Fantasia (Lover's Leap)


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Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 22, 2008 - 05:58pm PT
I always wanted to get on that thing, but never quite got around to it, especially after my
notorious 40+ footer on Snake Dike (believe it or knott - the shame, the horror).

I would love to hear first-hand accounts of those of you who have risen to the challenge.

The little stuff I have heard ranges from "piece of cake" to "about shít my pants".

Do tell...


Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 22, 2008 - 05:59pm PT
Wait wait I want to hear about this 40 footer. I'm probably going to do Snake Hike this summer (ugh hot).

Social climber
The West
Apr 22, 2008 - 06:00pm PT
1976 , EB's, Mark stumpf led the whole thing, he'd done it once before. Scared the beejeezus out of me. But the moves didn't seem hard and the setting and climbing were stellar!
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 22, 2008 - 06:09pm PT
Here's the tale of perhaps the only person to ever fall on Snake Dike...

Give it a few seconds for the thread to load and Brian's post to pop up, and then begin reading from there...

Make sure you see Brian's post in that thread made at Feb 20, 2004, 10:23am.

My version of the event is a few posts further down...

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 22, 2008 - 06:17pm PT
I too have wanted to climb Fantasia for several years now. However, still don't have the stones.
Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 22, 2008 - 06:55pm PT
Perhaps we should do it together, alternating leads.

You first...

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 22, 2008 - 07:27pm PT
Hmm, that leaves you with p2, which is supposedly the best protected!

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Apr 22, 2008 - 08:15pm PT
Fall 1980, hadn't been climbing much in a few years due to grad school out of state. Swung leads, I got ptiches #1 an #3. The climbing isn't all that hard, but there isn't much protection. I think I had one friend and one bolt on pitch #1 and maybe just a FP and a couple of friends on pitch #3. As Ken Wilson so aptly said, "the climb is more bold than hard."

A truly great route because you have to use your mind as well as your arms and legs.


Trad climber
Nor Cal
Apr 22, 2008 - 08:24pm PT
I climbed it the late 80s leading the second pitch, easy but runout lots of variations but did not feel too bad. Led the second half of the first pitch a couple of summers back . I put a shiiity sling on one of the three knobs that Robbins writes about, more psychological than real. We took a crapy variation on the third pitch because we were wimps. Climbed in my thirties, forties, and plan to climb it this summer in my fifties. Knott that bad and I'm only a low .10 climber. Have fun but don't fall.

Apr 22, 2008 - 08:31pm PT
It's been 10 years, and I was pretty solid at the time, but I don't recall any place on the entire climb where I was shakin' and quakin', never a move that I felt was do or disaster. And 10a trad was (and still is) my upper limit, so it was a fairly bold undertaking for a geezer like me. It's runout to be sure, but there's enough pro where you really need it. It's truly the gem of the East Wall regulars - Haystack, East Crack, Bear's Reach, The Line, all seem kind of dull and repetitious by comparison. So get there early on some beautiful quiet morning, get in a Royal Robbins frame of mind (visualizing style and grace, not power), and get ready for a Fantasiastic experience.

beneath the valley of ultravegans
Apr 22, 2008 - 09:48pm PT
Paging Mr. Hartouni! Please post a transcript of Robbins' classic write-up from "Advanced Rockcraft." For now, here's a teaser:

"Great Souther Sierra Hinterlands Expedition, 1973"

Kevin Jorgenson making it look easy, as usual. Jerry Dodrill image.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Apr 22, 2008 - 10:31pm PT
Fantasia is a 5.9 sandbag!!! That said we could have been off route on p3 beside the fact I'm old and NOT bold.

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Apr 22, 2008 - 10:43pm PT
Lead it in 1987 (I was 17). Really got my attention. I lost my way a couple times. Began to lose perspective of the route. I was psyched to swap leads and re-group. My partner was an Army guy who moved here from Alaska. It was my first - and last- time climbing with him. He gets to the belay after forever... Looks at me shakes his head "Forget it. You're finishing it". Ticked me off at the time, but I'm glad I had to lead the rest of
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Apr 23, 2008 - 12:02am PT
Did Fantasia with Greg Vernon and a guy named Bob in June, 1985...which is now 23 years ago....I am a total chickensh#t, and I led the whole climb; the bottom when it's more difficult, there is pro...up higher, when it is really run out, it is very easy on huge positive holds. I remember being way scared of the climb until I got on's a paper tiger. It IS very run out and there are times when you look down and can't see any placed pro....just the rope hanging below you; not fall then....I don't think anyone has taken any big falls off this climb;...but I could be wrong. It's a cool climb too, as are most of the climbs at the Leap.

Social climber
Davis, CA
Apr 23, 2008 - 12:10am PT
My second day ever trad climbing, I was super psyched. I had just led Bear's Reach--I had arrived.

walking down the descent, a couple feet off the ground, I started chatting with a Brazilian dude. There were some guys on Fantasia.

"I tried to climb Fantasia last year" he tells me. "I fell 70 feet. I was hurt very badly."


Last year I was climbing with a really strong guy, started chatting about Fantasia. He climbed it in the early 90s, with a guy who got off route on P2, took a big arching factor 2 onto the anchor, sawing across a dike, halfway through the rope.

I think I need to stop asking people about this rock climb.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 23, 2008 - 12:25am PT
Did it 9/16/00 with my friend Will (now in SLC) and another friend. I remember gearing up at the base and teams walking by asking "Are you gonna do Fantasia?" One of those guys said, "I used to be able to do it, but now I'm old and scared." Geeze, nearly soiled my armor... he was a lot younger than us.

Will led the first pitch which has that stellar diagonaling crack feature in Jerry's picture above. I remember him taking a lot of time to make the moves off the right side of that thing and up to the anchor. I had the second pitch, which I remember had scant protection possibility. Basically I went for it on a really sketchy nut. Sort of overhanging... The last pitch went down really smooth. When I think back on it, it really wasn't such a big deal.

Marty, believe it or not I no longer have a copy of RR's "Rockcraft" so I can't transcribe the bit here... However, there is the "First Ascent" feature in Alpinist 17 that Robins wrote about this route, along with a pretty "topo".
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Apr 23, 2008 - 12:26am PT
some beta here

route finding on 3rd pitch is hard!

some photos here including the crux on the first pitch and close ups of the knob tie offs
mark miller

Social climber
Apr 23, 2008 - 01:22am PT
Done it 3 times beautiful, actually only 2.75 the first time I finished up on scimitar.Dehydrated and well cooked. Fantasia is a state of mind not unlike RR's account of it's first ascent in advanced rockcraft the only really hard move is P3 the move over the flake thing but you actually have gear ( a yellow TCU). There is alot of climbing above interesting (or thin gear) but if you weigh your possibilities and look around there isn't really a move above 5.8, just alot of quality route finding and a historical route, good fun, just don't go with the intention of hang dawging your way up the thing, Do a few laps on labor of love first.....didn't S Miller do that route free solo in the 70's trying to sell us those green guide books?
THE FIRST PITCH WITH THE 3 KNOBS IS EXACTLY LIKE RR'S DESCRIPTION, Learn to tie off a sling with one hand.....and your teeth. The second pitch is obvious and step .7ish with typical leap gear ( or lack there of) then the P3 wanders but the worn rock makes it easier know then 30 years ago and the finish after all that is whatever if there aren't any Rattlers waiting at the top. I'd do it again tomorrow, Lets go.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Apr 23, 2008 - 01:28am PT
Maybe someone should add some bolts?
mark miller

Social climber
Apr 23, 2008 - 01:35am PT
There's a bolt right after the knobs but you got to do 1/2 the mantle to clip it even with an ape index. The rest of the route should Knott be dumbed down,( chopping may begin) but the first belay could use some love. Easy to moderate climbing but falling is knott a good idea for either leader or follower. If your gonna fall climb something else. East cracks or even scimitar with it's run out rating is a lot less serious then Fantasia, Scimitar's R/x is 5.5 and the awesome 5.9 crux through the roof can be sewn up. That route needs more love anyways......
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