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The Blob - Southeast Face
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Papa Woolsey 

YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 60'
Original:  YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Mark Powell, 1972
Page Views: 4,583
Submitted By: C Miller on Jun 20, 2002

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No-hands rest. Photo: Tim Shaffer


Well protected climbing at an accessible grade with a location front and center in Hidden Valley Campground means this is one popular route.

Edge and smear your way up the somewhat slippery face and don't forget gear for the belay. An easy downclimb exists to the left down a chimney.


Just left of Mama Woolsey on a smooth apron of rock.


6 bolts (3/8"), pro to 2.5" for anchors

Photos of Papa Woolsey Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The Blob - Southeast Face
BETA PHOTO: The Blob - Southeast Face
Rock Climbing Photo: Having fun on Papa Woolsey
Having fun on Papa Woolsey
Rock Climbing Photo: "Papa Woolsey", 1980. Photo by Blitzo.
"Papa Woolsey", 1980. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris-a-crimpin' on Papa Woolsey.
BETA PHOTO: Chris-a-crimpin' on Papa Woolsey.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ron Olsen making the thin crux move past the first...
Ron Olsen making the thin crux move past the first...
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown Climber nears the top of Papa Woolsey.  Ph...
Unknown Climber nears the top of Papa Woolsey. Ph...

Comments on Papa Woolsey Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 13, 2017
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Dec 7, 2002

Bring a small selection of gear for the anchor. The walk-off to the west involves some exposed downclimbing that beginners will not enjoy. Perhaps better to lower them from atop the route instead.
By Jamie Silliman
From: Wilton, CA
Apr 14, 2003

The climb's a classic. Crux is at the top, I thought. Beautiful position. Getting off is another story. Downclimbing to the West looked too heinous (chimneying) to me. I headed to the entire opposite end of the rock and there's a horn there to rap on on the right side, off the East side as you're facing the back of the rock. Two raps with a single rope. It was an okay rappel. Not too hard a pull. We left a sling and a rap ring on the lower ledge. Some Josh rats hollered up that I could traverse a ledge system on the East side where I rapped, but it looked way exposed, though may be possible.
By Caroline
Dec 5, 2004
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

We scrambled over the top and descended via "The Bong" descent route, which involves some tricky downclimbing.
By The Gray Tradster
Dec 22, 2004
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Can still do it so it's not C or better. It is more difficult than it used to be though, polished.
By Trevor Roberson
From: Oxnard, California
Mar 27, 2005
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Climbed this last weekend. Great route and good bolt placements except for the 5th bolt. You may be standing on that big ol' knob but if your 5'7" or under could be an interesting clip. I'm almost 5'8" and I had to do a half move using that left hand crimp and stand on my tip toes just to barely clip the darn thing! And with your last bolt a good 6 ft under you..... Yee ha! Whoever bolted that one had to be 6 foot! For me the crux was the orange rib at the 3rd bolt going to the 4th. Took me 2 tries to fire it. Next time I think a could cruise the whole thing whithout hangdogging! There was a lot of slings rapped around the chock stone near mama woolsey that we rapped off of. Be carefull, the angle wants to pitch you into the chimmney on the right or just descend over by the bong down all the chicken heads (a little exposed but pretty easy). You can see the descent from the function boulder (big square boulder with an old bolt ladder near campsite 26?)
By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Jun 19, 2005
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Due to the fact that this thing is polished I am going with 5.10c...I did it last week and it certainly has some really cool moves. Especially up a ways going over the bulge...........and the down climb is not that bad via the chimney to the west I think..............the one aimed away from the campground..........there are fixed slings around a boulder currently... but kind of crunchy and I did not use them..........
By Woody Stark
Nov 22, 2005
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

This route continues to evolve. It's greasier that the last time I climbed it about three years ago. I'll call it a 10C now.
By tony grice
Feb 13, 2006

A classic intro to the grade. Hang doggers delight. The walk off will get ya before the route will.
By Blitzo
Sep 23, 2006

This route has gotten harder over the years.
By Kellen Holt
Nov 3, 2006
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Thought the crux of this route was between bolts 1 and 2. After that the angle eases a very tad, and then once you hit the big basketball sized knob (great rest), the features and movements are a little more defined. Putting a bolt anchor at the top will always be a heated debate, but always bring a few hand sized cams to build a natural one in the perfect crack at the top. Easiest retreat is going back towards the bong and doing the walkoff back there.
By ChugachMan
Nov 6, 2006

As for the anchor, you should be fine with just a standard set of nuts, no need to bring anything more if you're confident in setting passive pro.
By Adam Kimmerly
Sep 10, 2007

Well, someone decided to add a "permanent" anchor that I've never seen before. It consists of a long piece of steel cable wrapped around a boulder where people frequently rap from slings atop Papa Woolsey. About 20 feet of cable are slung around a boulder and secured with multiple screwdriver-tightened crimps. Two aluminum rap rings provide a place to put your rope. It's a decent idea, I guess, but there was far more cable up there than would be necessary and it really looks bad. On top of that, the crappy aluminum rap rings were used and the security of the cable connectors is hard to evaluate.

I kind of like this cable-sling idea for "permanent" rap slings as opposed to nylon slings if it were done right. But in this case it has been done poorly and looks bad. I didn't trust the mess and just did the walk-off.

Traversing past the chimney to the slab may be easier for some than downclimbing the wide crack. I honestly don't think either one is really very hard.
By C Miller
From: CA
Sep 10, 2007
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Don't expect the new anchor to be there for long...
By Adam Kimmerly
Sep 10, 2007

I don't! Thanks to whomever cleans the mess up.

If you go to do it, bring a mid-sized flat & phillips head screwdriver and/or cable cutters. The cable is approximately 1/4" diameter (not that large) and should be easy to cut.
By Charles I.
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 5, 2007

The cables are not there anymore. Further, the chimney decent off the back next to Buisonier (climbers left) was not that bad at all, plenty of holds in there. Took about 2 minutes to get back to my shoes. Route was challenging at the bottom and pretty slick.
By Ryan Kelly
From: work.
Nov 14, 2007

Yeah it's gone, got rid of it a couple weeks ago. Two Crescent wrenches took care of it just fine. Wish I took a picture to show what it looked like while strung up; it doesn't look near as bad in the picture:


Any news on when the escalator is getting installed?
By Drew Peterson
Jan 17, 2009
rating: 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

I'm going to be the guy to introduce a "d" at the end of 5.10. It's thin. It's slick. It's a lot of fun. But yea... 5.10c/d.
By Shipp
From: laguna beach, ca
Mar 5, 2009
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

This climb is such a classic slab route. The edges haven't changed in 30 years. Depending on the time of year and the traffic, the rating will vary from a hard 10a to 10c (depends on the grease). I did it the othe day and it was a hard 10a. Well protected.
By Tim Schafstall
Mar 27, 2009

Gotta agree with atthecrux. The crux was no problem, but clipping that bolt off the horn was a bitch. I'm 5'7 and some change with a + ape index and also had to to the move off the horn before (barely) being able to clip the bolt.

Great climb though.
By tallmark515
From: San Francisco
Nov 30, 2009
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Greasy and thin at crux between bolt 1 & 2. A hard move on a quality campground route.
By Cory Harelson
From: Boise, ID
Dec 3, 2009
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Very fun route, and very well bolted. The closeness of the bolts should give you courage to go for it. The two cruxes for me were passing the second bolt, and leaving the large rest stance at the 2nd to last bolt.
By Colonel Mustard
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 11, 2011

If this is 10C, what do we do with C.S. Special - also a 10B - which is easily a letter grade harder? Did I send a 10D slab? The simple answer is to just consider 10 slab hard.
By Jim Dover
From: Idyllwild, CA
Mar 28, 2012

I found the crux to be at the start--possibly due to too many people shedding too much rubber trying to get up the thing on toprope just before us. Up high it didn't seem near as difficult. Nice climb.
By DesertRat
Sep 3, 2014

I agree that the crux is between bolts 3 & 4, or at least it was for me. It is also cruxy between 2 & 3 and a little heady above the last bolt as you make the last few moves to easier terrain.

I used a #1, #2 & #3 for an anchor at the top.
By Tradiban
Feb 11, 2016
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

I didn't find this polished or 10c. 10b at the worst or work on your slab skills.
By Carla R
From: San Jose, CA
Feb 13, 2017

Felt like a solid 10b. After the last bolt you still gotta keep your head on because there aren't many features at the top and it's a ways to the anchor.

The crux for me was between the 2/3 bolt, super slippery. then at the big jug/knob it was really heady to reach that bolt... overall I really enjoyed this climb! The downclimb felt sketchier to me.

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