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The Roof 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 100'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Lee Harrell, early 1960's
Page Views: 1,709
Submitted By: Bill Olszewski on May 20, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (24)
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The fun just below the roof.

Big Rock is currently closed to climbing.



This line follows the left side of the Angel and surmounts the right side of the arching roof. It starts about 6’ to the right of Northwest Passage. Thin climbing on slippery dark rock leads to the crux – pulling the roof. Although there is a bolt just below the roof, many a lead climber has taken a nasty fall from the crux. Be sure to wear your helmet on this one! Once above the roof, easy slab climbing leads past one more bolt to the anchor at the start of Let it Bleed. From here you can rap (a 60m is just long enough) or continue up Let it Bleed or one of the Flakes. Due to the slippery nature of the black rock, many teams choose to start up Northwest Passage and traverse up and right below the roof to gain the crux.


4 bolts, bolted anchor.

Photos of The Roof Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: climber pulling the Roof.
climber pulling the Roof.
Rock Climbing Photo: Lothar does The Roof 5.8**
Lothar does The Roof 5.8**
Rock Climbing Photo: The Roof climbs up the center left part of the Dar...
BETA PHOTO: The Roof climbs up the center left part of the Dar...

Comments on The Roof Add Comment
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By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Nov 25, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The Roof is an excellent route involving slippery, water polished slab moves to get to the 1st bolt. I've never found the roof move (protected by a small nut or cam) to be as challenging as the slippery slab/crimps below the 3rd bolt.
By UpRope
Feb 1, 2011

This is an excellent route but never could get up the nerve to lead it back in the day. Even in the summer the area under the roof can be wet...and slimy.
By Dave Daly
From: Kernville, CA
May 9, 2011

I disagree with the first comment. The rock up to the first bolt (even without using obvious features) is grippy. It's the section after the 2nd and 3rd bolt which is slippery. There are obvious crimps and dime edges leading to the roof but it sure is heady!! Back off it a half dozen times before going for it. Lots of whining but glad I did it!
By Rob Selter
From: running springs Ca
Apr 6, 2012

Maybe the best climb on at the crag! I felt it was a bit greasy down low.
By Keith Leaman
Oct 19, 2012

Lee Harrell did the FA in the early '60s. One of the first lines to go up after the Trough. It was a test piece back then, before the .10s and .11s were done. A memorable series of moves for me-47 years later.
By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
May 18, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Keith.....Thank you for sharing. It's always great to hear details about Big Rock's past that have been shrouded in mystery and rumor for so long. Again, many belated thanks. Better late then never. Edit...great point Keith. Belated exchanged for posthumous.
By Keith Leaman
May 21, 2013

Benjamin- "posthumous" Ha Ha. We ain't dead yet! ;^) How about "belated"? By the way, I heard from Lee Harrell a few months ago. Thanks for the positive feedback. As an artist, I've always admired the powerful black figurative and ominous shape made by the wet streaks under the roof.

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