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High Strung 

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

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Herb Laeger and Rich Smith, March 1977
Page Views: 3,808
Submitted By: C Miller on Jan 1, 2005

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (65)
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Nick on High Strung


This climb takes the striking crack on the left side of the formation's east face and is a definite must do for the grade.

The start is a somewhat bouldery move into a thin crack that slowly widens throughout the length of the climb. Those not well-versed in wider cracks may desire something larger than suggested to protect the upper section. The climb ends on a nice ledge with anchors which give quick and easy access back to your packs.

Continuous and varied, this splitter is one that should be on your list of climbs to do at this grade - you won't be dissapointed.


pro to 4", bolted anchor/rap

Photos of High Strung Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: dylan in the upper wide section of high strung wit...
dylan in the upper wide section of high strung wit...
Rock Climbing Photo: High Strung
High Strung
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris Parks gets started up, following 'High Strun...
Chris Parks gets started up, following 'High Strun...
Rock Climbing Photo: "High Strung". Photo by Blitzo.
BETA PHOTO: "High Strung". Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: thin crack crux at the bottom
thin crack crux at the bottom
Rock Climbing Photo: Lacing it up on the start of High Strung, 1989
Lacing it up on the start of High Strung, 1989
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris Parks nears the top of the good crack on 'Hi...
Chris Parks nears the top of the good crack on 'Hi...

Comments on High Strung Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 21, 2015
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jan 13, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

There are two cruxes, the bottom, and then again passing the line where the flake on the right "squeezes" the crack line. The wide moves up top are #3.5 to #4 camalot, but are probably only 5.7 and get progressively easier to the top, as the angle kicks back. Nice fun 5.9.
By The Gray Tradster
Jan 14, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This one is located conviniently as a warm-up/down for the Astrodome routes. Crux thin move at the bottom.
By Crotch Robbins
Mar 22, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This is a fantastic 5.9, maybe as good as Room To Shroom, but not as classic as Pope's or Touch And Go.
By Anonymous Coward
May 5, 2005

The rappel is 100 feet. A single 60 meter rope is needed. The ow at the top is only 5.7 or so.
By Darshan Ahluwalia
From: Petaluma, CA
Feb 26, 2007

a big red (number 5) friend protects the top well, while small nuts (or aliens) protect the start; bring lots hands and fist-sized cams for the middle section.
By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
Dec 1, 2009

We climbed a variation to the start of this route on 11/27. If you find yourself without small enough cams on the rack to pro the normal start (~ blue tcu), this works as a protecable alternative and is roughly the same difficulty.

From the regular start, move right/down into the chimney and then up to an obvious belay perch at the base of a left leaning fist crack flake with a splitter finger crack on the main face just to the left. Up these cracks 10' or so to the ledge, walk left across the big ledge and join the rest of High Strung. While you skip the crux of High Strung, the climbing isn't really any easier.
By Bowie
From: Portland, OR
Apr 4, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I can't believe this doesn't get more stars...In my opinion this is one of the best 5.9's in the park (better than Touch and Go and Pope's Crack, if you ask me!). Tips, to fingers, to off-fingers, thin hands, hands, fists, off-width. Perfect smooth granite splitter!!
By Simon Hatfield
From: Oakland, CA
Apr 17, 2011

Climbed this the other day, and it is stellar. The crack is as splitter as O'Kelleys, and has everything from tips to fist-stacks. The approach (which is actually pretty mellow) and lack of "classic" status in the guidebooks keeps away the crowds.

The route receives afternoon shade and morning sun

Ideally, you'd bring 1 #4 and 1 #5 camalot. We did it with 2 4's, (setting one and walking the other), and the last place the upper four fit was about 12' before the topout . I wouldn't want to climb it with anything less. For the bottom crux section, I was happy to have a Green 0 C3.
By Adam Stackhouse
Jan 16, 2012

By Colin Schour
From: Big Bear Lake, CA
Mar 12, 2012

By Canon
Nov 22, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

AWESOME climb! You can protect the bouldery start with some smaller wires (I think BD #5-7), and it is beautiful the whole rest of the way. Walked a #4 up the OW, would have been happier with a #5, but the OW is very easy (5.6-7). Beautiful line, go do it!
By Mtnfly
From: El Segundo, Ca
Apr 17, 2013
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Definitely solid Josh 5.9. Tricky start as fingers are thin at start, but there is one good finger lock.....then reached to the next one in order to get feet on crack. Some Loose blocks that form excellent finger locks, but didn't place gear in them. Just bring a BD 5 you'll be glad....he'll I'd bring 2#4s also. Classic...
By Gearoholic
From: Portland, OR
Mar 10, 2014

I'm not a fan of OW so the first part of the top was a challenge for me, as was the start. Wished I had 2x Camalot #5s so I didn't have to push up the protection. It's fun to do once, though. I found the thin crack down low a bit greasy from traffic, which made it tougher than it looked. Also, one of the bolts at the top anchor is loose.
By dhayan
Mar 23, 2015

The crack itself is fantastic but the climb not as classic as it should be because of the many ledges/rests from the giant leaning flakes along the way.
By Phil Esra
Apr 7, 2015

My taller partner fiddled a small nut and a ball nut into the crack to protect the start for me. I avoided touching the higher blocks at all costs, and even doing that the first few moves still felt like the crux to me. Did it with a single #3 and had to run out the top section for a long, long way. At least a single #4 and #5 would be nice to have; a second #3 wouldn't be all that useful.

As of 4/5/15, there was a gross-looking mass of something (looked like greasy, wet cat turds) in a hueco on the underside of the giant leaning flake at the start. Not sure what it is--looked too big to be bat guano or rat poop, but too gravity-defying to be from a cat or other flightless critter. Weird.
By Drederek
Apr 21, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Amazing crack, I was a bit put off by the first leaning flake but that section would have been just as easy without it. The second one was really fun to work around and that made up for it interfering with 5 feet of perfect hand jambs. The wideness up top was at least 2 or 3 number grades easier than Orange Crack on Saddle Rock, so 5.5- 5.6. I believe the poo in the hueco is woodrat poo, it is in almost every hueco at the City of Rocks.

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