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Little Finger Direct 

YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b X

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 700'
Original:  YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b X [details]
FA: ?
Page Views: 3,270
Submitted By: Robert Hall on Jan 18, 2008  with updates from Robert Hall

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History: For some time the route known as "Bill's Route" ("4 bolts on a face to the right of Little Finger") has been mistaken for Little Finger Direct ["LFD"] , even though route descriptions for LFD clearly state that the climb starts only 10-15 ft right of base of Little Finger. (See COMMENT below from the leader of the FA.) The issue, I guess, is that protection is non-existent for well over 100 ft.

Indeed, I can't say that I led this climb...5.7+ X is "a bit above my pay grade", but did climb it about 10-12 years ago by rigging a 2-rope top rope from one of the anchors on Little Finger and then using a directional off (I think) a wire stopper in one of the thin cracks about 140-160 ft up. The climbing moves are superb and if the occasion presents itself (i.e. you're not "hogging" the anchor on LF) this is a reasonable way to do this "very 'X' route"

I spoke with Jim Kolcotronis (of the FA party of Little Finger itself) the weekend after the FA of Little Finger and the description he gave me at that time was that the 5.7 3rd pitch crack was the route of FA, and thus the 5.5 "exit to the right" was added later. (by whom ?)

START: about 10-15 ft right of little finger, on sort of a "mini butress" about 20(?) feet high.

Tom Rosecrans continues: ...climb[ed] the face about 10' right of Little Finger, unprotected except for a poor upside down pin at about half height, belaying in the left facing corner just right of LF. Here the idea of a totally separate line failed and it was back to LF to just below the roof with P-3 taking the classic finger crack above.

P1- Climb the unprotected face 10 ft right of Little Finger. 5.7 to 5.7+ X

P2- Continue up reaching thin cracks that take small wires (or pitons !) but when the climbing thins out, work left to the belay below the base of the P3 5.7 crack.

P3- Climb over the small overhang, then up the fine crack (this is the normal P3 of the "Direct variation" to LF. Belay on a sloping slab with a fine crack that accepts small TCUs and/or little-finger-sized-wire-nuts.

DESCENT- The bast descent is to climb up 20-25 ft and slightly left (piton in a 2-3 ft high right-facing flake) then traverse 50-70 ft to the double bolt anchor on Screaming Meanie and rap that route with 2 ropes.

It is also possible to move right and rap the gully to the right, but there is lose rock there.


Start to the right of Little Finger (about 10 feet).


draws & trad gear

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By tom rosecrans
Jul 1, 2011

The route described here is the Bill Route, p-1. Little Finger Direct actually climbed the face about 10' rt of Little Finger, unprotected except for a poor upside down pin at about half height, belaying in the left facing corner just rt. of LF. Here the idea of a totally separate line failed and it was back to LF to just below the roof with P-3 taking the classic finger crack above.
By Jaysen Henderson
From: Bronx NY
Aug 5, 2011

lots of fun, after you pull the roof you get all these really cool discontinuous finger locks, there was a small crack i belayed from but im pretty sure i could've made it to the bolt anchors.
By Gunkiemike
Jul 10, 2012

At the risk of sounding like an old fart, there didn't used to be any bolt anchor atop P3 and a belay on gear above the steepest part of the pitch was required or else you wouldn't reach the trees. Best view on the whole slab from that belay!

Anyone climbing in the vicinity of Little Finger would do well to take a good hard look at the black streak that is the original P1 of LF Direct. Tom is maybe a bit too modest in his comment above; the fact is that those guys climbed a full ropelength of unprotected, unknown slab. Basically it was a free solo. The comment in the current guidebook is spot on: (paraphrasing) "If you want to experience it the way it used to be, climb this pitch". But the reality is that with the less-than-lethal options of Bill's Route and Two Bits so close by, 99% of today's climbers will not lead LFD's first pitch. Same idea with linking Meaney and Matrix, to avoid the former's 100 ft runout on the top pitch. Linkups are simply the best way to enjoy the fine climbing that RR has to offer.
By Robert Hall
From: North Conway, NH
Mar 17, 2015
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

A couple of comments:

1) I spoke with Jim Kolkotronus the weekend after his F.A. and the F.A. went up the now-standard "5.7" crack of P3. Someone else put in the P3 that went to the right.

2) Rosecrans is correct (of course he is: he did the FA)...P 1 (and "P2") of The "real" L.F. Direct climbs the unprotected rock about 10-15 ft right of the L.F. crack. When I Top Roped it (a decade+ ago) I never saw the "driven upside-down piton", but there are some thin cracks that start about 150 ft up (P2 ?)

3) The best rap line from the top of P3 of the "Direct" move left about 50 ft (I think there's one piton along the way) to the top bolts of Screaming Meany and rap that line with 2 ropes. Be careful not to jam the knot in the "Meany" Crack.

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