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The Cave Exit 

YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Original:  YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: first ascent unknown
Page Views: 4,235
Submitted By: Charles Vernon on Jan 1, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (94)
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This route is the standard finish to climbs on the right side of the Book, (though not as good as the harder finishes to its left), and could be accessed from climbs such as Osiris and George's Tree by traversing right along Fang Ledge. I thought it would be good to add it because most of the other routes for this rock make reference to it.

The Book is 500-600 feet high and has a prominent lower-angled section about 2/3 of the way up across much of its width. Near the right edge of the book, this easy slab terminates beneath a steep headwall, with a small cave at its right. Down and right from the cave is a prominent roof band, and much of the rock above it has a reddish tint.

The cave is the easiest way off for most climbs on the right side of the Book. It offers two major 5.7-5.8ish variations.

From just below it, one can boulder out the roof, which is much easier than it looks (involving slyness and contortions). There may be a fixed pin and other decent gear can be had; finish up a groove. A more straightforward finish lies just to the right (definitely the recommended one if speed is an issue at all, otherwise over the roof is quite fun). Hand traverse around an overhang utilizing a horizontal crack with good medium-small Friend placements, and finish straight up easier rock. Watch rope drag on either exit. The right end of the hand traverse can also be reached directly by climbing a thin 5.9 crack with tricky placements.

Descend by downclimbing a short way, then follow a ledge east, and pick up a water groove which leads to a series of slabs, chimneys, and grooves. One can also rappel from a tree at the beginning of the ledge to reach this point (recommended in wet or dark). Bear south east (easier but longer) or south west (4th class, with a few cairns--be sure to cut back east partway down or you'll get cliffed). Walk west back to the base of your route.


A very short pitch--you'll need a few nuts and Friends for the easier variations (nothing big), and be sure to bring some very small nuts and TCUs if doing the 5.9.

Photos of The Cave Exit Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A tangled mess I lead.
A tangled mess I lead.
Rock Climbing Photo: All smiles after exiting the Cave.
All smiles after exiting the Cave.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up at the Cave.
Looking up at the Cave.
Rock Climbing Photo: Taken from fang ledge. Climber getting  establishe...
Taken from fang ledge. Climber getting establishe...
Rock Climbing Photo: Errett trying to figure this one out.
Errett trying to figure this one out.

Comments on The Cave Exit Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 26, 2016
By Ben Mottinger
Founding Father
Jan 1, 2001

Just to reiterate what Charles said--it really looks like 5.10ish from below, but once you actually start climbing it, you'll see the good holds.
By Francisco Manzo
Oct 25, 2001

I have to agree with the above comment, don't let looks deceive you on this. It looks really scary, but if you don't try it, you will kick yourself in the ass later when you do.
By Brice W
Jun 24, 2002

As of 6.23.2002, there was a fairly new-looking pin in the roof of the cave. There is also a crack that takes a #1 Camalot well. The climbing looks way harder than 5.7, but you can get some good stems, and it all works out. Try not to partially wrap the rope around yourself like I did when moving out towards the edge of the roof.
By pete cogan
Aug 5, 2003

This website is a terrific source of information. Unfortunately, I read about The Cave Exit AFTER we climbed Pear Buttress. Here is an alternative escape if you'd like a change of pace and if the weather is still holding for you. I don't think it's worth it, but it will get you to the top.

Instead of heading R all the way up the 5.4 ramp to the cave, we were intimidated by what looked like arduous climbing, so we headed left, up a 5.5 ramp, which I believe leads to Fang Ledge. From there, we went up the Midway Dihedral (#52 in Gillett's book), straight up to old slings on a dicey flake backed up by an old bolt. Fortunately, this can be backed up by a #1 Camalot and a stopper. The Midway Dihedral is short, fun, and based on the amount of vegetation, not often climbed (5.8+). It takes small pro.

Instead of heading straight up Willie's Way (which we didn't know, but looked hard) we did the Bloody Traverse to the left, marked by assorted blood spots in numerous cracks. This is 5.8ish, bloody, and protects well. Perhaps 50 feet. You top out in the first big crack/dihedral which I believe is the last pitch of George's Tree (5.7), which is maybe 60 feet and fun.

You have been warned.
By flynn
Jan 26, 2005

Figuring out the Cave exit is a Lumpy rite of passage. Be sure to bring along your sense of humor, scramble up into the thing, and do your twirls. Then make a mental note to do the Hurley Traverse next time!
By Ernie Port
From: Boulder, Colorado
Jun 12, 2005
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Was in this cave yesterday and 7+ is about right. Small pro galore on the upper left side before a solid looking piton can be clipped. Good flake out on the right wall and an undercling up in the right ceiling above it was the love we were looking for. Then good ledge on upper left and bomber jug at the end of the upper right corner make this straight forward but awkward. Upon first inspection, looks harder than it really is...but fun!
By Clint Locks
From: Boulder
Jun 28, 2005
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Wow! That's fun! Nice epilogue to "Loose Ends" today.As of 6/05, the aforementioned pin is still in place, and don't take the integrity of the big flake on the left for granted.
By Jason Shatek
May 30, 2006

I did the cave exit last Saturday and somehow made this way, way harder than 5.7. There is a jam in the roof that is so good you can literally hang off of it as I did. I sewed this up with a red Alien in the ledge under the pin, then clipped the good-looking pin then put an orange Alien into the roof (I was a little nervous).
By pfwein
From: Boulder, CO
May 28, 2007

Fixed pin was there today.
By climber73
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jun 9, 2007
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Did the cave exit a few hours ago. Really fun in a weird / unique climbing kind of way and didn't feel harder than 5.7.

The fixed pin is still there.
By tooTALLtim
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 20, 2007

That pin is wonderful!!
By Alex A
Jun 3, 2008

FYI, if you are tall this is very hard, the roof of Fat City is easy compared to these, had to aid after 3 falls, 5.7+ a joke, my partner felt the same, WAS NO FUN, FYI climbed Fat City, and Cheapdate, Outlander, no falls, , The Pear is a great, but this exit is no way to end a great climb.
By John Peterson
Jun 3, 2008
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I'll refute that. As someone who is 6'6" and needed 5 tries on Fat City the cave is dead easy. It's just not obvious. If you do it right it's completely secure. Every time I do it the move gets more fun. Half the enjoyment is watching people struggle on this the first time they try it.

Hint: I use an ass hold. It's great.
By - - -
Aug 1, 2008

What an ending to Pear Buttress. An awesome bit of bouldering. I think it truly rounds out my Lumpy experience. Totally classic. Though I found it harder than 5.7, I am sure that my beta was totally off, so whatever. I believe the 5.7+ rating if you can figure out the right beta.

The pin is still there as of August 1, 2008.
By tooTALLtim
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 1, 2010

Alex A., I couldn't disagree more!

I finally pulled the Fat City roof cleanly today, but onsighted the Cave years ago.
By Rich F.
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Sep 6, 2010
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I loved this finish to Pear Buttress! Perplexing at first, but once you figure out the moves, it's actually quite easy (5.7+) if you are tall enough to stem between the walls. Was very hard for my wife to follow, though, because she was too short to stem the gap. Pin is still there and appears to be in good shape. GREAT finish IMO!
By Pete eye
From: Fort Collins, CO
Sep 21, 2010

Loved this finish. The pin is nicely placed (one or two moves off the deck). However, you can get a bomber piece in before you even make a move, only a foot or so lower. I couldn't stop laughing as I started this thing, it just looks way harder than it really is!
By Laura Pyle
From: Evergreen, CO
Oct 1, 2010

I agree with Rich F. - this is hard for short people. I'm 5'3", and just could not stem across the gap.
By Rodger Raubach
Mar 12, 2011

Took a while to get figured out the first time, but it was never harder than 5.7.
By Alex Vidal
From: Boulder, CO
May 5, 2014

Probably my favorite 5.7 crux. No gear required other than a red or yellow Camalot, which you can place from a complete rest.
By Creed A
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 11, 2014

I tried to follow the traversing 5.7 hand crack described above.... I think we screwed it up! From just below the cave, I followed a crack to the right. It started easy but eventually became overhung, thin, and filthy. The feet were almost non-existent, and the feet I did see were covered in lichen. There was also so much grit and lichen in the crack that I inhaled it and spent the next 10 minutes coughing. The rock quality was horrible too. There was a party below us on the slab, and I though for sure I was going to shower them with rock. Seriously, it was terrible.

Unless we get some clarification, as it's entirely possible I was in the wrong crack, then I recommend doing the awkward cave exit. It can't be nearly as bad!
By Gunkiemike
Aug 30, 2015

Why isn't this description in the J Crack Slab section? Those are the routes that end at the Cave, no?
By Russ Keane
Sep 26, 2016

Did someone really say this is harder than Fat City roof? That's pretty funny. This is honestly 5.7, it's really not that bad, come one now. Fun little move to end the day.

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