...
Steep hanging belays and great views all around. P...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Holmes below the crux on Pitch 7 (11d)
Mike Holmes below the crux on Pitch 7 (11d)
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the summit of Land of the Free.
View from the summit of Land of the Free.
Rock Climbing Photo: 4th pitch, beautiful rock!
4th pitch, beautiful rock!
Rock Climbing Photo: Headed up the third pitch
Headed up the third pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber on the 3rd pitch of "Land of the Free...
Climber on the 3rd pitch of "Land of the Free...
Rock Climbing Photo: Apache Line, a steep warmup.
Apache Line, a steep warmup.
Rock Climbing Photo: Belaying the 2nd on Apache Line.  The 11d start is...
Belaying the 2nd on Apache Line. The 11d start is...

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By stevecurtis
From: Petaluma California
Jan 9, 2011

This is my favorite route at el potrero after 4 weeks of climbing there. Steep, long and varied. Easily tamed with a single rack of cams. The last pitch is indeed tricky. Since I got within 6 inches of the onsight, I'd better call it 12 A.
By Dmitriy Litvak
From: Pacifica, CA
Jan 31, 2011

Awesome adventure! This route needs more traffic. So, skip Potrero cleaning days and go clean some weeds and rocks off this route.
The first pitch 11d pocketed "face" is the money pitch and the crux of the original line IMO. A very rude awakening.
The 11c/d pitch before the last one (12b), seemed way easier than 10d pitch downstairs. So, it may be a typo.
By Paul Irby
From: moab, ut
Dec 30, 2013

A neglected classic. This is one of Potrero' s finest long routes.
The apache line is a good option for the first pitch.
By 20 kN
From: Hawaii
Aug 17, 2015
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a R

Often ignored, but one of the best climbs in EPC! The exposure is incredible and the climbing is fun. Bolt spacing is fairly legit. I think the 5.10 pitches only had about four bolts on them, and the 5.11 pitches were often spaced 10-15' between bolts. The only time I remember the spacing coming closer than 10' was during the crux of the 5.11+ and 5.12 pitch. Falls are clean though. A single rack to about a #1 Camalot will help here and there.
By lunsford
Feb 8, 2016

The third and fourth pitches average 20' between bolts. Bring your best head game, because the dirt in the holds doesn't help much.
By Morgan F. Smith
From: Texas
Mar 20, 2016
rating: 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b PG13

Absolutely stellar climbing up the prettiest face in the park. A must do and the best I've done there yet!
By Jordan Cannon
From: Bishop, CA
Jan 19, 2017

This route is greatly underappreciated and should definitely receive more traffic, but I disagree with those who say that it's on the prettiest face in the park- if you want that, check out "El Sendero Luminoso" right next door. Nevertheless, "Land of the Free" is a great adventurous route with fun climbing, awesome exposure, and great views. Since the wall gets shade all day during the winter, it's a great option for warmer weather. We decided to start with "Apache Line" (11b), which is the best option if you want to have an easier warm-up. Neither of us thought that the runouts were that bad, especially since they're on all the easier pitches and the crux pitches were really well protected. We brought 4 cams with us but didn't end up placing any of them. Pitch 7 (11d) was my favorite and Pitch 10 seemed pretty hard for 12b- definitely not over after the 3rd bolt as mentioned above and beware of crumbly rock towards the top. If you're a trad climber making a sport climbing trip to Potrero, get on this route! You will not be disappointed.
By Patrick Gillespie
Mar 1, 2017

It's the middle of the three bolt lines after the fixed line/4th class. The shiny ones going up the face on the left are not it, it heads up the corner. If you're on some USSR bolts you're on the right track. Was very happy to have singles .3-.75 or 1s. Great route with great exposure on the upper pitches.
By Sam Anderson
May 13, 2017

Spectacular route, climbed it in late April '17. Started with "Apache Line," which is cool on its own. Every pitch on the route has incredible, sequential climbing on IMO super sound rock. Varied styles from traddy jamming/stemming to steep, athletic bouldering. Absolutely money. Re: Abel's comments, we forgot to clean the X's at the last belay too. Sorry :D.

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