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Lightning Bolt Crack 

YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 75'
Original:  YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c [details]
FA: Ed Webster and Chester Dreiman, October, 1982
Page Views: 907
Submitted By: michalm on Aug 22, 2016

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Lightning Bolt Crack.

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Lightning Bolt Crack is a zig-zagging, left-leaning, overhung, rattly fingers splitter on perfect shield of golden, diamond-hard rock.

The crux is right off the ledge until a hand jam in a pod is acquired 30 feet up. This is solid, sustained, steep 5.11 crack climbing. From the handjam, steep fingers lead to good jugs (11-). After a mantel onto a shelf, more steep climbing leads to a stance (10/10+).


Begin by climbing Escape Artist or Comic Relief to the Lightning Bolt Crack ledge. In the left corner is a dirty 9+ handcrack. On the face just to the right is the Lightning Bolt Crack. You can't miss it.


1-2x 0.4, 2x 0.5 and 2x 0.75 C4, a couple large nuts, and a hand-sized piece or two. Bring more 0.5 C4s if you don't like leaning ringlock splitters or are strong enough to sew it up.

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By Vic Zeilman
Aug 25, 2016

This pitch is part of the original Escape Artist line. FA: Ed Webster and Chester Dreiman - October, 1982

Over the years, most parties have opted for the easier "broken corner" to the left of what is now known as the Lightning Bolt Crack, dropping the overall rating of Escape Artist down to 5.9+/5.10a. However, Ed and Chester originally climbed this pitch as part of Escape Artist. They returned the next fall to climb the FA of Comic Relief in September, 1983.

Rock Climbing Photo: Ed's description for Escape Artist (page 1).
Ed's description for Escape Artist (page 1).

Rock Climbing Photo: Ed's description for Escape Artist (page 2).
Ed's description for Escape Artist (page 2).
By michalm
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 29, 2016

Thanks for the cool history and info, Vic! I figured Ed had something to do with the first ascent.

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