REI Community
Sports Challenge Rock - West Face
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Alligator Tears T 
Chick Hern T 
Eddie Haskel Takes Manhatten T 
Ella-vation T,TR 
I Just Told You T 
Mortal Thoughts T 
Ranger J.B. T 
Ranger J.D. T 
Rap Bolters are Weak S 
Ride a Wild Bago T 
Sphincter Quits T 
unknown T 
What's It To You T 

Sphincter Quits 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a PG13

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 70'
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a PG13 [details]
FA: Dave Evans & Randy Vogel, December 1978
Page Views: 4,968
Submitted By: Tony B on Dec 25, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (128)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Working into the crux after just placing a little ...


This route is the most popular route on the West side of Sports Challenge rock. You can probably find it by just getting in the longest line, but in case you arrive first...Find the left hand end of the W face of Sports Challenge Rock, this will require a small amount of scrambling to reach. P1: Climb up a curving crack and up left onto the top of a small tower, which at the top is not attached to the cliff. A fist-sized cam can be placed as the "last good pro" before reaching this point. Step up and right off of the pedistal to seams out on the main face. Some protection could be had here (S) but placing it out of the crux seems sillier than just running it out a little more to reach a better stance. Most of the holds here are positive, but the climb is not suited to pushing your limits. Continue up this crack to a horizontal rack, then right to another crack and up to a lege just below the summit. Climb onto the summit and belay.To descend, rap from the bolts on the summit (above Rap Bolters Are Weak), or scramble down to the south.

Note- the old guidebook (1992 edition) misnumbers the topo/photo, so beware...


A set of nuts and a set of cams from TCU's to 3".

Photos of Sphincter Quits Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The west face of Sports Challenge Rock as seen fro...
BETA PHOTO: The west face of Sports Challenge Rock as seen fro...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sewn up sphincter.
BETA PHOTO: Sewn up sphincter.
Rock Climbing Photo: The wind was howling and the entry to the thin cra...
The wind was howling and the entry to the thin cra...
Rock Climbing Photo: Considering the scary and committing move onto the...
Considering the scary and committing move onto the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ginger on Sphincter Quits, Joshua Tree
Ginger on Sphincter Quits, Joshua Tree
Rock Climbing Photo: Larry Hamilton on the intitial 5.8 crack.  Photo b...
Larry Hamilton on the intitial 5.8 crack. Photo b...

Comments on Sphincter Quits Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 4, 2016
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 12, 2003

Bolt on original (5.10) variation replaced 3/00.
By Chris Re
From: Boise, ID
Apr 8, 2003

I found that a red lowball protects the crack well. I can place it in the crack before making a move out on face. Great Climb!!!
By Randy
Dec 2, 2003

On the FA Dave lead up the initial crack, then placed 1 bolt on face up and left of the thin crack and climbed this (10a/b). I followed by unclipping the bolt and then climbing up the thin crack (the way it is most commonly done now). Not really sure who did the first lead of the thin crack.
By Anonymous Coward
Jun 2, 2004

I recall slinging a horn that "protected" moving right into the crack quite well. Little stoppers and a 00 TCU would be helpful. Definitely a sandbag at 5.9, but one I can appreciate.
By Woody Stark
Jan 15, 2005
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

A superb route but very tricky to place reasonable pro in the lower portion of the upper crack. I'm glad to read about the low ball. Sandbagged at nine for sure.
By Woody Stark
May 7, 2005
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I used a #4 Ballnut to protect the crux on the upper crack today, and it worked fine. I tested it with my full body weight. It did twist out when the second came up due to the angle of the lower rope pull. Sling it to avoid this. Be sure to place pro under the capstone at the top of the first crack just in case. The upper crack is most definitely 10a.
By Sirius
From: Oakland, CA
Dec 30, 2005

I thought this one was a classic. Puta madre!
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Mar 27, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R

I got on this climb expecting a mellow, fun 5.9 up a pretty section of rock. Though the pretty part was true, I found that I severely underestimated this one. The pro at the start of the seam was very bad (a small HB offset) and it took me a while to commit to the moves. Once on the seam, however, the pro gets better, and the climbing remains thought-provoking until the top. This was a great route that really pushed my comfort level.
By David Wang
From: San Francisco, CA
Apr 28, 2007
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

aptly named, especially if you find yourself trying to wiggle in wires at the crux (did not work for me). Blue aliens and blue TCU worked towards the middle of the seam, a little higher you can get a yellow alien in. Feels a bit harder than 5.9 with the gear wankery.
By CO_Michael
Jun 29, 2008
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

This is a great climb. Smaller pro for sure but totally safe. A couple small cams and nuts is all you need.
By Nick Barczak
May 4, 2009

I guess I'm the only one who didn't think this was a sandbag. I felt it was no harder than 5.9. The move out onto the upper crack is nicely protected with a solid #4 BD micronut. I felt the climbing was thoughtful, but never very strenuous. Protects well with small stoppers/cams.
By Adam Stackhouse
Nov 14, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R

By Rafael Rovirosa
From: Salt Lake, UT
Jan 15, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Cool climb. Neither hard to protect nor sandbagged at 5.9. The move off the ledge is a bit heady.
By Colonel Mustard
From: Sacramento, CA
Aug 24, 2012

I'd agree that it is no harder than 5.9. The pro off the ledge is not inspiring in the least though, perhaps leading to a perception of the climb being harder. Personally, I would not want to test the protection there in the least, but you can call it well protected if you want.
By Tradiban
Nov 25, 2012
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

5.9 moves and if you get lucky with the gear it protects just fine.
By Nelson Day
From: Joshua Tree, CA
Jan 2, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

A blue ball nut protects the move out right into the crack from the first ledge beautifully and without run out. Nothing else I tried to put in worked. I would have felt confident whipping on the blue ball nut for sure!
By Nikki S
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Feb 20, 2013

Protects well with small cams. Slung the chicken head before moving around on to the second crack.
By Jan Tarculas
From: Riverside, Ca
Oct 28, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I dont think this is pg13 or R rated at all. Protects well, did not need any ball nuts or slinging a chicken head to move to the right crack after the first ledge. I was able to place a nut on a shallow crack down low before the main part of the crack starts...think knee/ankle level when standing on the ledge
By D-Storm
Apr 1, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Re: "The move out onto the upper crack is nicely protected with a solid #4 BD micro nut." That was not the case for me, but the wire on my #4 BD micro nut was bent, so that may have affected its ability to seat well. Fortunately, you're on a big ledge at that point so you can take your time. I also recommend bringing a long sling to tie off the chicken head there; I was glad to have it since I ended up running it out after not finding any worthwhile gear at the first pod in the seam.

I agree the climb is an honest 5.9, but not a good one for a 5.9 leader.
By somillionaire Viradia
From: Los Angeles, California
Apr 19, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I thought this was an awesome climb that actually protects fairly well. Like others said, a BD #4 nut wedges in nicely on its side edges, which I know isnt the ideal way to place a nut but it felt fairly bomber to me. This can be done from a safe stance on the tower with long enough reach. Or you can sling the chicken head(or do both like I did). If you really wanted to, I think a #5 or #6 BD cam could be placed at the top of the tower. The moves also were not harder than 5.9 but felt harder mentally because of the "R" rating getting in my head and the precision needed to place gear. Bring lots of small gear and some aliens if you have them.
By Brian Chastain
Oct 22, 2014

Really fun climb. If you have climbed enough, making this climb not "R" rated shouldn't be impossible. I put like a #2 or #3 and a sling under the block up on the ledge and felt good with that. !00% confident it would not have gone anywhere if I did fall.
By John Groh
Jan 19, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Definitely not R, and probably not PG-13 either
By dnaiscool
Apr 18, 2015

If you are a 5.11 (or stronger) leader it may be difficult to differentiate between the grades of easy climbs...and 5.9 or .10a is butt easy compared to 5.11 anything. I think this route is a sandbag 5.9, and I say that based on a comparison of other routes of that nature in the Park. I've always been leery of a route when I see a "+" tagged on, and many route with this clever bit are sandbags that are -clearly- harder than their rating would suggest.

IMO....10a...and not for the newbie 5.9 leader....I even thought this was a pretty stout .10a...just sayin'...That opinion is based on having led hundreds of routes in the 5.9 to .10a grade over the past 40 years...but that is beside the point...

Just know that if you lead this climb, be prepared for cool movement, provocative gear and a route that is a little stiffer than the grade would indicate.
By Dustin Stephens
Dec 4, 2016
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

Great warm up. Medium-sized offset nut protects the crux well.

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