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The Moratorium 

YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Livesey & Jones - 1975
Page Views: 11,672
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Oct 16, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (106)
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Leading up P1 of the Moratorium. Thanks to David ...

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


The Moratorium is three (sometimes four) pitches of technical and powerful stemming and jamming up a steep, right-facing corner system at the base of El Cap. It serves as a great approach to the classic "East Buttress" as they finish and start within a few meters of one another, but because the climbing is of such a different nature (that is, East Buttress being much easier, wandering, and adventurous), the Moratorium is perhaps better as a stand-alone climb.

The corner is easily identified on Shultz's Ridge. Approach via a short third class scramble in from the right.

P1: Climb up the steep, pumpy 5.10 corner via jams and quite a bit of laybacking. The top gets thin but just when things get desparate, one can step left to a great belay ledge. Belay at bolts. 5.10d.

P2: Step back into the corner (airy), and continue up on fun climbing until an ultra-thin, creative stemming affair at the top. 10d.

P3: Climb up some hollow flakes to a stance a little ways out from the belay. The crux involves steep liebacking and stemming up a seasonally wet crack. Kinda tough 5.11b. Link this pitch into the next one if you're continuing up to the East Buttress, or rap from here with two ropes.

P4: A short 5.9 pitch up flakes and blocks to the top.


Double set of cams with a strong emphasis on small gear (RPs not needed, but bring plenty of TCUs/tiny Aliens). Two ropes if you wish to rap.

Photos of The Moratorium Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The wild 2nd pitch stemming corner
The wild 2nd pitch stemming corner
Rock Climbing Photo: Rett English powering through the .11b crux on Pit...
Rett English powering through the .11b crux on Pit...
Rock Climbing Photo: Kyle places a brassy before the crux on pitch 2.
BETA PHOTO: Kyle places a brassy before the crux on pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: wow!
Rock Climbing Photo: 2nd pitch stemming
2nd pitch stemming
Rock Climbing Photo: the 10' of wild stemming in P2.
the 10' of wild stemming in P2.
Rock Climbing Photo: pitch 1
pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading the first pitch of the Moratorium
Leading the first pitch of the Moratorium
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch of Moratorium
First pitch of Moratorium

Comments on The Moratorium Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 25, 2017
By m-earle
From: USA
Sep 28, 2007

This climb is a superb intro for valley 5.11 multi-pitch
By Mark Hammond
From: Eldorado Springs, CO
Nov 19, 2007

Excellent but desperate with the algae/seaweed in the crux tips section. Felt harder than other 5.11's on this trip such as the Rostrum. My experience linking the final 2 pitches would lead me to break them up next time.
By Joe Auer
From: Moab, Utah
Nov 28, 2007

seemed to me that of the first two 10d pitches, the second one worked me over way more. i felt like i was barely in there for the slappy moves to the anchors.
By toettch
May 3, 2010

What a great route! Something to note though: the crux section can be quite wet in the spring (especially after a snowy winter), as it was the first weekend of May this year. When wind blows Horsetail Falls over onto the East Buttress, you might find yourself getting some water spray on the 3rd & 4th pitches :)
By Kurt Swanson
From: Philadelphia, PA
Mar 1, 2012

The late great John Bachar gives his account of on-sight free soloing the Moratorium (about 25 minutes in):
By Dmitriy Litvak
From: Pacifica, CA
Apr 15, 2013

Pitch 1 belay is more of a rappel. The chains are easy to miss in action. Building gear anchor on one of the small flake ledges in the crack worked better for us. 70m could link 1st 2 pitches for a mega endurance pitch. Haven't tried it yet.
By Dmitriy Litvak
From: Pacifica, CA
May 19, 2014

Do not leave any food or valuables at the base of the climb. The crows have learned to unzip pouches. Took sandwich, TP, sunscreen from me and the lunches from others climbing that day. So beware, you might not find your diamond watch if you leave it there.
By MisterCattell Cattell
From: South Lake Tahoe, Ca
Sep 29, 2015
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Please do this route. Please.
By cdavey
Oct 11, 2015

Super fun. Climbed this at night the other day. Watch out for little froggies in those cruxy fingers!
By Aaron Livingston
From: Moab, UT
Mar 20, 2016
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

This is easily the hardest 511 I've been on in the valley. My initial feelings are that this deserves an 11+, especially if it's being compared to the rostrum. But then, maybe I'm a pussy. Be solid at the grade for this one.
By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Mar 21, 2016

Spectacular route! First three pitches are the money! Thin "fingers", more like tips, and some serious technical stemming escalate in difficulty as you ascend higher through the pitches. Never thought I would get such a calf burner on a route of this nature. Stiff for its grade in my opinion. Could not help but think of Bachars solo onsight while I was at the crux of the third pitch! Gnar Gnar!!
By Jordan Cannon
From: Bishop, CA
Apr 3, 2016

Incredible climb that doesn't see that much traffic, go for it! I did it last weekend and each pitch had some wet sections but its' still climbable. Although, the crux moves at the end of the third pitch were much more exciting! Stem it out and imagine you're Peter Croft on Venturi Effect as you fight to the anchor
By Mr. Stevens
From: Boulder, CO
Apr 19, 2016

Can anyone comment on the sun/shade times for this route in June?
By Vlad S
Apr 19, 2016

The corner faces east. It starts to get some shade in the afternoon and will be fully in the shade by 3 pm. Regardless, it will likely be way too hot in June unless you manage to get on it on an unusually cool and windy day.
By William Dabbert
Sep 27, 2016

You can rap the route from the top of pitch 3 with a single 80m rope.
By Michael Dom
From: Seattle
May 25, 2017

I had a double set of cams to #3 and one #4 BD. I would have loved about another set of doubles in the .3 to .5 BD size.

You can also rap this route with a 60 meter. On the first pitch's anchors you can't reach the ground so swing right and you will find a set of anchors which safely gets you down.

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