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Stone Mountain South Face
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Entrance Crack 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c R

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 90'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: George DeWolfe, John Thorne ('65)
Page Views: 3,545
Submitted By: EricD on Oct 15, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (56)
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Entrance Crack


This route (apparently) is the easiest way to the tree ledge and the climbs that leave from it. It begins on some easy face climbing following a crack that tends left. Once at the large tree, follow the offwidth crack (protectable by some big bros or a #6 Camalot) to the Tree Ledge. Set up your own anchor to belay. Two ropes to get down from here are necessary.

People comfortable with easy, unprotectable, friction climbing will find the face on the right of the crack the best route up. However, those not comfortable with this style will likely find the runout a bit heady and the offwidth a huge pain.


This route is located about 75-100 ft. to the right of U-slot and about 25 ft. to the left of The Pulpit. It can be identified by two cracks (one from the ground going to the right, one from the ground to the left) that meet at a big pine tree. Descend using the rap anchors near the top of the route.


Some slings and a couple cams at the beginning...some extra large stuff for the offwidth.

Photos of Entrance Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Justin muscling his way up the crack.
Justin muscling his way up the crack.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 16, 2015
By nbrown
From: western NC
Nov 8, 2007

There is a good placement on the right side of the offwidth, just below the crux. Look hard for the short red alien size crack. Many times, I've seen people solo this route carrying packs and wearing sandals. Though I still think this is the hardest 5.4 that I've ever done.
By Charles Danforth
From: L'ville, CO
May 12, 2009

As of about ten years ago, there was a hangerless 1/4" bolt a few feet right of the crack part way up the off-width. I have no idea if it would hold a fall, but it made me feel (marginally) better to sling it with a small nut on the way up this otherwise unprotected pitch.
By ziggy
Sep 2, 2009

I remember getting either a #1 or #2 in right before the crack begins to widen, not much else though. Once you step out of the crack onto the slab it seems to get easier for the final run-out.
By Adam Paashaus
From: Greensboro, North Carolina
Apr 13, 2010

Ive actually placed 2 small flaring cam placements in the small crack to the right of the offwidth just to see them walk out after being mostly up the pitch. I too remember the old hangerless bolt. ahh the days.
By Shawn Heath
From: Forchheim, Germany
Aug 18, 2010
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R

I read a comment or trip report or something where this guy decided to do this climb, then got up into the crack and found himself slowly inching his way up with his whole body buried in the crack and trembling with fear. I thought, "What a whuss!" Then I showed up at Stone and hopped on this only to do the exact same thing... Talk about humbled.
By Matt Thorum
From: Urbana, IL
Oct 27, 2010

Even with a green and a blue big bro this thing felt runout and scary to lead. Walking a #6 camalot up the crack would be a better way to go if you want to feel protected.
By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Oct 20, 2011

Awesome way to access tree ledge! Easy climbing, but that huge crack at the top throws many people for a loop. If you have a #6 Cam bring that sucker for a bomber placement, but if not don't worry because run outs are the name of the game at Stone. It is almost easier to trend right of the crack onto the face and continue up from there.
By Walt Barker
From: Reno NV
Sep 5, 2012
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c R

Certainly the most spicey 5.4 I've ever led. Walked a #5 and a #6 Camalot up the OW section to feel protected. Worked great until the #5 tipped-out less than half-way up and then the same with #6 about 20' above that, at which point I traversed right to easier but exposed ground. Also, after much fiddling, I did manage to plug a #1 C3 into the afore-mentioned crack below the crux.
By Rodger Raubach
Apr 19, 2013
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13

I did this climb on the day before Christmas, 1986. I didn't have a guidebook other than "Dixie Crystals," and I sure didn't have a #6 Camalot (they didn't exist then!). In fact, I don't even remember placing any pro after the tree. I thought it was mentally more difficult than anything on the Great Arch Route that my GF and I did subsequently.
By SinRopa
From: parts unknown
Sep 7, 2013
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13

The #5 Cam didn't work anywhere except the first few inches of where the crack gets really wide, and you're decently protected on that move anyway. On all subsequent climbs I saved weight and left it behind.
By Russ Keane
Oct 22, 2013

A frightening experience. Not a 5.4 at all. More like 5.7 R, or maybe 5.6 if you want to "keep it real".

Listing this as 5.4 is going to get someone killed.
By Edward Medina
From: Ridgway, CO
Oct 24, 2013

This one can feel tough for the grade Russ. I remember trying to cram myself into the crack the first time I did this route. But once you get your slab head on right the climbing begins to feel more mellow. Fortunately no fatalities on this route in the 50 years since it was first put up.
By ViperScale
Sep 1, 2014

WOW, is all i can say. We left keys to the car on the ledge and were already dead tired. I figured 5.4 won't be so bad to get up there. I thought although there was no move harder than block route (which really only has a small run out at the start on thin holds, big runout on a staircase, and 1 hard move at the end), but over all it was much harder of a climb. At least the run out on block route is like walking up stairs.

This thing really could use 1 bolt about 10 ft below the big open section of the crack. If you are not a 5.10+ climber don't even consider leading this route. I was ok until i hit the big crack section and the 100ft fall came into the back of my mind. The last 10ft or so my leg was shaking so bad i stuck it into the crack and belly flopped up the rest. I then got to the big tree at the end and sad there for a good 15+ mins before i was able to get my nerves down and finish the last bit.

Highly unrecommend doing this route unless you can walk up every other 5.8 route without thinking twice.
By Mike Fisch
Feb 16, 2015

Here's a very interesting account of a recent lead fall at Stone told to me today from Jim Gravely. It is very timely because I was at the same spot two days ago and was spooked by the bad fall potential and whimpered out and asked for a belay from above. Lucky for me Will Soper was above. Not so lucky for Jim.

This Entrance Crack pitch at Stone Mountain has an interesting history. Not sure who did the very first ascent, but in the early '70's Gerald Laws, later to become one of the most talented and prolific first ascentionist's at Stone, placed a 1/4" bolt at the crux. Someone chopped it. Gerald put in another. Someone chopped it too. We never knew who did it. There were very few climbers in N.C. at that time.

We used to free solo up that pitch to gain the tree ledge. Psychologically it felt more reasonable back then because there was a huge bushy ledge at the base of the off width crack. You figured if you fell, you would just land in the bushes.

The past two times I have climbed that crack I have thought how bad a fall would be from that spot for a leader without good pro.

There is quite a bit of banter about that crack on Mountain Project. com. One comment said that someone is going to get hurt bad because the crack is rated 5.4R. I agree. And Jim agrees.

Here's what happened:

Jim led up into the off width and fell at the crux moves. His foot got stuck in the crack and he flipped upside down. He tried to cam his other foot and actually considered trying to down climb the crack head first. All of the sudden both feet popped and he started down the mountain head first. Luckily he got caught up in the rope as it left a cam lower down and passed through pro on the pine tree at the base of the crack. He fell about 20' instead of 40'.

He had a few scrapes and a bad cut on the ear, discovered later, but otherwise he felt okay. He proceeded back up the crack ( a braver man than I ) and working his way upward inside the crack, gained the tree ledge and topped out after he and his partner, Robert Seevers, completed the Great Arch.

Without Big Bros or huge cams (#6) that crack has the potential for serious injury, especially to climbers misled by the 5.4 R rating.

Please spread the word about the seriousness of that pitch.


Mike Fischesser
Cell: 828-443-3795
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