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Uncarved Block 

YDS: 5.11b/c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a R

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 480', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.11b/c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a R [details]
FA: Ray Ringle and Chip Chase, Summer 1980
Season: Late Summer/Early Fall
Page Views: 1,895
Submitted By: Geir on Oct 2, 2012

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Pitch 3

Closed from March 1 to June 30 MORE INFO >>>


Crazy slab moves, hard grooves, stunning features, killer crack climbing, a "thank God" mono pocket, tricky gear ... this climb has it all!

One of its incredible features is the Uncarved Block itself, a huge slice of rock that calved off the dome long ago creating an amazing belay stance and its stellar third pitch.

Uncarved Block is seldom repeated, perhaps partly owing to its reputation for its old hardware, stiff climbing, and runout 4th pitch. Fortunately, thanks to the ASCA, the old bolts have been replaced, and modern gear takes a bit of the sting out of the 4th pitch. The result is that this exceptional route is now a little safer for those wanting to repeat old-school, hardman Stronghold classics.

The first three pitches are generally well protected and definitely worth repeating even if pushing your limits on the 4th pitch isn't in the cards. The first pitch has committing, tricky slab and groove climbing. The second pitch transfers the belay onto the Uncarved Block itself (which is awesome). The third pitch is a fantastic crack and corner system extending high onto End Pinnacle. It is easy to rappel from this point into the descent from End Pinnacle (160')

The fourth pitch is both serious and stunning. It starts in a steep, difficult-to-protect groove and continues to a beautiful crack, committing face moves, and runout slab. Its ground-up first ascent with 1980 gear and shoes is an example of some of the boldest Stronghold leads.

Pitch 1 (130', 5.11) - Start at the base of the slab directly under the last rappel from the End Pinnacle descent and the Uncarved Block. Climb straight up to a small roof with a bolt to its right (tricky pro on 5.10 terrain). Angle up and right past a second bolt and into a groove. Follow the groove up and left past a third bolt. Once on easy ground, traverse directly right to a stance under the tip of the Uncarved Block.

Pitch 2 (40', 5.10+) - Execute a hard mantle/OW move on to the block and move the belay to a hole at the back of the block.

Pitch 3 (150', 5.11) - Climb the stellar crack until it seams out. Step a bit to the left and work up 20' on easy face moves until it is possible to return to the crack where it opens back up. Continue up the crack/groove to a three bolt anchor.

Variation: (150', 5.9) - From the belay stance move up and left on the block to the arete. Climb the arete clipping two bolts and placing occasional gear. Arrive at the same three bolt anchor as described above.

It is possible to rap 160' straight down into the End Pinnacle descent if you want to avoid the final pitch.

Pitch 4 (120', 5.11R) - Work up the 5.11 groove with only tiny gear and a flared cam for protection. Gain a beautiful crack with better gear and follow it to a bolt on the right. Continue directly right from the bolt to easier ground, then run it out up the slab past a second bolt to a narrow ledge. Body belay on the ledge next to a tiny tree backed up by a bomber new bolt about 6' above the ledge.

Pitch 5 (40', 5.10 A0) - Aid past two new bolts and make a slab move or two to easy ground. Body belay in the huge bowl above or tie off a large feature on the left.

Variation: from the belay step right, make a committing move up and clip a bolt. Then make a few slab moves up to the bowl (5.10).


From the approach to End Pinnacle, hike up and left along the bottom of the cliff about 200 feet. Look for the Uncarved Block about 100' above. The start is directly under the last rappels for the descent from End Pinnacle.


Doubles from tiny cams (black Alien or equivalent) to #1 Camalot. Triples of #2 and #3 Camalot, two #4 Camalots. Stoppers including an assortment of small ones. Ball nuts are very helpful on pitch 4.

If you are interested in a topo for this route, feel free to PM me and I will send you one. You can also get one by registering at the toofasttopos website.

Photos of Uncarved Block Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Some of the old hardware that was replaced.  Dave ...
Some of the old hardware that was replaced. Dave ...
Rock Climbing Photo: View of pitches 3 and 4 from Rockfellow Dome
View of pitches 3 and 4 from Rockfellow Dome
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of Pitch 4
Start of Pitch 4
Rock Climbing Photo: Andy Bennett at the top of Pitch 3
Andy Bennett at the top of Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the belay at the bottom of pitch 3
View from the belay at the bottom of pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2: the gnarly offwidth mantle
Pitch 2: the gnarly offwidth mantle
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from the groove midway up pitch 1
Looking down from the groove midway up pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 1 through the trees
Pitch 1 through the trees
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from Pitch 3 (midway up)
Looking down from Pitch 3 (midway up)
Rock Climbing Photo: Clay setting up for pitch 1
Clay setting up for pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo of the route from a distance.  Belay stances...
Photo of the route from a distance. Belay stances...

Comments on Uncarved Block Add Comment
Show which comments
By Daryl Allan
From: Sierra Vista, AZ
Oct 2, 2012

So THAT's what you guys were up to.. :) Seriously, great job on the write up and thanks for submitting this Geir. Big salute to you for the hardware work up there! Thank you ~d
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 2, 2012

Hahaha thanks Daryl!! We still have to clean up pitch one - there is a some dirt and kitty litter on it, but I think it can be cleaned up really well. Otherwise the climb is in prime shape now.
By Clay Mansfield
Oct 2, 2012

This climb is badass. It follows a beautiful, natural line up End Pinnacle and there are not too many spots with trivial climbing. As Geir mentioned, if the intimidating fourth pitch is not in the cards, the first 3 pitches are awesome.

Kudos to Geir for:
1) replacing the old hardware

2) having the commitment to head up to the base of the 4th pitch 4 different times

3) having the stones to lead pitch 4, which involves hard, insecure climbing above small, questionable gear right off the belay. I think the first legit good piece was after the solid .11 climbing and 25 feet up.

The Rockfellow Group is truly a special place.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 2, 2012

Thanks Clay for the great belay and for leading pitches 1&3 so I could get psyched for pitch 4! You rock man.

Thanks to Dave Merin who replaced the hardware on pitches 1&3.
By Josh Janes
General Admin
Dec 3, 2012

So is this route A0 (last pitch) or does it go completely free?
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 3, 2012

Hey Josh,

There is a one-bolt free variation 10 feet to the right of the A0 pitch. :)
By Mark Hawthorne
Feb 13, 2015

Great job guys!!

I'm curious about the ascent history (complete ascent)? I know Pat O'Herron and Jason Worrell did the 3rd (or maybe 4th ascent) during fall beanfest 2002, I think. Was it Waugh that did the 2nd? Does anybody know?
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 14, 2015

Jim said that he did the second ascent with Bill Hatcher. Chip repeated the route in 1985 - I will have to ask him who is partner was. Aleix Serrat-Capdevila and I also climbed it last October. I do not know of any other ascents, although I would not be surprised if DDC has done it.

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