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The Bends 

YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 200'
Original:  YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 2,528
Submitted By: Jim Hausmann on Aug 16, 2010

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (25)
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BETA PHOTO: 2nd pitch.

Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>


This is burly on both pitches, involving about every crack climbing technique.

P1 (100', 14 bolts to 2-bolt anchor, 5.11b).
Start at a bolted, flared chimney. Scott originally climbed this clean with gear, but this would have warranted an R/X rating with the scarcity of good protection available. After the chimney pinches down, the route veers to the left on thin crimps, then up to a comfortable belay just below the large bulge.

P2 (100', 2 bolts & gear to 4" to anchor, 5.10d).
Follow the hand to fist crack through the bulge. If you are uncomfortable with this grade, bring one #4 Camalot in addition to the standard rack. This route was most likely aid climbed by an unknown party before being discovered and cleaned by Scott Sills in 2003. Old gear was found hanging in the crack.


This is the center route on the Main Wall, with pitch 2 ascending the beautiful splitter crack through the bulge.


Standard rack through 4". Good anchors at comfortable belays.

Photos of The Bends Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Second pitch can be seen to the right of center, s...
BETA PHOTO: Second pitch can be seen to the right of center, s...

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By Dougald MacDonald
Oct 11, 2010
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Four stars all the way: great rock, perfect protection, exposure, and, most of all, amazing variety. Bring at least two each gold and blue camalots or equivalents, plus one big piece and assorted smaller stuff, for the steep final crack.
By david goldstein
Oct 11, 2010

What Dougald said: great climb.

I'm not too dialed into the rating system these days, but pitch 1 seemed very soft for 11c. The crux entailed crystally tips jamming of the sort sometimes found at Lumpy Ridge. There are some similarities between the crux of P1 and Lumpy's Dead Boys Direct which is rated 11+ and is vastly harder than The Bends.
By Mike Willig
Sep 15, 2012
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Fantastic route! Highly recommended. 0.4, #2 x 2, #3 x 2, #4 x 2.
By Alex Vidal
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 21, 2014

Probably easier than 11c for crack-enthusiasts. Very well protected though I found the 2nd bolt very awkward to clip if you are using the easiest technique for upward progress.
By Bob Rotert
Aug 3, 2014
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

Great route, but we didn't feel it was any where close to 11c. Might be 11-. We did Lady Fingers prior to doing this route, and it felt harder. Would say that route is underrated, and this one over. Bolts are a little awkward to clip in the groove. Nicely featured rock makes for good face climbing after the groove. Don't let the 5.11 grade keep you from getting on this one.
By Abel Jones
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 22, 2014

Another classic huge pitch! The crack is way higher quality than it looks from the ground. Smooth on the hands.
By Jim Hausmann
From: Richmond, TX
Oct 21, 2014

Edited from 11c to 11b. When Scott and I did this back in 2003, it was still pretty mank. Glad it cleaned up, the 2nd pitch is fantastic!
By ALuckyDuck
From: Denver, CO
Jul 10, 2016
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

The first pitch felt like 11a, the second will probably take as many #2s and #3s as you throw at it. A #4 is helpful.

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