Serenity Crack, Royal Arches Area 5.10d
Avg time to climb route: 3 hours
Approach time: 5 minutes
Descent time: 30 minutes
Number of pitches: 3
Height of route: 350'
OverviewThis exceptional route is climbed free due to a myriad of pin scars. The pin scars are extremely pronounced at the start and become smaller as the route progresses. Alhough ugly, the scars make for some fun climbing on what often feels more like a face climb than a crack climb. Due to this and a very short crux, Serenity Crack is a great climb for the fledgling 5.10 leader trying to push his or her limits.
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HistoryAnyone who doubts that pitons can damage granite should check out this climb. The dozens of atrocious pin scars on the lower route allow the line to go free at a moderate rating—a mixed blessing. Glen Denny and Les Wilson established this classic in 1961, using huge amounts of aid up a long, bottomed seam that could hardly be called a crack. The team battered chrome-moly pitons into this seam an inch or so and then tied them off. Since it was a perfect place to learn the art of moderate aid climbing, the route was done hundreds of times in the early 1960s. The scars appeared early on for the simplest reason: steel is harder than granite. The back-and-forth pounding done during piton removal scraped out a hole in the seam, and this is where the next party would place its own pin. When an excavation became wider than it was deep—meaning the pin placement could get dicey—the process would begin once again in an untouched part of the seam. It’s amazing that any portion of the original seam is visible!
By 1967 so many holes existed that many people were doing the lower two pitches free: this segment had become a 10a jamcrack! A much harder section at the top of the route—a steep and strenuous finger crack—resisted free attempts for a time, but Tom Higgins and Chris Jones managed the feat in 1967. For several years this short section, rated 5... [full history for SuperTopo members only!]
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