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YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 60'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Jim Cunningham and Alan Jolley 5/7/83
Page Views: 2,961
Submitted By: Chris Duca on Aug 15, 2010  with updates from Robert Hall

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (68)
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BETA PHOTO: Climber on The Sword.


A stunning pitch of juggy arete climbing. Though rather short in length, it is certainly one of the best routes at it's grade in the park.

Climb juggy rock up to a small overhang. Clear this on large holds and gain the razor sharp arete above. Continue up on mostly large holds, until a balancey move past a bolt requires you to use some friction to access the much easier, but beautifully exposed, climbing above.


Start about 120' right of the obvious left-leaning crack of Rockaholic at a dirty ramp-like feature that ends 40' up at a small, flat island with a few small cedars.


Care should be taken when protecting this route as the gear is PG. This route DOES, however, easily protects with a single rack to #1 Camalot, a few QDs, and double-length slings. Also, carry along a cordalette for the tree anchor at the top. Walk off to climbers left.

Photos of Sword Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Sword as viewed from the top of Wandering Lunatic....
BETA PHOTO: Sword as viewed from the top of Wandering Lunatic....
Rock Climbing Photo: Ellen coming up the fun arete on The Sword
Ellen coming up the fun arete on The Sword

Comments on Sword Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 17, 2017
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Sep 7, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

Hi Chris. In the route description/rating you might want to add PG13 (you currently have it rated "G" with no specification, per Mountain Project rating standards).

I've had first hand experience with a lead climber breaking their foot on the less protected arete section you describe. We shrugged off the PG rating in the guide with regards to the runout. She became exhausted when trying to place pro in a poor spot, which directly contributed to her fall when she tried to take her next step. I've experienced similar fatigue when spending too much time placing gear in poor spots. It's not something I hear a lot about and thought it was worthy of mentioning here since the chance of it happening is obviously high on this route. :-)

[The injured climber is recovering and back to climbing after 2 years, but has some disability]
By Chris Duca
From: Havertown, PA
Sep 8, 2010

Hi Kevin--

Thanks for the feedback, though I don't see where I have rated the gear as "G"? As far as I can tell, I've rated it PG (under the gear section), which in my mind, is fairly accurate, as the gear placements are definitely there, though a little spread out.
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Sep 13, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

Compare to this link, note the PG13 next to climb's name in title
By Devin Krevetski
From: Northfield, VT
Oct 1, 2010

The exposure on this route and the steep climbing off the belay probably make this a less than ideal route for the 5.6 leader. But if you are comfortable leading any of the classic gunks 5.6s this should be a cakewalk.
By worth russell
From: Brooklyn, NY
Nov 14, 2010
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

The arete is Good but getting to it is not all that much fun.
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Apr 25, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

Despite my prior comment(s), I had still not yet climbed this until yesterday. Great albeit short route. Definitely places for protection where needed, smaller cam helpful in one particular horizontal crack near the top. I agree with Worth that Redrum (5.4) isn't anything special, as the easiest P1 worth doing to get to the base of the climb.
By Jaysen Henderson
From: Bronx NY
Aug 1, 2011

I linked this pitch with redrum (not recommended) the 2 climbs were farther apart than i had anticipated but regardless there is a good ledge to setup a belay for sword from the top of redrum.Such a great climb but be weary of the weather on this one because it can heat up real fast on the exposed arete. Also the gear was great and the bolt seemed to be in perfect condition. Id say PG solely because falling on the sharp arete would suck.
By Abandoned User
Jun 17, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

I would not call this even PG. The gear is all there, every time you have bomber footing there is a gear placement, what more can you ask for? Though I would agree that falling on the arete would most definitely suck. I also thought the climbing seemed easier than 5.6. ALL that being said, I thought that this route was awesome. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even a little bit more than the ever famous Rockaholic.
By Logan Schiff
From: Brooklyn, NY
Oct 16, 2013
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Very fun route. Felt like a soft unsustained six with solid pro all the way.

I linked Redrum and Sword with minimal drag though did not place much on the easy traverse getting to the base of Sword.
By Dom R
From: Estes Park, Colorado
Apr 22, 2014

One of the most fun routes around chapel pond IMO. Great route to just take it easy on, feels like a soft 6. Getting to the arete isn't tough nor is it the crux, the crux is protected by a bolt that is literally right in front of your face and everything after is a jug haul. The guide book says to go left after the bolt though and I'm a little confused by that, the left face was pretty crumbly compared to the perfect holds on the right side. I would also recommend starting on redrum, the traverse to belay at the base of sword is super easy and rope drag honestly isn't that bad. It seems like a way more fun start than the dirty chose pile I saw below me that is Coors Corner.
By Kevin Heckeler
From: Upstate New York
Apr 29, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

Dominic, you are correct - the right is easier and I think the standard line to the top after the bolt.

I'd hate to say it, but the bad guide beta likely contributed to my partner falling on this (from what I recall they went left into that corner and couldn't find any gear, spent time fiddling in what they could, pumped and bam).

However, the takeaway -- assessing the route and picking a line is still the responsibility of the climber. Guides are just the beginning of learning about a route. As I recall, we didn't even pick the right belay for P2 and ended up more above the top of Coors Corner than where people normally belay from the end of P1 on Redrum. At lot of lessons learned that day.
By adkeditor Brown
From: Saranac Lake, NY
Oct 6, 2015

There is a good stance--a notch in the edge of the arete--that puts the bolt at eye level. From there I stepped up onto a thin foothold on the left face, enabling me to reach a good handhold. I then stepped over to a good foothold on the right face. This enabled me to reach another handhold. After that, there were lots of holds leading to the top.
By Robert Hall
From: North Conway, NH
Jun 12, 2016
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13

Interesting....I've always climbed from the left side up to the arete, clipped the bolt, then continued on the left side (clearly the crux...5.6-5.6+?) for a move back to good holds on the arete itself...but always wondered why the bolt was on the right side, where a fall would cause the rope to run over the sharp edge.
mmmmm? have I been wrong all these years?!
Does this climb go on the right side of the arete (as shown in on of the photos: "climber on the Sword") and stay on the right side?
I'll have to try it that way next time I'm there.

ps- The guidebook's "switch to the left side" (which, BTW, implies the climb does start on the right) might be better expressed as "make a step to the left and climb directly up the arete."
By aparnas
Jun 11, 2017

Short and fun - a classic arete climb. Do it!
By Nolan Huther
From: Clarkson University
Jun 17, 2017

One of my favorites. This striking feature is visible from Noonmark Mountain!

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