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Fine Line, The T 
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The Fine Line 

YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches, Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Greg Lowe, Jeff Lowe, 1972 FFA: Jeff Rhodes, 1990s
Season: summer
Page Views: 16,069
Submitted By: Clint Cummins on Jul 20, 2007  with updates from Arthur and 1 more

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (43)
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Looking back on the traverse from the fine line to...


A stunning line with superb position above a steep wall with blank rock to either side.

The first pitch of this route has a series of crux sections each getting a little more difficult as you progress on the pitch. After that, many fun 5.9 and easy 5.10 pitches up the single crack follow. Eventually it traverses onto the moderate upper pitches of the Beckey Route.

p1 was originally done by Fred Beckey, et al, then bolted and freed in the 1990s by Jeff Rhodes.


center of SW face


standard rack

Photos of The Fine Line Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo for The Fine Line.  I created this after an a...
BETA PHOTO: Topo for The Fine Line. I created this after an a...
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris at the start of the traverse to the Beckey R...
Chris at the start of the traverse to the Beckey R...
Rock Climbing Photo: Elephant's Perch - SW Face, Right  14. The Thorn B...
BETA PHOTO: Elephant's Perch - SW Face, Right 14. The Thorn B...
Rock Climbing Photo: Don't touch that flake. Will it be there this time...
BETA PHOTO: Don't touch that flake. Will it be there this time...
Rock Climbing Photo: Court leading the last pitch. The awkward slot is ...
Court leading the last pitch. The awkward slot is ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Very old bolt on Pitch 8.  Beckey Bolt?
Very old bolt on Pitch 8. Beckey Bolt?
Rock Climbing Photo: SUMMIT!
Rock Climbing Photo: Lunch on Pitch 5.  Halfway there.
Lunch on Pitch 5. Halfway there.
Rock Climbing Photo: Heady, exposed 5.7 taverse on Pitch 6.  Good job B...
Heady, exposed 5.7 taverse on Pitch 6. Good job B...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking across the traverse to the Beckey
Looking across the traverse to the Beckey
Rock Climbing Photo: Brad coming up Pitch 5.
Brad coming up Pitch 5.
Rock Climbing Photo: Wyatt does battle with the very demanding first pi...
Wyatt does battle with the very demanding first pi...
Rock Climbing Photo: topo of Direct Beckey by Reid Dowdle, with some ed...
BETA PHOTO: topo of Direct Beckey by Reid Dowdle, with some ed...
Rock Climbing Photo: Court coming up the 7th pitch.
Court coming up the 7th pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down on the wide slot at the end of the 3r...
Looking down on the wide slot at the end of the 3r...
Rock Climbing Photo: Annie following the intense 1st crux pitch.
Annie following the intense 1st crux pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Lovely evening light
Lovely evening light
Rock Climbing Photo: One of the many cool dihedral pitches!
One of the many cool dihedral pitches!
Rock Climbing Photo: Cat working through the tricky first pitch crux
Cat working through the tricky first pitch crux
Rock Climbing Photo: Wide slot near the top of Pitch 3.
Wide slot near the top of Pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down Pitch 3.
Looking down Pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: topo of first 5 pitches by Reid Dowdle, with some ...
BETA PHOTO: topo of first 5 pitches by Reid Dowdle, with some ...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 23, 2017
By Ouray Badger
Jul 30, 2008

The rating for this route is a mistake. It is 5.11+. The crux is by the last bolt, where the topo shows a "5.11a" move. In addition, if you climb straight up by the first bolt, it is solid 5.11. You can go left and climb up, and then go back right into the corner to reduce the difficulty. An exceptionally good route.
By Brad Brooks
Aug 2, 2008

I would second the notion that 11a is slightly off. If I would dare to enter a subjective rating, I would say 11b/c, but the crux is short and well protected, and the climb is outstanding.
By Jim Donini
Mar 25, 2009

I agree that the 5.11a rating is a sandbag. It's also on the first pitch which is usually quite cool in the morning shade. Make sure to warm up!
By dave bingham
Jun 29, 2010

Yep, the original Becky / Fine Line sure feels harder than "one move" of 11a shown on the topo. Original ratings tend to linger, but there's no shame in telling it like it is. My vote is 11d.
By Spencer Weiler
From: Salt Lake city
Jul 26, 2010

Amazing line! Super fun climbing. The 2nd pitch is by far the best pitch on the route. Finger locks for 110 feet with occasional hand jams and a fun wide section to the top. Jeff G.'s topo is spot on and was a great help. A couple thoughts: 1. Small gear is critical. Doubles in the TCU's sizes is adequate, with lots of nuts, but bring more if you have them. We rarely placed anything bigger than a #2 camalot. 2. On the last pitch, I highly recommend going up the 9+ crack on the left as shown on Jeff's topo. The right .9 crack around the bulge and up the 10a rp seam causes HEINOUS rope drag if you are trying to do it all in one pitch. 3. The descent gully is a breeze. Walk along the south ridge of the perch and down the south gully. One 80 foot rappel at the bottom is all that is required. 4. Pitch 4's wild flake is indeed wild! The mental crux of the route.
By Monica Jones
From: Bishop, CA
Aug 19, 2010

I took the right side up and fell right off the bat at the first bolt going to the jug. Damn! Came down and restarted for the redpoint. Super fun, I would call it 11b also, pumpy with multiple cruxes but lots of good rests to dissipate the difficulty. Favorite route we did!
By drewford
From: Wasatch Back, UT
Aug 29, 2010
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c

Definitely worth doing the first three or so pitches before joining the direct Becky.
By dave bingham
Jul 6, 2012

Historical correction: The "Lowe's"did the first clean (no piton) ascent, not the FFA. The first pitch was equipped and free climbed by Reid Dowdle of Hailey in the early 90's.
By Mark SLC
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 30, 2012
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

+ 1 for Drew's comment. We took his advice last year and it seemed like the best way to do it. The first pitches of fine line are sustained and amazing. Agreed the 11a first pitch felt harder, maybe 11+ or maybe it was just a tough warm up. Pitch 2 is phenomenal fingers. Pitch 3 to join the beckey we aided for time and as it was pretty full on stemming. After that, joining the beckey, pitch after pitch of some of the best granite 5.10 you will ever do. Smiling the whole way.
By Amir erez
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 1, 2012

Incredible. We were really happy to do this one before Myopia, as Myopia is in my opinion a bigger day physically and mentally. One of the great granite walls in the states!
By James Yates
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug 7, 2012

This is a really fun climb... After climbing Myopia this route felt like a walk in the park in terms of seriousness and sustained difficulty (we were pretty whipped after myopia, and still had enough to cruise this stellar line the next day). That being said the first pitch of Fine line is considerably harder than the crux of myopia. However, it is way better protected and the rest of the route is not near as sustained. Fine line is just good clean safe fun... This would be a great climb for a 5.10 leader.

My two cents of the rating discussion... Ratings are subjective and will vary from person to person... I was shocked that I got the first crux pitch clean... I am 5'8" and I think the difficulty can be height dependent considering that I was stretched to the absolute max with the highest possible feet. Also, I thought it was hard in several spots leading up to the very thin crux. To put this into prospective for those Wasatch climbers... I think the crux of this pitch was considerably harder than concrete jungle (11c) and slightly harder than Fuego (12a). The crux sequence felt very similar in difficulty to All Chalk and No Action (12a). I dont care to assign it a subjective grade, I am just trying to give a few comparisons.
By heppnerd
Sep 4, 2012
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

the giant hanging fang on p1 is very loose it was moving 2 to 3 inches very scary!Its easy to aid past this though.
By jdm
Sep 22, 2012
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

I agree with heppnerd... We climbed the Fine Line just over a week ago. The big flake (see white cross on my photo) is just hanging free and moves about 3". You don't need to actually use it and can reach around it with a long reach to a finger jam off the big rock spike to the left of the base of the flake, without aiding. One thing for sure, if (when) it does come off, it WILL kill the climber...

I'd also add that I think that the crux of that pitch (some ten metres above the flake) is much harder than anything on Positive Vibrations, which we did about a week later. Definitely not 11a.
By Aaron Miller
From: Santa Fe, NM
Jun 21, 2013

And it wouldn't hurt to replace maybe one of the first few pieces of fixed gear with something "modern". Those bolts are spooky.
By JF1
From: Las Vegas
Jul 19, 2013
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Death flake is now gone. Climbed it before and after, seems like the grade wasn't effected.
By jdm
Jul 19, 2013
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Excellent! Did you pull it off or was it already gone? How much of the flake came off? As I said above, it moved about 3" - but I couldn't see any fracture line.
By kirkadirka
From: Boulder
Jul 26, 2013

It looks like most of the death flake came off. But there is still a small amount of rotten rock that will come off over time.

Fine line is good but not as good as the Direct Beckey.

Reasons for this route only getting 3 stars:

  • Some less than perfect rock on P1 combined with old fixed protection. The climbing on P1 is brilliant however. I wish I could have convinced myself to go for it but it is past my risk tolerance in it's current state.

  • The second half of P4 and the first half of P5 are comprised of a giant stacked block and flake system. Seemed solid enough, but again, not as good quality of rock as the direct Beckey.

  • The traverse pitch back into the Beckey route detracts from the route.

Perhaps linking the Fine Line into the Beckey route via the 11+ stemming corner would improve the quality (AKA Original Beckey). We did not do this. I would say the Fine Line is right on par with the Direct Beckey in terms of overall difficulty (calories burned).
By Mike Rowley
From: Boise, Idaho
Jun 24, 2015

Whew! That first pitch means business! I managed to pull off the onsight, but I would not have wanted to fall on those old rusted bolts. Felt pretty solid 11c to me. Great climbing up through the 4th pitch but then it starts to lose quality. Fantastic outing though. Highly recommend
By Topher Dabrowski
Sep 1, 2015
rating: 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a

All the bolts on the first pitch are crap and should be replaced. Hardware that old which has been subject to temperature extremes as well as moisture ingress is just asking for trouble. The Leeper hangers have been recalled and I don't know why they are still hanging on this line.

Time for the ASCA to get in and bring this line as well as others on the Perch back up to standards.

The original Becky rivets on pitch 7 are nice for historical purposes but again offer nothing in the way of protection. 1 bolt here would be adequate. I'd suggest leaving the old rivets if they didn't risk ripping a rope up should one fall on/past them but unfortunately I doubt that would be the case.

The bolts on the top of pitch 1 are also button heads and if one looks from the side of the hanger you will note that a good part of the bolt isn't even in the rock. Pull them and add a set of 1/2" stainless bolts with stainless rap rings, Fixe makes a nice combo.

Rock Climbing Photo: Becky Rivet, P7
Becky Rivet, P7

Rock Climbing Photo: Typical old Leeper hangers which were recalled for...
Typical old Leeper hangers which were recalled for failures
By Kat A
From: Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Sep 3, 2015

The first pitch of Fine Line felt much harder to me than any of the cruxes of the Direct Becky route - including the 5.11+ Original Becky dihedral pitch. Perhaps this is style and/or height-dependent (I'm 5'3") or the temps were just really cold that morning...

Once you are past the first pitch, the Fine Line is easier and less sustained than the Becky route, making for a shorter day. IMO, it's not as spectacular as the Direct Becky, but it's definitely a great line.

Gear beta - mostly thin gear for the harder sections, though if you finish via the OW pitch of the Becky route, a #3 and 2 #2 camalots will protect the OW well (cams deep in the crack). We didn't do the 5.9 face variation (old bolts) nor did other parties when we were up there so can't speak for that variation leading up to the Becky tree.

Agree with the previous suggestion of running the fourth pitch long to reach a nice ledge after the thin flake system, to where you are just left of the large block system. I think a 60m rope worked well enough for the party below us (we had lots of rope left on our 70m stretching this pitch, so maybe it was closer to 175' versus 200').
By Stephen Sh
From: Portland
Sep 16, 2015
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

Really enjoyable fun route! We followed Kat and Dan (see comment above) on this route on 8/28. A few notes:

  • On pitch 4, a 60m rope was adequate to get to the upper belay ledge. The straight-line distance on this pitch from P3 anchor to upper P4 anchor is about 49m, measured by our tag line. The P4 “wild flake” is really fun climbing. Wild doesn’t mean loose or dangerous.

  • Above the Becky Tree, we did the Fine Line ending to the route. It’s a long and winding way to the “big ledge” from the Becky Tree. I recommend to minimize rope drag by climbing in 2 pitches to big ledge and then belaying on the ledge, which offers a beautiful position and view.

  • As mentioned above, the bolts on P1 are old and have Leeper hangers, which have been recalled due to defects. An ASCF replacement project? I found P1 hard (technical and difficult) and took a couple falls, but still really enjoyable and fun.

  • It would be helpful if the old rivets on P8 were pounded back in, flush with the wall so that the climber’s rope can’t slip underneath the sharp-edged aluminum hangers.

Gear: The thin cracks flare on this route, so I found offsets more useful than traditional nuts, in thin and medium sizes.
By Trevor.
From: Boise, ID
Jun 27, 2016

Definitely a few spooky blocks on this one, including a few we would have liked to trundle had we known the base was clear for sure. Be careful.

This was our rack, which we found nearly perfect as fairly cautious climbers:
Offset Micronuts
DMM Alloy Offsets
Large Nuts (SUPER USEFUL!!!)
Singles BD 0.1-3
Doubles BD 0.3-2
X4 Offsets .2/.3 - .4/.5 (Not necessary but we definitely used them)
Lots of slings

If you wanna trim down on weight, you could make a single #2 and no #3 work.
By JF1
From: Las Vegas
Jul 2, 2016
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

This National Forest has a set in stone no bolting allowed policy, including rebolting. Better get on it while you can.

Someone could certainly legally go up and just replace the hangers. I'd suggest taking a small bottle of something (silicone lubricant) or even a candle to help when trying to re-thread nut on the bolt.
By Colin Szehner
From: Oakland, Ca
Sep 7, 2016

Something must be done about the bolts, needs to be fixed before there is an accident.
By Phil Lauffen
From: The Bubble
Feb 28, 2017

Ok. If something needs to be done about the bolts, what can we do? How strict is the no rebolting ban? What size hangers would work if we can only change the hangers? What is the climbing organization in the area?

I'm going to be heading to Elephant's perch this summer and want to get my revenge on this route, but I see the bolt situation has only deteriorated. I'm going up there anyway, so what can happen?
By Jesse Wees
From: Boise
May 3, 2017

Thanks for the update, Dave!
By charlie elverson
Jul 25, 2017

Jeff G's topo is spot on. Where you step right from the alternate pitch 4 belay, there is a 4' tall detached block, just waiting to fall off. I knocked off the top foot of it with just a nudge. It'd probably be best to trundle it when the area isn't busy.
By dave bingham
Aug 3, 2017

The four protection bolts on P-1 of the Fine Line have been replaced with SS bolts donated by ASCA, in cooperation with the US Forest Service and the Access Fund. Enjoy!
By Mike Marmar
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 23, 2017

Thanks Dave. The brand new bolts were very nice to have!

This is a phenomenal route, even if you have to aid through the cruxes on P1 (we did). P2 is one of the best 5.10 pitches I have ever climbed.

Edit to add: micro and small nuts are pretty crucial on this climb. DMM offsets, peenuts, and HBs are really nice to have.

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