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The Vampire 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
Original:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Royal Robbins & Dave Rearick June 1959, FFA: John Long, Rick Accomazzo, Mike Graham & Bill Antel 1973
Season: Spring or Fall
Page Views: 33,983
Submitted By: Chris Owen on Mar 11, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (123)
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Reaching for the mantle holds on The Vampire.


The ultimate SoCal classic which takes pride of place on Tahquitz Rock - winding its way up the center of the West Face Bulge.

P1) The Bat Crack, 5.11a. From the ledge drop down and into the crack, initially a lieback then finesse requirements begin to kick-in culminating with a tough move past a bolt - don't relax though, an energetic mantle is required to gain the belay ledge up to the left and bolts. This pitch can also be climbed direct from lower down.

P2) 5.11a. Thin and steep leftwards to the flake (well protected if using one of the anchor bolts). Now up the flake which proves to be moderate, but in an exposed and wondrous position. Past a flake (The Bologna Slicer) go down left to a ledge (The Batwalk) and more bolts.

P3) 5.11a. Back to the flake system and, as it heads left step over it to the right and up to a bolt, pass this on the right up to a thin diagonal crack (small TCU) follow this to a left facing corner which leads to a pin and nut belay higher up.

P4) 5.8. Ahhh, I can still feel the grin forcing its way onto my face as I head up the last pitch, a thin flake, over the arch roof to find myself standing, practically in disbelief, at the top of The Vampire with my mate Fred.


Use From Bad Traverse which begins at The Trough and heads left past a tree over to Super Pooper and The Step, but before reaching these routes head up (kinda tricky) to ledge with a 2 bolt anchor which lies to the left of The Bat Crack.


Standard rack including a few quickdraws.

Photos of The Vampire Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Nice form on the Bat Crack. 6-29-13
Nice form on the Bat Crack. 6-29-13
Rock Climbing Photo: Jake Sends!
Jake Sends!
Rock Climbing Photo: Snake on P2 Crux
Snake on P2 Crux
Rock Climbing Photo: The classic shot of the second pitch of The Vampir...
The classic shot of the second pitch of The Vampir...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike and Adam on the Vampire. Photo taken from Sup...
Mike and Adam on the Vampire. Photo taken from Sup...
Rock Climbing Photo: Snake cruzing P2
Snake cruzing P2
Rock Climbing Photo: Shaking out at the slab crux.
Shaking out at the slab crux.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bill Dabbert post P2 crux
Bill Dabbert post P2 crux
Rock Climbing Photo: Peter Hayes atop the cranky .10d section of the lo...
Peter Hayes atop the cranky .10d section of the lo...
Rock Climbing Photo: matt milking the no hands rest mid way up the bat ...
matt milking the no hands rest mid way up the bat ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Vampire from the start of The Trough. You can ...
BETA PHOTO: The Vampire from the start of The Trough. You can ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bat Crack on The Vampire (5.11a), Tahquitz Rock
Bat Crack on The Vampire (5.11a), Tahquitz Rock
Rock Climbing Photo: Lori Williams  making it across the traverse to th...
Lori Williams making it across the traverse to th...
Rock Climbing Photo: TODD SMITH
Rock Climbing Photo: Bill Dabbert preparing to mantle on pitch 1
Bill Dabbert preparing to mantle on pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Will bringing that Colorado weather with him.
Will bringing that Colorado weather with him.
Rock Climbing Photo: Highly detailed beta for both movement and protect...
Highly detailed beta for both movement and protect...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Vampire
The Vampire
Rock Climbing Photo: The Vampire
The Vampire
Rock Climbing Photo: Orion stemming it out in the Bat Crack.
Orion stemming it out in the Bat Crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: from 50 classic climbs
from 50 classic climbs
Rock Climbing Photo: Sending stoke at the P4 belay. Photo by Bill Dabbe...
Sending stoke at the P4 belay. Photo by Bill Dabbe...
Rock Climbing Photo: Fred finds it hard to hide his grin on pitch 4.
Fred finds it hard to hide his grin on pitch 4.

Show All 32 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on The Vampire Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 29, 2017
By C Miller
From: CA
Mar 12, 2006
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

The must do route of the Idyllwild area and perhaps the best climb of it's grade in all of Southern California. Don't pass this one by as it's not as challenging as appearances might suggest.

Some additional comments:

P1) By all means do the direct start as it adds a bit more quality crack climbing and doesn't bump the difficulty up any. This is a long and somewhat strenuous pitch that, unlike pitches 2 and 3, requires more endurance than anything. Pitches 2 & 3 are mostly moderate climbing with a boulder problem thrown into the mix.

P2) The move left off the belay, where you're reaching to the flake system, is somewhat reachy and always seems a bit odd; once the flake is reached it's 5.9 liebacking and unbelievably amazing considering the location on the West Face Bulge.

P3) Moving past the bolt is a boulder problem and the hardest move on the entire climb (imo). Once past the bolt the climbing eases and it's a romp to the top.

Also, it's possible to rap from the bolts atop pitch 2 (left of the flake) to the bolts on Vampire Ledge with a single 60 meter rope. Don't try this with anything less than a 60m rope as it's almost exactly 100' to the ledge. Perhaps useful to know if the afternoon T-storms catch you off guard.
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Mar 13, 2006

I must confess that The Bat Crack is the hardest pitch for me, my power to weight ratio sucks, so I'm usually a little fried when I get to the bolt, in that state it doesn't matter how good the holds are. I agree that technically P3 is the trickiest. I took a huge fall from there once, fell from the diagonal crack past the crux trying to fumble a piece in below me - what a chicken.
By Adam Stackhouse
Mar 22, 2006
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Climbing as in life, can really boil down to humility. In this sport, there are no chickens...
By Stein Lundby
Aug 21, 2006

I like the direct finish:
Instead of traversing right at the bolt on P3, continue along the flake -- which progressively becomes more delicate. The climbing is less bouldery and more continuous. Also, the anchors you then reach allow you to rap your way down to the base of the Vampire with a 60m rope.

I find it sand-bagged for 5.11a; I would recommend being a solid 5.11 climber before doing it -- so you can actually enjoy climbing it.

Personally, I find the bat crack to be over-rated. Granted, it's a beautiful line, but it is slippery and full of... bat crap.

Also, to my knowledge the only clean rap down from the top goes from the new chains atop Field of Dreams and requires a *70m* rope.
By nervousbob
Nov 8, 2006

Regarding the last pitch, is there available gear placements above the bolt? If so, what sizes should I bring? Where is the next belay located? Any additional information about this pitch is more than welcome!

By Dan Hickstein
Apr 11, 2007

Per Stein's recommendation I tried the 'direct finish' and continued up the flakes, instead of taking the original pitch three out right. I found the climbing on those delicate flakes to be quite exciting as the footholds are small and it is uncertain if cams placed behind the flake would hold a fall or just pull a large chunk of the flake onto your head. At the end of the pitch you find yourself about ten feet shy of the bolted anchor, above gear in an expanding flake, with an odd 5.9 mantle to finish the pitch. "Not desperate, but not a good place to fall." I'd probably rate this pitch 10a(5.9R).
From the anchor at the end of the flakes, my partner climbed the last pitch of Happy Hooker, which was quite nice. The pitch starts off with one bolt of aid, then moves right and up on easy terrain before climbing a cool section of steep 5.9. This pitch tops out right by a bolted anchor. I would suspect that you could rap back to the anchor at the end of the flakes, then to the 2nd belay on the vampire, then to the 1st belay on the vampire, then to vampire ledge with a 60m. Can anyone confirm that this works with a 60m?
By Brad G
From: 1994 Honda Civic
Sep 21, 2007

Unless you enjoy Bat crap I wouldn’t recommend the direct start to anyone. The wind caused the shit to fly everywhere. It got in my hair, eyes and mouth. Not a fun experience. The rest of the route is of course totally awesome. Especially the second pitch. You cant beat that exposure!
By Mike
From: Phoenix
Nov 14, 2007
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

What a stellar climb! The best I've done so far at Tahquitz.

I thought the last part of the Bat Crack (the mantle move) was harder than either of the supposed cruxes.
By Brad G
From: 1994 Honda Civic
Nov 26, 2007

By Bruce Diffenbaugh
From: Cheyenne,Wyoming
Jan 29, 2008

Best route on this side of the valley.The flakes route is harder in my opinion but this is the coolest line.Both a must do for any one at this grade.
By Fat Dad
From: Los Angeles, CA
Mar 26, 2008

I'm a little surprised by the comment that the direct start is dirty. Albeit I haven't climbed this route in 10 years, I remember it being quite clean. Two more points about the direct start/first pitch: it's not .11a unless you're crack skills are wanting; and the direct start, I think, make the first pitch substantially harder. I think it's only .10c from the ledge, and that's mostly because of the bouldery section past the bolt. However, the direct start adds a good 40' of steep, slick climbing. You'll be much more tired because of it. Still probably only .10d, maybe.

Also, I had a heck of a time at the mantle at the end of the pitch but saw my second climb up and level to the belay bolts and just step over. I felt dumb.
By Bruce Diffenbaugh
From: Cheyenne,Wyoming
Apr 2, 2008

The direct start ( The bat crack ) is 5.10b at least that's what it was when I led it. Don't feel dumb. That mantle is 5.10c I did the same thing. Most everyone does.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
May 27, 2008
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Finally ticked this on Memorial Day, 2008. Cold temps (40s), swirling fog, and limited visibility added to the imposing and exciting nature of the route!

P1 - Bat Crack. Did the direct start. It was clean except for some brittle rock at the bottom. I think this *significantly* ups the difficulty of the pitch since you arrive at the Bat Crack proper fatigued and with some of your pro already used. It is a 45m pitch done this way. The direct start seemed all of 10+ to me - tight hands, slick feet, and no rests through the business. Keep plugging upwards, once you hit the wide part below the bolt you get plenty of rests between harder moves. Have faith! I did the "step across" rather than the mantel. It still felt 10+ and plenty exciting to me.

P2 - Ouch, those crimps hurt with cold fingers! What more needs to be said... a wild move and a wild pitch. The upper section might only be 9+/10-, but the position and sometimes insecure feet keeps the excitement level high! On the crux, my foot popped at the last minute and I dyno'd for the jug and stuck it. That got me going :)

P3 - Easy liebacking, clip the bolt, and bust the move. I'm only 5'8, and the move to reach the seam felt pretty damn hard. I took a few falls before sticking it. Above the bolt, the climbing stays delicate until the obvious undercling above. I was able to place a good RP in the seam, but it was exciting to place! Keep your head on until you get to the undercling. Some route finding linking crack features sees you to the next belay. Hand size pieces (#0.75 - #2 camalot) are needed for this belay.

P4 - Up the finger crack, over the roof, and kiss the top!

Rack - Wires, including RPs. At least a double set of cams from small (green C3) to #3 camalot. I had triple #0.75, #1, and #2 camalots and was fairly thankful on the Bat Crack+Direct start... it is a LONG pitch. Bring LOTS of slings/quickdraws if you are doing the direct start. Be sure to save some long slings for the last move of the Bat Crack, or you'll be cursing the rope drag.
By Michael Ybarra
From: on the road
Jul 20, 2009

Did the direct start, smelled bat crap but didn't have to do any guano jams; the flakes on P2 collected quite a bit of guano and smelled like it as well.

I tried to figure out the step-across to the P2 belay but couldn't, so I wound up doing the mantle, which worked.

Thought moving up past the bolt on P3 to be the definite crux and quite hard.

Followed Andy's rack suggestion but never used the second set of C3s or the RPs (ran out the P3 thin crack until the bigger flake).

A really stellar climb.
By mschlocker
From: San Diego, CA
Sep 21, 2009
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

After reading all the beta and scoping out the step across for P1 I wasn't really seeing the move. I went for the mantle and am glad I did. For me it was a very dynamic move and my favorite on the route.

The direct start was clean when I did it but there were bats inside the crack higher up chirping(?) at me.
By Sirius
From: Oakland, CA
Feb 10, 2010

For me:

Bat Crack with direct start = endurance crux
Mantel to bolts = mental crux
Crimps off of belay to flake = pain crux
Moving past bolt into seam = technical crux

Full value route, understatement. All the stars possible.
By Trevor
From: Cottonwood Heights, UT
Jun 16, 2010

whoa....really?!?!? yea, it's that good...
By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
Jul 23, 2010

Direct finish: A hard to see, but perfect half pad, 8 finger edge takes the "R" out of the connector pitch for the leader, but you'd need to run it way out above that to keep the second protected on the same section. I'd call the connector .10b, with a 5.8R section.
By Roberto
From: La Jolla, CA
Sep 12, 2010

In the spirit of having and adventure i tried to onsight the vampire at midnight under a full moon wearing a cloak and vampire teeth...I did not onsihgt, but had a lot of fun trying! Here is a TR from that night.
By John Long
Jul 20, 2011

For full value do the Pharoah as pitch one and get some true 5.12 in the mix because you can.

By Patsy
Aug 8, 2011

Booty in the Bat-crack! Yesterday I pretty much welded a brand new blue dmm curve nut into the bat crack after a 25 footer (yeah, a little more slack than I thought)...... so, hope you're good at extracting nuts.
By Colin Parker
From: Idyllwild, CA
Jan 5, 2014
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Climbed this thing today on a nice, sunny January day up here. A few additions to the comments above:

1. I think the direct start is clean and a must-do. In fact, it seems a bit silly that it's not part of the standard vampire route, although I understand that it was originally an aid line that went free. Save yourself the extra approach and give yourself some more quality climbing!

2. Gear-wise, I would recommend a standard double rack, possibly adding extra #1 & #2 C4s if you do the direct start to the bat crack. Only one #3 C4 is needed on this climb (and you could get on without it easily).

3. My opinion is that the move at the bolt on P3 is easily the crux of the climb. My feet were frozen though.

Such an awesome route!
By Ben Schwartz
May 13, 2014

The climb is in the shade for the entire morning. Keep this in mind if you're going to try the route on a cool/cold day. It can get downright freezing on this climb in the early hours.
By Keegan Dimmick
From: Winchester, VA
May 19, 2014

Hey climbers! I had a friend take a bad fall on the first pitch of The Vampire today. He sustained a broken leg and other minor injuries. If you are one of the lucky folks that gets to climb this route and finds it full of gear it would be really amazing if he could get it back. He had to be taken out by helicopter and we didn't have the time to mess with the gear. Thanks MP'ers and climb on!
By dnaiscool
Apr 10, 2015

My two cents:
The direct start, .10d rattly fingers, adds significantly and bumps the pump factor up, for sure. Really bad fall potential at the mantle. Turning it is not's the standing up part that is hard, just find that key tiny black crimper up and at about 2 O'Clock (feel around, it's there): Mantle with the left, crimp with the right. Too Strong and I both agree that if you do not do the direct start, then you have not really done the Vampire...just sayin'...

P2 Once you land that slippery stem walk those crimps to the left and reach down low with the left to the edge of the flake, then ballet that right foot to the left to stop the barn door as you pop for the Jug with that right. Harder if shorter. Do not link this pitch to the next, because if you do and your (weak...?...) second falls at this crux, they will drop into outer space from all the rope stretch.

P3 crux is a friction-y boulder move to a slopy three-finger pad for the left, followed by a kinda scary finger rail. Do not stop along the way for too long fiddling for gear (...the pump-o-meter will be ticking...) just punch it through till the fingers get good & deep, then drop in the thin gear.

By Cole Paiement
Jun 23, 2015
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Climbed this bad boy this past Saturday. Superb climbing all the way from the base to the top. Every moment of this climb was fun and exciting for one reason or another.

P1: Did the direct start. Realized my endurance is currently quite lacking. This definitely felt every bit a 5.10d, if not a little harder. Unexpected mini-crux at the bolt took a lot out of me. Took a couple whips at the mantle (definitely not my strong suit). Surprisingly soft falls with a #1 BD extended up high in the crack.

P2: Partner lead. Made the step across look pretty easy. But halfway up the flake the pump from the Bat Crack caught up to him and he had to take. The Bat Walk was surprisingly weird.

P3: Took a couple falls on the crux. Sunny summer afternoons might not be the best time to climb this pitch. I watched my feet slide right off the rock a couple times before I finally found a (semi) comfortable placement and stuck the move. Placed a #0 BD mostly for a mental boost and then moved up to the better holds.

P4: Awesome easy ending with some cool moves.
By Tradiban
Jun 18, 2016

I felt that the Bat Crack was the hardest pitch! 2nd pitch crux is just a few thin moves then jugs. I did the 10d crux on the 3rd pitch I think, pretty stright forward once I figured out the beta. Enjoy!
By badmoonrising
Sep 17, 2016

This is a truly extraordinary route, best I've done by far. Every pitch (even the last one) is inspiring and delightful. I have to say though, I don't see what the fuss is about the mantle on pitch one. Definitely not the hardest part of the pitch, much less the route, and it protects very easily if you climb a little higher in the crack and place gear high before committing. I think the third pitch is the technical crux of the climb. Getting established in the thin seam requires delicate footwork and some hard crimping. Hopefully I can come back soon and get it clean!

Also, why does the crux on the Bat Crack have that bolt? The crack just beneath it takes great gear (orange TCU, if I recall). Was a bolt placed on the FA or the FFA? I'm not saying we should chop it, but it's just a wonder to me that no one has.
By Daniel Vakili
Jun 2, 2017

the direct start is clean. You'd have to be searching to find crap. I guess it has cleaned up over the years, and/or the bats moved out.

It is just such perfect pure cruiser hand-to-fingers crack jammin, the kind you dream of, so don't skip. If you're worried about pump, you get a no-hands stem rest at the spot you would drop in for the in-direct start, so you can shake it off.
By Mr. Stevens
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 29, 2017
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Linking p3+4 is very reasonable. Amazing route, like climbing on a giant potato chip.

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