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Cruel Sister 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Mike Seeley, Wayne Arrington 1974
Season: Summer, Spring, Fall
Page Views: 12,056
Submitted By: Karsten Duncan on Jan 29, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (126)
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Shirley leading Cruel Sister.

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


This is one of the Mega-classics of the gorge and Smith. It is one of the finest handcracks you'll ever do. The crack starts as tight hands and gradually widens to fists at the top. Easily the most popular climb in the gorge be prepared to wait for this climb on nice days. Still, the wait is worth it!!!


Gear to 3.5 inches, couple of long slings for the anchor if TRing.
Chains at top

Photos of Cruel Sister Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Cruel Sister, Smith Rocks
Cruel Sister, Smith Rocks
Rock Climbing Photo: Cruel Sister - The Aftermath
Cruel Sister - The Aftermath
Rock Climbing Photo: KP cruising Cruel Sister
KP cruising Cruel Sister
Rock Climbing Photo: Ian low on Cruel Sister. Crack-a-no-go and Blood C...
Ian low on Cruel Sister. Crack-a-no-go and Blood C...
Rock Climbing Photo: High on CS
High on CS
Rock Climbing Photo: At the top of CS
At the top of CS

Comments on Cruel Sister Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 24, 2016
By rpc
Jan 30, 2006

Gorgeous route! Best crack of the grade at Smith?
By DonJuan
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 16, 2006

Great climb, a bit underated for some (really 10c?), definitely challenging. Enjoy!
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Oct 22, 2006
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Wow, fun stuff. All sizes of hands on this one, including a wide move or two at the top. Definitely bring a #4 Camalot for the top, and you might want to save a #3 Camalot for the top as well. The rest of the climb takes as many #0.5 through #2 Camalots as you can throw at it. Way better than Karate Crack imo.
By Bryan Gartland
From: Helena, MT
Dec 13, 2006

Can you get away with just two sets of cams on this one?

By Ian McEleney
From: Mammoth Lakes, CA
Dec 18, 2006

You can get away with one set of cams if you know how to place nuts. The crack isn't splitter the whole way, so there are lots of passive gear placements and hand locks. As Andy said save a #4 Camalot for the top (or a big hex?).
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Mar 14, 2008

I might be biased as my first real experience with the 5.10 grade came in the Lower Gorge, but the grade 10a is definitely consistent w/other routes in the gorge. (Bloodclot, 10b is very similar w/a slightly harder, more sustained crux, ditto for Badfinger, and Last Chance, 10c is easily two letter grades harder than Cruel Sister. If you climb at other trad areas in Oregon, these grades are actually kind of soft...)
By Alex Quitiquit
From: Salt Lake City
May 29, 2013
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Stout-ish for the grade as it doesn't really let up.

Save the #4 for the top, I didn't have it, wish I did. Takes nuts in a few places so look for them.
By Matt Farrell
From: Bend, Oregon
Oct 11, 2014
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

If you know how to make big reaches off bomber thumbs up handjams, then you can do this entire route with nothing but bomber handjams the whole way and it feels 5.9+.

If you aren't solid on taking a bomber handjam and working your feet right up under it to make a big reach, then this will feel harder.

If you aren't comfortable with both hands/both feet in the crack, then this will seem a lot harder.

I never lead it with a #4, although you certainly can place one, or probably even two if you wanted. There's a bomber #3 placement only maybe 10ft below the chains. If you're comfortable with 8-10ft between pieces, then double rack of camalots .5 to 3 and no nuts is more than enough.

There is bomber gear the entire climb. If you had a big enough rack, you would never have to go more than 2 feet between pieces if you wanted to.
By iryna
From: eugene, or
Aug 17, 2015
rating: 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13

whoever rated this as a 10a must have big hands (or be cruel sandbagger). this is a burly wide painful crack... waaaaaaay harder for smaller hands, gets a bit offwidthy at the top, having a 3.5 or a 4 is nice for that section. i just suffered sooo much on it. never again. if you like Gold Rush in Tout you might like this climb. Personally, I didnt find it that much fun. Bad finger, Quasar, Gruff, Rim Job are a lot more interesting to climb if your digits are smaller.
By Karsten Duncan
From: Sacramento, CA
Aug 17, 2015

As with most cracks Iryna, they are rated for the "average male hand". While this 5.10a may seem tough you'll find other "thin hand" cracks around that may be a goldilocks size for you but are rated much harder.

You'll probably love the 5.11, 3 Strikes You're Out at the creek.
By dave Hause
From: carrboro, nc
Apr 24, 2016
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Definitely want two #3 and a #3.5 / #4 for the top.

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