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Right Side of Grotto Entrance
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Bong Crack (aka Surficial Scratch) T 
Class Act S 
In the Court of the Crimson King S 
Rickety Rock S 
Where the World Ends T,S 
Woogie's Wild Ride S 

Bong Crack (aka Surficial Scratch) 

YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 90'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Ken Sims, 1979
Page Views: 628
Submitted By: George Perkins on Mar 15, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (9)
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This photo shows the upper segments of the bong cr...


Bong Crack is a high quality crack route at Diablo.

Fire it up the kind hand and finger cracks in a left-facing corner for the lower 3/4 of the climb. This section takes good pro, and is quite clean, with just enough good rest stances to keep the grade at 5.9. When you reach the level of the Class Act anchors, you can traverse left to bail out of 5.10c wide crack finish. But if you're up for it- keep climbing up the crack and do the full route.

The final 10' to the anchor, the crack is wider. Modern climbers will forsake the bong in favor of #3 camalots, as you squirm, stem, and thrash your way to the chains. This part of the climb is also rewarding and features classic chimney grovel moves and the general weirdness that typifies most trad 10s and 11s at Diablo.

D. Jackson's "Rock Climbing New Mexico" says the FA was Ken Sims in 1979. D. Newell and Jacques installed the original piton anchors in the early 1990s, believing it to be a FA. I'm pretty sure they called it "Surficial Scratch" at the time. The piton anchors were replaced with a bolted anchor by Karl Kiser and friends(?).


This climb is the obvious crack on the right side of the Grotto Entrance. It is between Class Act and Woogie's Wild Ride.
Bong crack is #17 in Bradshaws excellent online guide

This photo shows the climb pretty well.


Cams up to a #3 camalot (some might want doubles of some sizes), nuts useful.
A 2 bolt anchor is at the top, equipped with rap-hangers.
A 60m rope reaches up and down no problem. (a 50m rope might also?)

Photos of Bong Crack (aka Surficial Scratch) Slideshow Add Photo
Dennis Newell lapping Surficial Scratch(AKA: Bong ...
Dennis Newell lapping Surficial Scratch(AKA: Bong ...

Comments on Bong Crack (aka Surficial Scratch) Add Comment
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By Robin
From: Albuquerque, NM
Mar 17, 2008

I have only done this to the anchors for Class Act. It was great and I one day aspire to, how did you put it, "chimney and grovel" my way to the top. The pro is great if you have cams, and you can pretty much stuff one in every few inches if you want....

If you want a pretty cool single pitch 5.9 trad route at diablo this one fits the bill if you bail out at the first anchors.
By Karl Kiser
Apr 1, 2008

This crack was done a long time ago. We called it the Bong Crack because there was a large angle at the top prior to the placing of the higher bolt anchor.
By Souljah
From: Northern NM
Jan 26, 2010
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Nice crack. Look for a good "out-facing" knee-bar rest at the base of wide section , where "cuppy" hands take you to the top in relatively clean style.
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