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YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Rusty Garing, Chip Barclay '71
Page Views: 7,306
Submitted By: Chris Nosti on Jan 22, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (68)
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Coby heading up the classic P-Crack. Photo Tom Sla...


The route follows the broken corner on the left side of P-wall up to the beginning of Impacted Stool Crack and then traverses right to the first bolt. I usually run it out to here but if you want protection, bring those hexes or large cams and long slings. After the bolt, the climb follows the crack up to the second bolt. Once clipped, traverse right and then up to the anchors. You can climb straight up after the second bolt but it's 5.10. This is a great route for learing trad and its fun if you continue up on Letterman to the next anchors and then scramble the rest of the way to the top of the peak.


There are two bolts along the route and you will need gear starting from small to 2.5" Bring longs slings to extend your first couple pieces otherwise rope drag will have you crying.

Photos of P-Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Revised photo of P Wall.  Note the added bolts and...
BETA PHOTO: Revised photo of P Wall. Note the added bolts and...
Rock Climbing Photo: View to belay from top anchor showing route.
BETA PHOTO: View to belay from top anchor showing route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Excerpt from 1978 Guide from Dwight Kroll.
BETA PHOTO: Excerpt from 1978 Guide from Dwight Kroll.
Rock Climbing Photo: Vickie on the Letterman variation. Clip a bolt the...
Vickie on the Letterman variation. Clip a bolt the...
Rock Climbing Photo: This would be a good pic if it weren't for the old...
This would be a good pic if it weren't for the old...
Rock Climbing Photo: Getting ready to get into the crack.
Getting ready to get into the crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: Vickie grabs the lower rail at the crux of the cli...
Vickie grabs the lower rail at the crux of the cli...
Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron styling with the heel hook at the traverse, ...
Aaron styling with the heel hook at the traverse, ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Matt looking down P-Crack at Brian. Just before th...
Matt looking down P-Crack at Brian. Just before th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Brian at the now "hanging" belay at the ...
Brian at the now "hanging" belay at the ...

Comments on P-Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 26, 2016
By Chris Bersbach
From: Arroyo Grande, CA
Sep 10, 2017
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I cleaned a *wickedly* stuck cam from P-Crack on Thursday. It's still in great shape, so if it's yours and you'd like it back, message me and tell me what kind of cam it was, where it was stuck, and what kind of beer you're going to buy me.
By Scott Bullock
Feb 11, 2004
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

This is a very exciting lead. It is one of the best climbs on the hill. The crack is full of great holds and jams. It likes nuts at the start and medium to small cams as you move up. I once took a 15' whip onto a number 1 camalot placed below the first bolt, it held beautifully in the hard dysite. The traverse is the mental crux as you move out right, patience is the key as the holds are there. Fantastic exposure and well protected. Go climb it!
By John Knight
Feb 11, 2004
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

I've done this route a bunch of times. It's probably the best route on the entire P-wall. Although the crack is 5.8ish and takes a ton of gear, the traverse can be 5.9+. Sometimes it (the traverse) goes easy and feels like 5.8, other times it feels like 5.9+. This is a great route for a solid 5.9 leader. The crack sucks up gear and the traverse is protected by 2 solid bolts. If you get tired, you can just "French Free" the crux. Take the 5.6 upper pitch (a bit runout) to Letterman and enjoy the new anchor bolts! Rap the route (2 raps if you have a 60m rope) to get down.
By Jon Hanlon
From: SLO
Oct 30, 2006
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I noticed that the block at the base of the crack itself is gone. I am curious if it went by itself, or if it was persuaded.
By Blake
Sep 26, 2007

I think that the big block fell off in a storm. We came back to after a small storm and the tree had fallen and the block was gone. The better question is where are the remnants of the block.
By Christopher Alakel
Oct 22, 2007

I seriously doubt that a “small storm” would be capable for dislodging that large block. I climbed P-Crack not more than a few weeks after it was lamentably pried off with a crowbar. There were what appeared to be pry marks left just above where the block was attached.

BTW: This is the editor’s overly PC revision/interpretation of my original comment (“lamentably”… please)
By Jon Hanlon
From: SLO
Nov 2, 2007
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I spoke to somebody who talked to the guy who pried the block off. Apparently the person thought he was doing everyone a favor.
By Christopher Alakel
Jan 2, 2008

Please, NO more tinkering with P-Crack!
It’s perfectly fine the way it is, no additional “improvements” necessary.

If someone has that big of a problem with the new hanging belay, they can belay from the ground. Use a 60m and a few long runners. I’ve done it this way several times, not a problem.
By Jon Hanlon
From: SLO
Jan 4, 2008
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Relocating the anchor would alter four established lines and would NOT be a good idea. It should be left alone.
By Rich Graziano
From: Atascadero, CA
Apr 27, 2008

Leave it all as it is. There's nothing problematic with the bolt anchor.
By Floyd Hayes
Mar 22, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

If climbing in two roped pitches, the first pitch felt more like easy class 5 (5.4?) than class 4 and is about 70' long, the second from the "hanging belay" is about 80'. It's a pity the first bolt of the crux is on the left side of the crack and so low, because it is easy to get a solid cam in the crack above the bolt, which obviates the need for the bolt; furthermore, the bolt would have been better placed well to the right of the crack to reduce the pendulum potential. The moves are there and may not be harder than 5.8, but they weren't all that obvious and it took me some time to figure out where they were, so it felt like 5.9 during my onsight lead. If rappelling from a 60 m (200 ft) rope, you can make it to the ground in a single rappel by rapping into the gully above and left of the base of the climb.
By John Knight
Jul 19, 2012
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

Re: "...crux traverse felt more like 5.9."

I discovered there are two ways to do the "crux traverse". The "high traverse" or the "low traverse".

To do the "high traverse", clip the 'bomber' 1/2" bolt, then step up the crack and place a red alien (or your cam of similar size) about 4' above the bolt. Then move right to grab the rail and do the traverse. You'll be well protected by your cam above the bolt but you will experience a harder "5.9-ish" crux. Once you make the traverse you should be standing at an easy spot to clip the 2nd bolt.

To do the slightly easier "low traverse", clip the 1/2" bolt at the top of the crack then immediately move right with the bolt about waist height. After making the traverse, you'll need to step up to clip the 2nd bolt. I think this variation feels more like 5.8.

Both of them are fun and both are reasonably protected by either a high cam or the first bolt.

Have fun doing P-Crack. I think it's the best lead & best climb at Bishop Peak.
By Nik Benko
From: Salt Lake City
Jan 8, 2014

Did this one for the first time the other day as one of my first few leads with gear and had a blast. However I think the "4th Class" approach to the belay anchors as described in the Slater guide is more than a little understated. I headed up it with my rope in my pack anticipating a fairly safe and easy scramble to the anchors but wound up scrambling to find holds pretty high up. I made it to the anchors alright but I don't know if advertising it as 4th class is a good idea. Was it a poor choice of mine to go up rock I hadn't climbed before unroped? Hell yeah it was. Is it do able by a bold climber who doesn't mind the exposure, sure. But I'd agree with Floyd and call it "easy fifth" and highly recommend bringing a large piece or two to protect the crack before the traverse over to the hanging belay. Overall the best route I've climbed on Bishops once you get to the belay.
By S. Elliott Johnson
Apr 26, 2016

There are nesting Canyon Wrens in P-Crack! Stay off this thing for a few months. They are beautiful birds that aren't that common around here so lets let them feel safe.

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