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Wages of Skin 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
Season: Late Spring through Fall (or whenever snow keeps you away)
Page Views: 8,363
Submitted By: andy patterson on Jan 29, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (72)
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Glory handjamming to the anchors Photo:Jeff Fox C...


Once you scramble up a 3rd class ramp, negotiate the menacing off-width above by, well, staying to the left and bypassing it altogether. After a few scrambly moves (5.9/5.10ish), step ACROSS the off-width to your right, then face climb excellent rock past a couple bolts, then turn the lip onto some edgy slab. Gain the crack--which is now on your left--then charge up a slammer handcrack till the crack abruptly angles right into a traversing finger crack (the crux) with nothing but glacial polish for feet. Fire the finger crack then finish the pitch with 15 feet of stellar hand-jamming.


Far right side of the Gong Show crag. This splitter "splits" the obvious polished face.


Standard rack with some extra finger-sized pieces (handy for the crux). Also, there are a few bolts, so have some draws handy.

Photos of Wages of Skin Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Crux of Wages of Skin
Crux of Wages of Skin
Rock Climbing Photo: At the crux of Wages of Skin
At the crux of Wages of Skin
Rock Climbing Photo: Big move to a bomber hand jam Photo: Jeff Fox
Big move to a bomber hand jam Photo: Jeff Fox
Rock Climbing Photo: Julien Lecorps moving through the amazing diagonal...
Julien Lecorps moving through the amazing diagonal...
Rock Climbing Photo: Wages of Skin. Looks can be deceiving, no real off...
Wages of Skin. Looks can be deceiving, no real off...

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By andy patterson
From: Carpinteria, CA
Jan 29, 2008

I found this route to be quite challenging and varied: off-width, hand-crack, finger-crack, off-hands, slab, slightly overhanging face-climbing... You name it, it had it. It's the most aesthetic line at the Gong Show crag, in my opinion. Do it--you won't regret it.
By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Jul 11, 2008

Abandoning that horizontal crack and lurching (some may call it a dyno) for the slot above is reachy and tough! It's been years, somehow I suspect it's not any easier.
By Max Joseph
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 25, 2009

With two #5 camalots you can lead this very safely without clipping the bolts. The offwidth is a lot of fun - perfect hand/fist stacks - and goes at 5.10. Then you can voice your outrage towards the person who bolted this crack.
By Aerili
From: Los Alamos, NM
Jul 26, 2010
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

Hammer me if you like, but I think the shorter your arms are the harder it is to get a jam on the crux. The dudes who climbed the route before me told me I would get a great hand jam to assist in pulling through. I was desperately trying to pimp the rounded edge of that dogleg (oh the pump at 9200'!) like a common sport climber. (Ok, ok, so sport climbers would have had a way easier time with that than I did!)

At least I know the gear is good on the traverse and the fall of shame is clean, haaaa.

This route is awesome and is physical climbing from start to finish.
By Neil Rankin
From: Winston-Salem, NC
Apr 18, 2014
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

It loses a star because it is a bolted in the "OW" section. With that said, it's a classic for the area and a gorgeous line anywhere. If you're firing through the diagnoling fingers section hoping to be rewarded when you get to the pod, you'll be sorely disappointed. In fact, you'll be entering the crux. Based on doing a lot of other cracks in the Sierra, I think this route is 11a. It is noticeably harder than Last Exit (11a), which is rattly fingers (crux) to an arete, and is just few climbs over to the climber's left of Wages of Skin.
By GhaMby Eagan
From: Heaven
Jul 30, 2014
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Neil: there's a trick to making this climb feel like 10c, but I see lots of people doing it the "11a" way.
By BruceB
From: Reno, NV
Aug 9, 2015
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

Fantastic route, good pro thru the crux.
I have to agree with Neil that this is probably 11a, or at least 10d. That is if you rate a route as an On Sight. There may be a 10c trick to it, but I never found it.
Go for it!

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