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Pony Express 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 170'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: 1st P: Dick Long, 2nd: Gene Drake, Jim Hicks
Page Views: 6,531
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Mar 8, 2005

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (144)
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Beautiful panoramic shot highlights the west side ...


Pony Express is a great way to start the day.

The first pitch (5.8) is worthy of 3 stars, a lieback flake for a ways then it turns into a left-facing open book.

The second pitch only deserves 1 star... continue up from the belay on easy climbing for ~20 feet then use a wide crack in the gully to pull a bulge (5.9). After the crux its 3rd class to the top.

Finding Pony Express is quite simple too. It starts in the middle of a clean face on a very obvious flake - the only one in the vicinity.


Up to 3 inches, there are bolts atop the first pitch, and plenty of huge boulders to sling atop the second.

Walk off to the north.

Photos of Pony Express Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch of Pony Express (5.8) at sunset
BETA PHOTO: First pitch of Pony Express (5.8) at sunset
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike Dahlquist rides the first pitch of Pony Expre...
Mike Dahlquist rides the first pitch of Pony Expre...
Rock Climbing Photo: loose flake. wehn she climbed it seemed as just th...
BETA PHOTO: loose flake. wehn she climbed it seemed as just th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pony Up
Pony Up
Rock Climbing Photo: Perfect spring day for Pony Express
Perfect spring day for Pony Express
Rock Climbing Photo: Paul making a big layback move. Is it really this ...
Paul making a big layback move. Is it really this ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Laybacking to surmount the step in the upper corne...
Laybacking to surmount the step in the upper corne...
Rock Climbing Photo: The corner above the first ledge.
The corner above the first ledge.
Rock Climbing Photo: There are frequent big rests.
There are frequent big rests.

Comments on Pony Express Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 21, 2015
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Feb 19, 2008

Fun handcrack. Would be a great warmup but it's on the shady side of the Loaf in the am. Brr!!

It's worth toproping the .11b to the left from the bolted anchor if you're so inclined. thin edging fun.
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Feb 28, 2009

If just climbing the first pitch, a singe rope is sufficient to get you back down. Somewhere around 80' or so.
By tallmark515
From: San Francisco
Mar 31, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

More like 5.8 (Supertopo rating)

Crux consists of a few 5.8 lieback moves. Great gear.

I used the anchor out to the right on the face. To spice up the route, bypass the bulge and go out and right directly onto the face (direct to anchor), no gear for ~8 ft or so and maybe a 5.9 move or two.
By Blitzo
Aug 24, 2010

The first pitch is classic.
By Colonel Mustard
From: Sacramento, CA
Mar 14, 2011

The second pitch isn't classic by any means, but it is still fun. Your experience probably won't be tainted unless your psyche crumbles at the thought of touching 2 star terrain. A #4 gnu skewl camalot is recommended.
By Josh Cameron
From: California in my Mind
Jul 17, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

First pitch starts out at 5.7, has a distinct 5.8 section (perfect for a #1 C4) and finishes with 5.6 liebacking. The second pitch is 5.9.
By Floyd Hayes
Aug 15, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Pitch 2 has a committing 5.9 lieback section about 10' long protected by big #4 and #5 BD cams, followed by a rest on a ledge and then another 15' or so of 5.7 crack. Don't underestimate the "5.9 move to 3rd class" described in the SuperTopo guide.
By Tapawingo Markey
Nov 27, 2012

Pitch 2 was an awesome awkward wide crack,a #3 fits just off the deck and a #4 BD fits perfectly about halfway up. Don't let all the haters deter you, it was a fun grovel past the bulge with some fists and chicken winging tossed in the mix.
By Court
Nov 4, 2013

warning-the large flake on the left near the bottom of the route is very loose. i added a photo showing it. not sure if it was just the top half that wobbles or if it was the entire flake. either way it's huge
By Paul Zander
From: Neuchatel, CH
Dec 23, 2013

Perfect first 5.8 trad lead for me because the gear is great, and most of it can be placed from rests. To really sew it up bring lots of BD 1 and .75s
By Logan Swartz
From: Davis, CA
Oct 19, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

#4s protect second pitch crux. If you can climb the first pitch you can climb the second. You can pretty much stem through it. Don't really need any off width technique.
By Colin Brochard
From: San Francisco
Jan 19, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Good fun, I reckon 5.7-8 is more appropriate given the difficulty of some other 5.9s in the area.
By Manny Segovia
From: Sacramento, California
Mar 21, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I can only think of 1 5.8 crux above the second ledge, the rest of the first pitch(the only one I did) seemed a bit easier. overall an awesome lieback with cool views.

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