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Margin of Profit 

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

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 110'
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Rob Robinson, Robyn Erbesfield, 1985
Page Views: 6,391
Submitted By: Rob Dillon on Dec 31, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (38)
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Margin of Profit


Many an aspiring gumby has eyed the Margin. Weary of winching their less-talented partners over the starting bulge of Golden Locks, they cast their gaze about, scarcely daring to imagine themselves capable of surmounting the intimidating runouts and fierce reputation guarding the Margin... and yet they dream. Tempting, that grade- 5.9+. So alluringly near, and yet, the lingering menace of that old-school plus...what does it mean?

If you must know, read on.

Having survived Crash Position, and eager for more, you have arrived at the base of its big brother. Ignoring the chatter from the queue on Razor Worm, the muttering and then the silence as you begin, you cinch down the strap on that helmet one last time, dip again your already-chalky hands into that bag of white courage, and launch upwards. Away from the lines, the dogs, the helmeted legions, the endless toproping. These are not for you. You dream of bigger things. A crack offers protection. Better take it up. Crispy, patinaed edges-do I trust them??- lead to the dying of the crack. Lace it. This is it, then. A last glance downwards to the belayer's somber, hopeless encouragement. Up, right, up, right, up. Don't look down. Eventually, you arrive at the arete. Protection is somewhat distant. The arete steepens. It's going to get pumpy up there. You know in your gut it will be one of those times-- all or nothing, do or die. Your money where your mouth is. You hate yourself. And yet there is no other way.


A blue alien saves many people's mental bacon, although no one I know has dared to test it. Don't skimp on the small stuff, and then perhaps one each above 1.5".

Photos of Margin of Profit Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Runouts are inconsequential...really.
Runouts are inconsequential...really.

Comments on Margin of Profit Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 19, 2017
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jan 1, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

In the early 90's, perhaps 1992, I did a varriation of this route that went left under the roof instead of right. It was hard. I called it "Margin Of Error" as someone had sandbagged me into believing that was the route, though it was not.

Was this a F.A. or was it already a route and unpublished at the time? Has this route gotten published since?
By Rob Dillon
Jan 18, 2007

Beats me man. The corner is tempting for sure, I'll have to try it sometime.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jan 19, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

OK, well, from 8' down from the climber in the pictures attached, traverse left to the small patch of grass on the ledge and head up to the roofs. It is 5.10 or maybe 5.11 and is a bit "heads up" for gear in one spot. It is very good climbing though.

The route "Margin Of Error" has been added on the site.
By saxfiend
From: Decatur, GA
Jan 22, 2007

Here's what Chris Watford (author of the Dixie Cragger's Atlas) tells me regarding Tony's line:

"John, I've never seen or heard of anyone going that way. Seems plausible, trending left toward Sun King. It may very well be a new line."

So it sounds like a probable FA to me.

By Jeff Mekolites
From: ATL GA
Mar 4, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R

Margin of Profit is an exciting Twall good had to do it twice!!
By BirminghamBen
From: Birmingham, AL
Dec 17, 2013

One of the best routes in the SE. Double small wires protect to tippy top of the crack. Otherwise....just move.
By Brendan Muls
Jan 5, 2015

sheesh, i woulda put some bolts on this thing if i found it first!! haters gonna hate!!!
By jilliancai
May 5, 2017
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R

I hate the description of this climb, and was cursing the author of it for not just writing: "Heads up, it's run out."

So, heads up & helmets on. It's run out.
By Rob Dillon
May 7, 2017

Heh. I had a lot of fun writing these. Clearly not to everyone's liking. Hate away!

The term 'runouts' appears in the second sentence.
By Jeff Mekolites
From: ATL GA
May 8, 2017
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R

An awesome and accurate description of a classic! But don't settle for reading about it, find out for yourself!
By Bstriker
Aug 17, 2017

One of the best route write ups on mountainproj, good work Little Rob.
By Rob Dillon
Aug 19, 2017

I aim to please, T

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