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Leisure Climb 

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

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Ed Webster
Page Views: 6,311
Submitted By: Charles Vernon on May 28, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (34)
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BETA PHOTO: Putting the rope up on the huge ledge with trees a...

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This is fun and devious route which ascends the shortest section of North Chasm View Wall. It looks like a pile from the ground but has surprisingly good climbing and exposure on the first 4 pitches. The final pitches are very low-angled and loose, but are easily simul-climbed or even soloed. Be wary of climbing beneath another party on this route.

Go down the Cruise Gully, and find the route shortly after emerging from the second rappel. The first pitch is identified by a right-facing 5.8 corner with a wide crack up high (avoid the harder crack systems and roofs to the left). Access P1 by scrambling up and left on blocky third class to a ledge.

P1. Ascend the large corner and belay on a grassy ledge at left.

P2. Take the obvious, acute left-facing corner above the belay (5.8). At its top, angle right on a ramp; it is best to belay halfway up the ramp.

P3. This is the devious crux: finish the easy ramp past hollow flakes and then cut back left on a ledge (best not to place any pro until back above the belay). Go up a left-facing corner with a flake/finger crack, toward a triangular overlap/roof. Angle rightwards where the corner ends, and climb further up a thin crack past the right end of the overlap, to a sloping ledge. It is easier, but scarier to place pro in the crack and then traverse a ways back left to turn the roof on bigger holds.

P4. Go right up easy ground a short ways (to avoid a steep section), then back left up a long, broken and bushy corner. Belay at its top, or (some simul-climbing required) go directly up fun face-climbing for about 35 feet to another good ledge.

P5. Go easily along the base of a steep cliff on 3rd class, then up a chimney to belay on the right end of huge, forested ledge (hard to see from the start of the pitch).

Finish by walking along the ledge to the left (west) for a considerable distance past steep headwalls until the ledge nearly reaches a deep cleft. An easy low-angle cliff accesses the canyon rim.


Standard rack with a couple RPs and a big piece for P1.

Photos of Leisure Climb Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Top of pitch 2 on our line.
Top of pitch 2 on our line.
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff pulling the 3rd pitch roof if you join the li...
Jeff pulling the 3rd pitch roof if you join the li...
Rock Climbing Photo: The traverse left into Pitch 2 that combines "...
BETA PHOTO: The traverse left into Pitch 2 that combines "...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff at the top of the second pitch.
Jeff at the top of the second pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Phil Wortmann on the crux pitch
BETA PHOTO: Phil Wortmann on the crux pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Mark Sokol on the third pitch of Leisure.  This gu...
BETA PHOTO: Mark Sokol on the third pitch of Leisure. This gu...
Rock Climbing Photo: Way off route, last pitch.  Thank God the canyon r...
Way off route, last pitch. Thank God the canyon r...
Rock Climbing Photo: Two guys on Leisure Climb, maybe pitch 2?  Taken f...
Two guys on Leisure Climb, maybe pitch 2? Taken f...
Rock Climbing Photo: Way off route.  After P5, we went up and right ins...
Way off route. After P5, we went up and right ins...
Rock Climbing Photo: Way off route, part deux.
Way off route, part deux.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bryan Boots on the nice ledge after the roof.  A l...
Bryan Boots on the nice ledge after the roof. A l...
Rock Climbing Photo: Boots on the crux roof pitch.  Photos Taken May 31...
Boots on the crux roof pitch. Photos Taken May 31...
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: Bryan Boots beginning the first pitch. Watch out f...
Bryan Boots beginning the first pitch. Watch out f...

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By Michael Komarnitsky
Founding Father
From: Seattle, WA
Jun 2, 2001

Interesting.... I could have used this two days ago! A variation is what we did, albiet unintended. After P2, traverse left, up the small left facing corner, then continue straight up heading for the center of the roof following thin but nice flakes. There's a #5 stopper that's fixed. Clip that, use a #00 Friend underneath the roof, and go for it! Probably 9+.... plus if the #00 blows (which it probably will - I'm guessing that's why the stopper was fixed) on a fall from the unprotected face climbing above the roof, you're looking at a 50 footer. Brian Boots did this lead with rope drag so bad it almost pulled him off on the final mantle to the belay ledge. Note that this variation leaves you left of the route (we think), so move hard right from here to rejoin the route. TR is coming....
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 5, 2001

To be fair, I think going straight up the thin crack as I describe is probably getting into 5.10, though it is the best protected option. Doing the roof to the left (not too far--it should still be quite small) is where the 5.9 in the grade comes from. A fall from here would swing you a bit but you'd be unhurt. However, be prepared to either make a tricky traverse back to the thin crack, which is still hard, or climb 20 ft. of totally unprotected 5.6-5.7. In other words, be very solid on 5.9 to lead this pitch. Maiden Voyage is definitely a better intro to the Black (though it is good to be solid on 5.9 for leading the crux of that route too).
By Michael Komarnitsky
Founding Father
From: Seattle, WA
Jun 6, 2001

A TR I wrote about this climb is at ...
By Brad Bond
May 4, 2002

Figuring out the crux is tricky, but I did it like Steve describes. Other than the 20 feet of climbing at the crux, this route is a pile. Don't do it. Find something else to climb, go fishing, drink beer, talk to the rangers...
By Anonymous Coward
May 8, 2002

The large photo identifying the route with the white and black lines is mismarked. Just to the right of where the first and second white lines meet is a black streak. Straight above the streak are bushes (dissected by second white line), and directly above the bushes are two roofs originating from the same R-facing system.

The route trends right a short bit from the bushes but veers back left, eventually turning the lower roof towards its R side (as is evidenced by the photo labeled, "Boots on the crux roof pitch"); more of an overlap at that point. The route then trends up and right. The black line is entirely wrong as it would have the climber tackling a 12' roof (in the overexposed portion of the lined photo). Anyone care to confirm?

I did not find this route to be a pile. After all this is The Black; an acquired taste.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
May 8, 2002

Anonymous coward,

You are absolutley right, and Myke and I have been arguing this point over e-mail. The lines on both the lower and upper part of photo are mis-marked. Myke must've had a bad experience in the Black, and is therefore repressing those memories by mismarking this photo so that the scary pitches will be removed from his subconscious. Just kidding Myke!

Also, thank you for attesting to the quality of this route, on a relative Black Canyon scale. I don't understand the belief that all these hard-core people have with it (everyone, this is not an attempt to start a flame war!)--is it just because it's an easy route? I don't think so, I would even repeat it (and I for one thought it was just as good as Maiden Voyage, although not anywhere near as good as Escape Artist).
By Anonymous Coward
May 8, 2002

Oops, that should read, "I don't understand the beef...", not "belief" in the second paragraph there.
By Anonymous Coward
May 8, 2002


You are confusing the matter. The line on the lower portion is correct! The first pitch does, in fact, take the prominent R-facing as noted, before steeping L to the bushes (where the first white line ends and the second begins). The second pitch takes a L-facing (indiscernible in the photo) to the next clump of bushes. The first two pitches can be done as one 60m pitch.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
May 8, 2002

Sorry, I guess I meant the lower and upper portions of the climb overall (rather than the photo), as in the lower hard pitches and the upper 5.easy.loose stuff (which is represented as going over a massive roof where the climbing should actually be about 5.0). The first two pitches are correct, I wasn't disputing that, but on the third pitch, the line goes way off to the right, where it should only take a mild dip to the right and then come back above the first two pitches.

I don't really think anyone would actually try to climb that roof, but routefinding is a bit confusing on the crux pitch as it is and this photo could conceivably add to someone's confusion, at least when planning for the climb.
By Michael Komarnitsky
Founding Father
From: Seattle, WA
May 8, 2002

Charles and I will be meeting soon and haggle over a beer and redo the picture. Please disregard conversation on the matter until that has been done.
By Brad Bond
May 24, 2002

It's a pile. Do Midsummer's Night Dream -- way better climbing.
By alpinglow
From: city, state
Jul 20, 2002

This route is really half of an OK route and then equal amounts of choss...climb something else. Midsummer like Brad says.
By Vince Anderson
Apr 28, 2003
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The route is good, in my opinion. There are some fun pitches down low, and though the top is not five star quality, it is still a worth while excursion for those looking for an easier climb in the Black Canyon. It is easy to couple with Maiden Voyage for a full day of climbing. That being said, the crux is serious and should not be underestimated by the faint at heart. I found a descent #3 placement in a horizontal pocket at the lip of the roof which was far more encouraging than the cam down below and right. If you are a solid climber and want to take a friend out climbing w/ less experience. this is a good route. Many intermediate climbers will enjoy climbing (read following) most every pitch on this route.
By Anonymous Coward
Aug 24, 2004

Maiden Voyage is a way better climb at a similar grade. Much more straightforward, too.
By phil broscovak
Aug 25, 2004

This is my least favorite climb in the B.C. Prehaps I am tainted by a few past shadows. For me this route doesn't even rate the distinction of"pile". I never appreciated the names "Leisure" Climb or "Casual" Route, or for that matter "Cruise".As Jimmy Newberry so succinctly put it long ago... "It's desperate in the Black". There is nothing "casual" or "Leisurely" in the B.C. Even when compared to the "desperates". I for one (as well as several other of the old time Gunnison climbers) felt that "misnomers" like these were,at best a disservice to the area and at worst an invitation to disaster. This proved to be the case for one of my other shadows. As the most available local climbers, Dave Henritze and I were called in by the Rangers to aid in the body retrieval of a hapless soul who gravely underestimated the seriousness of the "Leisure" climb. He had gotten off route by going straight up the crack to the roof. The same variation several posts on this thread have mentioned. "I can taste the beer already" were his last words after winning the argument with his partner over route direction. Falling off at the sketchy roof he pulled all of his ill placed gear and cratered below his belayer. Neither Dave or I were enthralled with the idea of "body bagging" as neither of us were rescue team "regulars". But we both felt compelled to bring a fallen kindred home. At the last moment our plan to climb up, lower off and facilitate a helicopter pick up was bullied out of the way by the R.M.R. team and their prized cable wench system. We spent the rest of a decidedly Un-leisurely day sitting with the head ranger watching in horror as this system consisting of joined 150' lengths of 1/4" cable with no backup system lowered a stokes and two rescuers to the dead climber. On the way down they dislodged several enormous blocks that exploded all around the already mangled body. Thankfully, none of them were direct hits. On the way up the over loaded winch struggled, getting stuck under roofs and on flakes. Aghast we watched the rescuers repeatedly climb into the stokes and all over the corpse in an effort to kick the rig free. What would have taken us only a few hours of unpleasant duty ended up taking the entire day well into the bleak evening. The scene is still a ragged ugly memory for me. I could never get over the thought that this body bag/door mat had once been a living vibrant person, someone's child, someone's friend. Sorry if this recounting disturbes anyones' sensibilities or hubris but IMHO it is important to understand that there is nothing "casual" or "leisurely" down there, IT'S DESPERATE IN THE BLACK! Respectfully Phil Broscovak
By Anonymous Coward
Aug 25, 2004

I agree with Phil. This route is one of the few that is not worth it in my opinion. Besides being really crappy after the third pitch all the way to the top, the belay at the top of the second pitch is big broken flakes that are gonna go eventually, and then the third pitch itself is dangerous and the crux. Don't be fooled by some kind of "ooh, it's dangerous, sounds spicey, I should do it". The route is dangerous in a very un-sexy sort of way. Big loose blocks and sand on easy terrain and dicey pro on one 5.9 move.
By Anonymous Coward
Aug 25, 2004

I'd have trouble rating any climb in the Black a bomb. It's just a cool place to be. I was entertained by this route and I've done a bunch of the classics.It's always good to test your mettle on loose rock and funky route finding. With that said , I wouldn't do this route again but all the same it wasn't a horrible experience. It was an entertaining adventure.
By Vince Anderson
Oct 20, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I only give this route two stars to help mitigate the "bomb" ratings by some. No, it is not as nice as Maiden Voyage, but it is on good rock the whole way and the crux is really cool face climbing. The second pitch cracks are nice, steep, and easy. The crux is not as bad as people make it out to be. There are two decent placements right at the lip of the roof that can be equalized if you want. You can get a 3" piece in a small horizontal and a silver Metolius just left of it. You can't miss the placement, it is a chalked up triangular hold right in your chest as you go over the roof. Once you pull the roof, there is no way you are going to fall from the easy climbng above.
By Lordsokol
From: Boulder, CO
May 22, 2006
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

I climbed this route with Phil Wortman two days ago. I had a good time on it. I lead the first two pitches as one on a 60m rope. That first lead was completely worthy of the name of the route. This pitch was a very enjoyable 5.8 crack climb in the beautiful Black. Above that, Phil lead the "crux" pitch. He hated it. Following it wasn't too bad though. After the third pitch, we did the nice face climbing above and instead of moving right and going up the loose gully, I lead up the fourth pitch of Midsummer Night's Dream. The book calls it 5.10- but it felt like hard 5.10.. maybe 5.10d (could've been a little off route - relatively speaking) Anyway, after this pitch we got back "on route" and finished on the last pitch or so of Leisure Climb to top out on the rim. This particular variation (the 4th pitch of Midsummer's) made this a very interesting and enjoyable climb.
By Chris Perkins
From: Buena Vista, Colorado
Aug 29, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I didn't take the time to read all the comments above, but a great variation is to climb the first two pitches of Leisure, then traverse left to the third pitch of Midsummer's, and finish on Sex Comedy. Super fun!
By George Perkins
From: The Dungeon, NM
Jun 11, 2008

If you don't like the idea of 5.9 R: instead of p3 of Leisure Climb (the crux), soon after starting pitch 3, traverse left and instead climb p3 of Midsummer's Nights Dream, which is 5.9 and well-protected... you can rejoin Leisure Climb again on p4.

This makes the easiest route on North Chasm View Wall from the Cruise Gully approach, and makes this Black Canyon moderate more appealing to a 5.9 leader. Some might say "you didn't climb Leisure Climb..." though.
By RyanO
From: sunshine
Jun 12, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I disagree with a lot of these comments. The route really wasn't that bad, it was actually pretty fun. We got in at 3 in the afternoon and were going to try Maiden Voyage, but settled on this because it was in the shade. My partner led the first pitch, and she was very unhappy about the bagginess of her #4 C4 for a good 15 feet or so, but then the offwidth went back to hands and it was cruiser to the top of the pitch. Second pitch was fun, strenuous thin hands 5.8. Third pitch is runout on low 5th class terrain for about 20/30 feet from the belay, then it's really well protected (with lots of fixed gear) from there. Seriously, the crux is not run out! It's not 5.9 either. We simuled the long bushy dihedral/chimney to the forested ledge, and that was fun too - lots of pretty purple crystals to look at :) I would definitely recommend this as a nice shady afternoon romp on a hot day, though midsummer is a lot better ;)

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