Classic Climb Yelp One Star Review

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One person’s classic is another person’s garbage pile. The beauty of the Internet is that everyone can express their opinion. Publicly.

Amarillo Sunset (5.11b), Red River Gorge


Every movement is a dyno. Granted, I’m 5’10, but if I wanted to swing my carcass on ridiculous climbs with unrealistic moves, I’d get a subscription to a hipster bouldering gym. Anyway, I suspended the whole trail out of spite, and the 30 people waiting at the base while I was doing it made me feel rushed. It only took me three hours. I had to pull my rope back after taking so many whips and straining my A2 pulley the sixth time I blew out of the pocket with two fingers for the last clip. It’s a shitty climb. I would not recommend.

Midnight Lightning (V8), Yosemite


If I wanted to climb a graffiti-covered rock in front of a crowd of homeless people, I would walk through an underpass in downtown Chicago.

The Relaxed Route (5.10a), The Diamond on Longs Peak


For starters, there’s nothing CASUAL about a seven-mile approach. We left the parking lot at 9am and didn’t even get to BASE du Diamant until 1pm. My partner had been told the beta was to “scramble” the north chimney until the start of technical climbing. This “hustle” felt more like a free death-defying solo, fully captured, at our limit. Miraculously, we survived it, and finally roped in for the so-called “Casual Itinerary” 15 hours. To be clear, I CRUSH 5.9 in the gym, and even dabble in some 5.10s. Thought it would be a breeze, but no one ever says how unrelaxed 5.9 trad climbing is at 13,500 feet above sea level. I had to choke on the vomit at the top of the second pitch due to altitude-induced nausea coupled with the physical and emotional devastation of trying to figure out how to crack the lead climb. Seriously, where are the catches? Just then, a growing thunderstorm rolled in. Rain, hail, lightning. None of us knew how to rappel with our Grigris, so we were stuck until a full-scale rescue team showed up. Let me be very clear, there is nothing “casual” about this itinerary.

Epinephrine (5.9), Red Rock


I could have used an epinephrine shot directly to the jugular to wake up to this Red Rock banality. A 5.9 with 13 steps? Child’s play. The supposedly “classic” locations of this pile are all well-protected chimneys. For chimney climbing to be even slightly engaging, it must be completely unprotected. None of this buttons hand-sized cams for 1,600 feet. To make matters worse, each relay is latched, which means if you don’t “feel” it, you can just “go down”. Where is the commitment? In my day, if you wanted to finish climbing, you either had to reach the top or starve on the wall. This road is the hard man’s death.

The Bare Edge (5.11b), Eldorado Canyon


The climbing itself was delightful. Truly an exquisite itinerary. The finger cracks. The knife edge. The fireplace. The slightly overhanging and wildly exposed hand crack. Just delicious. What wasn’t delicious was the crowds. When we arrived at Eldo on a Saturday around noon, there was not a single parking space in the entire park. We had to go around in circles for TWO O’CLOCK before anything opens. After our approach, we quickly realized that we had to climb two pitches of another second-order route just to get to the base of The bare edge. They certainly don’t advertise this little detail anywhere. When we finally tied up for the first length of the Edge, there were 11 other groups on the road…we had to queue for at least an hour for each location while we cooked in the summer sun. A group of three were jumping and rappelling above me as I led the throw from the slab. Then a free soloist asked my partner to “sit just a second” in the Bombay fireplace while he beat us. Great route. Horrible atmosphere. —Karine

Monkey Crossing (V4), Flagstaff Mountain


Blocking is all about doing one or two moves at your absolute limit. The block should NEVER be limited to how long you can hold on. The crossing of the monkeys is a shame for all true bouldering problems that require raw power, unimpaired by technique, or endurance, heaven forbid. If I wanted to work on my endurance, I would jog. —Boris Sokolowski

The Nose (5.9 C2), El Capitan


This climb is said to be downhill in two hours, so I thought the Nose, rated 5.9, would be cool. If people climb it in two hours, I could take my time and do it in three or four hours and be back at the cafe for lunch. Turns out there’s a second note number on the Nose: C2… whatever that means. Apparently this is in reference to “assisted climbing”. Excuse me, but I had no idea that anyone, anywhere does help climbing. Damn archaic. Needless to say, I didn’t bring my aluminum ladder and ball hammer, or whatever those construction workers use to climb. Also, it took nine hours to go up the first two pitches, so we went down.

Chain Reaction (5.12c), Smith Rock


I saw this route barefoot. Looked tough for 5.12c. Another good run.

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