REI Community
Mental Block
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Barndoor Layback 
Contrived Crimpers 
Face Full Of Greens AKA Fist Full Of Greens 
Face Full of Knees 
Mental Block Traverse 
Mental Standard 
Mental X 
Pinch Overhang 
Standard Lock 
Tiger Face 

Pinch Overhang 

Hueco: V5 Font: 6C

Type:  Boulder
Original:  Hueco: V5 Font: 6C [details]
FA: John Gill
Page Views: 9,618
Submitted By: Mike Sofranko on Aug 24, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (36)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
That wild mantle.


Just so you don't get the wrong idea, I haven't climbed this route. I don't even want to climb this route. Maybe someday I'll rig a toprope, but I doubt it.

The most famous route at Rotary Park, yet climbed by relatively few. This problem is on the west face of the Mental Block. The horrific sloping topout is easily visible to the north of the main Rotary Park area. New improved trails lead to all the major rocks at Rotary Park.

The pinch hold is obvious when you're there. Grip it with your right hand, a slight lieback may help. I just grip the pinch hold and jump to the lip and slap the sloper. Harder folks will want to get their feet on the rock before doing the dyno to the lip - this is more difficult, and infinitely better style. Now that you're hanging from the sloper with your left hand, get your right hand up there - you need to control your swing, but you knew that.

This is the point at which I drop back to the ground and sulk back to the Eliminator Boulder.

To finish the problem, mantle. Or die. You can move your hands up to the next hold, do a super high step, and rock up. Or, just press the mantle out with no feet. It looks easier if you go right a bit, but purists will probably accuse you of cheating. After 'completing' this problem, you'll either walk proudly back to your car, or be carried to a waiting ambulance on a stretcher.

It's easy to bail from the lip, as there is a small flat spot between ankle/leg/cranium breaking boulders directly below. It isn't too hard to gradually work up to the dyno to the lip - to get a feel for things and figure out your tragectory and how to land in the above mentioned flat spot should you not make it. However, to complete the problem requires maximum commitment for the highly technical mantle. Failure will result in a train wreck of a fall. Good luck.


Crash pads, king-sized mattresses, large and strong spotters who like you

Photos of Pinch Overhang Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Ian Dory cruising Pinch Overhang in mediocre weath...
Ian Dory cruising Pinch Overhang in mediocre weath...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sticking the mantel on Pinch Overhang, 5/15/16.
Sticking the mantel on Pinch Overhang, 5/15/16.
Rock Climbing Photo: Going left hand.
Going left hand.
Rock Climbing Photo: Kyle McFarland sticking the sloper on Pinch Overha...
Kyle McFarland sticking the sloper on Pinch Overha...
Rock Climbing Photo: Kyle McFarland on Pinch Overhang at the Horestooth...
Kyle McFarland on Pinch Overhang at the Horestooth...
Rock Climbing Photo: Zac Thomas throwing for it.  Did he make it?  Yes ...
Zac Thomas throwing for it. Did he make it? Yes ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Hardcore posing on the Pinch Overhang.
Hardcore posing on the Pinch Overhang.

Comments on Pinch Overhang Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 22, 2013
By Jesse Ryan
Aug 25, 2001
rating: V5+ 6C+

I'll fess up. I toproped it. I pulled the slap via the jump start off the block. I used feet above and out to the right to mantle. Lastly, the mantle was scary on toprope -- staring straight down the problem as I pressed it out. I shiver runs down my spine thinking of the mantle without a toprope.
By Peter Franzen
General Admin
From: Phoenix, AZ
Dec 10, 2001

I worked on this problem last time I was up at Horsetooth and scared myself silly with the mantle. I had 4 crashpads and 3 good spotters under me and I still backed off every time. The landing isn't total death, but when faced with a no-holds sloping mantle 10 feet above the sloping ground, it takes some serious determination to keep going.

On a lighter note- the one move from the pinch to the slopers before the mantle is really cool!
By Adam Holmes
Mar 21, 2002

Great variation is to start on Pinch with your right hand.Pull onto the rock and traverse left into Standard, topout on standard (V6 or V7 slightly reach dependent).
By andrew yake
May 19, 2003

Fun problem be sure to bump your foot over when you get the side pull
By Adam Holmes
Nov 4, 2003

Someone's used glue on this problem. I'm not anti-glue but the section of rock glued is not even a part used to do the problem. The glue does not reinforce any hand or footholds. It's 100% completely unneccessary. Why deface one of the most famous boulder problems in America???
By Nick W.
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jul 13, 2007
rating: V5 6C

Awesome problem, definitely one of the best at Rotary. Although scary, it is relatively safe with two medium-sized crashpads placed appropriately and a strong spotter that you trust. My partner fell from a high heel hook with his hips above the lip, came down totally sideways and was fine with just the two pads and a spot. Don't let the intimidation of the problem keep you away like it did me for so long, it is a great problem that should be done more often.
By Jordan A.
Oct 11, 2007
rating: V5 6C

Awesome problem. Too bad someone yanked the jutting rocks at the base of this even after repeated attempts to replace them. Aside from erosion issues, and though the moves remain ultra classic, I can't help but think some of its character and "mental" reputation have also been "gardened" along with the landing. That said, I'm sure the new, flat landing won't deter many climbers from giving this problem the attention it truly deserves regardless of landing.
From: broomdigiddy
Aug 22, 2008

Super sweet problem.

4 pads and this problem is close to a gym problem. A good spotter or two and you should have the noggin to rock out the mantel. I have pitched back first numberous time before completing the problem and have not been faced with death :)
It is possible to mess your self up so stack your padz right.

Don't give up on this problem. The day you finally rock that mantel over is quiet an uplifting experience.
By Jared LaVacque
From: Anchorage/Grand Junction
Dec 23, 2008
rating: V7 7A+

Last time I checked, this problem was a V6.
By tcamillieri
From: Denver
Apr 12, 2009
rating: V7+ 7A+ PG13

I'm not sure if "Gill Starting" should really count here. In my opinion, the climber must bring him or herself to the starting moves under one's own power. Jumping from the ground does not qualify as the "lowest start" ascent of the problem, it is impeccably poor style in my opinion and should be done away with whenever possible. If a climber does a "Gill started" problem without jumping, I believe it is a much harder problem, and the "Gill started" climb should be subsumed into the lower more difficult start. Of course you're always free to do anything you want climbing, but I think the Gill Start should be considered a "variation." That said, I have done the problem under my own ethical guidelines (no top-rope of course) and consider it to be much harder than V5 (or V5-) for that matter. My own suggestion V7+ to even V8. I would like to see that poster revise the grade for this problem. Reactions?
By Buster Jesik
Apr 29, 2009
rating: V5 6C

Let's not get carried away here, the static start could very well be a V7 (I don't know because I'm not a V7 climber) but the problem as established is an old school V5. Once you figure it out it can feel even easier than the V4s next door. Inflating the grade on a historic problem because it's "better style" to contrive a harder way of getting 3 feet off the ground so one can have a more impressive V-number on their tick list seems ridiculous to me. Climb it with one hand tied behind your back and call it V17 for all I care, it's still V5!
By Andrew Vojslavek
May 2, 2009


First... You are super strong, thanks for the spray! Perhaps you should focus more energy on flashing bouldering league number 6 and less time chuffing on this website.

Whereas it maybe more difficult, you must... go to the Black Hills and do the low start to The Thimble. Keep in mind you must wear hiking boots, and short denim shorts.


Can we climb at Newlin soon?
By tcamillieri
From: Denver
May 2, 2009
rating: V7+ 7A+ PG13

Thanks for your comment. I do believe that you are wrong though. The "tradition" in climbing has been for climbers who are more capable to do lower starts to classically established problems often subsuming the "older" (and hence more "historic") line into the new and lower one. In general, I consider it bad style to jump onto a problem, one can consider it "more contrived" to jump start as well, than doing a lower start that doesn't use part of the boulder for a climb. Perhaps this is similar to using a tree to climb a boulder... I think it taints the line. The historicity of the problem is irrelevant for assigning a V-grade, and I don't believe that the low start is more contrived then rock climbing itself, in fact I think the jump start is more contrived. That said, I believe the problem is MORE classic with the dyno. The grade is irrelevant to me.

You bring the shorts. And its been three weeks in a row that I've flashed number six. Maybe you guys just set soft.
By Joshua Merriam
From: Boulder, CO
May 18, 2009
rating: V7+ 7A+ PG13

The first time I went to Rotary, I was disappointed to find that the Pinch overhang started with a jump (same for the Right eliminator problems). I was not satisfied that I had done the problem until I established on the wall with both feet statically, before reaching for the lip.

The problem has a famous history, but has been done in better style since. Therefore I believe the proper Pinch overhang to be V7, and the jump start (Gill) version to be V5. There also looks to be a lower possible start, 1 maybe 2 moves below the pinch.. something harder.
By John Long
Jul 25, 2010

I first went here in 1976 (I think) with John Bachar, and we walked around with Mark Wilford and did all the problems. Never used a rope on anything - no pads, either. The rock at the bottom of the Pinch was sort of wicked, but we were good at mantles, so I never even thought about pressing it out. I thought the Right Eliminator, Borgman's Bulge and Talent Scout Roof were the hard ones, but the Pinch and Left Eliminator were the most fun.

Rock Climbing Photo: Pinch2.
By AWinters
From: NH
Apr 22, 2013

I don't get all the "scary mantle hype". It's really not bad, this is bouldering.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About