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Fear of Flying 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Joel Moorem, Dale Zgraggen, 1975.
Page Views: 5,619
Submitted By: Blitzo on Sep 10, 2006

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BETA PHOTO: Fear Of Flying. Photo by Blitzo.

Dirt road winter closures MORE INFO >>>


Climb a 5.7 flake to the upper corner, Follow the corner (5.9) to The Lower Platform.
Can be done in one pitch with considerable rope drag.
Rap off back side, 80 ft.


Pro to 3in.

Photos of Fear of Flying Slideshow Add Photo
Shot looking up the entire route. Chris getting re...
BETA PHOTO: Shot looking up the entire route. Chris getting re...
Fear of Flying
Fear of Flying
At base of Fear of Flying.  Funky corner eats ya u...
BETA PHOTO: At base of Fear of Flying. Funky corner eats ya u...
Monica just past the crux.  Summer 2010
Monica just past the crux. Summer 2010
Fear of Flying
Fear of Flying
Fear of Flying
Fear of Flying
Fear of Flying
Fear of Flying

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 15, 2013
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Mar 8, 2007

best line I've done at the spires!
By 426
Mar 10, 2007

Dan Osman onsight free soloed this and thought it was sandbagged.

So did I when I did it with a rope. There is some secret beta though that I found later on that helps....
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Mar 13, 2007

The old guidebook called it a .9+. I thought it was pretty sustained, you could probably get away with calling it .10a. Good fun.
By Ol' Toby
From: WA
Feb 8, 2009
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Technical, delicate, superb! A true classic at the grade. I prefer to link the corner into one long pitch with runners at the bottom.
By PumpkinEater
From: Sacramento
Jun 24, 2009

.10a in my opinion. Either that or I was tired, or my shoes were too loose, or I was dehydrated, or my trick shoulder was acting up.
By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 8, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

This route is fantastic and incorporates so many facets of climbing technique.

Climb it as one pitch!!!

The gear recommendation of pro to 3" baffles me. You certainly do not need anything over 1". Also, be sure to take plenty of very small cams (that would be < #0.3) and very small nuts.
By ShibbyShane
From: Estes Park, CO
Oct 2, 2009
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

There's a reason someone told me this route is "one of the best at the Spires." Fun and thought-provoking climbing through most of the climb, with the corner being the obvious crux.

I found this climb to be both technical and physical, as you're smearing your feet on tiny divots and pushing your body into the corner with constant body tension, or at least that's how I did it; some of the finger slots were too small to really stem up the corner so I had to improvise. I'm sure it's just because I'm out of shape but I'm sore the day after climbing this!

Definitely the hardest "5.9" I've climbed.
By snowhazed
From: Oakland, Ca
Mar 20, 2010

The first time I climbed this it felt sandbagged a tad- but I say it's legit 5.9. If you stay oriented with your feet more to your left than underneath you and expect the bit of thrutch, feels secure.
By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 28, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Everyone knows 5.9+ is code for 'as hard as/harder than 5.10a'. ;-}

The route name is appropriate for many of the moves encountered.

The flake start is more like 5.8 with thin, polished feet imo.
By Blitzo
Aug 24, 2010

Great route!
By Scott T
From: Alpine Meadows, CA
Apr 11, 2011

Truly exquisite! There is definitly a standout crux, while the rest is thought-provoking and varied. Decent rests give you a little time to decode the next sequence.
By fivefun
Jul 25, 2011
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

w/r/t gear size. If you climb it in one pitch you likely won't need a #3; however, it will come in handy while building an anchor if don't link the two pitches. Excellent sustained climb.
By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 27, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I took a friend up this last year and broke it into two pitches since she was a bit out of shape and I wanted to be able to see her on the crux. Still didn't need anything over a #1. YMMV.
Oct 18, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

So Good! I got stuck for a few minutes trying to figure the crux moves, but pulled it off. Was able to squeeze a #2 in the belay, but didnt really need it. Emphasis on nuts.
Still a bit sore though..
By Matt Twyman
From: Austin, TX
Jun 28, 2012

I read all the comments before setting off but still was rather dumbfounded when I hit the crux section in the beginning of the dihedral. Typically confident on 10s & 11s when onsighting but I took twice in this section. Spooks got me. Definitely funky. Consumed all the nuts I was comfortable sparing. Would have plugged more had I any more. Recommend brining doubles or triples of small nuts.

Linked the two pitches and I'm glad I did. Getting out from under the roof and racing up the last 40-odd feet after being in that funky corner is a real mental release and simply fun as hell.

Recommend a hanging belay instead of something over the ledge so that you can hear / see your 2nd. It was pretty windy when we climbed and there were times I had to duck below the edge to hear anything. Also, depending on the season and time of day, gives you a chance to find shade.

Would have preferred to rap down Lesbian Love and return to the start of the route but for some reason the anchors just have regular hangers instead of rap rings. Understand they're over the edge but that could easily be changed.

In the end, a real joy to climb. Definitely did NOT feel like 5.9, particularly on the lead.
By Patrick Mulligan
Oct 26, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

This may be the hardest 5.9 that I've ever done. I've done it twice now and was sore the day after both goes. Its all there, but is delicate, powerful and technical at the same time through the crux. I thought it was as hard if not harder than the technical stemming on Over the Hill in Eldorado Canyon (10.b) although it is not as long.
By Kyle Townsend
From: Oakland, CA
Nov 1, 2012

I didn't use any gear bigger than a red camalot, even to build an anchor. Can definitely do in one pitch if you use runners and mind the rope drag. Excellent pitch, probably the best line at Phantom, one of the better 5.9's in the Tahoe area IMO. Beware when rapping, the backside station has bolt hangers with no rap rings, we rapped at dusk and then couldn't pull the rope once we got down. Next time I'm up there I'll install some proper gear unless one of you fine people beats me to it ;)
By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 3, 2012
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Unless something has changed, the backside anchor has always been equipped with rap rings. However, I do believe there is more than one bolted anchor back there...maybe you got on the wrong one?
By Ian M.
Apr 15, 2013

Fun 5.9! Definitely thin - wish I had doubled up on the C4s from 0.5 down. Got one #3 in at an opportune spot but didn't need it. Belay takes a couple of #1s. Used a 0.75 on the last 40 ft, I think.

Managed to get the biggest DMM offset nut stuck in the crack at the roof - that thing is jingling around in there but couldn't get it past this one darn crystal! Good booty for whoever gets up there next.

Rap anchor is not the bolts that are most obvious - it's is just below the lip on climber's far right (toward the wall the goes to the true summit).