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Sugarloaf, West Face
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Pony Express 

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

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 170'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: 1st P: Dick Long, 2nd: Gene Drake, Jim Hicks
Page Views: 4,012
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Mar 8, 2005

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (79)
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Beautiful panoramic shot highlights the west side ...

Description 

Pony Express is a great way to start the day. The first pitch is worthy of 3 stars, a lieback flake for a ways then it turns into a left-facing open book.

The second pitch only deserves 1 star... continue up from the belay on easy climbing for ~20 feet then use a wide crack in the gully to pull a bulge (5.9). After the crux its 3rd class to the top.

Finding Pony Express is quite simple too. It starts in the middle of a clean face on a very obvious flake - the only one in the vicinity.

Protection 

Up to 3 inches, there are bolts atop the first pitch, and plenty of huge boulders to sling atop the second.

Walk off to the north.


Photos of Pony Express Slideshow Add Photo
First pitch of Pony Express (5.8) at sunset
BETA PHOTO: First pitch of Pony Express (5.8) at sunset
Mike Dahlquist rides the first pitch of Pony Expre...
Mike Dahlquist rides the first pitch of Pony Expre...
Pony Up
Pony Up
There are frequent big rests.
There are frequent big rests.
Paul making a big layback move. Is it really this ...
Paul making a big layback move. Is it really this ...
The corner above the first ledge.
The corner above the first ledge.
Perfect spring day for Pony Express
Perfect spring day for Pony Express
Laybacking to surmount the step in the upper corne...
Laybacking to surmount the step in the upper corne...
loose flake. wehn she climbed it seemed as just th...
BETA PHOTO: loose flake. wehn she climbed it seemed as just th...

Comments on Pony Express Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 19, 2014
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Feb 19, 2008

Fun handcrack. Would be a great warmup but it's on the shady side of the Loaf in the am. Brr!!

It's worth toproping the .11b to the left from the bolted anchor if you're so inclined. thin edging fun.
By M.Morley
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Feb 28, 2009

If just climbing the first pitch, a singe rope is sufficient to get you back down. Somewhere around 80' or so.
By tallmark515
From: San Francisco
Mar 31, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

More like 5.8 (Supertopo rating)

Crux consists of a few 5.8 lieback moves. Great gear.

I used the anchor out to the right on the face. To spice up the route, bypass the bulge and go out and right directly onto the face (direct to anchor), no gear for ~8 ft or so and maybe a 5.9 move or two.
By Blitzo
Aug 24, 2010

The first pitch is classic.
By Colonel Mustard
From: Reno, NV
Mar 14, 2011

The second pitch isn't classic by any means, but it is still fun. Your experience probably won't be tainted unless your psyche crumbles at the thought of touching 2 star terrain. A #4 gnu skewl camalot is recommended.
By Josh Cameron
From: Moab, Colorado
Jul 17, 2011

First pitch starts out at 5.7, has a distinct 5.8 section (perfect for a #1 C4) and finishes with 5.6 liebacking. The second pitch is 5.9.
By Floyd Hayes
Aug 15, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Pitch 2 has a committing 5.9 lieback section about 10' long protected by big #4 and #5 BD cams, followed by a rest on a ledge and then another 15' or so of 5.7 crack. Don't underestimate the "5.9 move to 3rd class" described in the SuperTopo guide.
By Tapawingo
Nov 27, 2012

Pitch 2 was an awesome awkward wide crack,a #3 fits just off the deck and a #4 BD fits perfectly about halfway up. Don't let all the haters deter you, it was a fun grovel past the bulge with some fists and chicken winging tossed in the mix.
By Mitchell Rhodes
Apr 17, 2013

onsight freesolo
By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 4, 2013

I love that Mitchell Rhodes has apparently made an account only for posting useful spray comments. Too bad he doesn't realize there is a "ticks" feature on his profile.... :'''-(
By Court
Nov 4, 2013

warning-the large flake on the left near the bottom of the route is very loose. i added a photo showing it. not sure if it was just the top half that wobbles or if it was the entire flake. either way it's huge
By Paul Zander
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Dec 23, 2013

Perfect first 5.8 trad lead for me because the gear is great, and most of it can be placed from rests. To really sew it up bring lots of BD 1 and .75s
By Logan Swartz
From: Davis, CA
Oct 19, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

#4s protect second pitch crux. If you can climb the first pitch you can climb the second. You can pretty much stem through it. Don't really need any off width technique.