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Old Smokey 

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

Type:  Trad, 7 pitches, Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Jeff Altenburg, Rainer Lambrecht and Bob Pinkney, 1977.
Page Views: 3,052
Submitted By: Blitzo on May 7, 2007

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Don't be fooled, these moves are a lot harder than...


As seen from the road, this follows the corner system on the far right of the North side.
Climb up a right leaning ramp/corner to a two bolt Belay.
Continue up passing a 5.8 lieback to a belay from a ledge.
Climb face past a bolt (5.9) and up to a crack. belay at it's end.
Traverse left and follow a right leaning crack to a belay in the main corner after passing a small roof.
Continue up the corner for two more pitches.
On the last pitch, climb up the corner to where it leans off to the left either climb straight up (5.7) or follow the corner.

Descend to the right.


Standard rack.

Photos of Old Smokey Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Old Smokey Topo.
BETA PHOTO: Old Smokey Topo.

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By tradryan
Aug 22, 2009

I did this route in June and the topo posted here doesn't make much sense to me so here's my beta:
The climb starts in the big, beautiful left facing corner on the far right of the North face.
Pitch 1: Climb easy terrain and then into the left facing corner to a new two-bolt belay. 5.6 200'
Pitch 2: Climb the left facing corner system through a bulge until you reach the top of the pillar at the next two-bolt belay. 5.8 100'. Highest quality pitch.
Pitch 3: This is where it gets interesting. The bolt on the topo isn't there although this section isn't runout, just a few moves to regain the corner. For the lack of a belay I ran this pitch for ~215'. The climb just shoots up the dihedral (pretty darn obvious) and I belayed at an older three-bolt station. 5.9, not soft. With a #3 camalot as my biggest piece it was also pretty darn runout.
Above this the route looks like it becomes a jungle adventure. Probably pretty cool if that's your sort of thing but we decided to bail. Rapping with a single 60 m rope was easy due to the plethora of bolted face routes that have sprouted up on the expansive blank face just left of the corner system.
By DJ Reyes
From: Northern Nevada
Jul 13, 2010

I agree with Tradryan in that the 3rd pitch is "interesting." When I led it it was pretty wet and quite slimy. I felt good to just get through it. I suspect that the 5.9 rating is soft, but can't confirm since I climbed in less than optimal conditions. We continued up another three pitches before rapping to the base. I'd totally advocate climbing Sands of Time over this route for a much more memorable experience.
By Aerili
From: Los Alamos, NM
May 16, 2011

Not much about this route is soft. The pitch 2 lieback up top is very tenuous for the grade. We did the original pitch 3 slab traverse left with two bolts (versus the 6" flake described here). This so-called 5.8 traverse should not be taken lightly: quite sustained in parts and very run-out. Many slab moves felt easily 9ish to me and my partner. Some of these moves are not near the bolts, either. It's a do-not-fall situation for both leader and follower.

Pitch 4's "5.8" moves are also quite unrelenting and tenuous. Tricky pro up the seam. Probably good to be solid at 9+/10- slab for this lead.

As of this writing, the numerous, modern bolted rap anchors that dot the North Face Apron all appear to have crusty, dirty white tat on them. We were absolutely not okay rapping off of these and, having two ropes with us, were able to use alternate anchors that had only rap hardware installed. If you have only a single rope, please make sure to bring a bunch of new webbing with you and a knife and replace this stuff.
By Bryan G
From: Yosemite
Oct 25, 2011

This is a better topo of the route
By Bob Pinckney
Feb 26, 2014

I did the FA with Jeff Altenburg. There was a third person with us that has never been mentioned as being on the FA. His name is Rainer Lambrecht. We did this route in summer because it looked cooler.
Bob Pinckney
By Justin Johnsen
From: Nor Cal
Feb 26, 2014

Thanks Bob, I added Rainer to your FA credits.

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