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Rattlesnake Canyon Crags (including Upper and Lower Alchemist)
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Cupcakes & Champagne S 
Fun in the Sun S 
King Snake Crack T 
Labrador Ate the Cupcakes, The S 
Tender Flakes of Mercy T 
Ugly Duckling S 
Written Exam T 

Written Exam 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a PG13

Type:  Trad, 120'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a PG13 [details]
FA: (likely) Mike Forkash & Gary Anderson, 1980. Bolts replaced by Fienup & Callery, 2014.
Page Views: 174
Submitted By: Matthew Fienup on Aug 25, 2015

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (3)
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BETA PHOTO: The blue line is Written Exam (5.9 PG-13), in Ratt...


True old school adventure. There are just enough bolts to keep you off the ground (probably). There is just enough loose rock to make for genuine excitement. And the bolts are located near stances, NOT near crux moves.

Start on a boulder, 15 feet below the first bolt. Delicately climb over a detached flake to make it to the first clip. Five bolts of slab climbing lead to ledges and then to the rappel tree. The 5.9 crux of the route occurs well above the first bolt, just before reaching the second. If holds give way and you fall, you'll need an attentive belay to keep you off the ground. There is a second, poorly protected crux just below the fifth bolt. Generally, the rock quality is better if you follow a line to the right of the bolts.


The route starts 40 feet to the left of Tender Flakes. The best way to access the start is to rappel Tender Flakes. It is possible but inadvisable to scramble up the gully (through a nearly impassable bay tree) to the start of the route.


All five aging lead (as in Pb) drop-in bolts have been replaced with shiny 1/2" Rawls. You might also like TCUs or other small gear to place between the fifth bolt and the tree.

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By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Aug 25, 2015

It is possible, and quite enjoyable, to connect Written Exam with the top of King Snake Crack. You'll need an extra quickdraw and a couple of additional small cams to link these two safely. You can also top-rope this link-up from the anchor atop Tender Flakes & King Snake Crack.
By Jeff Mahoney
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Aug 25, 2015

Thanks for the work retro'ing this, Matthew. (Is the rap line gone now? That thing was getting a bit "crunchy," eh?)

As I mentioned elsewhere, this route is worth doing if you're up there, but it really pales in comparison to "Tender Flakes" and "Fun..." (1-star means "OK" so that's my vote, maybe "OK-and-a-half" if it cleans up, but I'm just a whiner so take that with a grain of sand---which you'll have plenty of down low on the route... ;-)
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Aug 25, 2015

With climbing, you should always round up ;)

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