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The Polish Route 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 900', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Rick Wheeler and Bob Harrington
Page Views: 18,716
Submitted By: Dustysdawg on Jul 28, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (28)
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Second offwidth pitch.


A good, clean alpine route. Classic.

This route was really fun. Part of the allure for me and my partner was that there wasn't any good beta available. We just heard that it was wide and sustained. Because we didn't know any real beta we had to make our own rack decisions, figure out how to use/conserve gear, decide which crack to take on the headwall, and figure out how to break up pitches. My recommendation is to go climb the route without reading the beta below. It will be memorable.

P1. Start in the left facing corner finger crack(10+). Cross a shallow roof and transition to a right facing corner(5.10). This pitch is sustained for 190 feet. It eats up gear.
P2. Continue up and trend left. The start of this pitch is probably 5.9, but it eases up. 100 feet.
P3. Here you can see the main wide crack system above, but it is just a seam in front of you. We took the right side up some small edges and traversed left to a horn(5.10+). I think the correct way to go is up the left side wide crack, then traverse right to the crack(probably also 5.10 or 10+). Then continue up past a medium sized flake that doesn't feel real solid, and start up the main crack. We continued up this crack to some pods(used 2 #2 C4's and a #5 for belay in the pod). I think it ended up being about a 150 foot pitch.
P4. Continue up the main crack system that you are in. There are cracks on both sides of this crack. Continue up the main crack over a roof to an anchor belay(5.10).
P5. Continue straight up the crack, and over a bulge (5.10-). After the bulge, if you take some easier options on the right, you will find some sketchy loose big blocks. If you knock them off, they will funnel right down to the belay. Up higher there is a cool flake that you traverse under to the left. You can belay here, but we didn't. The a crack continues back right, and then up. We ran this pitch for 200 feet.
At the beginning of the 5th pitch you can go right to Escape From Poland.
P6. 40 feet of easy to top
Here you can decide to go right and up to the summit. Or, you can go back across ledges to rap slings and rap into the gully.


Start in the obvious left facing dihedral, 40 feet left of Positive Vibrations; follow the crack system to the top of the formation. It is a very natural line, and it would be hard to get off route. Expect about 6 pitches of eastern block, blue collar “fun”. If that’s what yer lookin’ for, you’ll find it up there.
Descent: Many options to rap neighboring routes exist and rapping off the backside of the formation can easily be accomplished with one 60m rope.


60m rope. Standard alpine rack, extra(s) #4 C4 Camalots, #5 C4 Camalot and micronuts would not go unused.
Leave the #6 C4 Camalot, big bros, and other trinkets at home, it ain’t that wide. Double knee Carhartt's recommended.
We brought (2) #4's, and that was sufficient. If you struggle with that size, bring extras. There are 40+ foot sections that just take #4. If you want to reduce the rack, bring single cams up to #1 Camalot.

Photos of The Polish Route Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Loving the butterfly stacks on the first offwidth ...
Loving the butterfly stacks on the first offwidth ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo
Rock Climbing Photo: Luke and Ben on their rest day
Luke and Ben on their rest day
Rock Climbing Photo: Psyched for the long wide crack pitch!
Psyched for the long wide crack pitch!
Rock Climbing Photo: Ari at the first rap station out of polish route.
BETA PHOTO: Ari at the first rap station out of polish route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Dmitriy styling the superb changing corner on P1
Dmitriy styling the superb changing corner on P1
Rock Climbing Photo: Luke demonstrating his mad OW skills
Luke demonstrating his mad OW skills
Rock Climbing Photo: You might have to use all of your gear to link pit...
You might have to use all of your gear to link pit...
Rock Climbing Photo: 50 Feet up the first pitch, in the middle of the s...
BETA PHOTO: 50 Feet up the first pitch, in the middle of the s...

Comments on The Polish Route Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 8, 2017
By Scott Bennett
Aug 9, 2009

I haven't done the whole route, but if you've got extra time or the weather looks too crappy for a whole climb, the first pitch of this thing is great and currently has a fixed nut anchor. 2 60m ropes are required to get down.
By Neil Kauffman
Aug 29, 2010

Excellent line! You can rap the route to the left, Blowhard (IV 800ft 5.12+), with one 70m rope from the big ledge at the top of the Polish route. Two #4's and one #5 Camalot felt nice...
By harihari
Jul 12, 2011

This is an EXCELLENT route.

The first pitch is a bit scrappy at the start, but the pro is plentiful and bomber.

The third pitch has a 4" off-width that emerges after a bit of stemming trickery, but this o/w should not scare you, because you can fiddle in good small stuff off to the edge.

Rack-- doubles in camalots from .3 to #4, smallish wires. You don't need a ton of slings.

At the top of the first pitch (which can be broken into 2 if you don't have loads of gear) there is a bail station. At the top of the second, you will see a rap anchor off to your left about 15 feet. One 60m rap leftward gets you to the ground. There is a gear-free belay (slings) off a flake in a pod atop P3.
By SamP
Aug 29, 2012
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Climbed the Polish to Escape from Poland with my friend Matt last week. Found the climbing to be classic and the off-widthing really friendly for the grade. We brought 2 #4 camalots and a #5. I think it would be no problem for a single 4, single 5 or even two 4s. With some creativity the anchor in the middle of the offwidth can be built without using any big gear. The Escape from Poland was rad and definitely added to the climb, being significantly more "western" than the Polish proper.
By snowhazed
From: Oakland, Ca
Oct 1, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

Pitches 1 and 2, and also 3 and 4 can be linked by stretching an 80M rope. We suffered almost no drag, and you can skip the belay in the middle of the ow and climb splitter heaven forever!
By Vlad S
Jun 5, 2013
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

Previous comment by snowhazed makes a lot of sense. It's a pity if you have to break up the flow of climbing the double cracks by building a hanging belay in middle. There's not even a tiny stance there. I climbed "the escape" and the Iron Curtain roof felt like the hardest pitch on the route (11a in my opinion), although none are easy and everything is quite sustained. We had doubles to #3 and just one #4 on our rack and it felt more than sufficient with some gear bumping. The most valuable beta for this route is whoever leads the first pitch should start up not burdened with too much clothes. That one really warms you up and there's no good stance to take anything off (-; I was completely frozen in the morning, but half way up the pitch had to drop my jacket down and have my partner bring it up.
By Caitlin Mac
From: Tempe
Sep 3, 2014

anyone have a topo?
By earl mcalister
From: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 7, 2014

RAP BETA: You CAN NOT rap Blowhard (route to left) with a 70 meter rope (we tried). To rappel from the top of the Polish Tower traverse east (up canyon) for about 200 feet to some small pine shrubs (some live, some dead). Slightly down and left from these shrubs you will find a fixed nut anchor. From there, all raps trend rappeler's left and are slung blocks, and piton anchors. Can be done with a 60 meter rope. Watch for stuck ropes and expect every pull to bring down loose rock.
By bud miller
From: SAR site, Camp4
Jul 26, 2015

Incredible route. A few notes for the "average" team (i.e. not those who are also climbing Venturi Effect :)

Most people will want a full double rack to protect the first pitch. Its fantastic, and real long. didn't stitch it up or run it out, and used most all my cams.

Third pitch face climbing is essentially un-protectable and probably consequential. Its not to bad, but don't discount it. Its a sleeper (but real good!) If you use the bolted blowhard anchor a little lower than the standard spot above (per topo), you can avoid a factor 2 on the anchor.

Two #4's and a #5 is perfect for an average team. If your real worried about weight, a 4 and a 5 would be the best option as you can bump your 4 perfectly retracted the whole way until it goes to a a relatively short 5 stint.

80 meter is ESSENTIAL to rap blowhard, and makes the outing real quick and simple.
By monkeyvanya
From: Denver, CO
Aug 31, 2015

A few notes:
1) Polish route, P3. From belay climb the wide crack, leave #5 (#4 could also do a bit lower) in it to protect a rather sketchy traverse. You can drag a single #4 with you through the entire offwidth part of the pitch, occasionally placing smaller stuff.
2) You can build an anchor after P3 just left of the second pod with a #1 and some medium-sized nuts to spare all the big gear for the next pitch.
3) Escape from Poland, P2 (Iron Curtain): place a nut in the crack at the lip of the roof or you will get your rope stuck.
4) Escape from Poland, P3: Choss! Overall, pitches of Escape from Poland have considerably crumblier rock than previous 4 pitches of Polish route, but the last pitch to the ridge is just pure garbage. Belayer should expect a steady shower of pebbles and throughout the entire pitch. Be careful not to kill anyone with larger disintegrating features.
4) Ridge climbing towards the top right after that involved some committing 5.10 moves over R/X pro. Medium offset aliens could have been helpful here.
5) The ridge dead-ends with a 60' wall and you have to go around the arete onto the west face of the Hulk. The place to do it is a _second_to_last_ exposed ledge on the arete just above a 10' tall dihedral. There is a bolt around the arete that you can clip from this ledge. From there, I think (and so says the topo) you can traverse right via some face and cracks into the last part of Positive Vibration's last pitch. I couldn't figure it out and instead did a tension traverse off of the bolt to some rap slings above Venturi's anchor. From there you can either rap Venturi or climb up one of the pitches to the summit or keep traversing up and right via some crumbly 5.9 and 3rd class to Red Dihedral finish, which we did.
By B-Slim
From: San Jose
Sep 26, 2016
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

This route is fantastic !!
Felt that P1 is very hard for the grade, i would give it at least 5.11 comparing to similar climb like OZ at Drug Dome.

Rap Beta:
As ppls suggested we looked for the rap station 200ft down left walking toward the gully. We did the rap with one 70M (i guess 4 raps). Be careful the last rap does not touch the ground need to down climb couple of steps.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ari at the first rap station.
Ari at the first rap station.
By Ian McEleney
From: Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jul 8, 2017
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

From the bolted anchor at the top of pitch 4 you can make it to the top of the route in 1 pitch with some rope to spare with an 80m. Some of the anchors on Blowhard could use some chain/links/rings.

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