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Nutcracker 5.9 Start Variation 

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

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 200'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
Page Views: 7,286
Submitted By: Lee Jensen on Sep 20, 2006

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Morning solo. Photo by Jason Hudson

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


Twenty feet to the right of the standard start for Nutcracker is a beautiful finger crack that ascends the blank wall to a tree (110'). After the tree ascend another 80 feet to join the original route at the start of the fourth pitch.

The start of the variation takes you up 15 feet of an unprotected slab. Then sink a couple small cams and climb up the smooth 5.9 face. After 20 feet the climbing eases.


Twenty feet to the right of the original Nutcracker start.


Cams from .25 to 2 inches.

Photos of Nutcracker 5.9 Start Variation Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: on top of Nutcracker
on top of Nutcracker
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch butt shot.
First pitch butt shot.
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: At the top of Pitch 1
At the top of Pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Jenn cruising
Jenn cruising
Rock Climbing Photo: my dad following the 5.9 variation...
my dad following the 5.9 variation...
Rock Climbing Photo: Great pitch
Great pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Marc just after the crux.
Marc just after the crux.

Comments on Nutcracker 5.9 Start Variation Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 22, 2015
By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
May 26, 2007

If using this start, you can do the route in 4 pitches with a 70m rope.
P1. Go to the second large tree for the first belay (shade, and a nice perch) ~ 60m.
P2. Go to a gear belay just below the roof. Be mindful of ropedrag. 70m rope stretcher.
P3. Go to a gear belay about 20' below the mantle, at a stance on a dike where there used to be bolts.
P4. Over the top.

The first pitch is very slick, especially the first couple of moves, and a little reachy.
By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
Oct 25, 2007

i managed to do it in 4 pitches with a 60m rope but i had a pretty uncomfortable belay above the bulge on the slab....

great route... this start is so clean and nice, just do it...
By Marc H
From: Denver
Nov 24, 2007

It's my understanding most people start this variation on the low-angle face directly below the crack. To suggest another variation: Start on the left of the face and follow the seam (that eventually turns into the crack) in from the left. It's probably goes at about 5.9, no protection. It's aesthetic and enjoyable, IMO.
By TBlom
May 25, 2008

Beware that if you take this alternate (and polished) start to Nutcracker, you may be passed by parties on the real (and much easier) 1st pitch. This is what has kept me from climbing the rest of the route, got to the first belay to find that some Frenchies had already nabbed the belay, we bailed off because we didn't want to wait behind them (after they obviously scrambled to beat us to the belay).
By Jeff Mekolites
From: ATL GA
Oct 17, 2011

This is a great single pitch to do on its own...
By Mark P Thomas
From: Draper
Dec 12, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The easiest way to get to the base of the crack is to go up some ledges on the right (5.5).
By Mark P Thomas
From: Draper
Dec 24, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

According to the Reid guide this variation is actually a route called "Dynamic Doubles" with FA credit given to Dan & Sue McDevitt in 1991.
By Topher42
Feb 26, 2012

description. ends at start of third pitch not 4th.
By Randy in Ridgecrest
From: Inyokern, CA
Jan 28, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Dynamic Doubles is the bolted line right of the 5.9 crack, touches the crack line at the second tree (in the 1994 Reid/Meyers topo) then heads out right again.

The 5.9 crack var is shown on the 1982 Meyers guide (the future Dynamics Duo line is shown as a dotted TR line). Linda and I did this crack var in 1983, passed a couple parties on the first pitches and a line at the bottom! I remember it to be kind of like the slammer parts of Senrenity Crack, just a tick easier.
By BrianWS
Jan 28, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Took the direct start and got stuck behind a party of three, who kept taking and setting intermediate belays.
This route COOKS in the summer. My partner and I had blisters on our toes from the heat absorbed by the rock.
By Jonathan Dull
From: Boone, NC
Nov 7, 2013

If just doing the first pitch you can rappel with a 70m.
By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Sep 12, 2014

Rope Solo'd with a 70m rope and a single rack! Went Splendidly! A Total must dooo!!
By JJ Foley
From: San Francisco, California
Apr 22, 2015

Big fan of this one.

Good variation from finger to wide hands at the top.

You can rap from tree to ground with a single 70

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