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The Pillar 

YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c PG13

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 120'
Original:  YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c PG13 [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 5,387
Submitted By: Salamanizer suchoski on Mar 15, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (45)
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Nina Crushing the two cruxy roof maneuvers - use l...

Falcon Nesting Closure at Castle Rock MORE INFO >>>


Most of the bolts were replaced on this route in late 05. The bolts on the anchors came out by hand. "Please, if you have never placed bolts in soft sandstone....DON'T". Some think the crux is just above the third bolt on the first pitch, some think its just below the top out on the second. Personally, I think its the top out. The rock is really solid for the most part on this route and it takes gear well. The bolts on the first pitch are a bit spacy but seem to come just before you might actually need one. This is a great route, one definitely worth doing.


Obvious crack system to the far right side of the Pagoda. Follow the water stain past three bolts to the start of the crack system. You can bail from a 60m rope at any time. If you top out, make a short rap off the chains down the back side of the formation.


Cams 1ea. .3"-3" and about 4 QD's. Bolted anchors.

Photos of The Pillar Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Cruisin' up pitch 1.
Cruisin' up pitch 1.
Rock Climbing Photo: Approaching the top of the 1st pitch - this sectio...
Approaching the top of the 1st pitch - this sectio...
Rock Climbing Photo: You can get a sense of the distance between the la...
You can get a sense of the distance between the la...
Rock Climbing Photo: First Pitch
First Pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: View up the 1st pitch of the pillar... straight up...
BETA PHOTO: View up the 1st pitch of the pillar... straight up...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ben & Jeff at the Cruxy roof/ block- just after th...
BETA PHOTO: Ben & Jeff at the Cruxy roof/ block- just after th...

Comments on The Pillar Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 20, 2016
By Daniel Howe
Oct 6, 2017

First pitch is fun and a good warm-up or getting started with climbing lead. However, the block just to the right of the anchors feels unstable. A few knocks with a knuckle revealed a hollow sound and when my partner cleaned a nut I had placed to the side of it, I could feel the block moving beneath my feet. Quickly adjusted the belay so as to not stand on or near it.

We bailed before attempting second pitch. There was a nest in the roof, and sparrows(?) were diving us at the belay.
By aa-lex
Oct 8, 2007

I just climbed the first pitch of this route and the anchors at the top of this pitch looked bomber to me. I rapped off them. The last bolt on the first pitch (the fourth bolt) before the anchors is OLD SCHOOL. Just don't fall on it!
By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Oct 9, 2007

It's not that old, maybe 15 years. I gave it a thuro inspection, seemed fine to me.
By Kurt Montgomery
Mar 4, 2008

Leading the second pitch could result in a dangerous fall directly onto the anchors due to a missing bolt and no pro (usefull pro at least) for the first 10 to 15 feet. Please exercise carefull judgement before leading the second pitch (or just do it as one long pitch.)
By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Mar 19, 2008

You can sew the second pitch up pretty tight right from the anchors all the way to the top actually. You may have to excivate a little to place a piece but there's a splitter 3/4in crack that takes bomber pro right off the anchors. Those old bolts are what I'd be worried about clipping, not the pro. Cams hold better than you'd think in that P Canyon stone. All the newer looking bolts are just that... new and bomber. The first pitch is the only pitch that has any sort of runnout as falling while clipping the second bolt will result in a ground fall.
By Phil McAllister
Jan 30, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13

I've climbed this twice and the crux is probably the off width crack heading up from the anchors at the top of the first pitch. Probably more psychological than difficult. Back up the old bolts with cams - a 0.4" in crack under the small roof. Use long runners and you can do the whole climb in a single pitch.
By aaron hope
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Sep 30, 2013

This is probably one of my favorite trad leads in the area. But I wouldn't say you could sew up the second pitch (at least the beginning part anyway). I found one good pocket for a red camalot and then nothing again until the roof after the bolts. Sure, there are cracks, but they are very hollow or depend on a single sketchy block which, IMO, shouldn't be used for pro. If the two old bolts were replaced and a bolt added on the first pitch, this would be fantastic and safe lead. Any thoughts on that?
By Kelley Gilleran
From: Sacramento, Ca
Sep 30, 2013

By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Oct 2, 2013

Right off the anchor on the second pitch is a splitter .5" crack that widens in a few spots to 1.5". The gear in this corner is solid up to and over the roof. It's after you pull the roof that the flakes and loose blocks prevent protection for a short bit. The two old bolts were placed long before Cams and nuts were invented or used. They were to prevent damaging the soft rock with pitons of the day. They are no longer needed to protect the route. The only reason they are still there is because that type of bolt in that rock is absolutely bomber...still. I pulled a couple of the other ones years back and they were unbelievably difficult to remove. I didn't want to risk damaging the rock to remove them. So if you want, clip em, they'll still hold a fall, but don't replace them. They are unneeded with modern gear.

The first pitch is protected as was originally done. It was surely done in basically hiking boots so I'm sure you (like the hundreds of others who have climbed the route in the past 50 years) can manage the meager runnouts with your high tech, sticky rubber shoes of the day.

I like the gentle spice of the route, it's part of the appeal and adds to the enjoyment for many when climbing it. Almost all the routes in Pine Canyon are like that if you haven't noticed.

Enjoy it as is IMO.
By Floyd Hayes
Oct 6, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

I thought pitch 1 was 5.7 and pitch 2 was 5.9 (way harder!). And I thought pitch 2 was well protected. Also, the climb is definitely longer than 120 feet. I measured pitch 2 at about 90' but didn't think to measure pitch 1.
By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Oct 7, 2013

It's 150 ft almost exactly.
By Elizabeth Leddy
Oct 16, 2013
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13

The second pitch is definitely scarier than the first. If you aren't comfortable with crack climbing yet you shouldn't make this a first lead. I found the crux to be right off the second bolt, coming out of an awkward crack. This is harder to protect than most routes and there are runouts so I would recommend only for experienced 5.8 leaders on this one.

It says this can be done in one pitch with a 70m rope but I disagree. Its too tall and even if you could get up there the drag would be too horrendous.

Great route for pushing "placement" technique.
By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Oct 18, 2013

I've lead it in one pitch with a 60m rope. But I don't place much gear, three or four pieces and the bolts. It's 150ft of climbing.
By ben pope
Nov 19, 2013

I noticed a couple bolts to the right at the top of this route…do those belong to Evolution? Or is there another route here?

Edit - I meant Unsung War, not Evolution…not sure what I was thinking…thanks!
By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Nov 20, 2013

It's another route, see "The Unsung War".

You can finish via these bolts from the Pillar if you wanted too as a variation that goes at about 5.8.
By Steve Leahy
From: San Francisco, California
Oct 5, 2015

Super fun lead! Not trivial :) Like Salamanizer says, you can definitely sew up the cruxy upper crack. Say hello to the dive bomber swallow for me. Crux move surprise! :) So stoked to discover Pine Canyon!!! See you out there :)
By Burlen
Sep 20, 2016
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Second pitch was super fun. Very chossy though. Especially as you pass the last couple of bolts. & not just little flakes like the other routes. blocks that could be pulled if not careful to avoid. Lots of bird crap too. Given choss and crap I don't think I'll be climbing this one again.

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