REI Community
Mosaic Rock
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Baby Cakes T 
Better Red Than Dead T 
Bienvenidos T 
Black Streak T 
Chicken Heads T 
Chicken Shit T 
Clean Green Dream T 
Cryin' in the Rain T 
Dirty Black Nightmare T 
Dirty Diagonal T 
Dung Alley T 
Fine Little Line S 
Five Years After T 
Fried Chickens T 
Holthouse to Hell T 
Jug or Not S 
Mama Jugs T 
Ocho Diamentes (Tech-No-Star) S 
Rite of Summer Dreams T 
Seaman Girl T 
Serpent Face T 
Serpentine Crack T 
Summer Dreams T 
Suprise-Suprise T 
Techtonics T,S 
Techweenie S 
Threshold S 
To Bolt on Lead or Not to Bolt (TBOL) T 
Unknown (Left of Baby Cakes) T,S 
Unknown (Right of Mama Jugs) T,S 
Walking Dread T 

Serpent Face 

YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b PG13

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 110'
Original:  YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b PG13 [details]
FA: Bruce Holthouse
Page Views: 1,809
Submitted By: Randy on Nov 14, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (23)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Serpent Face action.

Some rocks in this area are on private property. Property owner requests signed waiver. MORE INFO >>>


Begin about 20 feet left of Serpentine Crack. Head up and then left to a bolt (stopper protects). Thin face up and left (crux) leads to a horizontal. From here you wander right and up and left and up and right passing more horizontals (thin gear necessary in these) and three more bolts. A little runnout getting to the last (4th) bolt (but not too hard). From the last bolt, head right and then up to reach a two bolt anchor/rap (100++ feet) which is shared with Serpentine Crack.


This face climb wanders up the section of rock about 20 feet left of Serpentine Crack and about 20 feet right of Better Red Than Dead.


Four bolts, stoppers and thin cams to 1 inch. Slings and draws.

Comments on Serpent Face Add Comment
Show which comments
By George Perkins
From: The Dungeon, NM
May 2, 2008
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Excellent climb- arguably the best 5.10 at TP.

It's too bad the guidebook calls this climb 'R' - it probably keeps people off of this very enjoyable route who otherwise would really have a blast. It is no more runout than the rest of the Mosaic Rock routes (of those 5.10 or easier).

Near the top, the guidebook's line suggests you angle right on big holds past a tiny pine tree (and skip the 4th bolt which is to the left). Doing so is easier, and more independent of the natural finish to Better Red than Dead. However, the traverse after the 4th bolt is fun too.

1 60m rope reaches on rappel, doesn't quite just barely reach if lowering through the gear.
By Mike Howard
May 27, 2008

FA: Bruce Holthouse

I am generally scared off the R's at TP but I will say this route is all there, for a full value route finding/creative pro classic. You can get a so-so piece below the first bolt in the wet horizontal which might stay put if you don't fall on it. Don't cheat yourself with the toprope.
By Stuart Turner
Jan 26, 2009
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

I felt the gear was pretty good on this route. Tri-cams and brassies should sow it up. Freaken great climb. Needs a face lift (three years ago).
By George Perkins
From: The Dungeon, NM
Jul 19, 2009
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Re: "Needs a facelift (three years ago)."
All the bolts looked good on this climb today, and seemed ok when I led it last year. It's fine now, not sure when it was upgraded or by whom (thanks by the way). Edit: heard rumors Taos climbers upgraded these bolts a while ago. Thanks guys.
By Bowe Ellis
From: Taos, NM
Apr 19, 2012
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13

A couple questions about this route...

1. Why is the first bolt in such a tricky stance, and already above the crux moves? I found it a strange placement. Having it lower would still protect falls onto the lower angle slab below.

2. There is a lone bolt out up and left of the first horizontal crack. It's possible to link this up (~5.10a/b) but doesn't follow the natural line up & right. Is this bolt on another route or is it meant to be a new version of Serpent?

BTW, excellent climb. One of the 5 best at TP, IMHO.
By Matthias Lang
From: Albuquerque
Sep 17, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

I have to second Bowe's question. Both guidebooks show the second bolt directly above the first one, which is clearly not the case. To reach this bolt you probably would NOT traverse right in the horizontal below, but this seems a bit contrived since it is clearly easier to go right at this point.
I also didn't feel that the protection was worse that other comparable TP routes (But then again I might not have been 'on route', skipping the second bolt and the last, while doing the direct finish that George mentioned).
By Drew Dickey
Mar 26, 2013
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13

I also will have to agree with Bowe and Matthias, the bolt out left is a little contrived. I found it fun and protectable to go straight up through the horizontals. Run out through easy climbing at the top. One of my favorites at TP!
By Casey Engstrom
From: Randolph, NH
Nov 12, 2016
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13

Decent pro, the run out is on easier terrain. I skipped the 2nd and 4th bolt (taking the horizontal crack to the right of bolt #2 and #4 respectively). Seemed to be a more natural line that way.

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