Led this last weekend and I tend to agree- East Crack was so much fun, even more so than Bear's Reach for me. It is true that there is no specific crux to mull over, but the moves throughout are a great time.
In my opinion, this climb is totally underrated. Of all the moderate climbs I've done, this was by far the most continually enjoyable. Better than Bear's Reach. Better than Haystack. Better than Preparation H. I was smiling the entire route. The bulges were very, very fun too.
There is no piton at the first belay. Should be removed from the topo. Someone chalked in an "X" on the rock presumably where the piton used to be.
The 5.9 finish is the way to go for sure! It's nice to finish with 1-2 hard moves. great finale.
I just led this route for the third time and it has become my favorite route on the East Wall. There is never a line at the base, the cruxes are thought provoking, well protected, and exposed.
There are no bolts or pitons at the first belay, in case you were wondering. But there are plenty of gear options at the belay ledges. The entire route protects very well, taking small to medium nuts and medium cams (0.3 to #1 and #2 camelots).
fun route. i checked the topo after i climbed it and saw it says theres a bolt and piton at the first belay.... i must have been zoning out cause i wasn't looking for them and set a regular trad anchor.
.....not only better than bears reach, but better than haystack and other popular routes in the east wall area. both pitch 1 and 2 are interesting and sustained. I did east crack then haystack yesterday and certainly felt this was head shoulder's above the few interesting haystack moves (e.g. the pin scars leading up to the roof and the roof move).
Did this one 3 times. Once as 5.7 A0, once with a fall, and finally cleanly.
First pitch is solid 5.6 with a 5.7 move over the rooflet.
The first time I did the second pitch I backed down to let a party pass as I was losing it. I then traversed over to the right crack rather than following the standard line. 5.7 dirty/grassy out right, minimal pro.
Second time I committed to a 5.7 before the the crux in the wrong way and popped before I could brail my way back onto my footholds. The crux is a thin spot where you have to get marginal finger locks up high and crank off of them in ways that feel bad. Good news is that there is pro at your waist, and a reasonably clean fall results in minimal punishment.
5.8 belly flop/beached whale move at the top is worth doing once or twice in a lifetime, but is likely to break an ankle if you fail.
I found this climb more enjoyable and more interesting than Bears's Reach (and no crowds). It is a very enjoyable climb and although I don't remember any significant problems, it provided a variety of challenges. We ended up doing the 5.9 (some say 5.8) direct finish to make it interesting.
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