Thin jams and a bit of liebacking up a smooth, thin crack characterize the start which protects well with wires and small cams. Higher the crack ends and turns to face climbing past a bolt which protects to the top. Rap from anchors on the ledge above with one rope.
By Chris Owen Administrator From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake Jan 13, 2003 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+E1 5a
I think that the crack is the crux because of its sustained nature and protection placing requirements. The bottom crack takes wires nicely, but place them wisely; I have seen more than one person pop wires as they make upwards progress.
The Exorcists demands a varied range of climbing techniques. Finger and off finger locks, laybacks, edging and crimping and outstanding mantel move. There is a rock outcrop below the mantle move that sounds awfully funny, you may want to instruct your belayer not be in its fall line.A boulderly move is required to reach the bottom of the climb proper. Having the rock shoes on there may help. A sixty meter rope allows you to rappel to ground, but it is easy to get the rope stuck.
Great route. Definitely a little tricky getting to the start of the route. Left side was good. There is a two bolt "cold shunt" anchor at the top for an easy rap down the route which the book doesn't mention. The final move at the bolt is definitely the crux! Have fun.
Solid line, I remember that the sustained nature of it was the crux for me. I'm a skinny out of shape schmuck though, so if you're able to type a sentence on your keyboard without getting pumped (I just had to shake out), the move near the bolt is probably the technical crux.
I've a question for those of you who have climbed this route. Is it a true 10a? I found the bottom crack to be quite difficult and the crux moves on the face to the mantle to be rather easy. I had been warned that if one were short, (I being 5'3), this would be the most difficult section-it was not, a few face moves, then a long reach to a great mantle, so fun. Lately, I've had the opportunity to climb other finger cracks that were rated at a higher level-i felt exorcist to be kinda a sandbag....anyones' opinions appreciated.....
I'm going to explain my thoughts on the exorcist by listing some specifics. I feel the lower portion of the crack below the horn is clearly a point more difficult than the following 9's: Pope's crack, Colorado crack, Invisibility lessons, Dave's deviation, the 9's on the Open book and the 2nd pitch on the Consolation. These are all established 5.9 cracks that I realize some might disagree with me, however, this is food for thought. Remember, I am talking specifically the crack below the horn.
By Josh Beck Sep 14, 2004 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+E1 5a
I agree the face is the crux. Excellent rock and excellent route, but not terribly long or sustained...
By listing other nine cracks, Karen has made a good point. The crack on the Exorcist is a point harder than any she listed. This, plus the sustained nature of the route overall, leads me to rate the route 10B, not that that will change many minds. Good thinking Karen.
if woody and karen are correct (which is debatable), and the crack below the horn (all 10 feet of it) is "a point harder" than the other 5.9s listed by karen, then doesn't that make the route 5.10a? not sure how woody came up with 5.10b (but maybe its the new math).
No, not new math. The accumulation of difficult moves can result in a higher rating than the one hardest move. For example, the second pitch of the Open Book is continuous six and seven moves with a possible eight near the cave. The pitch is rated 5.9 because of the numerous fatiguing moves. Think about a climb that has a lot of minimal five moves then one 5.9. The route's rated, and properly so, 5.9. However, a route that has a series of challenging moves that require sustained endurance and put a greater demand on the climber must somehow be distinguished from the former. If I make three or four nine moves in a row without relief, the burden is a good deal more than making one move at nine. Look, it's not science, only a somewhat rough and subjective approach to rating. That's why these debates are rather enjoyable.
I've come to a conclusion that some of JT's multi-starred routes should be de-starred, exorcist being one. I'm still trying to exorcise the demon after that climb, ya know, one man's-or woman's-on site flash is another man/woman's sandbag !!! Now Woody, don't bash my grammer.....
As a retired teacher, I'm always eager to help a pupil passionate to improve his or her mind. I felt my previous lesson was up to snuff, and I suppose it was for most. However ,on occasion, I must set aside a bit of time for a special needs situation. Gnat my man. I'll make it elementary as Holmes used to say to Watson who was always--in the Hollywood versions anyway--in need of further and simple explanations--that is more elementary than is necessary for the average intellect: "The Exorcist" is an old classic that I've climbed, I believe, four times over my climbing career of forty-one years; memory is a little shaky with all the rock I've trolled over during that time. Further, well...there's age to consider etc. The route is quite sustained and steep; with the exception of the two marginal reststops for one foot, and the necessity of having to lock in all the way to the horn, the climber is under constant anaerobic stress. ( Sorry, I lost myself. I forgot my pupil's special needs.)That's hard breathing. Now follow closely Gnat because this gets so much more complicated. There is a section in the crack at about the halfway point that, to me, is the crux. I'll digress here for a moment to explain. The crux, Gnat, is the really, really hard spot in the whole "endeavor". (Look it up.). I believe this spot is 10A. This of course would be open to dispute within the climbing community because just about everything is in dispute in the climbing community. Further, I do not insist that it be accepted as such. It is an opinion. Now, follow along. The difficulty continues in an unrelenting manner which is both good and bad: good because that adds to the reputation of the route--the more demanding of one's climbing skills and endurance the better; bad because, from my experience and that of others I've known over the years, some serious fatigue is setting in by the time the horn is reached. Now one is attached to the horn and replenishing oxygen which is necessary to continue on and for life. (Your science teacher can explain.) At this point, we attain the summit of the horn which, if one examines it closely, becomes a true existential moment of awareness. (That may be explained to you later in life, but I doubt it. And in your case, you may not notice it.) Now we have what is considered by most another 10A problem to deal with. Whatever one's opinion here, it is thin and tricky and the pullup above is strenuous. With the exception of the horn which, if you had any sense at all you left quickly, you can now rest comfortably for the first time. So, now to summarize: we have a very steep crack and thin footholds when moving; rest between moves is problematic in that one must constantly lock in; there are eights, nines and ten a's(two)all the way. We have what is referred to as a synergy. We have something that, I believe, is greater than the sum of its parts. I'm probably loosing you here, but I can only do so much. Here's something a little more specific:I believe the "Exorcist" is more difficult than the crux pitch on "The Step", "The Blank", "The Swallow". There are others; however, that should be sufficient. Now, am I going to ask Randy to up the rating to 10B? No. He wouldn't do it anyway. It's an old classic; leave it alone.Okay Gnat, we've had our tutorial; I hope you've taken notes. I must now return to deal with my two, four legged, female Siamese whom I put on a diet. And the synergy of their unhappiness, mischief and complainig is going to give me a 12D day of misery. It's time for recess Gnat; try to get along out there.
Exorcist fits the style of JT 10's. A little scary, a little hard, thought-provoking. I did it 15 years ago and looked at it again last week on a vacation there. Beautiful route! All the drama and photogenic views of a harder climb, with positive holds and good gear. I was new to cracks at the time and lie-backed the whole thing, wasting many terrific finger locks, so it was a lot more strenuous than it had to be.
Yes, for shorter people, there is a one extra move to reach the horn/jug. If I remember it correctly, finger locking, foot smear and reach for the jug. The move is not as bad as it looks. My taller friend, 5'-10, could reach the jug from the last good foot. I rated no more than 10a. Some 10a I found harder than this one.
A mix of fingerlocks and liebacking, the crux was definitely just above the bolt. Took me a while to find that reeeachy right hand.
By Rafael Rovirosa From: Las Cruces, NM Feb 2, 2012 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+E1 5a
Be careful with the big horn right above the end of the crack. The horn is super loose and it would fall right on your belayer if they don't notice it and move out from under the crack.
By Nelson Day From: Joshua Tree, CA Mar 11, 2013 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+E1 5a
Did anyone else find the "approach pitch" scary as shit? Climbing up the water trough and making a couple traversing slab moves next to a really wide crack... I took my pack off and felt like I should have placed pro for getting up to the base of the crack. Definitely some sketchy approach shoe smearing going on. I built an achor at the base of the crack and belayed my partner up and they slipped a few times. The rock is somewhat polished from water run off, so heads up! We rapped off with a 70 and rapped all the way to the bottom to avoid down climbing that slabby sketchiness.
That is funny Nelson. I was thinking to myself, I don't remember that. Then I remembered that I did that 5.8 thing left of it to warm up and rapped down to the base of Exorcist. I made an anchor for my girlfriend to belay from and we rapped back to the bottom with our 70m too. I disregard all finger crack ratings because I hate them and they kick my ass. Guess I better start working on them more or go back to OW'ing.
I thought the lower crack was harder than the upper steep reachy move to the jug. The crack was sustained. Rests on the crack were small.
Crack on Touch and Go was a little bit easier, but clearly so. I'd put the crack at 10a.
By Tradoholic Dec 18, 2013 rating: 5.9+5c17VIE1 5a
Maybe 10a but definitely four stars, getting shut down is no reason to give it less stars.
By Matt Michael From: Oceanside, CA Mar 5, 2014 rating: 5.95c17VIHVS 5a
Not sure if this is 10a. I'm a pretty new trad climber and I didn't have any trouble with this route at all. Felt it to be 5.9ish. I'm also 5'11 with a +3 so height/reach may have had something to do with it.