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Unsorted Routes:

Lower Progressive 

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

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 5,201
Submitted By: William Prehm on Jan 1, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (144)
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Dirt roads reopened as of June 2014 MORE INFO >>>


This route follows a left-facing hand crack to an off-width finish. It has very solid jamming, but making your moves are tricky with thin footing and the way the crack is recessed. It is located to the right of the parabolic slab on the Southeast Side (left end). It is a prominent crack that is right of the large, detached flake that looks like a giant, shark's tooth.

The downclimb traverses to the right and descends a chimney.

I believe this climb to be under-rated at 5.9+.


The off-width finish can definitely eat up something large like a #4 - #4.5 Camalot or a Big bro. The rest of the crack is hand and fist-sized pro.

Photos of Lower Progressive Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down on Lower Progressive.
Looking down on Lower Progressive.
Rock Climbing Photo: Taking out the big guns  July 2013 Photo by Ryan
Taking out the big guns July 2013 Photo by Ryan
Rock Climbing Photo: Should be renamed "Painful Progressive".
Should be renamed "Painful Progressive".
Rock Climbing Photo: Tara following Lower Progressive. Upper is visible...
Tara following Lower Progressive. Upper is visible...
Rock Climbing Photo: Is this that drop knee you all are talkin' about? ...
Is this that drop knee you all are talkin' about? ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Lower Progressive.
Lower Progressive.
Rock Climbing Photo: Entering the off-width after some serious stitchin...
Entering the off-width after some serious stitchin...

Comments on Lower Progressive Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 27, 2016
By Mike Sofranko
Oct 9, 2001

This climb is actually solid 5.11. ;-) I found the big piece for the top unnecessary as I placed a #3 Camalot at the bottom of the slot. One of the cruxy moves is getting into the slot, and for this move the #3 is at your feet, after that it eases up. A #4 Camalot is definitely too small for the slot. Take a good selection of thin hands through hands pro for the meat of the route.
By Anonymous Coward
May 7, 2002

Lower Prog. is 5.11? Check out Skip Harper's targeted comments in the "Heel and Toe" Guidebook and try again. Benchmark 5.9+!!!J. R.
By Erik Corkran
May 28, 2002

I followed this a couple of days ago. 9+ seems like a fair grade. Seemed easier than Middle Parallel Space.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 25, 2002

When I hopped on this, I thought it was Handjacker, and thought 'damn this is tough for 5.7!!'. I feel much better now! I think the erratum stuff in the 'Heel and Toe' clears this confusion up.
By Darren O'Connor
Jul 10, 2002

I too made the classic mistake of getting on this route thinking it was Handjacker. Fortunately I correctly assessed that I was about to be whipped by a typical Vedauwoo sandbag. The route eats gear (if you can place it!) in the #0.5 to #3 Camalot range, and I'd give it more like 5.10b. Lots-O-Fun (especially on TR ;_)
By Mike Bentley
Feb 27, 2003

It's a 5.9, don't cry when you get humbled by it. Just remember to get down and funky with it.
By Andy Johnson
Mar 27, 2004

Alright folks are you ready for the secret key beta? If you do not want too much beta then do not read any more. If you do, here goes. When you get to the wide section at the top use the really good feet out left and the good crimpers and it is one easy move past the "crux" that does not take you off route. Try it and see.
May 13, 2006


On the lower section, work a semi drop knee with the left foot on smears on the left face. This will square your hips to the crack and allow you to make big fluid moves. Really fun moving. If your thrutching, you havent figured it out. Like most Vedauwoo "grunt fests", a little technique goes a long way. Classic climb.

BTW, have to set a gear anchor with hand sized stuff and to get down down climb the chimney below Escalator, the left leaning hand crack back and to the right.
By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
Jun 22, 2006

My beta would be different and I had no problems on the pitch. I loved the clean rock, excellent jams and tenuous smearing with my left foot. The exit was fun, I got to use my #6 Friend. I coulda used other stuff, just had to use the damn thing since I was in the land of big cracks!
By Petsfed
From: Laramie, WY
Jul 17, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

There are occasionally slings at the top of Handjacker you can rap from, but don't plan on them being there.
By Mike D
From: Fort Collins, CO
Aug 31, 2007

New bolt anchors have been unnecessarily added to the top of this pitch. They have been placed in the worst of all possible places, set way back and down low where the rock is fractured into large boulders, there is clean solid rock two feet higher. Any attempt to lower off after a lead or a toprope ascent will result in a stuck rope. Not only can a natural gear anchor be set up in the same place but an easy downclimb can be found by walking around to the right (easier than it looks!) and downclimbing a v.easy chimney up against the main wall underneath Escalator 10b.
Please think before placing unnecessary bolt anchors, and if you do decide that they are required please bolt better than this.
By Sean Dunlop
From: Durango, CO
Sep 6, 2007

I was really surprised to see the new bolts when I climbed it on Tuesday.... True, they probably aren't necessary, and I would have put them above as well, but pulling the rope from the rappel did not result in a hang up. They were probably put there for some one to set up a simple top rope. Ball up and lead the damn thing, it's a wonderful climb.
By Aeon Aki
Sep 30, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

My rope snagged as I pulled it which resulted in me having to climb up the chimney near Escalator to free it. Don't bother with the bolts, just throw your rope down and walk off. Maybe someone could paint them (read: remove them) so they're not completely hideous?
By Petsfed
From: Laramie, WY
Apr 28, 2008
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

The bolts are just all around poorly placed. It's easy to get a toprope stuck, and we definitely got the rope stuck trying to pull from the rappel. Just walk off.
By Dave Bohn aka "Old Fart"
May 3, 2008

Standard Vedauwoo 5.9+ as a crack climb.

Face climb the crystals, and just use the crack for pro, and its a standard 5.9-. Just because its near a crack doesn't mean you have to climb it as a crack.

One of the better gear face climbs at the "Woo" that is much easier than trying to jam it.
By John Korfmacher
From: Fort Collins, CO
May 12, 2008

TR'd this one...but it might be one of the few Voo 5.9's that I could lead. Very good jams, and good pro. I thought the first move off the deck was the crux, although it's easier for more flexible climbers. Top piece would definitely be a #4 or #5 Camalot. The last few moves are OW but there are also medium-size crystals available to the climber's left hand, which helps quite a bit.

Vedauwoo 5.9+ is probably a reasonable grade, which is to say it'd be about 5.10b most places.

Props to Old Fart--and anyone else--with the finger strength to face climb this one!
By Wade Griffith
Jun 9, 2008

I have quite often face climbed out left at the end of this one to avoid doing the offwidth finish. Think that is what the"Old Fart" is talkin bout.
By poundit14
From: Laramie, WY
May 24, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

There are some good edges and crystals out left, through the whole crack, that make for good rests. There is especially a no hands rest before the offwidth finish. Also, a lot of people do face climb the slab at the end, avoiding the offwidth section.

Saying all that, I thought it was 5.9 even. You definitely was tight hands to hands for gear, and a big piece is nice for the end. Due to the flare, a few #1 Camalots are nice with 1 or 2 #2 Camalots, and a #5 Camalot for the end.
By prod. Kenny
From: Boulder, Co
Jul 5, 2010
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

I found it much harder than most other Vedauwoo 5.9+'s, I fell twice on lead and 3 times on TR (I was spent). The gear is all there to lace it up. If you feel the need to lace it up, bring some extra C3 #1s and #2s. I thought the crux was about 1/2 way up rattly fingers/ really thin hands for about 4 feet. Getting on the thing isn't too easy either. If you're worried about the top, bring something bigger than a #4, a #6 would most likely be perfect.

The bolts are the worst TR bolts I have seen. They should be chopped and replaced, or eliminated.
By EldoFiend
From: WY
Jul 5, 2010

No way you could place any C3s on this climb. I think you mean C4s.
By claytown
From: Boulder, CO
May 21, 2012

Excellent! Thin hands to a wide move or two at the top. Either belay from the top or, if top-roping, the crack at the top is a rope eater right before it gets wide. Maybe place a nut or 0.5/0.75 Camalot there to fill up the crack so the rope can't get stuck. Better yet to run the rope over the bulge (won't get stuck but will abrade the rope if weighted a bunch).
By Nick Stayner
From: Wymont Kingdom
Aug 31, 2012

Awesome climb! Though I really wanted to stem my left foot on the low angle left wall, I found this made moving up a LOT more awkward. So best to stay straight in 'til the top, at least for me.

Also, I ignored the ample face features and stupidly tried left-side in at the top OW and got throttled. Right side in, using the great crystals for left foot & hand and working the arm bar/heel-toe combo with the right side made this feel spot on for 5.9.
By Aerili
From: Los Alamos, NM
Jul 8, 2013

For me personally, the #6 was the perfect finishing piece. It is not absolutely necessary to have, but it felt good to know I would not slide way down out of the wide and have to re-do those moves again!

Why do people write "how to climb" crux moves? The beauty of climbing is problem solving and learning. I am glad to have not known anything about this route except the name and the grade when I did it.
By Tom Kelley
Jul 9, 2013

Rappelling off the new bolts is ok if you're careful about the line you take on the way down (don't follow the crack) and pull your rope from an angle where it won't end up in the crack. Toproping off these bolts is not a good idea at all.

The bolts are not at all necessary but worse yet are poorly positioned. I'd probably consider moving them if I ever lugged a drill and bolts up to the Nautilus but don't see that happening any time soon.
By Rob Davies UK
From: Cheshire, UK
Oct 16, 2013

Note for UK visitors: We failed miserably on this. I suspect hard E2 or E3 would be an accurate translation of "5.9"....
By bart cubrich 1
Apr 1, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I thought this was easy for a Vedauwoo 5.9, and 9+ is a little soft compared to, say Middle Parallel sSpace, Poo's Corner, or Plumb Line.

In response to top roping if you have a Big bro, it can be placed in the wide section to let the rope run in the crack or a piece can be placed outside the rope-sized constriction (just before the crack gets wide), which helps, but the best thing for the rope is to belay from the top and have a partner who can flash it.
By nate post
From: Silverthorne
Aug 25, 2014
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Way harder than Middle Parallel Space. Middle Parallel Space wasn't a walk in the park for me but I comfortable on-sighted it. I'm new to crack climbing and Lower Progressive gave me the opportunity to test ride my cams.
By Tom Ashley
Oct 14, 2015

I didn't think the bolts were that bad... certainly they allow for easy rapping over the bulge to the right of the crack and no chance of getting the rope stuck. For top roping, I put a directional in below the offwidth, but I think that was actually totally unnecessary and maybe even made things worse. Maybe the bolts got moved? The downclimb looks scary to me, but then again I didn't actually try it, because there were bolts. So thanks to whoever put those in.
By Alex Vidal
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 27, 2016
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

I've rated this climb 9+ to maintain the local grade ethic, but in other granite areas like, say, Squamish... this climb could be 11a.

A 9+ testpiece and fairly graded for the Voo.

A #6 is nice to have but not mandatory.

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