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Manure Pile Buttress (aka Ranger Rock)
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Nutcracker 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 500'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Royal and Liz Robbins, 1967
Season: Spring thru Fall
Page Views: 29,800
Submitted By: Josh Janes on Jun 15, 2006

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"Nutcracker"-1st pitch. Photo by Blitzo.

Description 

Nutcracker is one of the most popular routes in Yosemite. Rarely can one hike to the climb and not find a number of parties on the route. Having said that, it's an excellent route, with clean cracks, good protection and fine climbing!

P1) There are two possible starts. The original, starts up a sort of gully-crack system, heading for a belay above. A 5.9 variation goes up the cool-looking (but seriously slippery!) finger crack that angles right, then up.

P2) Head up a sort of low-angle chimney-crack system and belay above.

P3) Step right to gain a nice crack running up the wall. Climb this to a stance below an overhang above.

P4) Traverse left across to near a tree, then follow the crack to a belay below the infamous mantle move.

P5) Climb up to the corner system above and execute the infamous "mantle move". Continue above in a nice crack that takes you to a flat summit. My personal feeling is that the reputation of this move is a bit overrated. The holds are pretty big and it's over quickly. There are two reasons to make dang sure not to fall, however; the fall would suck and I don't recall the pro placement being completely bomber. Ankles have been shattered on this pitch! Be careful!

Descent: Scramble down off the back-left of the formation and down the gully back to the base.

Location 

Nutcracker starts on the right side of Manure Pile Buttess. Easily identified by the obviously trafficed finger crack. Look for the crowd.

Protection 

Standard rack.


Photos of Nutcracker Slideshow Add Photo
Pitch 1, 5.8
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 1, 5.8
me leading another fun pitch on this classic route...
me leading another fun pitch on this classic route...
My dad on nutcracker
My dad on nutcracker
Looking down upon the first pitch
Looking down upon the first pitch
Starting out on pitch 3. Beautiful hand jams!
Starting out on pitch 3. Beautiful hand jams!
Looking up to pitch 5 - including the 'Mantel' move.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up to pitch 5 - including the 'Mantel' mov...
Josh figuring out the overhang at the start of pitch 4.
Josh figuring out the overhang at the start of pit...
Mike and Tristan from Wyoming at the crux. May 2014
Mike and Tristan from Wyoming at the crux. May 201...
Alanna finishing up Nutcracker.
Alanna finishing up Nutcracker.
Looking down upon the route while coming over the mantle
BETA PHOTO: Looking down upon the route while coming over the ...

Comments on Nutcracker Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 12, 2014
By James M Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Sep 22, 2006

This is one of my favorite routes of all time... You just can't beat it. Great climbing, great views and generally very well protected. Awesome
By Blitzo
Sep 29, 2006

A good route, but usually too crowded fo my taste. Every time I've done it we were the only ones on it, somehow.
By Paul Hunnicutt
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 21, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Good route. Nice lieback on the first pitch. The last few pitches were pretty low angle "slab" cracks...ok...Don't fall at the mantel, looks scary but it is a bomber hold once you move your feet up enough. Maybe some pro above it in the crack at your face, but I moved right to the next horizontal. Then you really don't want to fall.
By Jason Shatek
Jun 28, 2007

Awesome climb!!!!!!!! One of the best I've done!
By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Dec 21, 2007

I've done this route a couple of times - very enjoyable. I seem to remember P3 being a very long pitch, and being quite short of gear when arriving at the belay stance.

This was one of the first US climbs to be done only with nuts and no pitons (i.e. clean). Hence the name "Nutcracker".

A history of nut cans be found here
By Linnea Williams
Apr 14, 2008

I'd call this the ultimate social climb, you get to hang out with cool people at every belay station because it's packed with parties. Despite the waits, I had a great time. :)
By Steve R.
From: Oakland, CA
Mar 30, 2009

Lucked out with the route empty ahead of us. Good climbing. Great Lieback on the first pitch. Pitch 3 is a stream in the spring (it is spring, right?). The water makes the 5.7 lieback on smooth granite very interesting...

Fun mantle on pitch 5! I think Supertopo overstressed this as a crux. Don't take it too lightly but bomber holds and a little mantling skill get you up and over this fairly easily.
By ccmski
From: Prescott, AZ
Oct 17, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

The mantle is over-hyped. A green or yellow alien (can't remember) protects this crux well. Great jugs- just do it. Probably the best 5.8 in the Valley although most of the climbing is really 5.7.
By Hans Florine
Jan 29, 2010

Amazing that the legends of the late seventies and early eighties climbed this in under 9 minutes! I tried and couldn't/haven't.(yet)
By chulho "charles" chang
From: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Mar 31, 2010

end of march, and pitch 3 is wet.

pitch 1 - 5.9 variation is awesome.
By Cory
From: Boise, ID
Jun 7, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Wow, the entire climb is awesome! The first pitch is sustained jamcrack/lieback in a very clean corner. One of the best 5.8 pitches I've climbed. The bulge on pitch 4 and the mantle on pitch 5 were also fun moves, and all the climbing in between was a blast too! We lucked out and had the whole route to ourselves on the first Saturday in June!
By Wesley Ashwood
From: Squamish, BC
Aug 2, 2010

The climbing is really varied and fun. Definitely worth doing, even if there is a little bit of crowd. I thought the lie back was a little tricky being wet and having no warmup right off the bat.
By Dave Alden
From: San Diego, CA
Feb 28, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

You would expect to find this route on a much more spectacular formation than the Manure Pile. Although, the route is spectacular with great protection.
By aaron hope
From: Walnut Creek, CA
May 2, 2011

I was nervous about the unprotected Mantel for a while, but didn't need to be. I will agree that you can set some pro at about knee level before you pull the move, but it won't keep you from hitting the slab below. Nevertheless the feet are great and there's a huge jug for you to mantel from. Just get your right foot up and push up. If you totally freak out while pulling the mantel you could back off pretty easily.
By rhyang
From: San Jose, CA
May 28, 2011

Tried leading the mantel but backed off. Downclimbed back to belay and then down the gully left to a tree with rap slings on it. From there I headed up and left on easier terrain, then traversed right above the mantel to the top of the buttress. High-gravity day I guess :)

So if you get psyched out by the mantel, there is an escape.
By LucaTheGenius
Apr 11, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I always heard about the "exposed mantle"... I am not a strong leader and could have done it.
In April, pitch 3 was wet and was by far the crux of the route.
Overall, good quality route!
By Sayfe
From: Scottsdale, az
Apr 19, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

This was one of the first climbs we did with the WSU alpine club in 82. I've been back tree many times and this has been my favorite every time. The mantle is a fun and committing move, but well protected.
By Angie C
From: Sacramento, Ca
Apr 23, 2012

Pitch 1 had some water which was annoying and slippery, but the real water is still a stream running down Pitch 3 (as of April 21). Makes the pitch trickier, for sure.

The main narrativesays the crux mantle is overrated and actually has has good hand holds. I disagree. I suppose that would be true if you were at least 5'10" tall. For people under 5'7", there is not much for the hands. At 5'5", I found this crux to be pretty tough.
By Jason Albino
From: San Francisco, CA
Apr 24, 2012

IF YOU SPOT A SET OF REVO SUNGLASSES at or near the top of this climb or on the descent trail, please contact me at jason AT jasonalbino DOT com to return them. I stupidly took a nasty tumbling fall down a gully on 4/19/12 after the climb, and would love to get these back to offset the pain of my substantial injuries.

Note that P1 and P3 were still a bit wet on 4/19/12, but given the good hand holds didn't preclude climbing (I wiped off my feet a few times after they touched wet spots).

For reference on my review, I'm 6', a 5.7/5.8 leader, and have about 100 pitches of trad under my belt all-time.

P1 is a sustained, somewhat pumpy lieback experience, but the pro is generally very good and much of it can be foot-jammed for partial rests.

P2 is an easy ramp walk-up to a great belay ledge, 5.-

P3 features epic exposure with a great crack system. 1st step right is no problem at all at my height, as you can do it statically. Might feel more adventurous if you are about 5.8 or shorter. Don't expect too many hand jams here, but feet will get in there a lot and the face/crack junction features serve as good hands.

P4/P5 were a bit unclear to me - we just about maxed out P3 with a 60m rope, then I found myself with options of either setting up a tree belay in the mossy face area, or a gear belay at the top of the P3 crack system under a little roof. I chose the latter (which was fine), though if you don't surmount the roof from there, you'll need to execute a sketchy leftward traverse with no pro for a couple moves after the belay (definitely clip your belay anchors beforehand). We went left here because SuperTopo indicated there were both left and right options, and the right option featured 5.8 friction moves over a bulge, which I wasn't excited about at the time.

After this, I lied back the left-facing mossy corner system for a bit before getting up and over the corner back onto the face right. From here, there's a pumpy but well-protected roof move (perhaps this was the famous "mantle"? If so, why was there no clear mention that is was also a roof move in the SuperTopo?) that can be surmounted if you're taller by reaching up on top of the roof for bomber holds on the right. If you're shorter, you may find this roof more exhausting.

After said roof, there were several good belay options, followed by a short romp to the top of the formation.

I'm pretty sure I missed something with the intended P4/P5, as SuperTopo didn't mention a P4/P5 roof move and I'm not sure where exactly the "crux mantle" move was supposed to be. Either way, my route worked and was a blast!
By Austin Fisher
Jun 2, 2012

Started this bad boy around noon and somehow ended up being the only party on the route. I have no idea how it happened, but this is one of my favorite climbs in the valley thus far. Also getting up to the mantle holds proved to be the toughest part of the climb, the mantle itself was waaaay overhyped.
By Em Cos
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 4, 2012

Don't worry about the mantle. We heard that it was spooky even for tall folks and ridiculous for short folks, so my taller partner took that pitch, got worried and backed off. When we finally sacked up and climbed it, it was one of those "Damn it, that wasn't even hard!" kinda moments. Tiny gear will protect it reasonably well. The holds are great once you get your hands on them, then throw a high step (or heel hook if you're smaller) and it's over.
Have fun!
By Climber Ryan
From: Redwood City, CA
Oct 23, 2012

The 5.9 finger crack start is amazing. Follow it by doing the bolted slab 2nd pitch. Starting with these two pitches and the mantel on the final pitch makes this climb a 4 star.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Apr 28, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Truly a gem of the route. Every pitch is good.

Did the original start first, and then the finger crack start after walking down. A 70m just allows you to lower/TR after leading the finger crack. A gray X4 was perfect at the cruxy transition into the thin crack.
By Floyd Hayes
May 30, 2014

A video of the route showing each pitch is posted at youtu.be/Nq1I5B5Igq0
By RNclimber
From: Riverside, Ca
Jun 7, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

start early or really late in the afternoon

we were first on the route at 9am 6/5/14 and by the time I was leading the 3rd pitch, there was about 4 parties waiting on the huge belay ledge.

Saw a smart couple sleep in and started their day late when we got to the base. They figured starting late in the afternoon was just as smart.
By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Sep 12, 2014

Beautiful climb and a classic at the grade! Took me a while to get on this thing and I wish I would have done it earlier! Every pitch rules and the exposure and location are stunning! Best done early morning or afternoon because it gets hot hot hot up there in the middle of the day!