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The Old Woman - West Face
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Orphan 

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

   
Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 90'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: FFA: John Wolfe and Al Ruiz, January 1970
Page Views: 3,588
Submitted By: Orphaned on Jun 20, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (101)
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BETA PHOTO: The Old Woman - West Face

Description 

Excellent route. I recall stemming and working my way up the finger crack at the bottom and really enjoying it. Kinda steep and technical, then you gotta grunt through a big crack at the top. Lots of variation and good climbing.


Protection 

Small cams and nuts for the initial stemming and finger crack. You'll need a bigger cam or two for that last grunt of a crack at the top.



Photos of Orphan Slideshow Add Photo
Me on my on-sight of the Orphan.
Me on my on-sight of the Orphan.
Climber styling her way up the Orphan
Climber styling her way up the Orphan
Andy Laakmann about to sacrifice a 4.5 Camalot and make Orphan a very popular route the following day
Andy Laakmann about to sacrifice a 4.5 Camalot and...
Chris in the lower stemming section of the route.  Another climber is topping out in the chimney section.
Chris in the lower stemming section of the route. ...
Pulling into the grunt section...
Pulling into the grunt section...
Comments on Orphan Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 1, 2013
By Woody Stark
Mar 11, 2003

I and quite a few others I've climbed with over the years have felt this route should be rated 10a. Anyway you cut it, it's a great route.

By Randy
Dec 17, 2003
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The actual first ascent (free) of this route was no later than 1954, and likely earlier.

By Cpn Dunsel
Jan 28, 2004
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

I found 4" pieces were helpful in the upper "grunt" section of the chimney. Is every route of this face of the Old Woman a test piece? Prepare for a challenging climb in the grade.

By mmurduff
Oct 30, 2005
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Now that it has been a few days, and my wounds have healed, I can say that This route was in fact enjoyable. The lower and middle section was both surprising and challenging. The upper section... well I can suggest wearing long pants. A true test of skill and sanity!

By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Feb 11, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I'm not sure why I avoided this route for so many years... it is an awesome climb!

The bottom 40-50 feet of stemming is superb with great pro. And the top 30 feet is relatively straightforward - at least for a wide crack :)

Good pro (#4 Camalot) protects the "crux" entry move into the wide section. Face right (left side in) and a little squirming gets your foot on the big fat edge. Once on this edge, face left (right side in) and straightforward shallow stemming and a little wide crack action gets you to the top. A second #4 or #3 Camalot comes in handy higher up, as the middle section is too wide for reasonable protection.

By Bo Johnston
Feb 22, 2006
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Perfect route if it wasn't for the finish. I hate that wide stuff.

By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 22, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

this is a great route and .9 is right on for the grade. the wide section at the top is no big deal- bomber gear and straightfoward movement easily dispatch it.

By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
Nov 15, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The topo for this pitch in the Bartlett guide shows the .9 crux in the fingers section. I found the crux to be entry into the wide section. Entire route protects well with gear to 4". 5.9 is fair.

By Darren D.
Apr 12, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This route will keep you warm on those windy J-Tree days. I was sweating when I finished it. Physical, but never really difficult.

By daniel ballarin
Mar 23, 2009

This was my favorite lead climb during my last trip. It started with stemming, protected very well, and had a bit of everything. The tight chimney at the end kept things interesting. I found it easiest to face the left in the chimney.

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Nov 14, 2011

By Brian Chastain
Apr 1, 2013

90 feet? I was thinking more like 60. 90 from the dirt sounds right, but definitely 60 from where you start to climb. This climb seemed like it was over before I knew it.