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Northumberland Crack 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 350'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Bob Culp and George Hurley, 1965.
Fixed Hardware: 1 Lead Bolt [details]
Page Views: 1,114
Submitted By: Ron Olsen on Nov 1, 2005
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Looking down from above the crux.
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  • Description 

    If you've done Sunstar and The Roof Wall and want a little more adventure, check out Northumberland Crack. The crack on the second pitch is challenging and exposed. There's some loose rock and lichen, but also some high-quality climbing.

    Start about 60' left of the Sunstar chimney. Look for a large block with two trees. Scramble up the block from the right and belay just left of the highest tree.

    P1. 5.7, 150'. Climb straight up flakes and cracks aiming for a tree directly above. Watch for loose rock. Pass the tree on the left and climb to a rotten ramp. Traverse left on the ramp to a good belay spot about 30' left of the crack and roof on the second pitch.

    P2. 5.9+, 100'. Traverse 30' right on a 3'-wide ledge back towards the crack. Climb up and right to a bolt about 10' below the roof. This is not a good belay spot, so continue on. Climb up to the roof and place a #4 Camalot in the wide crack. You can slide this piece up or place a second #4 Camalot a little higher. Make some strenuous moves to pass the lip of the roof (9+).

    The fun isn't over: a few more wide-crack moves get you to a stance where you can finally rest. I belayed here.If you still have a #4 Camalot, you can continue up a flared chimney and belay at a ledge with a tree about 40' higher.

    P3. 5.7, 100'. Climb the flared chimney (7; #4 Camalot for pro) to a ledge with a tree. Pass the tree on the left and continue up a steep wall with jugs (6) to the top.

    The views from the top are great: Rewritten and The Yellow Spur really stand out.

    Descend via the same descent as for Rewritten, The Green Spur, etc. Head north to a notch (follow cairns) and scramble down to the trail.


    Protection 

    Standard Eldo rack with extra large cams: two #2, two #3, and two #4 Camalots useful.



    Photos of Northumberland Crack Slideshow Add Photo
    Northumberland Crack, showing most of the second and third pitches.  The 9+ crux is the wide crack through the roof in the center of the photo. <br /> <br />Belay at a stance below a flared chimney or continue to a ledge with a tree. <br /> <br />Above the tree, step left and climb a steep juggy wall (6) to the top.
    BETA PHOTO: Northumberland Crack, showing most of the second a...
    Northumberland Crack, second pitch.  Traverse right on a ledge towards the crack.  Climb up and right through broken rock to a bolt.  Climb the wide crack through a roof (9+) to a stance (optional belay).  Continue up a flared chimney to a ledge with a tree.
    BETA PHOTO: Northumberland Crack, second pitch. Traverse righ...
    Starting the physical crux, not the mental crux, since you have good gear at this point... good #4s.
    Starting the physical crux, not the mental crux, s...
    The crux wide crack through the roof. Bring a #4 Camalot (or two) for pro.
    BETA PHOTO: The crux wide crack through the roof. Bring a @POU...
    Near the top of the second pitch (if done as three pitches).
    Near the top of the second pitch (if done as three...
    Mike starting up the first pitch.  When he gets to the tree above him, he will cut left and up to a rotten ramp.
    Mike starting up the first pitch. When he gets to...
    Crawl across "Thank God" ledge, make a scary step across to that nice stance in the bottom right of the photo, then head up some really rotten rock! <br />Climber is almost to the old 1/4 inch bolt....
    Crawl across "Thank God" ledge, make a scary step ...
    Mike climbing the flared chimney at the start of our third pitch.  It's also possible to climb this chimney as the end of the second pitch if you have a #4 Camalot available for pro.
    Mike climbing the flared chimney at the start of o...
    Another shot of the start of the roof....
    Another shot of the start of the roof....
    The final steep wall at the top of the climb.  Great jugs make this easy and fun.
    The final steep wall at the top of the climb. Gre...
    The route climbs the cleft and roof crack on the right side of the photo.
    BETA PHOTO: The route climbs the cleft and roof crack on the r...
    The top of Northumberland.
    The top of Northumberland.
    Comments on Northumberland Crack Add Comment
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    By Michael Amato
    Nov 4, 2005

    The first pitch of this climb has as much or more loose rock on it than just about anything I've climbed. But it leads to absolutely stellar climbing above!

    By Tony B
    From: Around Boulder, CO
    Mar 15, 2006
    rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a

    The line is hard to find and follow for pitch 2 and has lots of choss. But the crux through the roof is really fun. Taking 2 fist+ sized peices will make it easier to protect.

    By jack roberts
    Apr 25, 2007

    Did this climb the other day. The moves were actually really fun, challenging, and not too strenuous, but the off-width part has sharp rock and is a bit dirty but well-protected without anything bigger than a #3.5/4 Camalot. The first 200 feet of the climb is about 5.7 with very loose rock that is stable but easily displaced. The upper two pitches are worth the climb. Just don't climb this route in shorts....

    Jack

    By Jim Amidon
    Apr 3, 2011

    Worthy route you won't see anyone else on....

    By Patrik
    Jun 4, 2012
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a R

    One of the wildest 5.9 cruxes in the canyon! BUT: The second pitch (the 5.9 crux) is quite loose before you get to the wide crack. You might get about three sketchy pieces before the bolt, the rest is crap. And don't expect too much confidence-building clipping that bolt; it's not one of those shiny, beefy things you find in BoCan or Clear Creek. If you're not allergic to double ropes, it could be a good idea; if you pull off any of the loose sharp flakes it could cut your rope. The rock is solid above the crux.
    Consider doing The Waiting Room instead of the regular first pitch.