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The El 

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

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 180'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Grant Calder, John Wald, July 1976
Page Views: 7,380
Submitted By: Chris Duca on May 31, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (74)
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Enjoying the nice traverse pitch on The EL.


A great line up the cliff, using a series of horizontal and vertical cracks. Stonker pro, and wonderful, airy positioning make this route a classic among classics!

P1: 5.2 (This route uses the same first pitch as "Pete's".) 40' (small gear belay)

P2: 5.7 Traverse left across the face using a positive horizontal. At the large right-facing corner, traverse left to the arete, where there is a small overlap. Move around the arete, and continue across the positive horizontal until it ends on a small ledge/Semi-hanging belay below a clean, vertical crack. 70' (gear belay in vertical crack)

P3: Take the plum line up the crack and into the steepening, left-facing corner. Move around the small overhang using the crack, and continue to the top via lower angle slab climbing. 80' (gear belay)

Descent: Climb down (easy 4th class) into the massive chimney, and aim for the far right end of the chimney that has a chain anchor. It is a good idea to belay your leader down to this anchor, as the last few moves to the anchor are exposed. Rappel with one 60m rope.


Same start as for "Pete's Farewell".


A standard rack with some extra, long runners to lessen rope drag on Pitch 2.

Photos of The El Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Sara Reeder rounding the corner on the second pitc...
Sara Reeder rounding the corner on the second pitc...
Rock Climbing Photo: Converse enjoying the arete on The El.
Converse enjoying the arete on The El.
Rock Climbing Photo: The traverse on P2.
The traverse on P2.
Rock Climbing Photo: P3
Rock Climbing Photo: The El with belays marked. To descend by rappel, g...
BETA PHOTO: The El with belays marked. To descend by rappel, g...
Rock Climbing Photo: Nellie following P2
Nellie following P2
Rock Climbing Photo: me on the EL gettn my sunburn on WOOO!
me on the EL gettn my sunburn on WOOO!
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting up Pitch 3. We found that bringing the #4...
Starting up Pitch 3. We found that bringing the #4...
Rock Climbing Photo: Alex cruising up the final pitch of The El.  Fanta...
Alex cruising up the final pitch of The El. Fanta...

Comments on The El Add Comment
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By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
Sep 22, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Use long runners on the initial part of the P.2 traverse, and be prepared to use rope-tugs as belay signals as shouting really doesn't work. At the end of the traverse, build your belay at the higher of two stances (more comfortable).
By Jaysen Henderson
From: Bronx NY
May 30, 2011

great route jsut make sure ur comfortable with traversing because p2 gets a little spicy after you pull around the arette. 3rd pitch is THE pitch for sure. very safe climb though.
By worth russell
From: Brooklyn, NY
Jul 8, 2011

The fact of the matter is the 5.7 traverse is tougher than the p3 crack. The traverse is bomber hands with little to no feet I don't know who rated this climb, but don't get freaked that this is a sandbag special. 3rd pitch is a cakewalk compared to the traverse. Gear is awesome top to bottom.
By kenr
Jul 19, 2012

P2 - seemed to me there was a section before the corner where it's pretty difficult to protect the follower from a possible substantial swing. The moves there took good balance-technique.

Then just after coming around the corner/arete, it seemed to go well by making one more move across left, then a move _up_ on a vertical crack. Then continue traversing left using the main horizontal crack for feet instead of hands. Then after more traversing, move _up_ again before creating the belay anchor.
So careful not to get too low. When we did it there was even an old stuck piece of prot on the too-low line. My partner said he knew someone who got sucked in by trying to follow that protection, and found the climbing was way harder.
By worth russell
From: Brooklyn, NY
Dec 9, 2012

Yeah I hand traversed right past that old op link cam. Its pumpy as all hell. I didnt think to use that rail as a foot traverse. Ill go back and try it this way in the spring
By Don Mellor
Jun 4, 2014

I've long wondered whether the lay-back block, which makes for that awkward mantel mid second pitch, is prone to crack and fall if some big strong person yanks too hard. I recently roped down and gave it a good look - it may be OK, but if it did cut loose, I think it would wipe out the belayer. For me, it makes the route a little less appealing.
By Dom R
From: Estes Park, Colorado
Aug 30, 2014

Some beta on the second pitch, I also used the crack with the link cam as a foot traverse not a hand traverse. My partner warned me of the ensuing issue with hand traversing the crack and I was a little skeptical because the rock above the hand traverse is so lichen covered, but it turned out using the ledge as a foot traverse wasn't too bad, a tiny bit balancey I guess. There's good gear in the short finger crack also for those that choose the foot traverse over the hand. I stepped up a almost immediately after pulling around the arete.
By Sean Sullivan
From: Boise, ID
Jul 10, 2015

Regarding the traverse, I found the feet more than adequate. The spot near the fixed cam was a little pumpy, but not too bad...if you were short, maybe you couldn't reach the feet that I used. (I'm 5.9ish)

If you want to do this route, either pick a weekday or get up early...otherwise, take a ticket and wait in line. This route shares a pitch and a half with Pete's Farewell, as well as the start of the Great Chimney. Plus, parties doing the 5.9 route below the El often finish on the El.

When I finally started the traversing pitch (after waiting for over an hour), I was greeted by the response of "Kinda crowded over here" after I turned the corner to find a party of three under the crack. I hung out for a while before deciding to set a belay above and to the right of the aforementioned fixed cam. I didn't mind the wait, but if you do, plan accordingly.
By M Bageant
From: Cambridge, MA
Sep 6, 2016

Hand traversing P2 after the corner definitely feels harder than 5.7, but it's very doable. A step down near the fixed cam goes at probably 5.9 or so, much harder if you are very short. P3 felt fair at Dacks 5.8.

P2 and P3 are both really enjoyable though!
By Nolan Huther
From: Clarkson University
Aug 19, 2017

Anyone climb the crack just to the left of the corner on P3 as it goes directly through a bulge?

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