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Olmsted Canyon Left
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Black Like Me T 
Creature from the Black Lagoon T 

Creature from the Black Lagoon 

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

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 50'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Scott Cole, Bruce Morris
Page Views: 2,774
Submitted By: TylerW on Feb 11, 2010

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (8)
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Hillary going for the foot traverse approach on Cr...

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A novelty route mostly, traverse along a flaring crack about 4ft above the "black lagoon" for maybe 50 ft, and then head up a 40ft 5.9 hand crack. I've tried traversing with feet in the crack and doing the tipsy shuffle, or traversing with hands in the crack. It felt very different but about the same difficulty either way.

See the awesome updated (4th ed.) Reid/Falkenstein guide for more info.


The wall above the lagoon seen immediately upon entering Olmstead canyon.


A fall at the crux will almost certainly result in falling in the lake, so I would suggest either toproping from above with a moving belay, or soloing, since the crux is only 4 ft. above the lake. A fall into the lake would be embarrassing though, and you would hit the bottom as it is less than 6ft deep.

Photos of Creature from the Black Lagoon Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The Black Lagoon claims another victim. Photo: Gre...
The Black Lagoon claims another victim. Photo: Gre...
Rock Climbing Photo: Illustrates the beautiful setting of this climb-bo...
Illustrates the beautiful setting of this climb-bo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott Cole soloing "Creature from the Black L...
Scott Cole soloing "Creature from the Black L...
Rock Climbing Photo: Me, almost in the lake, thankful for the toprope
Me, almost in the lake, thankful for the toprope
Rock Climbing Photo: Me, starting the traverse
Me, starting the traverse
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott finishing up the handcrack
Scott finishing up the handcrack
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott starting the traverse
Scott starting the traverse

Comments on Creature from the Black Lagoon Add Comment
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By c scott
Feb 16, 2010

This climb would be a sweet solo/bouldering problem. The water is shallow, but not too shallow. Also I don't remember any mean looking rocks lurking about. I can't wait to come back on a warm day and give it another go, sans rope!
By Brian Treanor
Oct 15, 2011
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

This "climb" is, in fact, a boulder problem. That's how it was established and how it's traditionally been climbed, unless I'm mistaken.

10c belies the touch and go nature of the traverse. I went high, with feet in the flared crack, and there are some real tenuous bits for the grade. I know of a few solid climbers who have taken the plunge...
By Brad G
From: Yosemite and elsewhere
Jun 10, 2013

My shoes are now dry and my chalk bag is getting there.
By Kaleem Khwaja
From: Emeryville, California
Jul 28, 2014
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13

Traversing with feet in the crack felt legit 5.10, but the lower hand-in-crack variation was WAY more difficult - maybe 11c?. I personally couldn't keep my feet out of the lagoon while staying low enough to keep from greasing out of the sloper horizontal crack.

We tested the bottom of the lagoon under the finish and it was soft, silty and almost 6 feet deep. The hand crack finish felt only about 5.8 and should be uneventful for anyone who can get to it. A great end to a weekend in the Meadows!
By Bruce Morris
From: Belmont, CA
Sep 24, 2014

No, "Creature from the Black Lagoon" was established as a lead climb, following the low finger tip (instead of the foot) traverse way. Scott Cole soloed it a few minutes after leading it. Cf. Picture attachment. Today, I'd say it's mostly done as a TR although there's a great picture of Charlie Barrett doing it as a boulder problem in the new fall 2014 issue of California Climber.
By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Sep 11, 2015

Thank you for the clarification and historical perspective, Bruce.

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