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Valley Massif
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Tool Or Die 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 70'
Original:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 3,212
Submitted By: Tony B on Jul 6, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (45)
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Tool or Die.

Dirt roads reopened as of June 2014 MORE INFO >>>


This is probably the finest sustained handcrack that I have done to date in Vedauwoo.

The route lies on the West side fo the Valley Massif. You must climb the first Pitch of the route "Hammer" to a bolted belay to get to Tool Or Die.

Hammer is a fun first pitch (5.7 or 5.8), but as I have only done 1/2 of said route, and I am sure many have done the whole route, I do not feel qualified to write about the rest here. Perhaps, someone who has done the whole route can add it to the site?

From the bolted belay, work a few feet up the Hammer crack, placing a piece on a 2' sling. Grab a huge undercling flake and work another piece up in it, while moving to its right-hand-side. Place a good small stopper (maybe #5 or #6 BD?) in a small bottomed out crack. You see the crack up and to your right about 10 feet? Well, you have to get to that. As stated in the book, this crack is a 5.9. Getting to it, however...

Now, do the crux. Move up and left of the undercling flake one of several ways, probably up to a left-lieback, stem right, and then sink in the fingers far to your right. Make a few moves up here to reach the handcrack. Good gear is available the whole way, but if you are pushing your grades at 5.10a, you probably either just did a runout or fell fidgeting with gear.

You will finish at the top on a bolted anchor. Rap twice to the ground, or ONCE with a 70m. A two-rope rap is not recommended, because you might get them stuck in the nearby cracks.


A few stoppers small to midrange, plus a handful of hand-sized cams are needed for this pitch.

Photos of Tool Or Die Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo by Mike B.
Photo by Mike B.

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By Anonymous Coward
Sep 2, 2002

It is a climb that is well worth doing. Beautiful setting, beautiful crack, great pro. I actually went straight up then right on the crux, and it was a couple of fun moves. You can protect the crux below the hanging flake, than just move till you get into the hand crack. Great climb!!!
By nolteboy
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jul 18, 2005

Super sweet. Do p.1 of Hammer, and then just keep motoring right into Tool Or Die. Two decent stoppers can be placed before moving off the flake (i.e. right before committing to the crux "inverted V-slot"), and from there to the top, it's nothing but slamma jamma.
By Colin Coulson
Sep 12, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Funky entrance, and a GREAT hand crack... very unlike Vedawoo. It is possible to toprope hammer off of the bolts - a fun experiment to see how much more whipped you feel after an offwidth that is at least a grade easier.
By Jason Funk
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 9, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

It may have been my own experience, but I didn't think the pro was that great to protect the crux. Below are some bomber nut placements and above is a nice finger slot for a yellow Alien, but the few moves of the crux are stout and insecure, gear placement is tricky and you will probably hit the ledge if you're unable to get something solid in above the crux. That said, this is a great climb, just takes some careful work to get to the hand crack.
By Jason Albino
From: San Francisco, CA
Jul 18, 2013

Climbed this on our first trip to The Voo in July 2013.

This is definitely the money pitch on the formation. The crux for me was bridging Hammer crack to this one off the belay with a crazy left-hand finger lock/high-wide right-foot stem move. Once established in the main crack, the movement and position is outstanding and had me gesticulating with joy down to my belayer the whole time.
By Alex Vidal
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 16, 2015

Bomber yellow Alien exists high and right in the flake before committing to the crux move. I found this to be substantially harder than other 5.10s in the area, but maybe I botched the sequence.

Probably the finest 5.9 handcrack around.
By K Gustafson
Sep 12, 2016

After I finished Nail, I did the mixed line "King of Coney Island" and rapped into "Tool or Die". Not sure how I would grade this climb. Perhaps a 5.10 move above a small piece (yellow Alien) into the crack and then a beautiful 5.7/8 handcrack. Thought the handcrack was going to be more difficult than it was. I don't often recommend this, but don't tie knots on the ends of your rope when rapping off "Tool or Die". I definitely got a knot stuck in the left crack and there are plenty or ropes that have been cut and are still in the neighboring cracks.

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