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Crescent Crack Buttress
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
3 Amigos T 
A Kat That Grumps T 
C.P.O.S. T 
Closet Lycra T 
Crack in the Woods T 
Crank in the Woods S 
Crescent Crack T 
Crescent Crack Direct Variation T 
Final Link T 
Great Chockstone, The T 
Grunting Gringos T 
Hand Jive T 
If Looks Could Kill S 
Interplanetary Voyage T 
Kutcorner T 
Lazarus T 
Less Than Zero T 
Lunge or Plunge T 
Mexican Crack T 
Missing Link T 
Multiplicity S 
No Jive Arete S 
Paraplegic Ward T,TR 
Razor's Edge S 
Ross Connection, The T 
Ross Route, The T 
Rotert's Rooter T 
Short Corner T 
Slam, Jam, Thank You Ma'am T 
Waterslide S 
Who's On First S,TR 

Crescent Crack 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 300'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: FA: Rick Reese, Ted Wilson, and Milt Hokanson, 1963.

FFA: Rick Reese, Jim Gaddis and Wilf Bruschke, 1963.

Page Views: 17,133
Submitted By: John J. Glime on Jun 19, 2003

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Sal coming up the first pitch

Description 

This is a pretty great route on the verge of being two stars due to a kind of lame traverse on the last pitch. However this can easily be remedied by the Crescent Crack Direct Variation plus or minus Final Link (although this increases the grade to 5.9). Overall I still give the climb three stars as the rock and moves are just so good for a relatively easy climb and it puts you in a great position to finish the climb in a much better style.

When you hit the buttress from the trail hike left until you come to a well worn dirt "platform" below an angling groove gully.

Pitch one:Climb left up the chimney in the gully through to some trees. There are some great easy crack moves here, very well protected. Probably 5.6 climbing. If you only have a 50 meter rope you may need to belay at the trees as I am not sure if it will reach the chain anchor above. (This would cause the climb to be three pitches.) A 60 meter rope will reach, so continue up past the trees to the belay anchor. There is a move of 5.7 perhaps as you pull a bulge reaching the anchor.

Pitch two:Climb the crux offwidth above the chains (5.7), kind of hard to protect. I don't want to give the answer away, but there is an easy way to climb this and a hard way. See what happens. This only lasts 10 feet or so and then you are on an angling crack moving up and right. You will come to a point where you will have the opportunity to traverse down a sloping slab to the right. BE SURE to protect the second here as you traverse down. Belay at the big ledge.

Descent:Scramble up right and then down the gully. It is a walk off.

FYI: To put this climb in perspective, the first time my partner and I roped up to climb this classic we were joined by a guy who was soloing the route at the same time. I think he lapped me about 5 times while I methodically climbed the 2/3 pitches. It was impressive, and I am sure he was doing laps before we even got there.

Protection 

Standard trad rack is fine.

History 

Some ancient history from the walls of Little Cottonwood via Rick Reese and Ted Wilson:

While working on notes for the Marriott Library climbing archive, Rick and Ted discovered the notes Ted had made in the 60's—for what was then hoped to be a guide book to the LCC granite. The book never happened, but the notes document the first ascent of "The Bulge", the route that shortly came to be known as "Crescent Crack". The first ascent was done by Rick Reese, Ted Wilson, and Milt Hokanson in May, 1963. It was 5.6, A2 because they nailed the bulge.

When Rick returned a few weeks later with Jim Gaddis and Wilf Bruschke, they did the bulge free as Rick was able to place a bong-bong deep in the crack, affording the protection needed to step out and around the bulge to the right. Rick said that this probably sounds ridiculous by today's standards, but that was long before sticky rubber, and the old Vibram soles on mountaineering boots made some of those moves a bit more scary that they are today.

When Rick climbed the crack in more recent years, he noted how nice it would have been nice to have a big Camelot that could be slid into that huge crack to the left of the bulge itself. In the old days, one had to bury oneself up to the waist to place a bong in that crack.

—Allen Sanderson


Photos of Crescent Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rappel with Great Exposure
Rappel with Great Exposure
Anna at the top of the ramp on p2.
Anna at the top of the ramp on p2.
Erik starting the off-width he did it in 5 moves.
Erik starting the off-width he did it in 5 moves.
Looking back down the squeeze to the anchors at th...
Looking back down the squeeze to the anchors at th...
having fun
having fun
Love the view
Love the view
little cottonwood canyon road from the tree on the...
little cottonwood canyon road from the tree on the...
found this floating around the internet. you can r...
found this floating around the internet. you can r...
Just exiting the offwidth section and finishing th...
Just exiting the offwidth section and finishing th...
Crescent Crack Buttress from the road: 1-Mexican C...
BETA PHOTO: Crescent Crack Buttress from the road: 1-Mexican C...
Jon Behrmann leading Crescent Crack
Jon Behrmann leading Crescent Crack
myself on the first Pitch. fun start
myself on the first Pitch. fun start
First pitch fun.
First pitch fun.
Belay ledge just under the off-width. 3 bolt ancho...
Belay ledge just under the off-width. 3 bolt ancho...
Grunting thru the offwidth.  Actually, he cruised.
Grunting thru the offwidth. Actually, he cruised.
Alternate finish. Legendary Sturgis
Alternate finish. Legendary Sturgis
Jon Behrmann
Jon Behrmann
Starting the first pitch
Starting the first pitch
Taking a break in the offwidth to get a photo of A...
Taking a break in the offwidth to get a photo of A...

Comments on Crescent Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 2, 2014
By Nathan Fisher
May 17, 2004
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

After the ledge traverse on the last pitch, wander down a little further until you reach chains. From these chains, you can 2-rope rappel with 60 Meter ropes. Aim for left of a large face near the end of the rappel. You can reach the anchors above Closet Lycra. You can also gain the bottom anchors for the Ross Route.
By vincent pierce
May 21, 2005
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I hate myself for it but i just CAN'T get with this route! The first pitch is really fun and very good for new leaders but that OW on p-2 seems to have my number. I make it a 5.10 every time as I can't stop getting sucked into that squeeze. If you want to just do the first pitch.... there are anchors just left of the great ledge in the trees.
By Carl Grundstrom
Aug 2, 2005

The first pitch is fun climbing with good protection. The offwidth crux at the start of the second pitch is not rated correctly in my opinion. I'd put it closer to a 5.10 than a 5.7. It protects well with medium sized cams, but I found it very difficult to climb. So if you aren't comfortable leading past the 5.7 level, I'd recommend rapping off after the first pitch. First pitch: ***, Second pitch: zero stars.
By kBobby
From: Spokane, WA
Aug 2, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Carl, you may have done ``the womb'' facing the wrong way. Please, for the sake of those who haven't yet climbed it, don't tell me which way you did it. But, as others have already noted here, there is a 5.7 way and there is a 5.7++ way of getting through it.
By kBobby
From: Spokane, WA
Aug 2, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

...and I would also like to add that I've always found it much much easier on lead. Try that.
By philfell
From: Olympic Valley, CA
Aug 2, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

The second pitch, if done right is 5.7. This was one of my first gear leads, it took me a while to figure out but when I did it wasn't that hard and was actuall really fun. Carl get back up there and think outside the box.
By David Shiembob
From: slc, ut
Sep 9, 2005

My friend and I climbed this for the first time today. I can't say I was overly impressed with the route, at least compared to the other classics on that side of the road. The first pitch was fun, with some cool climbing. That off-width was a real pain. (There's a fixed cam in it now - that's right, a large, fixed cam). I didn't think the second pitch had that great of climbing, but the location and exposure made it neat. With so much awesome stuff around here, it really isn't on my list to repeat soon, but it was cool to do once.
By ASENDR
Oct 3, 2005

This one goes great in one pitch with a 70meter rope. A little simu-climbing, but it's all when the leader is walking down the final ramp to the chains. What a fun little off-width it has.
By Erik Gillis
Dec 31, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

First pitch was way fun. The offwidth is 5-7 if done correctly. Of course i am really small so i cruised right up it on lead, but my dad had a little trouble following it. Great route. I took the ramp to the coffin at the end, but if you like you can continue up the crack to a 5-9.
By icsteveoh
From: salt lake city, UT
Aug 17, 2006
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

We only did the first pitch of this climb yesterday and it was a really nice crack climb. Gear went in well and it took nuts nicely too. A lot of rope drag would have been avoided if I would have set up a redirectional on the other side of the crack when you start heading up through the trees.

On topic of the bolted anchors there are bolts right around the tree belay spot to the left that are used for a 10c and some other routes. The chains that are up from the tree belay spot (above the tree big boulders on top of eachother) are I believe to high to hit the bottom rapping on a 60m rope.

So we set up a gear anchor in the trees made a second pitch up to the 3 bolts above the 3 boulders and then rapped down to the other set of chains and then hit the ground. Great enjoyable climb and that last 20 feet of climbing is tricky yet really fun.

Great climb for the new leader. I brough metolius 5-8 .5 camalot two small aliens .25 wired bliss full nuts and some slings for rope drag.
By john richards
From: salt lake city UT
Apr 21, 2008
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

great climb. Easy first pitch. Bolts will set up your belay before the offwidth. A number seven metolious at the top od the offwidth will keep ya plenty safe. Dont let the usual talk of a hard to protect offwidth keep ya off the route get up there and try it!
By Boissal
From: Small Lake, UT
Jun 24, 2008
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Fun route, a bit inconsistent with a bunch of interesting moves. P1 get progressively harder as you get closer to the anchors but the pro is good. You can walk a #4 through most of the offwidth if you feel uncomfortable, although as people have mentioned above if done correctly if feels quite secure. The rest of P2 is easy and fun until the ramp. Do yourself a favor and go for the direct variation + the final link above, the normal finish puts an abrupt end to the fun.
By Casey Jenen
Jul 23, 2008
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

First pitch is way fun and gets really good near the anchors. Second pitch is fun but not my top pick in this area but worth doing to try the OW. OW not as hard as everyone is saying just takes some time to figure the right way to do it.
By spencerparkin
From: Salt Lake City
Oct 15, 2010

So I followed pitch 2 yesterday and was completely defeated by the OW. I could only get into it enough to pull out the #4 BD cam. What I ended up doing is swing on the rope out to the chicken-head on the face to the right of it and then climb up that. With a bit of tension from the rope every now and then, I got past the OW. Once past the OW, the 2nd pitch is a no-brainer.

I was truely humbled by this OW stuff. Maybe one day.
By Matt Brodhead
From: Logan, UT
Apr 17, 2011

Great climb. Pitch 1 had a ton of fun jams and lots of cool stemming action. I built a belay at the trees, but if I could do it again, I'd keep climbing to the bolted anchors below the off-width.

In my opinion, awkward pitches are part of the trad experience. With that, the off-width section is fine. It's easy to protect and the beta is really obvious if you take some time and analyze the section before you commit to it.
By rging
From: Salt Lake City, Ut
May 9, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Did the 5.9 finish. Well my partner led it which meant I had to lead The Final Link. The first few moves to reach the first bolt are scary. I was willing to sell my first born to reach the second and I swear the bolts are so far apart that you have to clip the third before you are safe from plummeting off the edge of the slab. Slab is best left for cooler weather.
By Fister
Jun 12, 2012

Found a rope hung just below the anchors beneath the off-width crack section. It appears that someone tried to pull the rope after rappelling multiplicity, and got it hung. If you would like claim your rope please e-mail me at senordave(at)hotmail(dot)com.
By grk10vq
Administrator
Jun 12, 2012

Got my rope stuck in crescent crack
By Joseph Lascurain
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Jul 10, 2012

Great long first pitch to the offwidth. Okay second pitch, makes me wish I was shorter for the lower section. The traverse is odd.
By Michael Haines
Aug 26, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Description says standard rack, but if you have them you'll get your money's worth out of double #.75 and #1 BD Camalots on the first pitch, and a #4 on the squeeze. I felt the climbing was hard 5.7 but the gear is great throughout (a piece at your waist for every hard move) which made this a great early 5.7 lead.

I'm not sure if we took the correct walk-off route, but after starting up the gully we decided to rope up and use a belay. Our route felt like fun 5.4 to get to the Coffin Crack trail. Maybe there is an easier way up, but don't feel too bad if you feel sketched and turn this into a 4-pitch climb.
By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 21, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

The offwidth at the beginning of the second pitch is terrible. It's especially bad for larger people as you can't get your body in very well. Could be forgiven if the rest of the second pitch was money, but it's boring climbing up a flaring crack to an uninteresting traverse.

It's totally mysterious why this crack is always mobbed.
By Sam Cannon
From: Holladay, Utah
May 15, 2013

I give this route 4 stars IF you do the Direct Variation and the Final Link. The sheer variety of climbing is amazing, and my 2nd time up it the OW on p2 felt physical but really fun. I can understand people complaining that it's deceptively hard when expecting easy 5.7 but that doesn't mean it's bad. It's an OW, and as already mentioned several times there are ways of climbing it that will make it much harder and as Garret mentioned size probably makes a big difference. A must do w/ the 2 variations.
By justa beater
Aug 24, 2014

This will probably break rule one but here goes...the whole climb is rated correctly, as for the offwidth what did you expect its an offwidth maybe you just suck at them if you think it was that hard...or you should stay at the gym...they say practice what you're not good at so it sounds like sone of you should go up it a few more tomes. So to those out there reading these comments trying for a feel of the climb don't listen to the Mary's here...its 5.7 period. Will the offwidth make you tired, sure if you thrash like a fox in a trap. Remember this is climbing its not supposed to be easy. Take your time and move efficient, youll be out of it before you know it
By Ryan202
From: West Jordan, UT
Sep 2, 2014

We rappelled from the last belay station below the ramp. First rappel was straight down for about 50ft to a 2-bolt anchor on a good sized ledge. On the second rappel, stay climber's right of the huge boulder/block, and there is a 3-bolt anchor maybe 5ft climber's right and immediately climber's left of a bunch of trees; this rappel is close to 100ft as I had about 15-20ft left using a 70m and puts you on a ~1ft wide ledge. Third and last rappel is about 60ft or so.

The second rappel goes down climber's right of a 5.12 (Razor's Edge) to it's belay anchor bolts, and the third (last) rappel goes down a 5.11 (If Looks Could Kill). Razor's Edge is 80ft according to MP, so the second rappel may very well not be close to using all of a 60m.