REI Community
Upper Bulge Routes
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Bat, The T 
Crucifix, The T 
Field of Dreams T 
Flakes, The T 
Le Toit T 
Pharaoh, The T 
Price of Fear, The T 
Stairway to Heaven T 
Step, The T 
Super Pooper T 
Vampire, The T 

The Flakes 

YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c [details]
FA: FA: Robbins, Wilson 7/53. FFA: Long, Sorenson, Harrison, Antel 1973.
Page Views: 6,176
Submitted By: AJ on Sep 17, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (32)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Paul Gleason- on an alternate P1 of 'the Flakes' 1...


This is one of my favorite Tahquitz routes, although it does have a few dubious aspects. What I like about it is the exposed position and the neat features it links up. What may detract slightly from its stature is that the pitches are short and its cruxes are very sequency and height dependent.

P1: 5.11a. Climb the very thin crack up to the roof. The gear is good but a little technical, mostly thin stopper placements with a small TCU or two. Just under the roof, make a tricky stem right. Then pull the roof and belay at a small tree in a right facing corner.

P2: 5.8. This is the easy pitch, but the position is fantastic. Climb up the right facing corner a short ways (you can continue straight up and climb the entire corner, this is the second pitch of Stairway to Heaven and a great option in its own right), then make a cool blind step left around the arete to gain a spectacular left-tending thin flake. Great position here. This pitch ends on a big ledge which is shared by Stairway to Heaven on the right and Super Pooper on the left.

P3: 5.11. Climb a crack to the top of a little pedestal, where you will be faced with a blank bulge. Reach high to clip a bolt, then either make a huge reach to an edge or do a bouldery move off thin sidepulls. Follow a ramp left to another belay stance near the base of an enormous right-facing corner.

P4: 5.10c. The original finish wanders up and right on easy slabs to the top. This is about 5.6 and not very exciting. The much better finish is called "The Price of Fear". Step left around the arete of the huge corner, where you will find a 1" crack just a couple feet from the arete. After 30-40' the crack peters out into 5.10c face climbing past 4-5 bolts. Exciting, but not as scary as the name implies. This is a great pitch and a wild ending to this fun climb.


Just right of Super Pooper.


very thin to 2"

Photos of The Flakes Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The beginning of The Flakes
The beginning of The Flakes
Rock Climbing Photo: Highly specific move and protection beta on the fi...
Highly specific move and protection beta on the fi...
Rock Climbing Photo: another lonely day sniffing the Lily.  Oh so sweet...
another lonely day sniffing the Lily. Oh so sweet...
Rock Climbing Photo: Paul Gleason - higher on the 'Flakes' 1972.
BETA PHOTO: Paul Gleason - higher on the 'Flakes' 1972.

Comments on The Flakes Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 7, 2017
By Scotty Nelson
From: Boulder
Apr 8, 2007

A grey and purple TCU will work underneath the roof on pitch 1. This pitch takes very small wires and is pretty spooky.
By Bruce Diffenbaugh
From: Cheyenne,Wyoming
Feb 18, 2008
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c

Wow!! What great beta above,The only thing I can add is if you are visiting from some other area and you don't do this route you will have to come back.Don't miss it!!!!!
By Fat Dad
From: Los Angeles, CA
Mar 26, 2008

If you're short (I'm 5'7"), you'll have a hard time getting into the stem on the first pitch, which will make it substantially more demanding. When I did, I had to do an awkward and delicate reach for the jug at the lip. AFter pumping out placing gear I kicked my r. leg out to that edge in desparation and found I could just barely make the stem. Whew.

When I did the route a second time, I followed my much taller friend up the first pitch. He just casually kicked his leg out and make the stem.

Third pitch seems impossible until you figure it out. Then it's solid.
By fubar
From: Babylon
Jun 22, 2009

This is a fun route for sure. You need small wires and tcus for the first pitch. If you are over 6'1" it is no harder than 5.10d, as both cruxes involve reaching for a good hold. I disagree that the original finish is not exciting. It's a long and runout slab across the top of the bulge, where you turn a couple 5.9 roofs. What could be more exciting than that?
By Luke Stefurak
From: Seattle, WA
Sep 30, 2009
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

There are only 3 bolts on the Price of Fear finish which safely protect this excellent pitch.

Only 11+ if you have to use trickery to make the reach on the 3rd pitch. Could be 10+/11- for those over 6 feet. While following my partner could just reach the hold with his foot on the large pedestal. Wow!
By Jon Clark
From: Philadelphia, PA
Dec 30, 2010
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

The boulder problem on pitch three is height dependant. I'm 5'6", found it very reachy, and thought it was on the hard side of V3.
By ACassebeer
From: Mojave, CA
May 8, 2012
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

I recommend Rp's for the 1st pitch or at least BD nuts in the #3 & #4 sizes. Micro-cams only work higher up.

This route is awesome. The cruxes are short and it seems similar in difficulty to the Vampire for me. Even the 5.8 P3 is great. Get on it!
By Ryan Kempf
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 19, 2012

I would agree with Will. def take some small wires (#2-5) + offset brass, gear is good but small on p1 and p3. stemming move on p1 was tough and I'm 5'10". standing on top of the pedestal clipping the bolt on p3 seems business (I followed it), and the sequence over the bolt is a boulder problem (old school V3 Will). Exit for "price of Fear finish" is obvious, go left at 1st chance and hit the .5 crack (blind), slab section felt easy for the grade and flows well. damn good route, deserves the stars.
By x15x15
Mar 25, 2014

Combining pitches 2 and 3 makes for a better second pitch. If you do the Stairway to Heaven variation, clip the belay with long slings and keep going. If doing the 5.8 2nd pitch, no need to go to the belay bolts, just keep on trucking to the base of Price of Fear.
By Jordan Cannon
From: Bishop, CA
May 23, 2016

The pitches are short and height dependent for sure. The crux on the third pitch seems impossible, but can be done with some bouldering strength. Even if you can't pull the move I think the route is still worth doing, just pull on the bolt and keep going.
By Tradiban
Jul 21, 2016

Yep, still reachy on P3. Has anyone under 5'10 ever pulled the move clean?

I combined P1 and P2 taking the 5.8 variation on the left, going straight up the right facing dihedral is known as 10a, will want a #3 or #4 C4 probably for that.

I had done Price of Fear before so I did the 5.7 traverse pitch, pretty fun, finishes as Vampire does.
By Vlad S
Jul 22, 2016

My partner and I both did it at 5'7" and 5'8". I remember a little bolder problem involving an aggressive heel-hook. Too reachy is never the excuse, too weak is usually the case...
By Tradiban
Jul 22, 2016

Some of us are too tall for that heel hook ;)

If it's off grade (11c) for a shorter person then it's "reachy". I think this fits the bill nicely but I'm not short either. It's good to hear that a shorter person can do it but is it still 11c? I don't know, you tell me.
By Vlad S
Jul 25, 2016

I was joking of course... glad the humor came through. It's hard for me to tell the grade. I've only spent 2 days at Tahquitz and the ratings are stiffer than average. So considering the crag, 11c seems fair enough, but this would be V6 in my local gym (-; Looks like someone higher up in the comments also did it being 5'6".
By Fat Dad
From: Los Angeles, CA
Aug 2, 2016

Like Vlad, I found a heel hook on the third pitch crux to be key.
By badmoonrising
Sep 23, 2016

How does this route compare in difficulty to the Vampire? I two-hung the Bat Crack and one-hung the third pitch of the Vampire, so would I have a shot of making it to the top on this thing?
By Tradiban
Sep 23, 2016

P1 of this is a little tough and hard to protect, make sure you get a good small nut before getting into the thin crack. P3 has that hard boulder problem but it right on top of a bolt.
By Tradiban
Aug 7, 2017

I did the Stairway to Heaven 10a corner for P2, short but awesome corner, no need for a #4 C4 bit would feel good at the very top.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About