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Spare Ribs 

YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a R

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a R [details]
FA: Bradley White, Jim Shimberg, Tom Armstrong, (1986-7)
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 1,054
Submitted By: bradley white on Jul 25, 2009  with updates from David Powers

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Scanned photo of myself starting FFA of 2nd pitch....


This climb was a project. It took several months over 2 years to protect it. There were 5 bolts put in on top rope. Three for the rappel station and 2 on pitch three. The rest of the bolts and pins were put in on the lead. Hand drilling bolt holes was slow and arduous.

Start up first pitch of Armstrong arches to the base of the left facing corner (5-8) to belay. Climb the corner (5-8) until it ends and move left (5-9) to bolt. Do friction moves left and up (5-10d) to shallow arch (stopper). Get past arch on right side (5-10b) and head up past second bolt to do long friction traverse (5-7) to long diagonal side walk. Walk down side walk to belay (3 pins). Both the leader and the second are in for some wild pendulum falls on this pitch so stay on task. Climb directly up to bolt. Do face moves (5-11b) to friction left (5-9) to bolt and long sling it to friction right (5-8) to bolt long sling it and rest. Head straight up shallow corner to dubious pin (5-8R). This is as far as I remember getting with Jim in 1986. Make a long reach (5-8) to clip bolt. Do friction steps across, below the bolt (You'll have to put much slack in the line to do this free. The slightest amount of any tension changes this crux to 5-11,A0). In this case anyone seconding it free isn't leading it free, and that's controversial.

Get to a face hold move to make a long reach past it, to a sloping large hold and dynamically swing and charge at the same time up (maximum no hands mantle step up) to reach a shallow arch (5-10). Get in stoppers and traverse under cling (5-10c) until arch ends move up face traversing to another shallow arch (5-10c) to hanging belay (stoppers and bolt). Use this bolt to protect (5-10d) friction step up to inside corner facing right and climb corner pins (5-8+). Corner ends at traverse ledge left. Friction up to corner like arch with 1-2" parallel crack underneath it diagonal under cling (5-6) to (5-8) no hand friction step up above arch to grab the ledge mantling onto the rappel ledge (This pitch can be combined leading it with two 60mm ropes). Rappel the route or climb up the break in the last arch above you (5-6) to easy 5th classing past many tree ledges 2 pitches to summit. I did the first complete ascent with Tom Armstrong in 1987 and he freed the crux third pitch at (5-11+).

I did all this work bolting it and ended up only leading the top section once. I'm sure this climb is in need of retro-bolting and possibly elimination of the run out caused by the dubious corner pin at the crux section.

It is unlike the Rapper. It is not dangerous and should be left as it was fashioned too be. The falls may be long on the easier sections but the cruxes are not run out and safe for both the leader and the second. It's named Spare Ribs because it is a climb that goes up many shallow under cling arches. Besides that if it was food for thought on how a friction/ face climbing should be it would be very yummy. vertical height 400ft.


At the end east side of the boiler plates there is a long sweeping arch heads up then west for a vertical height of 400ft. Climb starts slightly down hill or left of this feature.


Trad rack, fixed pins, 2 1/4" masonry bolts second pitch, 3 3/8" masonry bolts third pitch and 2 Petzl 10mm bolts third pitch. Three 3/8" masonry bolts fourth pitch belay station. Recommend a minimal bolt kit. Thing aren't what they used to be.

Photos of Spare Ribs Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Scanned photo of myself working on bolting the cli...
Scanned photo of myself working on bolting the cli...

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By David Powers
Apr 17, 2010

Amazing and complex route.Fear factor on this thing is terrific especially with the bolts being in such terrible shape. All the fixed pins came out in my hand. Very memorable lead on each pitch.
By Jeffrey.LeCours
From: New Hampshire
Dec 11, 2015

Hi David,
Thank you for the additions to this cliff and route descriptions. Do you know if this route is still in the same shape Bradley describes it? Do you think it's safe? Sounds like a wild experience.
By David Powers
Dec 11, 2015

Only safe if you dont fall. This route has some of the worst hardware I have ever clipped. There is a long traverse on the 2nd pitch protected by a half pulled 1/4"er. The crux pitch bolts are some sort of ring bolt that look like they are straight out of East Germany in the 70's. Even with new hardware this would still be a very R route.

I did replace the crux bolt (well below the actual crux) and added at least one bolt to each anchor if not replace the whole anchor. Pitch 1 anchor is natural gear.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Dec 12, 2015

Sounds nice....a lot of the fixed junk on Owls' is really bad,,,,I'd rather a good 1/4" rawl than some of this crap
By Brian
From: North Kingstown, RI
Dec 12, 2015

"Because this cliff is Basalt, hand drilling bolt holes was slow and arduous."

Basalt? It doesn't look like basalt so I looked it up. According to the USGS it is granite.
By Jeffrey.LeCours
From: New Hampshire
Dec 12, 2015

Brian, that's a fantastic and interesting link - thanks for sharing. You should use the "Improve This Page" button near the top of the description. I think bradley is still an active visitor and can correct the description.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Dec 13, 2015

I have never known basalt to form 600' slabs ? In NE ?
By bradley white
From: Bend
Dec 13, 2015

I'll get rid of the basalt. The weird ring bolts are Petzl. A bolt kit is recommended. All pins spots should become bolts and keep it run out. I haven't fallen and imagined the falls open pendulum swung.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Dec 13, 2015

Shit..I hated those ring bolts !

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