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The Mordor Wall
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The Mordor Wall 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b C2

Type:  Trad, Aid, 5 pitches, 500', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b C2 [details]
Page Views: 9,594
Submitted By: Zach Allen on Apr 3, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (19)
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the hooks are great, do not fear... adam is at the...


A beautiful outing on clean, water-streaked granite. Mordor Wall links interesting features up one of the proudest parts of Cathedral. A perfect warmup for clean aid walls in Yosemite, and a worthwhile outing in and of itself. Jim Surette freed some pitches including the first and the roof pitch.

P.1 A bathook move off the ledge takes you to a right angling flake (slightly expando?) and then up to a bolted belay. (C1+)

P. 2 A rising traverse on amazing, streaked granite. Alternate bolts and bathooks on the traverse. (the number of bolts has grown over the years) and then up a thin seam sprouting some fixed heads to a bolt anchor. (C2 F)

P.3 A0 Bolt ladder to a nice 5.9 finger crack (easily aided at A1) takes you to a great sidewalk ledge. (C1)

P. 4 Up off the ledge and awkwardly through the roof with great exposure, clipping a fixed bong at the lip. Incredible position. (awkward C1)

P. 5 Easy aid or 5.9 free up lower angle crack system to a sloping ledge. Occasionally wet/dirty. Scramble off or rap the route.


A well marked trail goes straight up to the base, to the right of the Thin Air face.


Double set cams to 3". Extra stoppers and tcus. The route goes clean easily.

Photos of The Mordor Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2 of Mordor Wall
Pitch 2 of Mordor Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: almost done with our day... adam finishing cleanin...
almost done with our day... adam finishing cleanin...
Rock Climbing Photo: The hook traverse in early spring
The hook traverse in early spring
Rock Climbing Photo: Solo second pitch on bat hooks is always a great o...
Solo second pitch on bat hooks is always a great o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Thank Jove this route doesn't take a lot of gear o...
Thank Jove this route doesn't take a lot of gear o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3: one of the few hook moves between bolts o...
Pitch 3: one of the few hook moves between bolts o...
Rock Climbing Photo: close shot of adam cleaning the roof...
close shot of adam cleaning the roof...
Rock Climbing Photo: Adam up high getting to the roof on pitch 4...
Adam up high getting to the roof on pitch 4...
Rock Climbing Photo: looking down from high up on pitch one...
looking down from high up on pitch one...
Rock Climbing Photo: looking down at the fixed heads... all in pretty g...
BETA PHOTO: looking down at the fixed heads... all in pretty g...

Comments on The Mordor Wall Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 14, 2016
By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
Apr 5, 2007

i cant wait to climb this route this season... ill try to get some photos to post when i do it...
By Rodrigo Cid
Mar 14, 2008

WARNING: some corrections to the route description with BETA.

Just a note that the 2nd pitch is at least C3F, not a C2. The traverse to the right is probably C2, but up the seam is about 5 or so moves on fixed heads.

Also, P3 is A2, since the bolts are spaced in a way that you have to use a hook, then clip a bolt, a hook move again, clip a bolt, and so on, 'til you get to the easier/fee-able section.

Great route nonetheless!
By Zach Allen
May 23, 2008

Whatever number you want to put on it, the aid is very easy, very fun and nowhere on the route could you take a very long or dangerous fall. The heads on p.2 might feel spooky, but the reality of it is that they are good, and even if every one zippered, there is nothing to hit but air.

For pitch 3, I maintain that one bomber hook above a bomber bolt is A1.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that the route is beautiful, and you should go do it, whatever the grade.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Mar 26, 2009

I am betting that not many people have repeated the first pitch free. I know jimmy worked this one pretty good. Very hard and sustained with the quote to me " have you done Heavy Weather ? " grunting 'no" "oh this next section is much harder" for the undercling section.
By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
May 27, 2009

just climbed it yesterday with adam wilcox... had a great time... a few comments...

P1: I stick clipped the rivet form the ground... the rest of the pitch was a cruise...

P2: Super fun, not too spooky... the hooks were BOMBER and the heads were fine... the last head had a hole for a hook right next to it, i liked that better...

P3: Didnt do any hooking, just top stepped and reached through (im 6'2" so it might not work for everyone)...

P4: i found this to be the hardest technical pitch... awkward and balancy moves above the ledge on micro nuts... A weird mantel off of a sky hook to gain the bolt below the roof... the roof wasnt bad at all it was just slow going...

P5: This pitch was filthy and a bit wet i had to dig for placements... i ended up grappling for tree branches as my feet slipped all over the mud at the top...

all in all, a fun day... a huge thanks to the guys who helped with our snagged tag line and found our dropped nut and returned it to us after finding out that we were on their route... what were the chances of 2 parties wanting to get on this on the same tuesday!
By David Aguasca!
From: New York
Jan 30, 2010

Tried to solo aid this in early October. Midway through the hooking traverse, the cordelette I slung my bathooks pulled through the hole while I was standing on it. Needless to say I couldn't really complete the route with only one hook...Then when I rapped, my rope got stuck so I had to re-lead the first pitch again to retrieve it!
By David Aguasca!
From: New York
May 12, 2010

Second solo aid attempt this past Monday, May 10th. Averaged a glacial 2 hours per pitch, and then bailed at the top of the third pitch due to being cold, hungry, and scared.

A high of 45 and windy in mid-May? Hooray New Hampshire.
By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
May 12, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b C2

Nice Dave! You'll get it.
By Entropy
Jun 18, 2010

Can any of these pitches be linked? I know that at least pitch 1 is less than 100 ft.
By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Jun 19, 2010
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b C2

I don't know about linking pitches, but if you are climbing with a partner short-fix and lead it in two blocks. One to the ledge and one to the top. Makes it go fast. Bring LOTS of biners/draws if doing this!
By Ryan Barber
From: Rumney, NH
Mar 23, 2012

I was under the impression (based on the John Sykes guidebooks) that if hooking was required, it moved the aid rating to 3.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Mar 24, 2012

Most of the hooking is bat hooking --A1 + and after that on P2 it's mostly fixed A1, unless it comes out.
By Ryan Barber
From: Rumney, NH
Mar 27, 2012

Keep up the good effort Dave. I'm gonna follow your tracks when I get the chance!! This is on my todo list.
By Sean TM
Sep 18, 2012

Pitches 1&2 link quite easily! You don't really need gear on p2 so you're good to go.

Just did the first 2 pitches, and at least one copperhead was missing just before the bulge- I'm 5'6" and needed a 3' stick to clip from top-stepping (and yes I used the hook there!).
By HugoD
Jun 9, 2013
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A3

I climbed this route last week as my first solo wall.

P2's top section is missing a few fixed pieces. It's basically "deadhead fest" over there. I would say 2 to 3 critical wires are missing.

I managed to tap a small pecker on top of a deadhead and then bathook my way around the seam to the anchors. A3.

I'd be nice if future climbers bring the proper tools to remove the deadheads (butter knife, small chisel).

The top out was wet and muddy. However, a classic aid climb overall!
By burlap submariner
Jun 12, 2013

I would def say that the hooking on pitch 2 is very easy, hooks with training wheels. The head "ladder" is now mostly dead heads with some reachy moves or smaller moves on peckers on aluminum, either way a fall from the top of the ladder before the bolt would be at least 30 feet, that would warrant A3 if the route is fixed with heads its still C3. I would call pitch 2 "C1,A3 or C3F".

If the last head in the seam has a hook next to it the route has been altered by chipping, which is total fucking bullshit.
By HugoD
Jun 12, 2013
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A3

Burlapsubmariner : I couldn't agree more with your rating.

Precision : I bathooked on tiny natural features around the seam. However, I would strongly recommend that the deadheads get removed and replaced by new copperheads before someone else actually drills holes there ... I would have removed the deadheads myself, but I didn't have the appropriate tools with me.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Jun 12, 2013

Fixed is A1, unless it comes out. maybe the route should now be restored with the original gear ? 2 bolts for P2 !..It's seen enough random drilling i think
By hasan Adil
From: portland,me
Jul 5, 2013

Climbed this yesterday. Am 5'7, it was an exciting top to clip the bolt at the top of the first pitch. 1 inch more than my max reach :) The last nut placement is great for download but will probably pull out on a sideways pull. A bd4 could plug in half way up the p1 crack. Awesome route.
By Alex Hilshey
From: Hollidaysburg, PA
Nov 26, 2013

I climbed the first two pitches yesterday. On the p2 head seam just before the last bolt, someone placed a rurp. There's a second totally unnecessary rurp one head above the last bolt plus a fixed pecker. Bad business. I cleaned a dead head (tried to clean two of the huge old copper no. 4 or 5 heads, but they weren't coming out without hurting the rock). I placed two more heads (one where the dead head was, the second on top of one of the old copper deadheads), so everything is in place, but the reach to the last frayed cable is exciting!
By Ben Maxfield
From: Parsonsfield Maine
Dec 21, 2013

I just wanted to thank the last guy that removed some old dead heads and didn't blow the old #4 heads and didn't destroy the rock! The amount of people doing this classic is cool stuff and people usually don't come prepared with all the clean aid goodies ... The first pitch will take all sorts of gear like HB offset brass, Lowe sliding balls, offset alien cams and some good top stepping aiders ;) I've always loved the thin upper moves to gain the hanging belay. I will check out The head seam and try a surgical removal of anything that looks like crap.
By Matthew Robertson
Jun 2, 2014

FYI, key bashie ripped near the top of the second pitch after the last bolt. Didn't have a hammer or new bashies so had to bail. The route is not clean right now.
By Ben Maxfield
From: Parsonsfield Maine
Jun 2, 2014

Ok the frayed cable head must have blown just under the bolt anchor , there was a hook move next to this head you might have been able to hook ? How the hell did you bail on being one move away from the bolt belay? Did you have any other problems on the bashie seam??
By Ben Maxfield
From: Parsonsfield Maine
Jun 2, 2014

Sorry I didn't realize you had mentioned that the head above the bolt was the one ! That's cool hope you had a fun time anyways ... You notice the new route going under the rappel on coming off the second pitch ?
By Matthew Robertson
Jun 2, 2014

Hey Ben, to clarify, I lead the first pitch, my partner lead the second. Above the last bolt on the seam of the 2nd pitch there were 2 bashies and some type of "nest" of gear before the anchor. We did not reach the "nest", the bashie below that didn't have a wire (I think that is where the hook move is), and the bashie below that was the one that popped. Did a series of lower offs to clean our draws so didn't get to check out the line you mentioned. Hope that makes more sense. Cheers.
By Alex Hilshey
From: Hollidaysburg, PA
Jun 12, 2014

The hook move is the last move before the anchors and is hidden. As I recall from last November, the placement options were a little limited due to all of the huge copper dead heads which are super hard to clean compared to aluminum heads. If anyone's going up on it, bring a butter knife, a hammer, and a lot of time for surgical removal...
By burado
From: New Hampshire
Jul 9, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b C2+

Here's some more beta;

I did this route last weekend. This route can go clean in its current condition. The ripped copperheads are right above the last bolt on pitch 2. A hook in the seam (a bit precarious) leads to a head without a wire. If you have the small BD beak, you can hand place it on top of the head and get through. Not super secure, but you have a bolt right there. I gave the beak a nice love tap with the hammer, but I am not brave. There is a literal slot from other people doing the same, so a couple tugs from stepping on the ladder should be all you need to slot it right.

The last 2 pitches added Mordor spice. Lots of digging out dirt for placements and sorting through gear under waterfalls, fun stuff. Definitely take it to the top if you want to get the full experience!

Does anyone know if you can rap from the top or are you committed after you pull the traverse on P5?

A final note, some of the heads could probably be removed as they are redundant. I don't know the ethics of the route, but probably only 1 head needs to be added, if people want to get rid of the beak move.
Maybe a #4?
By RyderS Stroud
From: Dali, Yunnan Province, China
Aug 20, 2014

On conditions and such:

Moves off the ground were a little sketch. The first bolt was not there, instead being a haggard-looking rivet. Bomber gear above, though...

Copperheads at the top of the crux pitch (P2) were gone/ripped (save 1?) when we passed through. Wires were shredded, and one of the heads came out during cleaning with just a touch. Definitely made the moves to the anchor thought-provoking.

Also, the final exit pitch at the top is an exercise in steep gardening. We passed a really wet step into crack system that was really grungy with runoff and debris from the top of the cliff. Lots of dirt filling in what would otherwise be a fun, fairly mellow free pitch. The dirtaneering makes for a strange finale to such a proud line, but the route is excellent throughout the rest!
By Dodge
Jul 14, 2016

Update on the conditions and beta up to pitch 2.
The first pitch is great fun, the rivet at the bottom is in good condition and the hook move is fairly stable. A #4 is nice to have for the first pitch since there is a bomber spot for it right before the final thin moves to the bolt, although all the small gear is good it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside to clip it. There are also quite a few awesome spots for cam hooks on the first pitch for anyone looking to practice with those. The second pitch seam was missing a few bashies, but can still go with a few interesting beak placements which do make it feel far more intense. One of the final heads was gone which made for a bit of a intense moment but up and left just out of sight there is a drilled hook move over the lip. Finally there is a fixed line hanging from the second pitch anchors as well as the third, this makes the crux far less committing as you can just clip into it at anytime.

(Should be noted that my partner and I are not experienced aid climbers, so take all this with a grain of salt)

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