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Routes You Don't Onsight


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I was recently talking with a friend about pitches that might not be sandbagged or even truly hard for the grade, but are particularly tough onsights, or good pitches to sandbag a visiting climber or win a bet when when you stick a 5.12 climber on a 5.11- and promise them free dinner if they send first go. Here were a few we thought of, but I'd love to know what other pitches come to mind:


Eldo - Fire and Ice 5.11d - This one's bolted but still shuts down a ton of strong folks.


Squamish - Daily Planet .12a (pretty much comes down to 1 inobvious boulder problem, but not another layback treadmill)


Index - Newest Industry .11a - almost all bolted, not steep, and not pumpy. Still not easy.


Vantage - Stemmin Ms - slick and weird


Little Si - Propaganda - techery on a wall of power endurance





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Speaking of a different Castle Rock, the 11c boulder problem start to Country Club Crack in Boulder Canyon gives a lot of people trouble. I just reached through the crux moves and then greased out of the glassy 11a jams up above because I actually suck at climbing.


I managed to not onsight The Wisdom in Eldo while getting move by move beta sprayed at me.

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not that hard, but tricky or pumpy for the grade (5.10 to 5.11a)


New Testament at Smith (last little bit to the anchors)


Other Side of the Tracks 3rd Pitch, Spring Mt. WA


Hospital Corner, Spring Mt. Oregon


Arthritis, Spring Mt. Oregon


That pitch on Dreamer that you have to get around to the left of a big roof, Green Giant Buttress, WA


the off-width pitch on Trophy Wife, Spring Mt, WA


The steep handcrack pitch on Rattle Tail, Index, WA

Edited by shapp
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Great thread. And good thinking shapp - there needs to be a similar thread two number grades lower! Substitute .10 for .12 in the original post, ha! Now I'm included! I like your list, shapp. I would add,


Revolver, pitch 5, .10a, three o'clock rock

Oso Rodeo, pitch 7, .10a (the Black Overhang), squire creek wall



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I'll second the Hidden Dragon Rad.....perfect name.

And add

Xin-11c 7 Mile

Missing Lynx- 11c 7 Mile

Outsourced- 12a 7 Mile

The Idiot Box- 11d 7 Mile

Unemployment Line- 11d 7 Mile

Scrub Tech- 11c 7 Mile

Purdy Mouth- 11a Coal Crag

Cahullawssee- 11b Coal Crag

Right Wing- 10d Squamish

Pratts Crack- 5.9+++++++ Pine Creek CA

And for some damn reason.....last pitch of Heaven's Gate fools me every damn time!!!!


None of the 7 Mile routes are sandbagged but will fool most people the first time around, which makes for a rewarding onsight if you do get it.

Cool thread!





Edited by bwwakaranai
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I climbed with a Mountain Guide from Iceland the last few days. He boulders hard and sport climbs 5.12. He just bought a new rack of singles and was stoked to try some trad. So after I watched him onsight sonic youth 5.11 b/c bolts. I took him over to strait shooter, 5.9 and let him take a few runs. It consistently spat him out. hehe

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Most everything at the quarry in Tenino is a hard onsight.


We had a feller come for his first day and get on Hercules, the 10b warm up. When Doug offered him beta, he spat back, "I climb 5.11 at Smith, I don't think I need any of your beta." About six falls later he lowered to the ground, pulled his rope, walked away without a word, and was never seen again. I don't think anything harder than about 11b here has seen an onsight, though Jens K may have gotten one of the llc's. We're out of the way but have had a smattering of real talent come through.


It may well be that everything is just sandbagged, largely due to familiarity rather than malign intent. My friend Peter was heard to mutter (on a different route" "10b my ass." When I said it wasn't any harder than 10b if my made every move right, he retorted, "Off, NO ONE rates routes that way anymore."


Anyhow, if you're looking for challenging onsights, I've got about 40 of 'em in my front yard.

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100% agree with Newest Industries


Most of the right side of the country is hard to onsight. Phone Calls from the Dead absolutely flailed on the onsight. Pulled the rope and hiked it...


Chimp Dip at Squamish was consistently onsighting that grade at squamish when I tried it. Massive flail session on the start

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I'd have to disagree about the Daily Planet in Squamish. That is a typical first 12a on sight for a lot of people. Easier than the 11c pitches on Astroman I'd say.


But 'Boogie Till You Puke' is a hard onsight. Lots of inobvious 180' spins off of chicken wings to get around awkward bulges and constrictions. It spat me out few times on my first go which is not normal for me on 5.10c!


The Stern Farmer in index really strikes me as a nails onsight. It boggled my mind on the onsight attempt, then felt effortless once I knew how to enter the flare.

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  • 3 months later...

Dreamin' in Smith. The moves really aren't that hard but I'll be darned if I didn't clam up at the top of that first runout. Also the final crux roof pull is inobvious and involves a blind reach. Pretty fun route when your mind is at ease but at least for me that is a challenge.

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