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Royal Arches
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Poker Face 

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

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 90'
Original:  YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
Page Views: 3,344
Submitted By: Colin Simon on Aug 31, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (18)
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Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


17 bolts to a 2-bolt anchor. Slab climbing the whole way on dime-sized edges with tiny crimps to help you balance. Well-protected slab training.


A few hundred feet east of the start of the Royal Arches route, in a small clearing. Roughly under the top of the 4th pitch of Royal Arches. Also check out Face Card (5.10c) just to the right.


17 draws, plus a couple for the anchor.

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By Alexey
From: San Jose
Sep 2, 2009

Are you sure about 17 bolts on 90 ft?- probably just seven?
By Tyler Williams
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 12, 2010

when I did it mid summer, the fixed slings at the anchor were full of mud and debris - looks like this route doesn't get done very often... which is too bad because it is an awesome route. the top half alternates between manky bolt/good bolt but luckily there are so many it doesn't really matter. crux down low getting off a stance but then sustained at 5.9-10a most of the rest of the way.
By Colin Simon
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 21, 2010

Alexey, I'm pretty sure it's 17 bolts now, but I heard it used to be 7. Definitely not spicy anymore.
By Sirius
From: Oakland, CA
Jan 20, 2012

17 bolts, that's confirmed as of this weekend. Looks like it was retro'd. First fifteen bolts are ridiculously close to one another - clipping while the last bolt is at your shoes. You can easily skip bolts.

Then the last two bolts to the anchor are a bit more run, still super safe, and probably more in keeping with how the line was first protected.

FA: Dan McDevitt et al. No idea on who added bolts, if bolts were truly added.
By Osprey Overhang
From: ...
Mar 7, 2012

FA: Dan McDevitt, Sue (Bonovich) McDevitt, 3/1986
By Christina Freschl
From: Berkeley, California
Feb 20, 2013

The anchor has also been extended to around 130ft. One 70m rope will make it to the ground.
By Kaleem Khwaja
From: Emeryville, California
May 29, 2013

I was wondering how the Reid guide could be so off about the route height; didn't realize the anchor had been extended. Luckily we brought the 70m, which just touched the ground with rope stretch.

From bolt 3 to 17 I don't think there's a single move that isn't 5.9-10a. What a great line!

I also highly recommend Aces and Eights (11b) next door, the crux lower half of which you can TR from Poker Face. Really nice bouldery crux at the first bolt.
By King Tut
From: Citrus Heights
May 20, 2016

This fine route was not retro-bolted in anyway to my knowledge as originally it was very tightly bolted. Their close nature is due to the continuous difficulty of the route and lack of comfortable stances for drilling. Falling off with a sharp drill in one hand and a hammer in the other is not fun and Dan and Sue did a great job given the nature of this pitch. Recommended.
By Colin Simon
From: Boulder, CO
May 21, 2016

King Tut, could you provide more information to backup the idea that it originally had 17 bolts? I heard otherwise. Not saying it isn't true, but I heard conflicting information. Would love to hear more.
By King Tut
From: Citrus Heights
Aug 20, 2016

Hey Colin, honestly I am not sure about the exact number of the original bolts but I climbed it a few weeks after the first ascent by Dan and Sue McDevitt (1986) and remember there were a lot of them, certainly far more than 7 and like easily 17 and its a long pitch. Never, ever run out except a bit to the anchors. If you climb the route and realize that it was all done ground up, the drilling stances are nearly non-existent, and you are standing on 5.9 micro chips and drilling with no next stance visible the close spacing makes sense. All of the bolts were drilled with the previous below one's feet IIRC.

It is also likely that some old bolts were replaced giving some the impression that it had bolts added.

Regardless, Dan McDevitt is your huckleberry and will gladly and openly discuss his route with you.

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