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Across the Universe T 
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Across the Universe 

YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a PG13

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, 500', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10a French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: todd swain et al.
Season: any and all
Page Views: 2,744
Submitted By: Casey Bald on Aug 10, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (16)
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Nick Grant on a VERY early ascent of ATU (eb's) ma...


Across the Universe is located uphill from the obvious toe of the Mt. Willard slabs. There are two possible starts:

1a. Walk uphill from the toe, and start below a flaring corner/groove moving past two bolts (5.9) slabbing up 20 feet (unprotected) to a second bolt then moving farther right passing two more bolts (5.8) to a two bolt anchor below the headwall at a nice ledge.

1b. Walk farther up hill from the previous variation gaining higher ground. Head upwards over an easy headwall joining the previous pitch at its forth bolt, move up passing the previous pitches anchor linking up the crux second pitch.

2. From the two bolt anchor move up and right clipping a fixed pin at the base of the head wall, climb straight up on vertical rock and clip a bolt. From some good holds do some cool trickery to move past the bolt to a jug and a pin in a fare (I would back this pin up as it is only held in the rock by a large nubbin) then launch straight up passing a nice layback flake belaying at a two bolt anchor in a water hole.

3. Run it out straight up getting occasional gear (5.5) aiming for a lone bolt even with a tree ledge on your right, clip the bolt with a long runner and make a easy traverse over to the tree ledge and belay at a two bolt anchor.

4. The Milky Way Pitch. Awesome traditionally placed bolts on 5.9 slab, follow bolts and one fixed pin to a two bolt anchor.

5. Most folks rap from here or run it out on 5.4 up to the tree ledge and climb any number of variations to the top of Mount Willard.


standard rack to #2 camalot

Photos of Across the Universe Slideshow Add Photo
Al Rubin and I atop P1. Pretty scairey, I still had hair. Al looks about the same around 1981 or 82
Al Rubin and I atop P1. Pretty scairey, I still ha...
The view from atop P2 I believe.
The view from atop P2 I believe.
Milky Way pitch (P4). Great pitch with awesome positioning!
Milky Way pitch (P4). Great pitch with awesome pos...
Evan on the crux, the 5.10a second pitch roof.
Evan on the crux, the 5.10a second pitch roof.
A health run out on P3. This is where the first gear is available. Sparse gear is right!
A health run out on P3. This is where the first ge...
Milkey Way pitch 5.9 around 1981/2
Milkey Way pitch 5.9 around 1981/2
Base Area for Across the Universe and the newly bolted climb right of Hugo's Horror
BETA PHOTO: Base Area for Across the Universe and the newly bo...
Comments on Across the Universe Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 22, 2014
By john strand
From: southern colo
Jul 12, 2008

Maybe I'm being too harsh, but 4 stars ? Sure the Milky Way pitch is cool but not that awesome and the rest of the climb is o.k. Still, nice exposure and good rock

By matthewWallace
From: plymouth, nh
Jan 8, 2009
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13

How much trad placements are on this by the sounds of it alot is bolted but run out is that correct?

By chinos
Jun 9, 2009

I believe the lone bolt on pitch three might be a pin. A fun route with excellent exposure.

By burlap submariner
Sep 14, 2009

if its not a bolt anymore than it got chopped, I'm pretty shure it was a bolt as I worked right down the street and climbed this route more times than I can remember in 2006-2008.

By john strand
From: southern colo
Jan 2, 2010

I know a strange comparison but- the milky way pitch is kinda like Crest Jewel in the Valley. Except CJ is 1,200' long and better.

By Cracker
Aug 23, 2011

Climbed this route 8/13/11. Before the traverse on pitch 3 is a good bolt. I got in a small tricam after the bolt in an upwards facing flake. Because we only had one rope (oops !) We did the final pitch, then through the woods to the upper tier. Final pitch is easy terrain but very mossy, and would be a nightmare if wet. Run it out and girth hitch some sad little trees for psychological protection, traverse left through munge to a big tree with a yellow static rope and rap rings. Nice adventure.

By matthewWallace
From: plymouth, nh
Oct 10, 2011
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13

I climbed this route with my buddy Bruce today. A few thoughts: The first pitch is fun and even more fun if you start at the very bottom of te toes of the rock and make it a longer pitch. The crux P2 seems significantly harder than .10a, unless I missed something. P3 is a fun runout slab, there is a pin in the middle of the climb and a bolt for protection on the traverse. The Milky Way pitch (P4) is fantastic but not as hard as was originally expected. The 5th pitch to the trees is runout and scary if it is wet (as it was today). We continued up the route Salespitch 5.9 to bring us to the summit.
Overall this is a fantastic rock climb the only downside in my opinion is the P2 crux which seems contrived since, A. it would go much easier to the right and B. it is such a drastic and weird change from the feel of the rest of the route. Great climb though!

By Brian
From: North Kingstown, RI
Jul 9, 2012

I don't usually have a problem on a 10a. Either the crux move has some secret hold or sequence that I haven't figured out or it is one of the biggest sandbags in the White Mountains.

By john strand
From: southern colo
Jul 9, 2012

Should be 9+ (which i said on the 2nd ascent) It helps to be tall and move your feet before your hands. I know a pretty prominent NH climber who has YET to do this move first try... and he's done the climb at least 10 times!

By Brian
From: North Kingstown, RI
Jul 10, 2012

You say it should be 9+ but you are you the only one who knows how to get over it at 9+? Are you 6'5"? Your prominent NH friend can't get over it first try and many of my friends who are solid 11 climbers also can't get through the move clean. Does that make sense to you? Let me know next time you are going to do it so I can come watch and I will know how do do it at 9+. I know a few local North Conway climbers who agree with me that it is a sandbag.

By john strand
From: southern colo
Jul 10, 2012

Laugh a bit dude.. it's OK. no i'm not 6'5". A "5.11" climber to me is someone who can climb almost any 5.11, not just specific routes.

I have done Across enough times.. not quite worth a 2,000 mile drive.

Given the one move wonder and well protected nature of the sequence, i'm suprised that it didn't get 9+ in the first place.

Did you do it again after your first time ???

By john strand
From: southern colo
Jul 10, 2012

Come on Brian.. it's me.. you loadies would have never even given this move a rating in the Woods. Whitey would have said '5.8"

The "prominent NH local" is Al Rubin

By Brian
From: North Kingstown, RI
Jul 10, 2012

Yeah but I'm getting old... Maybe I'll bring Whitey up there and he can show me the move. Out of multiple tries, I got it once and it was a desperation move off of a reachy crimp. Once I had a hard-climbing young-gun Lincoln Woods boulderer (Sean Robar) with me and he grabbed the draw after peeling off backwards. Not a 5.9+ for me.

By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
May 14, 2014

I love this route. It's just a great place to be. Sure, the third pitch is just easy choss and the crux is baffling and way hard for the grade---so just yank on the draw and call the whole route 8+. I worked the crux way back in my 20s and finally got it and now I just grin and pull through. And the Milky Way pitch is just plain wonderful. Catch this on a perfect late September day and you will think there is no more magical place to be---the view down the valley is worth four stars, for sure!

By Russ Keane
Jul 22, 2014

We tried to do this climb yesterday.... The start was hard to find, in spite of Peter Lewis' description in the Northeast guide. (BTW Peter thanks for including this in the book, it was a nice addition, and of course well-written and passionate, which I love about your books, and photographs).

So we ended up doing "Mystery Route" which is a 5.7 that starts at the VERY bottom of that right side area with ATU. It pulls over the eyebrow bulge to the left, at a really cool 5.7 move protected with a bolt.

Basically this Mt. Willard area is a gorgeous and fun alpine-slab experience. The rock quality is excellent- Way better than I expected. And yes the view and position is breathtaking. Fun, perfect, for Crawford Notch.

My only criticism is too many bolts. It really makes that type of climb way too easy.