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Thin Air Face
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YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c R

Type:  Trad
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c R [details]
FA: Mark Lawrance, kurt Winkler spring 1971
Page Views: 1,392
Submitted By: lee hansche on Apr 18, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (24)
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BETA PHOTO: Looking up from the base of Thinner. Climb the fac...


Due to a cool head and good judgment, there are few times in my climbing career that I have truly thought that I might die...My first lead of this route is one of the elite few.... My belayer never knew it, but inside I thought I was about to take the screamer of a life time...But let's take a step back shall we....

After locating the right-facing corner left of Turner's Flake, climb the face up to it and follow nice moves up the corner and on the face to the left with decent protection.... At this point I'm saying to my self "R rated? Whatever, the pro seems pretty good" eventually you clip a pin and the corner runs out...And so do you...There is a place to protect maybe 10 feet above the pin though its a bit tricky, these days I might have used it a bit better, but I was somewhat new to trad climbing (it's a place where you can thread a nut or a very thin sling)....
At this point, it is a series of mantel moves like many of the routes on this wall...mantel after mantel and then you look down at how far you are above the last piece of marginal gear, wow.... This brings us back to the story....

I looked down at the pin which was the last good piece and did the math if I fell. I'd be going a very long way, and the good holds ran out.... I kept it cool and committed, but inside I was picturing the 70 foot fall I figured I'd take if i blew the move.... This image stayed with me as I moved up on the slippery crimps and a bad foot that started to slip as I lunged for the ledge....And stuck it.... I mantled up and took a deep breath, a dude at the Thin Air belay looked down with wide eyes and said "wow, that was cool".... "Thanks", I said masking my relief and looking like I do that all the time.... I set up the belay and got on with my day, but Thinner had left its mark and made me a wiser man....

I've done many sketchy routes since, but I go in to them with an understanding of what I'm getting in to.... I recommend you do the same....


To the right of Thin Air (5.6), left of Turner's Flake (5.8)...look for the right-facing corner below the 2nd anchor on Thin Air....


Standard rack.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 15, 2017
By Tristan Perry
Sep 24, 2007

Great story, and a good description as well. What an intense experience!
By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Jul 12, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

Make sure your 5.8 hat is firmly on before you launch off the pillar. 3 placements of questionable quality in 35'-40' of climbing. The climbing is all easy, but had me a little gripped. Great route for the committing nature on moderate climbing!

For more spice I recommend climbing slightly hungover on a day with 100% humidity.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Jul 13, 2010

Once i saw kurt leading this climb and "testing" the pin by tapping it with a biner. Seemed OK
By Michael Z.
Aug 28, 2011

A fun and committing lead. Even with a small cam above the pin and a couple of creative nut placements, there is little security when mantling up the face! Drys quickly after a rain though.
By dale polen
From: arivaca, az
Dec 15, 2011

Great climb with good gear. A bit run out but really good. This is a great barefoot climb.
By christa
May 14, 2012

Bring all your small C3s, some micro nuts and some creativity....
By sibylle
From: Colorado
Apr 30, 2013

Hmmm - this is where I learned to lead years ago, when I was in my teens. I think it was one of my first leads, and I guess I thought leading was always like that .... isn't it? I mean, it wasn't much better when I got to the Yosemite and the Apron, with 50-foot run outs as the norm.
By Jason Scott Heacock
From: Milford, NH
May 8, 2015

Is this route directly to the left of Windfall? I believe I climbed Windfall last season but cannot recall what was to the left.... Great description Lee!
By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
May 10, 2015

Thanks and yes, just left of Windfall.
By Jason Scott Heacock
From: Milford, NH
Apr 17, 2016

This is a route not to pass up, and not to take lightly. We did this route this weekend after climbing Wavelength on Whitehorse and somehow I forgot about the "R" rating for Thinner. I found myself a little too far left for the marginal gear placement and did not see it anyway.

The upper moves, where the gear runs out is fresh on your mind, seemed more like 5.9 but maybe I missed the beta? This is a stout route to get your trad head back for the season!
By petr07 Lindahl
Sep 15, 2017
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

I found the protection to be there and sufficient for a PG-13 feeling, but I also felt these spots for protection could easily be missed. In any case a very fun climb.

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