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Scorpions T 
Shield, The T 
Sickle T 
Star Track T,TR 
Strata Outta Compton T 
Strolling T 
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Trouble And Strife T,TR 
West Crack (aka Star Wars) T 
Whiskey Gala T 
Wired T 
X-Wing T 
Young, Blonde, and Easy T 
Your Basic Lieback T 

West Crack (aka Star Wars) 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: FRA: Jim Erickson, Henry Barber, tandem solo, 1973, (solo P2 K. Donald, et al., 1977?)
Page Views: 18,108
Submitted By: Matt Bauman on Jan 1, 2001

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  • Description 

    This is an EXCELLENT 2 pitch or one long pitch up the beautiful Lower Peanuts Wall. Scramble to the far right and up onto the first ledge (lots of loose careful). Find a large, obtuse corner just below a perfect handcrack in a steep left-facing dihedral (many obtuse corners so make sure you see the obvious handcrack above, some of these other corners have scary pro and are much harder).

    P1. Climb the corner with variable crack and fingers at top to large loose ledge under beautiful hand crack (obvious), 5.7.

    P2. Jam the hand crack for 40 feet and mantle (crux) onto small ledge, continue up V-slot with thin hands another 25 feet to small ledge....turn small roof into short V-slot that takes you to the summit. Belay on summit ridge and descend west until you can scramble down into gully between Lower and Upper Peanuts.


    Take extra hand size cams in addition to standard rack. Aliens/TCUs helpful.... gear anchor(s).


    From various sources, this is West Crack, noted in Pat Ament's 1975 High Over Boulder. The first recorded ascent was by Jim Erickson and Henry Barber done as a tandem free solo. In 1977, Kevin Donald and partners did the line, thinking it had not be done previously and named it for the famous move, Star Wars.

    Photos of West Crack (aka Star Wars) Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Those who can't jam lieback.
    Those who can't jam lieback.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Starting the V-slot.
    Starting the V-slot.
    Rock Climbing Photo: The direct start....
    The direct start....
    Rock Climbing Photo: Just topping out on P1 with the P2 crack looming a...
    Just topping out on P1 with the P2 crack looming a...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down on the upper half....
    Looking down on the upper half....
    Rock Climbing Photo: Topping out.
    Topping out.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Vince and Kevin on the climb.
    Vince and Kevin on the climb.
    Rock Climbing Photo: The first pitch of Star Wars.
    The first pitch of Star Wars.
    Rock Climbing Photo: DC pushing upward thru V slot
    DC pushing upward thru V slot
    Rock Climbing Photo: Steve Bond linking P1 & P2
    Steve Bond linking P1 & P2
    Rock Climbing Photo: Christa Cline laybacking the exit move from the st...
    Christa Cline laybacking the exit move from the st...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Above this crack is a weird chimney
    Above this crack is a weird chimney
    Rock Climbing Photo: Eric tops out on the short, yet glorious P2 crack.
    Eric tops out on the short, yet glorious P2 crack.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Just below the crux move out of the crack on P2
    Just below the crux move out of the crack on P2
    Rock Climbing Photo: Me leading the hand sized pitch of Star Wars.
    Me leading the hand sized pitch of Star Wars.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Christa Cline starting the crux section of Star Wa...
    Christa Cline starting the crux section of Star Wa...

    Comments on West Crack (aka Star Wars) Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 19, 2017
    By Matt Bauman
    Jan 1, 2001

    Forgot to mention, while starting up the awesome 2nd pitch we heard a huge CRACK and looked across the canyon at Redgarden and saw 2 HUGE chunks of rock falling thru the air from somewhere around Yellow Spur area...a couple more CRACKS and it was was around 6pm, and if it was a weekend someone or a few folks would have died for sure. I don't know if it was precipitated by anything (a climber) or if it was intentional (highly doubt this). Anyone else know anything about this or if it affected any climbs on Redgarden west????
    By Ben Mottinger
    Founding Father
    Jan 1, 2001

    This is an atypical crack pitch for Eldo. A parallel hand crack with nothing for the feet except to jam the crack. This is a burly and sustained 40ft. of 5.8 jamming. A 2.5 Friend is the perfect size for this crack.
    By Erik Corkran
    May 29, 2001

    It seems like I climbed this route every few weeks one summer -- my favorite 5.8 in Eldo. Highly recommend doing it as one pitch (but long, like Matt said).
    By Chris Fisher
    Jun 13, 2001

    I also think that doing it as one pitch is the best way. The crack was a great jammer without many rest spots. I also really enjoyed the exit at the top of the 5.8 crack. Highly recommended for crack lovers.
    By Michael Walker
    From: Loveland, CO
    Aug 28, 2001

    Here's a fun way to end an evening that a friend showed me - instead of the final roof and belay from the summit, put in some pro to protect the second and hand traverse left once above the hand crack. Very Airy traverse! - You can then belay from the bolt anchors on Forbidden Planet (try topping that stellar line if you like). Easy two rap down to the ledge instead of a hike.
    By Bryson Slothower
    Jun 23, 2002

    Good route! It is possible to add some quality climbing by doing a short 1st pitch right off the trail instead of going up to the ramp and then back down. The pitch is an obvious crack that goes straight up off the trail for 15 feet then hand traverses right then up a finger crack. It starts directly below the obvious crack on pitch two of Star Wars. It is about 50 feet long and probably 5.9+, watch for a loose block during the hand traverse....
    By tobias Nitschke
    From: CO
    Jul 22, 2002

    Nice climb. Wasn't sure where to start... we did the off-width that's up around the corner from Trouble and Strife. Nice varied, easy climbing to the base of the second pitch...
    By Shane Zentner
    From: Colorado
    Jul 22, 2002

    Awesome climb. The second pitch of Star Wars offers good hand jamming and laybacking. Definately, bring hand size pro for the second pitch. Have fun!
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Sep 30, 2002

    Somewhat unique Eldo climb, with good pro...highly recommend.
    By Clint Locks
    From: Boulder
    Oct 9, 2002

    (There sure are a lot of 'Chris's registered on this site...Anyway-) What a beauty! I followed this a couple of years ago and have been itching to get back on it on lead...which I did yesterday with, ironically, Chris Drumwright.

    Only one substantial comment-watch out for the 'oh-so-nearly-so-perfect' big chock stone in the V slot as one pulls the small roof on P2. I'd hate to see it levered out of there. Enjoy! Don't forget those extra #1 and #2 (and 2.5?) Camalots if you're into sewing up the hand crack! And Chris would say that having big hands makes the climb suck a little bit.
    By Jake Wyatt
    From: Longmont, CO
    Mar 15, 2003

    Beautiful and varied climbing -- and very fun squirming up the v-chimney.
    By Holly Barnard
    Apr 15, 2003

    Wow, great crack pitch! Too short tho. 3 comments - there are foot holds (small ones, yes) on the left face. I pretty sure I only jammed my right foot most of the way and smeared or stood on nubbins on the left. Also, I thought the crack exit was more of a layback than a mantle. If you sew up the crack and don't want to run it out, you might want to save a #1 Camalot (possibly .75) for the 5.6 slot/crack above. I had some crappy hexes in there. It's easy 5.6, but would still make for a long fall.
    By Bryson Slothower
    Apr 24, 2003

    The variation to the first pitch I suggested is called Trouble and Strife.
    By Anonymous Coward
    Jun 12, 2004

    I can't comment on the rating because it seems to me that different guides really describe this one differently. I climbed 4 variations between Home Free and Your Basic Lieback (also good). One post names one variation but does not describe it. They go at .7 to about .9+ . Does anyone have more beta?
    By Stephen Allen
    Apr 19, 2005
    rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

    This was great - we climbed it twice. great protection all the way up (Camalots #0.75, 1 and 2 (bring a couple #2s) and a couple of Aliens - yellow and red. Nuts are useful too) The first 20 feet are on solid holds, the crack is Perfect (#2 Camalots) and the v-slot above it is actually a lot easier than it looks since you can use good holds on the face and on the arete. A #1 and/or a .75 camalot protects the v-slot. Once you're above the v-slot and over a small and easy roof it is a scramble on big holds to the top (you could run this out pretty safely if you're out of gear) The climb is easily do-able in one pitch - it's about 100 feet to the top.On the approach I was walking around at the base of the base of peanut wall and looking at rossiter's topo for about 10 minutes before my friend yelled down from a ledge about 15 feet above to let me know that the climb started up there. So once you reach the base of the wall, hike up and right in order to get on top of a ledge which is at the base of the route. Now that you have all this info you probably don't even need to go climb it!
    By J.E. Liebgott
    Sep 13, 2005
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    I was expecting a much better route from the description. The fun hands section is probably 25 feet long - the rest is not all that exciting or enjoyable. There was a fixed Tech Friend at the bottom of the hand crack that will likely come out without too much work. I could not booty it, but not for lack of trying. My hands were too big to really work the lobes, but they all 4 moved. Booty for some lucky dog.
    By Bo Johnston
    Sep 27, 2005
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    I agree with the previous comment. This route wasn't all that amazing from the boasting I have heard. I would say it "looks" better than it tastes. The hand crack looks really cool but only offers a couple moves and were a little wide at the top for my hands.
    By Jo Holloway
    May 30, 2006

    Unlike Liebgott and Johnson, I found the entire climb exciting and enjoyable. If you are looking for long crack climbs, Eldo is the wrong place. The route has a nice mix of face climbing, crack climbing with a few contortionist maneuvers that keep it fun.
    By Dane Casterson
    From: Boulder
    Sep 6, 2006

    Great route. The uniform crack on P2 makes for some strenuous laybacking on P2 depending on handsize.
    By Luis Barandiaran
    From: Longmont, CO
    Mar 11, 2007

    Climbed this today (on second). Nice first pitch from the lower ledge (5.7). Fun jugs just where you need them (gotta love Eldo!). The exit onto the ledge under the hand crack was sweet. I found the hand crack a little strenuous. Upper half I said "Screw it" and laybacked the final moves into the V-slot above. Of course, this is probably easier on second. The V-slot and notch through the roof were pretty funky, but fun. All in all, a terrific 2-pitches. For descent, it seems that scrambling south to the notch up there is the way to go.
    By kevin donald
    Apr 30, 2007

    When we (myself and 3 International Alpine School students) first climbed this lovely, atypical (for Eldorado) crack in '77, it was the location (high above the river) and the curved geometry of the crack and dihedral that intrigued us. At first glance, I felt it would be somewhat more difficult than 5.8; however, the jams were secure and by Yosemite standards it is quite short. We had no camming devices, but it accepted nuts easily. The students were stoked to do what we thought was a first and the next day Paul Sibley did the climb and confirmed the 5.8 rating . Interestingly enough, I described the crack to long-time friend and mentor Jim Erickson the next day and he could not recall having ever seen it. However he has since mentioned that it may have been the mysterious "West Crack" that he tandem soloed with Henry Barber a few years earlier. Regardless, I still feel that this little climb, short as it is, is worth the approach.

    Kevin Donald
    By Mike Robinson
    From: Worcester, MA
    Jun 21, 2007

    What a great climb. I would highly recommend this to any level climber.
    By Eric Goltz
    From: Boulder, CO
    Nov 3, 2008

    Do this as one pitch from the lower ledge. You'll only wish the crack was longer!
    By Julius Beres
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 12, 2009
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

    This felt much easier to me than YBL (5.6) next to it... the hand crack is perfect. Excellent hand and foot jams and everything is so secure. If there were 5 pitches of this, it would be my favorite Eldo climb. Doing it in one pitch felt like the way to go. One long sling on my first pitch of the hand crack and there wasn't any rope drag. The first pitch can easily be protected with smaller gear to save your hand sized cams (#1 and #2 BD) for the crack.

    The approach and the loose rock on the ledges detracts a bit, but I still loved the route.
    By Sarge
    Jun 18, 2009

    Only do pitch 2. You can get to it by walking right and talking the big chossy ledge down to the start of P2.
    By Sean Wolf
    From: Denver, CO
    Aug 7, 2009
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    Too thin for it to be good jams for my big hands :-\
    By Andrew McLean
    From: Colorado
    Nov 29, 2009
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    Star Wars is an enjoyable climb albeit the hand crack is rather short. I climbed this today and as my belayer was beginning to follow me up pitch 2 he managed to knock off a sizable few blocks off the chossy ledge as he was removing our gear sling after cleaning the belay.

    Excuse me for stating the obvious, but exercise caution on the chossy P1 belay ledge. Good thing it was shady and cold so we were the only people up there.

    Another option for the descent: If you scramble traverse up the ramp on the back of the wall you will see a hole in between a notch that leads to a large tree with slings and 2 rap rings. We added another 7mm cord on the 2 existing slings, one of which was crap. The tree seemed well rooted and strong at this time.
    By Chris Plesko
    From: Westminster, CO
    Jun 2, 2010
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    Fun crack for Eldo. Definitely some loose stuff on the ledges and "P1" but as long as you're careful it's not a big deal. The climb eats nuts if you don't have doubles. Definitely link the pitches. The V slot/offwidth has great rests the entire way if you want them, and the hand crack opens for easier feet at least every body length.
    By Matt Richardson
    From: Longmont, CO
    Jul 19, 2010
    rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    From top to bottom, a beautiful climb. I don't know if it is a size thing or what, but on P2 I felt the hands were good enough, but I could never really get a good foot in that crack - just seemed a little small for some reason (my inherent weakness?). Having not been out in a while, that second pitch provided a little more pump than I expected for a 8. Definitely do this in one pitch - there should be no problem with rope drag on this thing.
    By Count Chockula
    From: Littleton, CO
    Oct 4, 2010

    Finally got a chance to lead this yesterday after having followed it about 3 years ago. Pretty steep and sustained jams, but there are workable stances every body length or so, as mentioned. I had a hard time getting solid jams at the crux before the exit right and ended up pumping out trying to get set my hands in the crack. After a quick shake out, I just laybacked through the crux as well. The v-slot up high is sweet.
    By Canon
    Sep 5, 2011
    rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    Led this today in 2 pitches. First pitch was easy 5.5. Belay in the rotten band at the base of the second pitch has a VERY loose, large block. If we had someone to clear the base of the wall, we would have trundled it. Be careful.

    The crack on P2 was sustained and pumpy. A #2.5 Friend and a #2 Camalot sewed it up. Mostly jams. The v-slot was just awkward. Exiting the v-slot required a high step. Belayed just below the summit in the wide slot. Probably not ideal. Lots of loose/hollow flakes up there. Be careful.

    Needed nothing bigger than a #2 Camalot on either pitch.
    By Zane E
    From: Lyons, CO
    Oct 1, 2011

    Fun, fun, fun climb...too bad the crack isn't longer (as usual)!

    I definitely did a layback on the crux move (see at about 3:50 in video) and was pretty easy for a newer climber -- doing a mantle would have been a bit more challenging for my skinny arms.

    By Joshinator
    From: Longmont, Colorado
    Aug 3, 2013

    Fun climb with plenty of opportunities for protection. Just remember to bring your tennis shoes for the descent as it is no fun going down in climbing shoes.
    By George Bracksieck
    Sep 18, 2014

    West Crack was listed in Ament and Erickson's guidebook "5.10," which was published in 1972, which is before the Erickson/Barber tandem solo. I believe that West Crack (aka "Star Wars") was first climbed in the '60s. I climbed West Crack in 1976, with Doug Hill, before Kevin Donald's "first ascent" changed its name to "Star Wars." To sum up: "Star Wars" is the same as West Crack; pitch 2 of "Star Wars" is pitch 2 of West Crack.
    By Dirk Diggler
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Oct 13, 2015
    rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

    Do this climb! I would suggest linking pitches as the first pitch is very short and doesn't need hand-sized gear that you will use higher up.
    By Tyler Pecore
    From: Fort Collins, CO
    Mar 19, 2016

    I climbed this directly from bottom of crag, obvious worn tree/hand crack a little wide at top with loose gravel to link (p2) into Star Wars ledge directly into a beautiful money pitch. Much fun, bring a helmet. I don't know what I climbed, haha, but this variation requires 2 pitches. I used my 70...and some doubles.
    By Russ Keane
    Jan 17, 2017

    Really fun, even after the jam crack.... It turns into this interesting dihedral crack thing, which is quite different. This climb is recommended if you are in the Peanuts area!
    By Cory Barnes
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jul 10, 2017

    To the couple who had to abandon their cam on the last pitch yesterday, we were able to get that sucker out! Contact me, and we'll arrange to get it back to you.
    By Reid Gurnee
    Jul 19, 2017

    I was expecting something great, we even played Star Wars music on the drive in ... it was ok. The crack is fantastic, but REALLY short! I found it much easier than an Eldo 8, but it depends on your crack technique. Perfect size for hand / foot jams. I suggest saving two 0.75 cams for the top half of the climb (after the crack). I can't remember what I placed in the crack, but it had enough variation to not force you into just one size cam.

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