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Elephant Rock
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Crack of Despair T 
Crack of Doom T 
Crack of Redemption T 
Crashline T 
Elephant Talk S 
Elephantiasis T 
Fatal Mistake T 
Fun Terminal S 
Hairline T 
Hocus Pocus S 
Hotline T 
Hundredth Monkey, The S 
Left Guru Crack T 
Lost Error T 
Moongerms T 
Pink Dream T 
Pink Elephant T 
Plumb Line T 
Real Error T 
Reality Check T 
Right Guru Crack T 
Sky T 
Straight Error T 
Trundling Juan T 
Wicked Gravity S 
Worst Error, Left T 
Worst Error, Right T 


YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

Type:  Trad, 7 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: FA: Bridwell & Chapman - 1973
FFA: Kauk & Bachar - 1975
Page Views: 4,333
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Sep 30, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (15)
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Hotline (5.12) Rowland Edwards leading (1987)

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


Hotline, commonly thought to be the first 5.12 in the Valley (though this is not actually the case), is a fantastic crack system that has the "feel" of a cragging route even though it's technically 7 pitches long. It takes the obvious roof to splitter system on the left side of the main face of the giant pillar on Elephant Rock. This system climbs along the margin of a rectangular orange scar of rock -- many people incorrectly assume that the beautiful splitter of Fatal Mistake which is visible from the road is Hotline, but Hotline is actually just left of this.

P1: Climb up a corner system up and into the obvious roof. Pull this roof at 5.10 and then continue up the crack to a single bolt belay (supplemental gear is available). 5.10. This pitch is easily linked with the next one (recommended) if gear is well-runnered under the roof.

P2: Continue up the crack system on increasingly difficult jams that eventually lead to a stretch of 5.11+ finger stacks. Near the end of the crack, bust a finger-traverse right along a horizontal dike at 5.12 all the way to a nice bolted anchor. There aren't many good options for doing this traverse, unfortunately: If your last bit of pro is before the traverse, you're looking at a swinging fall, but the only other option is to climb up past the traverse, clip a fixed wire, then downclimb to the traverse (strenuous and it makes things scary for the second). A single bolt along the traverse would have made this section much nicer for both free climbing or aiding your way through.

P3: Splitter 5.10 hands forever. Belay at the top of the crack.

P4: Climb a 5.9+ corner -- a short pitch, easily linked with the next.

P5: Climb another 5.9+ corner to a bolted belay.

P6: Option one goes straight up then pulls the strenuous roof at 5.11d. Option two goes up, skirts the roof to the right, and then goes up a very weird chimney system. Somewhat reminiscent of the Wilson Overhang, this interesting pitch requires some contortion and has less than optimal gear, but is significantly less difficult than the roof. However, if you do the roof you can link this pitch into the next one, thus reducing the climb to four pitches.

P7: Climb the short face past a lone bolt to an anchor. The Reid guide gives this 10a, but I thought it was closer to 10c.

Rap the route with two ropes.


Double set of cams to #2 Camalot (possibly three #2's), one #3 Camalot. A few wires and slings.

Photos of Hotline Slideshow Add Photo
Looking up from start of pitch 3
Looking up from start of pitch 3
The traverse at end of pitch 2
BETA PHOTO: The traverse at end of pitch 2

Comments on Hotline Add Comment
Show which comments
By Alexey
From: San Jose
Nov 1, 2007

Is it possible to bypass free climbing of P2 - 11+ crack and of P3 - 5.12 traverse by aiding end of p2 and than make a tension traverse to beginning of P3 to 5.10 hand splitter?
Or/And the other option available - to rappel from top of Pink Dream to beginning of Hotline p3?
By stevecurtis
From: Petaluma California
Mar 30, 2008

I aided the 12 a section.

A fantastic route. The bolts on the last pitch are old button heads. If one blows you're in real trouble.
By Alexey
From: San Jose
Apr 27, 2009

You can do this approach to this climb from Hw.41 any time of the year. It is harder, longer, but you do not need to wait low water in Merced river. Hot Line in the shade up to 3pm.
p1 - 90 ft, p2-40ft ,p3- 130ft ,p4-70 ft, p5 80ft
By Rob Dillon
Sep 5, 2009

Thanks Josh T. for taking care of those last 3 bolts- they're bomber now.

Then go check out the relics at the top of the chimney.

Does anyone really think that traverse is .12a?
By Alexey
From: San Jose
Aug 28, 2012

I checked the relics on top of the chimney- they still can not be removed by hands. [ this is not Hotline bolts, but top bolts of WorstError Left side]
Also first time checked 10d bombay flare second to last pitch.
Rare type of climbing and very brutal.
You basically paste your knee at one wall and feet and shoulders on opposite one. But configuration of the flare, its angle and absence of holds/features on the walls make upper progress very difficult. And when you move one knee up you feel excruciating pain on the other even with knee pads. The pitch is relatively short , but take a lot of skin away. There is opportunity for good gear placement in the corner, but it is not continues line and it has some gaps.
And take rope gun for last pitch with now has new bolt
By Jay Anderson
Sep 8, 2014

So, what Was, the first fivetwelve in Yosemite?
By Stone Nude
Sep 9, 2014

Whatever it was, Henry barber put it up. Fish crack?
By Ryan Kirtland
Oct 18, 2014

It is possible to clip fixed nut on pitch two, swing over to a fixed pin, and then free climb a few moves to anchor.

We used all four #2 C4s we had on pitch three. Next time I will bring an old #3.5 C4 or new #4 C4 for the start of pitch four.

The 10.d pitch six is great and protects fairly well. There's a convenient brass nut at the crux for now.
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 20, 2015

Great route and worth it for the 3rd pitch alone!

These pitches can be linked 1-2, 4-5, 6-7 (if using .11d 6th pitch variation). We rapped route with double 70m and were able to get down in 3 raps (7-6, 5-4, 3-ground). I think with double 60s you could do it in 4 raps.

Gear: standard rack of doubles to #3 camalot, 1 x #4, (optional: extra #2 camalots)

Approach: From below park at first pullout on the south side of the road west of the cookie parking lots. Cross the river just upstream of the pool below the parking area. Although difficult to locate, find your way directly up from where you crossed the Merced. A cairned trail emerges and generally goes up and left and will take you to the base of the Worst Error Pinnacle. Continue to traverse up left and past the amazing Fatal Mistake and look for a jumbled block right facing dihedral with a fingercrack splitter going through the roof.

Pitch Beta:
The first pitch has some suspect rock and at least one big block that moves. The climbing is fairly well protected just be careful.

The upper part of pitch 2 is all of .11+. You can get good gear without having to go up and clip the fixed nuts if trying to free the .12 and while the moves seem pretty despirate to me the fall would be clean. For now there is a long cord on the fixed pin in the middle of the traverse that would make clipping it possible if freeing too. I ended up french freeing the top of the .ll, clipped a quicklink on the fixed nuts in the crack, then was able to penji over to the slung fixed pin. From there it goes free to the anchor at easy 5th. In short, don't let the .11+/.12 section keep you off this route!

Pitch 3 is long, splitter, sustained at easy 5.10, and probably the best handcrack in the Valley. Judiciously place your #2 camalots or bring extras. Need I say more.

Pitches 4-5 are easily linked and are typical valley physical 5.9.

Pitch 6 .11d variation is mostly 5.10a with a hard but well protected crux. Go for it!

Pitch 7 slab has one bolt that may be difficult to reach from the good feet for shorter climbers. Hard climbing eases a body length above the bolt but stays spicy enough to keep your attention since there is no pro till just below the anchor.