REI Community
(1) School Gate
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Above the Groove S 
Blackface Arete S 
Bull King Dihedral T 
Choose Your Size T 
Disco Fistcrack T 
Fight S 
First Corner S 
Nowhere Man S 
Oh No! S 
Oh! S 
Piranha  S 
Reincarnation S 
Right Disco Crack T 
Seaface T 
Staircase T 
Stepover S 
Stone Z S 
Surprise Crack T 
Tiger's Tooth S 
Triple Cruxes S 
V-Groove S 
Warm-up Route S 

Surprise Crack 

YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 70'
Original:  YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
Season: Faces East
Page Views: 576
Submitted By: Tony B on Nov 10, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (7)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Eric leading for a travel mag. shoot

Bolt Failures - Donations Help MORE INFO >>>


A fun route with a lot of variety, pretty good pro, and interesting climbing most of the way.
Climb up to the ledge and over a small shrub on it, leading left into a good crack system. Protect overhead and jam up and over a small roof on good handcracks (crux, 5.9 or 5.10 depending on hand size). Continue upon interesting mixed cracks at the 5.8 level to encounter discontinuous cracks. Pro is never lacking, as one can go left or right to join the crack of your next choosing as soon as the one you are in runs out. The climbing up top is fun 5.9 and might feel pumpy to climbers who fail to read the sequences immediately. Finish at a bolted anchor and belay or lower to the ground.


This climb ascends the left-most crack system on the East Face of the School Gate rock, this is just left of the large left-facing 5.4 corner system called 'Staircase.' From the ground scramble up from the right (as for the beginning of Staircase) and belay on a ledge 10' up, or down below and left to start the route from the ground.


A standard rack of cams and stoppers
Anchor is one 316 steel (2011) and one titanium bolt (2016)

Photos of Surprise Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: route topo
BETA PHOTO: route topo

Comments on Surprise Crack Add Comment
Show which comments
By BrianWS
May 23, 2017

For the best, but slightly harder, variation, start on the crack just to the right of tigers tooth - great jams through a small roof. There is an easier variation that takes the zig zagging hand rack to the left of staircase. The harder variation still feels in the 5.9+ range and is loads of fun.

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