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Best 5.5 in the Country?
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By Chad Wagner
Sep 6, 2011
me
I'm posting this topic to collect the best 5.5 climbs in the United States. I've only climbed this grade in the east so I'm counting on you west side folks to chime in! The date grade revisited.

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By Chad Wagner
Sep 6, 2011
me
In my own personal expeiences:
The Mummy, Linville Gorge, North Carolina
Great Arch, Stone Mountain, North Carolina
Big Country, Red River Gorge, Kentucky

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By Kyle Freeman
From Oakland, CA
Sep 6, 2011
First 14er
The Staircase in Elevenmile Canyon is often referred to as one of the best 5.5's around. Good climb.

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By Shawn Mitchell
From Broomfield
Sep 6, 2011
Splitter Jams on the Israel/Palestine Security Wal...
Third Flatiron Regular Route, Boulder Colorado. 5.4. Screw your arbitrary rules and restrictions!

Edit: Swanson's Arete, Eldorado Canyon. But it's best approached by a pitch of 5.8+.

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By Buff Johnson
Sep 6, 2011
smiley face
the upper exum, or cmc route on moran.
swanson's is a stellar one, also.

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By Alan Ream
From Lafayette CO
Sep 6, 2011
Breakfast of Champion slacker climbers.
Right Parallel Space. Vedauwoo, Wyoming. Wear pants!

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By Eric Coffman
Sep 6, 2011
mountainlion
The best 5.5 that I have done is called "Right On"
in Joshua Tree California. First pitch is face with a spicy move to
a bolted anchor in a cave. second pitch comes out of the cave with a
roof move into a vertical hand foot jam crack to another belay cave.
Third pitch is a sideways angling chimney. Last pitch is vertical jugs. Descent is off the back via a bolted rappel station. You need
to be a solid 5.8 climber in my opinion.

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By Shawn Mitchell
From Broomfield
Sep 6, 2011
Splitter Jams on the Israel/Palestine Security Wal...
The popular route, don't remember the name, on Cathedral Peak, Tuolumne Meadows.

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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Sep 6, 2011
A tad bit harder

Wolf's Head

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By Guy H.
From Fort Collins CO
Sep 6, 2011
Once you have Black, you will fear to go back...
Horseman at the Gunks is pretty cool for a short route. The Standard Route at Whitehorse is excellent.

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By Alicia Sokolowski
From Brooklyn, NY
Sep 6, 2011
Hanging out waiting for Die Antwoord to come on st...
I don't think the best 5.5 climb should be one for solid 5.8 climbers, but maybe I'm missing the point of the question. For true 5.5, I think Horseman at the Gunks can't be beat. If we're keeping to the date climb context, RMC would be an even better choice. That first belay is quite crowded and you two will be in forced close proximity. The climbing isn't bad either ;)

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Sep 6, 2011
You stay away from mah pig!
We all know that real climbing does not start until 5.10. By definition, all 5.5s are just gullies of choss that form weaknesses up crags, so they're all just terrible.

So, I would say that the best 5.5 in the country is the one that leads up to an overhanging splitter on pitch 2. Otherwise, you're just going for a nature walk.

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By Chad Wagner
Sep 6, 2011
me
This post, like climbing, is all just for fun. The routes that are coming are great. I know for a fact that there are classic climbs in the lower grades. Lets also not forget our roots! Climbing started with these lower grades, so technical climbing starts at 5.0.
How bout Kain Route, Bugaboo Spire, B.C.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Sep 6, 2011
You stay away from mah pig!
technical climbing starts at 5.0 like astrophysics started with geocentrism.

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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Sep 6, 2011
Alicia Sokolowski wrote:
I don't think the best 5.5 climb should be one for solid 5.8 climbers, but maybe I'm missing the point of the question. For true 5.5, I think Horseman at the Gunks can't be beat. If we're keeping to the date climb context, RMC would be an even better choice. That first belay is quite crowded and you two will be in forced close proximity. The climbing isn't bad either ;)



Horseman is cool but P1 of Bloody Bush is one of my favorite pitches. overhanging jug haul on 5.5 with tons of gear.

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By Aaron O
From Seattle, WA
Sep 6, 2011
Angel's Crest
White maiden's walkway at Tahquitz. It's 5.4, but it is also 5 classic rope-stretcher pitches of great climbing. Probably should be able to lead 5.7 trad to give it a run.

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By Alicia Sokolowski
From Brooklyn, NY
Sep 6, 2011
Hanging out waiting for Die Antwoord to come on st...
Jake D. wrote:
Horseman is cool but P1 of Bloody Bush is one of my favorite pitches. overhanging jug haul on 5.5 with tons of gear.


+1 Jake, I totally forgot this gem! Love, love, love it!!!! Also, if you don't want to climb beyond the 5.5 cap, you can still finish this route via Rusty Trifle's last pitch.

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By Daniel Trugman
From La Jolla, CA
Sep 6, 2011
Final steps up Blanca after a snowy traverse.  Pho...
Upper Exum

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By JohnWesely
From Red River Gorge
Sep 6, 2011
Gunking
Guy H. wrote:
Horseman at the Gunks is pretty cool for a short route. The Standard Route at Whitehorse is excellent.


Horseman is an awkward pile.

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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Sep 6, 2011
JohnWesely wrote:
Horseman is an awkward pile.


HAHA that's what happens when you're too tall ;) how do you feel about Double Chin?

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By clucking
Sep 6, 2011
Knapsack Crack on Hogsback at Lovers Leap CA.
Super mellow climb (my first trad lead and multipitch in one go), nice views, and the first ledge is a great place to eat lunch in the shade.

Tenaya Peak in Tuolumne Meadows CA
1,500 feet of barely 5th and 4th class (a bit more sustained towards the top), a serene location, and a great profile view of Half Dome at the top.

For something classic, though ~5.6 in rating, Cathedral Peak in Tuolumne. Way more sustained with straightforward route finding; the whole face is climbable if you don't mind something harder than a 5.6 once in a while. The topo even reads like a choose your own adventure book, but instead of trolls eating people there are marmots eating your Patagucchi sweater.

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By Ryan Kelly
From work.
Sep 6, 2011
My kinda simian
I heard that there is a splitter crack that serves as a 5.6 direct start to the ultra classic Trough (5.0) at Tahquitz and may well be the best route in the world.

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Sep 6, 2011
I don't know about "best in the country," but Solar Slab (5.6, 9 pitches) has my vote as one of the best I've done. Mathematically, though, 5.6 is different than 5.5. :) But close!

mountainproject.com/v/solar-sl...

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By Ryan Kelly
From work.
Sep 6, 2011
My kinda simian
FrankPS wrote:
I don't know about "best in the country," but Solar Slab (5.6, 9 pitches) has my vote as one of the best I've done. Mathematically, though, 5.6 is different than 5.5. :) But close!


Mathematically, it's within 2%.

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Sep 6, 2011
Good job, Ryan. Is the 2% based on considering all the grades in Class 5 climbing? Regardless, I'm turning to you for my accounting and math needs. Do you prepare income tax returns? Ha ha.

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By andrewc
Sep 6, 2011
west ridge of Mt Conness just outside of Tuolumne

Same deal as Cathedral, its called 5.6, but as its even easier technically than Cathedral I'd say 5.5 is fair.

East face of Mt Whitney. Its called 5.4 in the 50 classic climbs book. Of course most call it 5.7 or so now. But the only reason it might feel 5.7 is because you are climbing at 14k feet.

Otherwise its kind of hard to name great 5.5 climbs. There are plenty out there, but they might just be called 4th class.

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