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YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 400'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R [details]
FA: FFA: Jim Orey, F. Van Overbeck 1972
Page Views: 7,788
Submitted By: Salamanizer suchoski on Mar 15, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (104)
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Simul-belaying two followers from top of second pi...

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


A definite step up from the Line. This route has beautiful crack systems, roofs, bulges, route finding and a short heady unprotected face section. The crux is pulling the exposed roof after the 5.6R section on the second pitch. After negociating the first pitch its a strait line to the top. Some wandering from right to left and back is required to find the best holds on the runnout section.


Just to the right of Fantasia and the left of East Crack. Ask someone, they'll point it out.


Cams 1-2ea .5"-3" Nuts 1set.

Photos of Scimitar Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Scimitar
Rock Climbing Photo: hiking the R section
hiking the R section
Rock Climbing Photo: Angela Climbering the first pitch
Angela Climbering the first pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: John leads the P2 runout and sews up the 5.9 bulge
John leads the P2 runout and sews up the 5.9 bulge
Rock Climbing Photo: Dow leading Pitch 2. He is at the 5.9 bulge in the...
Dow leading Pitch 2. He is at the 5.9 bulge in the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Dow leading Pitch 2. He is nearing the 5.9 bulge i...
Dow leading Pitch 2. He is nearing the 5.9 bulge i...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3. Good climbing, pretty sustained 5.8 with ...
Pitch 3. Good climbing, pretty sustained 5.8 with ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Party on Pitch 3
BETA PHOTO: Party on Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Dude working one of the crux moves on (I believe) ...
BETA PHOTO: Dude working one of the crux moves on (I believe) ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Emily Howland glides through the P1 crux - July 20...
Emily Howland glides through the P1 crux - July 20...
Rock Climbing Photo: Dana tops out on Scimitar - a really great route!
Dana tops out on Scimitar - a really great route!
Rock Climbing Photo: Final pitch of Scimitar.
Final pitch of Scimitar.

Comments on Scimitar Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 26, 2017
By Jonathan Howland
Sep 20, 2006

A far better route than its relative lack-of-traffic would indicate. Have seen parties stacked up at the base of Bear's R. and The Line when Scimitar was wide-open, and it doesn't head/devolve into the traffic of formerly-bushy ledge like so many other nearby E. Wall routes. "Better route": varied, relatively continuous but mostly easy climbing; interesting gear placements/problems (but more than adequate gear); some typical LL route-finding conundrums that give you mindful pause.
One caveat: protect the .9 move on P2 (post-5.6 "run-out") carefully: a decent small cam in the crack as well as another better cam, or a nut, in the horizontal crack 3 feet left and just below this one-move crux.
By 426
Mar 10, 2007

A great route with some fantastic moves. I almost took a serious Birdman when I grabbed a bat behind a flake near the end of the 5.5 runout, so watch yerself...
By Michaeld916
From: Sacramento, CA
Jul 6, 2010

After the 5.6r towards the roof section is some loose rocks, watch out.
You can place some gear right after you start the second pitch, leaving it only about 15-20 feet of run out, Better than the 40ft. Very sustained 5.9. ****!!!
By fivefun
Jun 27, 2011

Fun climb! I found the step around on the 3rd pitch to be the crux.
By Gino DiSciullo
Jul 16, 2011

Attention on the second pitch regarding the loose block about 15-20 feet above the anchor that takes a #1-2 Camelot.

Given the runout section many climbers will be tempted to place a cam behind this 80 lb loose tooth, however over the last three climbing seasons the block has become notably less secure: it will Not protect a fall.

Ideally this block would be trundled and replaced with a bolt to make for a very safe climb.

Otherwise I believe Scimitar is the best climb on the wall.
By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Jul 18, 2011

Ideally any climber with any business on the route will know immediately that that block is crap and won't hold.

Trundeling the block and replacing it with a BOLT is NOT the IDEAL solution.

Besides, I don't remember ever placing pro until at the roof. The runnout is a one move wonder 5.6. Why does that need to be protected? The route is 5.9, any 5.9 climber should be able to float a 5.6. This ain't a gym people.
By Branden916 Lawson
Jul 30, 2011

A decent route which is slightly runout in the easy sections(5.6) with good pro at all the cruxes. As for the gear goes a single to #2 Camalot and a set of nuts is about all you need, definitely leave the #3 & #4 that people recommend on the ground.

P.S Do not replace the loose block with a bolt..WTF are you thinking.
By charlie labrie
Jul 31, 2011

this route should be a 5.9R
By Aron Quiter
From: Oakland, CA
Aug 19, 2011

I haven't climbed this, do others agree with Charlie's R rating?
By Josh Cameron
From: California in my Mind
Oct 26, 2011

My favorite part of this climb is the crack after the 5.6 runout on the second pitch and the initial corner on the third pitch. Regarding the block, my opinion (for what its worth) is to trundle the block and be done at that. No need for a bolt. But maybe we could put up some plastic bucket holds (ala climbing gym) to make the runout more manageable ;>
By Bill Kelly
From: Lake Tahoe
Oct 31, 2011

"do others agree with Charlie's R rating?"

How about 5.9/5.5R? ;)
By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Jul 11, 2012

I would go along with an R rating, though I judge it PG13. Skip the derision--I second Mr. DiSciullo's ideas of dropping that block and setting a bolt. Better my belayer had been safer. It is runout right off the usual belay station or the bolt would be redundant.

Depends on your definitions of Runnout. I remember the first time I climbed the route as an unconfident noob. I thought it was a little spicy and definitely had the feeling that you didn't want to take that fall, but never really felt like it was dangerous or that I needed gear to get past it. The climbing is a one move wonder 5.6 and arguably that. Climbing is supposed to have a little uncertainty, spice and danger. It's what draws so many to it.

That block has been loose for decades. I guarantee the F.A. party didn't bother to place gear behind it because they were a competent party and anyone with any competence in climbing would know better. Now, you can't always protect the incompetent nor should you. If someone gets hurt placing gear behind a loose flake which pretty much no one else does, on a route that has been climbed in it's existing form for the past 43 years, does that responsibility fall on the shoulders of every other climber? The answer is NO! No one has the right to alter the characteristics of that long standing route because they felt "they" or "others" might not be quite up to it's challenges. That short, easy, unprotected section has been one of the routes defining character building characteristics since it was first lead in boots in 1969.

For these reasons among many others, a bolt wouldn't last one hour on this route.

Call it 5.9 (5.6-R)
By SirTobyThe3rd
Jul 15, 2012

That short, easy, unprotected section has been one of the routes defining character building characteristics since it was first lead in boots in 1969.


Not every climb has to be 'enjoyable' and safe. If you want it to be that, stay at the gym, or sport climb. If this climb is altered, it will take away from the experience.

5.9 5.6R is correct.
By ivo k
From: Sacramento, CA
Oct 15, 2012

I just climbed this wonderful route for my second time. I lead all 3 pitches.

If some one wants that is looking to improve their trad climbing skills (someone who can confidently climb 5.9) this is a good route. It has route finding at a moderate level, easy Runout to improve your head, but good pro in the difficult spots.

I hope nobody ever puts a bolt in the 5.6 R section on the second pitch.We should respect the original route design.
here you will gain experience for climbing R in other climbing areas.


By Patrick Mulligan
Aug 6, 2013

the second and third pitch can be combined (barely) with careful rope management with a 70M rope. This is IMHO the best long pitch on the wall.
By Logan Swartz
From: Davis, CA
Sep 9, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Free BD wiregate carabiner in the bushes I dropped from the second belay ledge.
By Nick_Cov
From: Truckee, CA
May 18, 2014

I was climbing Bear's Reach yesterday (5/17/14) and there was a party on Scimitar. We saw a girl following on P2 who accidentally pulled a HUGE block (~80 lbs). Thankfully everyone is okay and nobody was hurt. She looked about 20 feet above the belay so I think this may have been the loose block that everyone is talking about. I have not been on it since it was pulled so I cannot say for sure.
By Kunal Patel
Jun 29, 2014

I just climbed this route today...did not see any loose block on the 2nd pitch off the belay...looks like its gone from that rock fall last month...Great Climb!
By bone dry cappuccino
Jul 7, 2014

Could someone confirm, after the loose block is gone, the runout section is still 5.6? or what is the grade you think it feel like now? Thanks.
By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Jul 7, 2014

The block did nothing to affect the grade. Most people never even touched the thing in the prior 45 years it was sitting there obviously loose.

The runnout is still 5.6 and quite trivial for anyone with any business being on a 5.9 route.
By Angie C
From: Seattle, Wa
Sep 7, 2014

Yes, a block fell out in the middle of the 5.6 runout. You can see where it fell because the rock is white there and there is dirt right below it. I disagree with the gentleman above who thinks it is still 5.6. I would say a definite 5.7 move in the middle of 5.6 run out now with that block missing. You will know when you find the spot where the block fell because you will spend a while trying to figure out where the easy 5.6 move is supposed to be.

I find that on mountain project there are a couple of local veteran climbers who like to trivialize climbs that are below their personal average grade and somewhat sandbag mtn project readers in order to make their egos feel better. Yes, we get it. You are suuuuch a great climber! Now can we move on to giving real beta and not being so braggy/grumpy?

Being a solid 5.9 climber on a route that protects well is very different from climbing a 5.6 (or 5.7) runout. Some people find runout challenging even at lower grades, and those comments trivializing it or dismissing what some might think are hard psychological moves because of the runout, do nothing to help people trying to get actual beta. It's just you trying to show off.
By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Sep 8, 2014

There are others who upstage routes (as opposed to down grade them) to put a band aid on their bruised egos as well.

Now, I've climbed this route a dozen times with a dozen different partners.
One thing I've nailed down for sure is there are three ways to negotiate the R section. Left, Right and Center.

Left is exposed and steep. The traverse is easy but getting there puts the pucker on. And you're directly over your belayer. Don't get suckered into the bolt further out left. That's for The Last Sandwich. Still only 5.6 moves.

Center is where the block fell out. It makes the reach to the good hold about a foot longer. If you're short, it could make the move potentially much harder than 5.7 even. I thought it was a stretch and I'm 5'11". I see a lot of people try to go this way. It is NOT the easiest option. Never has been. Though it is the most DIRECT way.

The Right way is the "Right" way IMO. Get it? ;)
Yes, the traverse over there is spooky off the anchor because you feel like you're way out there, but you'll thank yourself when you move up and all the holds are big scoops all the way to the roof.

Being a solid 5.9 climber on a route that protects well is very different from climbing a 5.6 (or 5.7) runout. Some people find runout challenging even at lower grades, and those comments trivializing it or dismissing what some might think are hard psychological moves because of the runout, do nothing to help people trying to get actual beta. It's just you trying to show off.

I think that pretty much goes for everyone, no matter your abilities. Climbing a route that is near to at your limit for you and R rated is insaine. Theres as fine a line between Boldness and Cowardess as there is between Prudence and Stupidity.
But at the same time, the grade still remains the same. Regardless whether you're free soloing or top roping.
By wurstertx
Sep 18, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R

Climbed this route around 5 years ago and again last week. Led the second pitch both times and do not recall any difficulties from the first time. This time - I noticed the fresh rock scar where something large had apparently come off but was not greatly concerned until I climbed up to this position. I did not see an easy route up and can only assume that I perhaps stood on this block to gain the positive holds that I could see above. I am 5' 5" and agree with Salamanizer that this is now much harder than 5.6 ( I did not try it) for shorter climbers. I felt comfortable to down climb to the belay from where I was - but decided to "wander" around some to see if I could find a comfortable passage.

I apparently completely missed the "easiest going right" route described by Salamanizer and ended up well (10- 15') right of the vertical crack/roof that I knew was on route above. I did however find a solid looking fixed LA that I clipped and headed straight up and left from there. I was looking hard and completely missed the easy 5.6 route right as some moves I made the way I went were certainly above 5.6 (IMHO)

So - I would call the route overall 5.9 R as unless you know exactly where you are going or are 6' tall (follow the rock scar) - you could find yourself run out on moves above 5.6. Maybe best to follow second pitch first time to see how it goes.

This route was fun but obviously much less traveled than the trade routes at LL. Lichen, brush and even a large delicate looking blooming plant right below the second belay! If it was lower on the pitch - I would have slung it!

Be careful out there...
By tahoemnts Schroeder
From: Truckee, California
Oct 12, 2014

Climbed this yesterday when all the other climbs had a line at the base. I agree it's a step up from the Line for sure. And yes it's 5.9R undoubtedly. You need to be comfortable with 40-50 runout w/o protection. The guide calls the runout 5.6...I suppose so, but it seemed a bit more of a challenge than 5.6..but probably just cause it's run out with no pro.

Great challenges on every pitch. You want to be solid 5.9 before leading this climb. We did this after Hospital Corner which as a whole, I thought Scimitar was more difficult in its entirety. Hospital Corner may be a bit more vertical...but its gear is clean and obvious...not so on Scimitar.

Adventure climb and some loose rock. There's a rock on the 5.6 run out that someone needs to toss off when it's clear below otherwise it's gonna fall eventually.

I went right from anchor about 15 ft, then up the dikes and right to the 5.9 crack. I never read any of this beta prior to the climb since it was a last second decision :)
By mac345
From: Reno, Nv
Apr 27, 2015

it always seems like this is the first route i always do at the leap cause everywhere else is packed with peeps. This route is simply amazing, if you can comfortably lead the first the second will go down easily, just keep your head on and if you look a little to the left there is an opportunity for an blue bd nut in a small flake to the left of the direction of travel on the runnout, but still runout no matter what you do, im 5.6 and believe still its 5.6, but def 5.6R. Also on the third pitch stay through the roofs and dont move on to the arete it adds some beautiful roof moves, and you will love it.
By cdavey
Jun 1, 2015

This route is the jam! The pitches just kept getting better and better. Quality stuff.
By James Cranston
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 30, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R

These moves definitely felt like 5.9. You can be sporty up some of the roof sections (like on p2) but otherwise I remember definitely throwing a fist jam and finger lock here and there. FYI, at the second belay before p3 we got there and someone took a shit on the bush, coloring the rock (near holds!) underneath it. Don't take a shit on the bush and leave toilet paper there, even if the previous pitch is a bit heady!

Speaking of heady, I belayed my leader up like 30-40 feet of dike climbing on p2 before he was able to place any gear. The topo says 5.6 but I think that depends on how you choose to go up it... my climbing partner said that what he did felt harder than 5.6, so just be careful, because you do not want to slip

On p3, after leaving the dihedral system and getting up the first roof, go left and avoid the second roof move up the corner for much easier climbing which still also feels around the 5.9 range.
By Michael Dom
From: Seattle
Oct 3, 2016

The guide book recommends the easy escape out right on the last pitch. Don't do it! Instead, break out left after the first roof and climb the corner to a slab out left. from there you will get to lieback over the slab and enjoy some serious air and exposure! Don't fall though or you will hit the slab. This tops you out next to a tree. Belay off of it and ponder just how much fun you had.
By John Robinson
From: Elk Grove, ca
Oct 21, 2016

On the first pitch, about 2/3 of the way up there are two "overlapping" options. I suggest taking the left option. It may look harder but it is more direct and your pro has less chance of pulling out when you get above it.
By Josh Lowy
From: Sacramento, CA
Aug 26, 2017
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Had an adventure (more for the worse) on this route yesterday. Will most likely add another star to my rating after I go repeat it in the future. Thought provoking crack climbing with (for me) a slap in the face of route finding.
Hopped on thinking we were on Bear's Reach and decided to just go with it halfway up P1. The runout is never harder than 5.6, I agree the route goes at 5.9/5.6 R. I got seriously lost in the runout section because I didn't check any guides, ended up clipping the bolt then the anchor further left and wandering around and downclimbing, only to lower off the anchor back to the P1 belay.
After resetting and checking resources I found my way up to the crack which provides plenty of options for good pro. The rest of the climb was still thought provoking and I'd bet because of earlier I always questioned whether I was on route or not.

Because of how much the grade and runout are discussed in the comments here, I think the "R" rating should be removed. No section of the route is 5.9 R and it scares away anyone redpointing around that grade.

The climb provides good crack climbing, interesting dyke face climbing, and a couple bouldery crux moves. 100% worthwhile, says a guy who had a bad day on the route.

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