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The Amphitheater
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Inset, The T 
Inside S. Face (1st pinnacle) T,TR 
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Macropsychotic T 
McCrumm's Crack (1st Pinnacle) T 
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Shortcut T 
Siberian North Face T,S 
Slot [formerly listed at Direct West Bench] T 
South Face Direct (1st Pinnacle) TR 
South Face Left (1st Pinnacle) T,TR 
South Rib (2nd Pinnacle) T 
Standard Inside East Face T,TR 
T-Zero West Face aka Finger Crack T,TR 
Tyrolean Traverse TR 
West Bench Dihedral T,TR 
West Face (of T-Zero) T,TR 

McCrumm's Crack (1st Pinnacle) 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c [details]
FA: John D. McCrumm, ci Oct.-Nov., 1931
Page Views: 180
Submitted By: Tony B on Oct 6, 2002

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BETA PHOTO: 1st Pinnacle (The Amphitheater) West Bench Dihedr...

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  • Description 

    Good route for begining leaders, as the moves are secure and there is ample opportunity for protection. The amount of chipmunk crap alone makes this route unpleasant, however. It literally reaks of crap.

    Climb the East bench Dihedral to reach the slot between the first pinacle and the East bench. move as far left as possible between the East Bench and the First Pinacle without leaving the chimney. Climb upward into a vague concave area with a few intermittent cracks. Continue to the summit on big holds.

    Descend by scrambling West and then North or by rapping from one of the several fixed anchors up top.


    A few pieces of this and that, + a few long slings for slinging knobs and threading holes.

    Photos of McCrumm's Crack (1st Pinnacle) Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Climber: Everett Long Photographer:  Donald McBrid...
    Climber: Everett Long Photographer: Donald McBrid...

    Comments on McCrumm's Crack (1st Pinnacle) Add Comment
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    By Kevin Craig
    Oct 14, 2002

    I was at the Amphitheater the same day that Tony climbed these routes (I believe), but have a slightly different prespective. Seeing Tony climb, I have enormous respect for his skill and demeanor, but I don't think I'd agree that these 5.4 climbs on the First Pinnacle are good beginner leads. I'm at least a bit more than a beginning leader, having lead a decent selection of .5s and .6s in Eldo and the Flatirons and some alpine routes in the .4 range, but backed off this route due to very exposed moves on no pro for the last 1/3 or so of the (very short) route. I read the topo a little differently and went more straight up from the top of the East Bench so could have been off route. I don't think a beginning leader would be very happy on the route I took. I totally agree about the chipmunk crap though; yuck!!! P.S. The East Bench dihedral IS a very good very beginner lead.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 15, 2002

    I always thought McCrumm's Crack was the crack only a few feet left of the Southeast Face route. Whatever its name, this crack is a nice, short climb of a similar grade. Although it is a weird flaring crack, you can get a good piece up high in it somewhere. And no chipmunk crap!
    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Oct 15, 2002

    From my perspective George, we are talking about the same thing but have described it differently, that's all. At present, the whole area of the wall had crap on it, and chimunks running around. That may not be its historical condition, but you can smell it even on the way over at present. Maybe fattening up for winter has had them eating and crapping more powerbars and pack fibers?For pro, you can put in small to medium tricams or mediaum cams in the various cracks, horizontals, and pockets. There are also a few holes to thread. There is a lot available, but some might be a little tricky to place and not available everywhere.As always, approach with caution and be ready to back off if your perspective and judgement tell you it is wise. If you don't feel safe, you probably aren't.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Oct 15, 2002

    Yes, one year ago there was no chipmunk crap, but I guess the little buggers have been busy. Perhaps there is a correlation with the falcon closure being lifted on this crag last spring? No falcons =_ lots of chipmunks?
    By Tom
    Apr 14, 2004

    My dad put up this route in 1932 in sneakers and a hemp rope, no pro. He says it wasn't full of rodent crap at the time. The May 1934 Trail & Timberline has the very first "guide book" to Boulder rock climbs in it, and lists this short route as "difficult". Just shows how the standards have changed over the years!
    By Ben Mottinger
    Founding Father
    Apr 21, 2004

    Here is an account I received from the FA, John McCrumm.

    I am 92 now - an age when one looks back to long- gone days. On a misty, cold November afternoon in 1931, I walked along Baseline Rd. and up to the Amphitheater. In earlier scrambles, I had spotted the interior N.E. corner as a climb to be tried, all the way to the top of the north wall.

    Armed with my gym shoes and 120 feet of hemp rope from the local hardware store, I felt I was well prepared! 5.4 didn't even exist in those days and I faced no chipmunks. Getting up the crack/chimney from the ground to the flat top of the N.E. pedestal was no great problem.

    It was cold and getting dark; I spent several minutes examining the final pitch up the right side of the north wall when reality struck. If I once took the big step out onto the wall, to a crack running up to the top of the north pillar, there was no retreating. The rope was no help, I was alone and the exposure out on the wall was truly scary.

    I decided I had to give it a shot. I stepped out to a little ledge with my left foot, found some half decent hand and foot holds and then I remember leaning my forehead against the stone and asking myself what the hell did I think I was doing to put myself in such a situation. Then I found some more good holds and in a few minutes of scrambling, I was on top of the pillar.

    I took the heavy, scratchy rope off my shoulder and just sat until the shaking stopped. A gentle rain had come as I started home. Walking back along Baseline I was really pumped and I probably said to myself, "I did it, I did it".
    By Peter Beal
    From: Boulder Colorado
    Apr 22, 2004

    The FA description by John McCrumm reminds me why I climb. 5.4 or 5.14, 19 or 92, the buzz is the same. Kudos to Ben for including this reminiscence and showing that there is such a thing as spirit in climbing.
    By Chip Phillips
    From: Broomfield, CO
    Apr 22, 2004

    I agree wholeheartedly Peter. John McCrumm's description reminds me why I climb ... thanks John.
    By RomoFo Fo
    Apr 23, 2004

    Yes, what a great story. Peter nailed it, climbing at ANY level gives us all the same great feeling. Thanks again for such a great story.
    By Robbie Flick
    From: Denver, CO
    May 31, 2011

    I climbed this route 5/29/11. The amount of rodent feces was simply unbelievable; also disconcertingly present was an enormous white and red path of slime caked to the rock. All the holds were covered in feces, along with the pro placements; ended up foolishly trusted a hollow sounding, detached flake to pull over the top. The excrement made this harder and more run out than necessary; I'd avoid this route in its current state.

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