The Crucifix


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Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Feb 25, 2009 - 02:39pm PT
Hey be careful here. The first ascent of "The Crucifix" and the story are by Kevin. I just reposted his account to bring it to the fore and connect it with pictures.

With regard to your question, Bridwell sandbagged all of us youngin's. We climbed great because we were too inexperienced to know better. Also, Jim was both a great teacher without making you feel inferior in any way and had the knack for making you accept that what you were doing was normal. He always kept a sharp eye on everything, but we climbed towards his best standard.

A ratty rope, no pins, no bolts, one quart of water! Read the Frank Sacherer thread for the well spring of the water Jim had 70s climbers like Kevin drink.

right here, right now
Feb 25, 2009 - 02:49pm PT
Very nice story by Kevin.

Feb 25, 2009 - 03:59pm PT
Blue blazes!

As a Valley know-next-to-nothing I asked Robert what that thing was we were passing under and all I got was, "The Crucifix."

Great pictures and write-ups.

(The rock we were on at that moment, the traverse, was the hottest I have ever been on.)
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Feb 25, 2009 - 08:06pm PT
The first photo and the other photo of the route are showing the traverse at different places. I can't remember which way is the correct way.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Feb 25, 2009 - 08:33pm PT

> The first photo and the other photo of the route are showing the traverse at different places. I can't remember which way is the correct way.

I haven't done Crucifix, and Tar clearly has! But from his photos, the 5.10c ow is the last pitch before the traverse, and on the previous pitch he has already gone past the band of overhangs where his photo has the lower traverse line in red.
But his photo is taken from below, so it's easier to see the line of overhangs, and harder to see the ledge / higher traverse line.

Best way to find out is to go up there and research it!

The photo I posted has its problems - it is missing the lower part of the climb! (It was meant for showing the upper part of the NE Butress). Here are some more complete photos:

by Dennis Erik Strom, 2005

by Clint, 11/2008

(these photos are clearly straining the capabilities of the point-and-shoot digital cameras - with a better camera and tripod these could be very nice).

I like Don Reid's concise description in the current guidebook:
"This wild climb is played out on a beautiful mosaic wall."

right here, right now
Feb 25, 2009 - 08:45pm PT
I tried to put my red line where your red line was.
Plus there was no red line there when we did it,
so I doubt it's in the right place anyhow...

Boulder climber
Feb 25, 2009 - 09:59pm PT
Anybody do that big roof?
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Feb 26, 2009 - 10:54am PT
Dang, that's a great line!
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Feb 26, 2009 - 11:13am PT
I keep coming back to this thread for the pictures and commentary, especially Kevin's first ascent account. Classic stone, classic route, classic first ascent story.

Old Pueblo, AZ
May 16, 2010 - 02:39pm PT

This is one of my favorite threads.
Make sure to click the links.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 16, 2010 - 04:36pm PT
Great thread! This classic tough is still on my wishlist...
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
May 16, 2010 - 09:14pm PT
Reading Kevin's narrative really gives that sense of a first ascent. You just don't know what's up there. It is a whole different game.


May 18, 2010 - 12:09pm PT
McClenehan pre-cowboy. But he was always a bit "western".

Great stories. Thanks to Roger- and Kevin.

Jim's ratty 9mm - remember Dale pitching off Catchy Corner? Same rope??? Ha

Kevin - when did you do Plumbline?

Trad climber
Placerville, California
May 18, 2010 - 12:22pm PT
...tarbuster hangin off a fingerlock, untieing from the rope, then pulling it thru all his hear... sending down a free end to his partner... pulling up some gear to make an anchor! all while hangin from a finger lock.

that's thick gravy, tar.

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
May 18, 2010 - 02:24pm PT
Clint: The green line should go at the leftmost edge of the light colored rock that is the slab above the mantel (the lower left corner of that light colored triangle).

Last weekend le_bruce and I did the yellow to green to purple to yellow variation on NEB HCR. Some beta at the point where yellow, red, and green diverge:

1) Going left (yellow) involves a blank near-vertical corner with no crack in back for ~ 10 feet, to a slab, before the good crack to top. It looked pretty hard with unprotected fall, but home-free if you get through that brief ugly bit.

2) Going straight up red looked fairly obvious but more pure OW than chimney and more technical than other parts of the route. And it blanks out before the top (must be the 10c face part). I thought it was supposed to be 5.7 chimney for some reason, but looking at it I immediately assessed it as 5.10OW (but thought maybe my tiredness was affecting my judgment).

3) Going right/green (which we did) crux is an awkward mantel to slab with chicken-scratch for fingertips to help claw over in a precarious balance, and you'll hit the ledge below if you go for it and blow it. We got hung up for 30+ mins on this 10-foot section after blazing through the climb up to the second traverse. If there is a finger crux, it is right at the point of separation between yellow/red/green on the left side (sort of like lower part of Sacherer Cracker), then an awkward step across right and follow a ways up the wide crack that is part of the red line, then exit to right and downclimb an easy pinnacle and then you're at the mantle.

Crucifix sure looks cool, and pretty far out of my league! Amazing stories here.
G Murphy

Trad climber
Oakland CA
May 18, 2010 - 02:35pm PT
I've done it 3 or 4 times. It's as good as it gets. The 5.12- section is a short boulder problem and the 5.11c stemming pitch up high leading to the ear thing is awesome.

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
May 18, 2010 - 03:40pm PT
How is Crucifix compared to Astroman/Rostrum. Is it big step up?
Assuming you aided 11d/12b sections - do you still need to be in better physical shape to do this route?

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
May 30, 2010 - 10:52am PT
What a great TR. Love your picks Roy.

May 30, 2010 - 11:44am PT
Great pictures, great stories, Roy that's totally cowboy!
Did most of the Stonemaster classics but never The Crucifix.
Had to settle for Powerpoint with The Gambler in 97. I'll never forget coming around the corner to John's hanging belay where the route joins the Crucifix. One of the most exposed places I've ever been and we're hanging off TCUs and Aliens! Didn't even clip in, just started beefing it up before taking the roof straight on, which did protect well and wasn't too bad.
The Alpine

Big Wall climber
Jun 27, 2010 - 05:04pm PT
Honnold just soloed this thing!?
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