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Chopping Block 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 60'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Ken Kisiel, Scott Beguin, Dennis Newell
Season: 4
Page Views: 789
Submitted By: Aaron Miller on Jun 28, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (13)
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BETA PHOTO: The Chopping Blocks. The portions of stone that a...


Rebolted in Summer '06 to eliminate climbing through bad rock at top. Anchors moved lower. Loose rock cleaned.

Also, two bolts added to bottom for a more interesting and fun start.

  • note*: this route never saw traffic due to its bad rock character. There is great climbing on this wall and it was a shame not to be able to access it just because the first ascensionist thought it should go to the top of the pillar. I hope nobody's feelings were hurt.


route #2 on map. Second route from the entrance of grotto on left side.


8 or 9 bolts

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 26, 2015
By Scott Beguin
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 16, 2007

Aaron, The original route was never finished due to the Cerro Grande Fire of 2000. Everyone who was working on this route either got their house burned or thier lives shuffled a bit. The last hole was drilled and the bolt never got installed. The route was incomplete. I view the changing of this route without approval clueless and disrespectful. It was a fine climb the way it was and I would like to see it restored back to its original condition even if I have to do it myself. Just because your opinoin is different does not give you authority to mess with someones unfinished project. You could at least communicate first.
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Aug 16, 2007

Scott, are you saying that the project began prior to 2000, and as of 2006 was still "unfinished"?

Is this correct?
By Scott Beguin
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 19, 2007

Monomaniac, that is correct. There were several life interruptions at that time.
By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Aug 20, 2007

I think its pretty unfair to assualt Aaron for cleaning up a route that was left abandoned for six years. What is the statute of limitations on an abandoned project?

I don't think Aaron did anything wrong at all. He should be thanked for cleaning this route up.

Aaron, Thanks!
By Aaron Miller
From: Santa Fe, NM
Dec 25, 2007


I apologize for altering the route without contacting you, I dont think we've ever met and I sure didn't know who had FA'd this line. I am also sorry that you were affected by the fire and I understand that other things are more important than finishing a route.

I would be more than pleased to have you restore this climb to its original condition but please also consider that it is now climbed frequently by many where it was pretty much covered in dust and cobwebs prior to its retro/completion.

But consider this...

If I had put a 2-bolt route every ten feet apart at White Rock, and FA'd each line, does that mean I have claimed all the lines and no-one can later make them worth climbing ever again?

By Scott Beguin
From: Los Alamos, NM
Feb 3, 2008

Aaron-Apology accepted.
A bit of history: We thoroughly cleaned this route as much as we could and the last bolt was drilled but never installed due to crummy rock at the top. It was led several times in this condition, and the bottom section was fine and didn't really need to be moved. If anything, you might of kept that intact, and used your new two bolts at the bottom as a variation. At the time it was another way up to the upper tier. Nowadays due to the retro, that is not a possibility.
By Jason Hundhausen
From: Bozeman, MT
Sep 1, 2008

First time on this route and I'm really surprised to see only 1 or 2 stars for it because I thought it was excellent. Sustained at the 11a grade with a crux that my partner and I agreed was solid 11b. I'll definitely do this one again the next time I'm back in the Grotto.
By Ken Kisiel
Jul 23, 2012

Finally climbed since leaving it behind so many years ago. The climbing and rock is great up to the last bolt. Here the rock quality decreases and I found the last bolt placement to be in the middle of the redpoint crux. Best to climb past to large hold up and left to clip at your waist. Fortunately the bolt is in the better rock thus the placement should remain. Thanks Aaron for the improvements, this climb deserves more traffic.
By Grindrite
Sep 10, 2013

Just climbed this route again after a few years. It's cleaned up nicely and deserves three stars.
By Keith Beckley 1
From: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Aug 9, 2015

I think that this a good route indeed. Some tech off the ground to a continuous paddle on flat holds that is surprising pumpy.
By Dave Wachter
Oct 26, 2015

Climbs really well now, and for the most part the rock seems solid. However, we're talking Diablo, so never assume anything about how well one piece of rock is attached to another! It sounds like the rock quality has improved per previous comments, but I've seen plenty of popular routes in Diablo exfoliate after years of frequent use.
If you choose to climb farther right on the face rather than on the arete in the middle of the route some of the crimps are crumbly, and even along the arete there are small bits of choss that occasionally rain down on the belayer (helmet strongly advised!). There's a difficult clip around 2/3 of the way up, particularly cruxy when hanging draws, that I made by side-pulling really hard on a chalked-up fin on the arete. Seemed to be pretty solid, but someone bigger than me could generate a whole lot of force on it, and if it comes off it would result in a rather big and awkward fall, likely sending a decent sized rock down on the belayer. Maybe there is a more elegant, less brutish way to make that clip, but it wasn't apparent to me.
I'll pass on rating this route. I'd give it high marks for sure if it were longer and I didn't have concerns about safety.

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