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Glacier Point Apron - Left
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The Grack - Center 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 500'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Bill Sorenson, Jack Delk 1967
Page Views: 34,053
Submitted By: Lee Jensen on Sep 20, 2006  with updates from Aaron Rickel

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Coming across one of the locals while rappeling do...

  • Rockfall danger higher than usual on Glacier Point Apron MORE INFO >>>
  • Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    On the east side of the apron a great finger crack ascends in a rightward sloping direction. Easy protection on a moderate angle make this a classic beginners route.

    Pitch 1 - (5.5) Go directly up the easy slabs along a left facing dihedral until it is overlapped by a right facing one. Continue up into the crack.

    Pitch 2 - (5.6) Follow the crack as it slowly slopes to the right. At one point perfect double finger cracks open up.

    Pitch 3 - (5.6) Continue up the crack until it fades out then either go up and left (easier) or go directly to the double bolt anchors across the face (a bit more difficult).

    Descend the route by rapping the bolt anchors on The Grack - Marginal (if it is clear). This can be done in two raps with two 60m. Make sure you use the second bolt anchors if attempting to do it in two raps. If Marginal is crowded then you can go to the south (climbers left) and rap off blocks and trees.


    The simplest approach that we found was RIGHT at the A-Frame hut and Ranger Circle. From the parking lot, take the main walking trail in the southeast corner for about a quarter mile until you reach the A-Frame hut and Ranger Circle. Head straight toward the wall from here and you'll pick up an obvious climber's trail that heads up the hill to the base of the climb.


    Gear to 2 inches with a focus on small nuts and cams.

    Photos of The Grack - Center Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Awesome hand crack on pitch 2.
    Awesome hand crack on pitch 2.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Summit!
    Rock Climbing Photo: Michael McKay enjoys easy liebacking up the first ...
    Michael McKay enjoys easy liebacking up the first ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Costumed ascent of The Grack - Center
    Costumed ascent of The Grack - Center
    Rock Climbing Photo: Shawn and Scott on the last pitch of the Grack on ...
    Shawn and Scott on the last pitch of the Grack on ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Sandra at the optional belay for P1.  P2 can be se...
    Sandra at the optional belay for P1. P2 can be se...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Brittany Pace. Age 7.
    Brittany Pace. Age 7.
    Rock Climbing Photo: The grack
    The grack
    Rock Climbing Photo: Crowds on GPA
    Crowds on GPA
    Rock Climbing Photo: Hanging out after the first rappel
    Hanging out after the first rappel
    Rock Climbing Photo: The view once you move into the crack of the secon...
    The view once you move into the crack of the secon...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Brice jamming up the 2nd pitch.
    Brice jamming up the 2nd pitch.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Downclimbing after skipping the tree rap.
    Downclimbing after skipping the tree rap.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Costumed ascent of The Grack - Center
    Costumed ascent of The Grack - Center
    Rock Climbing Photo: Costumed ascent of The Grack - Center
    Costumed ascent of The Grack - Center
    Rock Climbing Photo: Michael McKay nears the anchor atop P3 of the Grac...
    Michael McKay nears the anchor atop P3 of the Grac...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Coming up the second pitch
    Coming up the second pitch
    Rock Climbing Photo: Tom on the Grack Center, May 2014
    Tom on the Grack Center, May 2014
    Rock Climbing Photo: P 2 of the Grack. In my opinion, this is the best ...
    P 2 of the Grack. In my opinion, this is the best ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The 2nd pitch of the Grack. It's an enjoyable crui...
    The 2nd pitch of the Grack. It's an enjoyable crui...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Britts!
    Rock Climbing Photo: Taken from the top. Brianna is starting the last p...
    Taken from the top. Brianna is starting the last p...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Simul-rapping off the Grack. You should skip the f...
    Simul-rapping off the Grack. You should skip the f...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The conga line on Grack. In order to miss the crow...
    The conga line on Grack. In order to miss the crow...

    Show All 24 Photos

    Only the first 24 are shown above.

    Comments on The Grack - Center Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 13, 2017
    By Josh Hibbard
    From: Los Angeles Area, CA
    Mar 23, 2007

    This is a great climb in the Valley. Get up early, because this is a heavy traffic area. P2 was the best pitch for me... a nice low angle crack. The last time I climbed this route I ran into two bats chillin' in the crack on the second pitch! Fortunately, they did not bite... There is always word of large rockfall in this area, so climbers beware.
    By Sergio P
    From: Idaho Springs, CO
    Jun 24, 2007
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    With a 70m rope you can link pitch 2 & 3. Also, rapping with a 70m works fine.
    By Bill Olszewski
    From: Colorado Springs, CO
    May 15, 2009

    This is a great route! P2 is definitely one of the best easy pitches in the Valley. Get there early to avoid the crowd and the relentless sun.
    By mikemcee
    From: Mill Valley, CA
    Aug 31, 2009

    For a fun variation, start to the right of the left facing corner and do the slab/friction up to the juggy moves over the bulge. P2/3 is beautiful hands/fingers/tips with great feet the whole way.

    We did it Sunday 8/30 and we were the only ones on that side of the apron. Could have been because it was 90 degrees and in the morning sun but still cool to have it all to ourselves. Super fun, sustained moderate climb. Highly recommended.
    By Floyd Hayes
    Aug 2, 2010
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    To get up this FAST (reducing risk of rockfall), consider simulclimbing, at least for the first two pitches. The leader can lead the first two pitches without pausing to belay after pitch 1 while the follower simulclimbs on pitch 1. Pitch 1 is easy class 4 until near the top and there is no way the follower is going to fall, so simulclimbing here is as safe as it gets. Once atop pitch 2 the leader can belay the follower at the crux of the climb (a tricky move for 5.6) near the top of pitch 1.
    By Dave Alden
    From: San Diego, CA
    Feb 28, 2011
    rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

    Very fun route, probably would link pitches if ever climbed again. A little bit of loose rock in places. Views were incredible!
    By Rodger Raubach
    Mar 14, 2011
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    This may be the absolute best 5.6 climb ANYWHERE! I've done it 5 times over the years, and if I lived closer to California it would be many time that number. The second lead is the "real deal;" possibly as classic as it gets.
    By 303scott
    May 13, 2011

    We found the approach described in the book to be unnecessarily difficult. We descended straight down from the Grack and it was super easy and quick. Here's the beta from the parking lot described in the book.

    Take the main hiker's trail (found at the NE corner of the parking lot) for a few hundred meters until you pass an A-Frame roofed outbuilding on the right (it will be obvious). Go 30 meters further and turn right (towards the Apron) and hike up towards the climbs. Follow the faint trail as it skirts a bog for a few hundred meters(keep the bog on your left). When the trail hits the steep part of the hill, go up. There is a system of trails coming down from the Grack. This way cuts out a lot of needless up and down scrambling, but may be a little confusing the first time. If nothing else, you can descend from the Grack this way and cut out the return scramble.
    By Brian Snider
    From: NorCal
    May 25, 2011

    A must climb route.
    By Muscrat
    Oct 27, 2011

    Just returned from The Grack. Definite bad beta. You need TWO (2) sixties to rap down Marginal. One 70 does not make it, we tried! And the approach beta really needs updating, read previous comment. Great time! Wear helmets, everyone, a rain of small rocks throughout the day was... disconcerting.
    By Jason Albino
    From: San Francisco, CA
    Apr 24, 2012

    303scott's approach beta is the way to go. Ensure you are getting on the marked hiker's trail from the parking lot. Once up at the rock, keep going left (which will involve a brief downclimb before resuming uphill) until you see the huge scree slope (in other words, where there is essentially no more base traversing remaining) - this will seem like you're going too far, but it's the spot!

    Climbed this at 9AM on an April Tuesday and nobody was there at all (if you get out early enough on an offseason weekday, I've found the warnings of crazy crowds are generally overgeneralized). The Apron was wet in spots but not on our line! After a more precipitous winter, it probably would still be wet at this point.

    We found the belay spots to be somewhat confusing using a 60m rope. We maxed out our 60m on P1, yet still found ourselves without enough rope to get to a sensible belay spot after P2 (instead, we traversed left and used the slung boulder rappel station for the second belay). Not positive, but I think the climb overall would link up well as a total of 2 pitches with a 70m rope.

    We rapped from the top with two 60m to the aforementioned slung boulder rappel, then did another two-rope rap to the ground. I was told by another climber there that the first rap should actually be off right as you finish the climb (obviously, there are a few rap options).
    By Justin Skaare
    From: Boulder, CO
    Apr 13, 2013

    It IS possible to rap this on a single 70; knot your ends as it's a rope stretcher to reach the second station. You'll have to reach just slightly down from near the ends of the rope to clip into the second set of bolts. Four raps from top to bottom on a 70.

    If you take the traditional approach up the trail you'll need to continue along the base of wall for about 1/4 mile or so, down a ravine or two, before reaching the climb.
    By epsilon
    Jun 10, 2013

    Approach: From the last parking lot just before the "Do Not Enter" sign at the road to Happy Isles, follow the directions as described by 303scott. The main hikers' trail that you start out on is wide (room for >1 persons abreast) and obvious. Note that the Grack routes are on the East face, so if you're starting from this parking lot, you will go around the left corner of Glacier Point Apron, until it appears you're at the end of the rock. If you're uncertain, skirt the trail along the base of the rock, eastward until you find the route. There's a distinct large downward pointing horn on the first pitch after the 3rd-4th class climbing.

    Our climb: Climbed the route with a 70m rope in two long pitches. Semi-hanging belay/anchor station (top of ~67m first pitch) had a small convenient foot ledge and was created with 2 nuts and a cam (double sliding x). The top of our second pitch easily reached the double bolt rap anchors. For most, I would not consider this route to be a good beginner's easy trad lead due to run-outs, including a section before the top - which can be minimized by heading for easier ground to the left and bring doubles of pro for the crack. The grade felt accurate.

    Rappel: Rappelled down in four pitches using a single 70m rope. As mentioned, the first rap brings you just above anchors of The Grack, Marginal but within reach. The next station is almost directly below. The last station was a rap ring on slings around a tree.

    If I was to do it again, I'd climb earlier or later to avoid the sun and heat (6/7/13); I think due to the heat, we might have been only ones to climb it that day - no conga line. It was a good, quality climb, but I would not call it one of the best 5.6's anywhere.
    By TacoDelRio
    From: All up in yo bidniss.
    Aug 27, 2013

    I personally enjoy doing this in 2 pitches. P1 is up to the tree left of the route. P2 traverses slab (Slab Jesus mode) unprotected, then climbs to top. 70m rope. Might not be a good idea if you don't like gaining the crack from a traverse.
    By Yosemitesam
    Aug 30, 2013

    Going to the tree for the first pitch is off route. That's the first pitch for the Grack, Left.
    It's not as fun and you skip one of the 5.6 cruxes on the Center route. You could stay on the Center route and still probably do it in two pitches.
    By TacoDelRio
    From: All up in yo bidniss.
    Sep 1, 2013

    That's the point.

    Have fun.
    By Jonathan Dull
    From: Boone, NC
    Nov 7, 2013

    Doesn't matter what grade you climb, this route is beautiful! Go have some fun!
    By shoo
    Apr 22, 2014

    I HIGHLY recommend simuling the whole thing if you are your partner are comfortable with it. Doing this as one long pitch is absolutely spectacular, especially for the leader.

    Bring a TON of trad draws, a large set of nuts (I used a full wallnut set and the HB offsets), and a standard cam rack up to a #2. Honestly, there is so much fixed mank on this route that you hardly need to place anything if you are comfortable with long runouts on 5.6 granite slab (which you damn well should be if you are simuling).
    By trying hard
    From: Sierra East Side
    Jun 12, 2014

    two 60m ropes or a 70 meter rope is required for the descent. A single 60 will require leaving something behind to rappel down.
    By Boriss
    From: Sacramento
    Jul 28, 2014

    By Crimpanzee Shortt
    From: San Francisco, California
    Sep 16, 2014
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    Best 5.6 anywhere! I would gladly do it again and again. Also, an afternoon ascent isn't a bad idea. Glacier Point Apron will have cooled down, and there -might- be less parties. You can rapp twice with two 70m ropes and downclimb the rest.
    By Jake Douglas
    Oct 16, 2014

    The right turn 30 meters past the A-frame building looks more like a creek bed than a trail, but turns into a trail shortly after.

    Great route. It is very low angle but the feet are so slippery on lot of it that you have to pay attention. Maybe not the best for a first lead, as you have to make some tenuous (though not difficult) moves with decent space between pro on occasion.

    First belayed at a tiny foot ledge just above the first section of actual crack. If doing it in 3 pitches, make the second belay where you can still use larger gear, because the pro just gets smaller and smaller as you near the top and you will want to save it. Used a lot of 0.3-0.5 here.

    I went left at the top through easier terrain that offered fine protection. The crack that thins out before the friction variation looks like it would take red/green C3s or small nuts and that would make it about 10 feet until your next piece just before the chains.

    Don't try to skip the first set of chains unless you have 2x70m. Unless your 60s stretch a ton, they probably will not reach the second set of chains.
    By Sabrina Dawson
    Nov 9, 2014

    AWESOME climb, especially for someone who wants to get their feet wet on Valley crack/trad climing. Especially the second pitch was just bomber, sinking hand jams all the way up. It will be crowded, so keep that in mind. We did the raps with a 60 and a 70, finding the bolts was super easy and we always had plenty of rope from left over. Great route for beginners.
    By David M Jones
    From: Boulder, CO
    Mar 14, 2015

    My Google Maps Route of The Grack
    By fourchinnigan
    From: Tujunga, California
    Jun 4, 2015

    Quick route with a short hike in. Good confidence builder.
    Note - first shot in the video below is the rap route, climb starts further left.

    By Casey Brown
    From: Seattle, WA
    Mar 28, 2016

    Climbed it a few days ago (3/24). Perfect weather, no crowd. A bunch of seepage on other parts of the apron, but we had no problems on the Grack and a lot of the other climbs in the area looked pretty dry.

    The crack was pretty awesome. A few tenuous moves on the holdless slab. We linked the first two pitches with a 70m rope from starting partway up the route by swinging around left before starting the climb. Belayed at the big groove that opens up in the middle of the finger crack. If you're into slab and rocking finger cracks, check it out.

    Lunch ledge up there if you want a sweet view of the Valley. Rapped off the bolts at top with a 70 and a 60m. There are a bunch of anchors along the slab. Probably would recommend doing a final rappel off the tree to climber's right of the route. It's pretty straightforward.
    By Frodeman
    Jun 16, 2016

    Don't cheat yourself out of some sweet friction! Save a small offset nut or cam (Maybe a 0.4 or 0.5 Camalot, not sure) for the end of the crack as it pitters out on the right, and then go into slab mode, up and kind of left until the features start again. Most people we saw went left and finished on the 3rd class ramp before the crack ends, which looks easier but less fun.

    With 2 x 60m ropes, rap to the top anchor of marginal (Climbers right) and then to the tree below the roof.

    Also, wear a helmet, saw some golfball sized rocks bouncing ominously down from above.
    By gonz
    Jul 5, 2016

    Hit the Grack on 7/2/16 and sent with a single 70 m rope. The only sketchy part was rappelling to the first bolt on the 70 m rope. Being somewhat on the shorter side, I had a big reach while at the very end of my rope to the first set of bolts. After that it was smooth sailing back to the bottom.

    I definitely recommend taking two 60 m ropes and not even dealing with cutting it close.
    By kswissto
    From: Boulder, CO
    Sep 6, 2016
    rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

    Routefinding on P1 can be "difficult" mostly because there are so many options to choose from to get over the bulge. I've done it differently each time I've climbed it.

    I second the comment above re: saving an offset nut or cam for the last pitch. Turns 15 feet of runout to 9 feet, which is a nice added bonus. Tricams also helpful in small pockets.
    By SWGuillemot
    Oct 10, 2016

    The morning of Saturday October 8 I came up behind a couple who ran out of time and had to bail. I have your anchor and would like to get it back to you. Send me a message describing the gear and your address and I will mail it to you.
    By Shaniac
    Oct 21, 2016

    If you decide to rap with a single 70M rope you will come up a bit short from the next set of chains on your first rap. I am 5'8" and could not really reach the next belay station without some crazy moves trying to grab the chains... which can easily be avoided. When you rap, be sure to knot the ends of your rope and use a sling to extend your rap device. This may give you the extra 4 feet you need to reach the next rap station when you get to the very ends of the rope. If you forget, you can lie on the face and try and to snag the chains with a foot, then find a way to grab said chain from your toe. Extending your rap device is far easier but not as entertaining for onlookers. Hope this helps. Great climb!!!!
    By JaredG
    From: Tucson, AZ
    Apr 30, 2017

    Felt like a true classic. Crowded with other gumbies but worth a bit of a wait. I recommend what we did -- climb with a single 70m, link pitches 2&3 as a rope stretcher super pitch (although maybe this is discourteous to later parties waiting for the belays to free up?). The leader of P1 should finish and belay at the higher stance (not the lower, more comfortable one), and refrain from using the rope to build an anchor. I followed the combo pitch 2&3 but it seems like it eats up nuts -- bring a second set if you're worried about running it out. Then rap down in 4 raps -- first 3 off of bolts then off a tree. We had no problem reaching the anchors, but we were 2 6-ft, 180lb dudes.
    By Jimmy Downhillinthesnow
    From: Bozeman, Montana
    May 3, 2017

    Excellent easy climbing. The 15' friction runout at the end of the third pitch looks harder than it is and is extremely mellow and quite fun. Two raps with twin 60s gets you down to easily-scrambled terrain atop a pillar climber's right of the start.
    By Aaron Rickel
    From: Los Angeles, CA
    Sep 13, 2017

    Approach - We found the easiest approach to be at the A-Frame hut and Ranger Circle. Head straight toward the wall from here and you'll pick up an obvious climber's trail.

    Descent - One 70m rope worked just fine for two ~150lb dudes. 4 Rappels. Make sure your rope ends are even! We didn't and I spent a few minutes about 6 feet above the anchor trying to figure out how to even the ends. Rookie mistake!

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