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The Old Woman - West Face
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Route 499 

YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 90'
Original:  YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,897
Submitted By: Tony B on Apr 14, 2001

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BETA PHOTO: The Old Woman - West Face


This is a fun and hard route that will prepare you for using all of those J-tree friction holds that you would not think could keep you on. The crux is relatively short and the climb may be a little easy at the given grade, at least if you TR it. In the attached picture, the line is essentially where the climber is rapping off.

Approach and begin climbing as for Double Cross. When Double-Cross moves up and left, Route 499 moves out right to a set of seams just above a dark bulge. These opening moves where the line separates are relatively easy (5.8) and I suppose more than one non-vigilant leader has been mistakenly sucked onto the wrong line. I would not want to lead this line though, as the climbing gets more difficult and insecure as the route progresses, and protection is not be available. Climb the seam to its top, about 45' off of the start, and comtinue straight up on the face above, past a horizontal and onward through a few more short seams, just to the right of a dark section of rock. This is the crux of the route. Crimp, smear and sidepull. From the crux, head up through a shallow concave feature to the ledge/belay as shared with Double Cross.

To descend, rap from the anchors above the route.

Side-note: I tried this right after applying sunscreen on a hot sunny day and got to a crux climp that just would not stick, as my sweaty-oily hands baked and slipped each time. The rock was so good and the friction was so high (with the exception of on my hands) that I got the crux with a contortionist-looking toe-hook to the right, in front of my face, which held me for a dead-point! An subsequent ascent on my next trip to J-tree made this feel much better, however, WITHOUT the sunscreen.


This climb is generally top-roped from the anchors above Double Cross. If you do this, PLEASE use runners and biners as necessary to not interfere with or wear out the anchors so that others can use them safely now and in the future.

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By Vernon Stiefel
Nov 29, 2003
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Does anyone know why there is only one bolt on this climb? This would be an engaging lead with one or two more bolts. The hardest moves are currently unprotectable.
By C Miller
From: CA
Nov 30, 2003
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Originally an aid route that was later freed on TR then lead (not sure who lead it first but it's been led a number of times). True, it would be a better (and safer) lead with another bolt or two but it has been done the way it is. That said the people I know who've led it wouldn't care either way. Ultimately it is probably fine as it is - a good TR after doing Double Cross or some other route nearby.
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Apr 23, 2004
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Engaging, delicate and balancy. Crux is well above the solitary bolt, which would make it an "R"-rated lead.
By Adam Kimmerly
Aug 26, 2007
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R

A fantastic route with really fun movement. Lots of liebacking and balancy face moves. Would be a great lead if a bolt protected the crux. Currently, a fall from the crux would be an ankle breaker, as your last piece would be in a horizontal some 10-15' below the crux and right above a slabbier section.

I feel this may be a bit soft for the 11b grade and would propose that it felt closer to 10d, maybe 11a. But what do I know... I haven't led it (and won't have the cahones to do so unless another bolt appears on it)!
By Craig Randleman
From: Phoenix, AZ
Dec 7, 2009

Not sure but that crux section looks like it's had a lot of "shedding" going on. Anyone who climbed it a few years ago been on it recently? I'd be interested to know if the crux has gotten harder. As it is, I think it fits the rating pretty well - though I would never lead it with the protection available now.
By Blake Allen Green
Nov 2, 2010

TR'ed this route last January and it was pretty stout for someone not used to climbing on J Tree Granite. My friend attempted to lead it and fell at the crux twice. It wasn't the above mentioned ankle breaker, but he did have a pretty sore behind after slamming into the lower slab section. The pro in the horizontals is good, and if you get sketched on lead, you can always traverse left and finish on double cross.
By MisterCattell Cattell
From: South Lake Tahoe, Ca
Apr 4, 2016
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Anyone have any gear beta down low? I looked at it and did it on TR, but forgot to look for gear before the crux. It looks small but definitely could have the potential for some pro.
By Kevin Kent
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 1, 2017

Tried to onsight this; peeled off in the worst possible part. Gear I had in the thin seam between the big horizontals blew but I was none the worse for wear.

Was thinking a lost arrow might be able to be placed on lead in the top of the seam to protect the crux better. Is this a big no-no in JTree?

Toproped the crux after, felt like very solid 5.11. Bring lots of small cams, like blue and purple master cams.
By Russ Walling
Feb 1, 2017

Was thinking a lost arrow might be able to be placed on lead in the top of the seam to protect the crux better. Is this a big no-no in JTree?

Since it has been led (presumably) with passive pro, adding pins at this late date would be a no-no, regardless of whether they are placed on lead or not.

Just wait a few years and thing will probably sprout bolts. Seems that is the way things are going down here.

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