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

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 200'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Joe Cote and Eric Radack Oct .17th, 1971
Page Views: 4,311
Submitted By: lee hansche on Mar 24, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (41)
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Ansel climbing Retaliation during the summer solst...


This climb is one of those that the first time you look at it it makes you feel like you must climb it. It speaks to you and draws you in. That is both good and bad: good because it is a stellar route, bad because it can draw you in when you are not ready. There have been a few injuries on this climb over the past few years due to people getting pumped, stuffing in less than optimal gear, and then falling from the powerful pumpy layback crux.

It's a great climb, so by all means climb it, but be sure to take the time to make every piece count. There is good gear all the way. but it can be tough to see, since the crack is at your knees much of the time.

Pitch 1: (5.6) Climb the right leaning crack off of the ledge to a small belay stance to the right of the crack. It's a hand and fist size for the most part. Build an anchor in the crack.

Pitch 2: (5.9) Continue along the crack using face holds when they present themselves. It is possible in a few spots to step down and right to get a good view of your placement, and the climbing to come. The crux comes as a tough, burly, layback as the crack steepens. Take the time to protect well. After that you get to a stance below a final crack. The original line went right around easy climbing to the ledge, but if you want another 5.9 crux then fire the crack straight up to the ledge. Belay in a crack on the ledge.

Pitch 3: (5.6) Head up the cracks past a pin to more easy climbing and in to the woods at the top. Belay from trees. Hike off, or hitch a ride...


A very obvious, 100+ foot long, right-leaning crack, Retaliation is situated right above the lower, left wall, so Bombardment (5.8) or Fun House (5.7) are logical starts to approach this climb.


Regular rack.

Photos of Retaliation Slideshow Add Photo
Ansel climbing Retaliation during the summer solstice, 2010. <a href='http://www.bagleyheavybags.blogspot.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >bagleyheavybags.blogspot.com</a>
Ansel climbing Retaliation during the summer solst...
Climbing out of the rest alcove and in to the last hard moves...
Climbing out of the rest alcove and in to the last...
Ernie Hansche aka Dad laying back in the crux of Retaliation...
Ernie Hansche aka Dad laying back in the crux of R...
Dad getting in to the fun stuff...
Dad getting in to the fun stuff...
One more picture... its just such a pretty route!
One more picture... its just such a pretty route!
Beautiful pitch on Retaliation. Mark Taylor up at the belay.
Beautiful pitch on Retaliation. Mark Taylor up at ...

Comments on Retaliation Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 18, 2011
By Ian McEleney
From: at large
Aug 14, 2007

There are plenty of great nut placements before the crux on pitch two, though you have to lean over to see them. Practice cam conservation for the crux.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Jun 1, 2008

Must just be me, I never thought that Retaliation was very good !
By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
Jun 1, 2008

I'm interested to know what your complaint would be?
By Zirolli
From: Boston
Feb 17, 2009

As one who was possibly lured in to this climb a little soon, I can say that it was one of my favorite experiences at Cathedral. Concise and secure gear placements are the key.
By CTYankee
May 5, 2009

A fantastic route. For a gear placing machine like myself, it is interesting to get a good look at those placements. The opening 5.6 pitch is not my favortie and takes away a bit. The crux pitch definitely has a special quality.
By E thatcher
From: Plymouth/ North Conway (NH)
May 24, 2009

I thought the 5.6 pitch was good for the grade, kind of fun in fact. Lee mentions that it is nice linking this with Bombardment and Funhouse. I found Three Birches to Retaliation to be a fun and consistent link up. The last pitch of Three birches has a right leaning lie backish crack as well, and it ends directly beneath Retaliation, so the routes seem to flow together for a solid 4-6 pitches, depending on how you break it up, of consistent climbing.
By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
May 25, 2009

a good piont, 3 Birches is about the same grade as this i just like the other 2 routes better :) better yet i think Funhouse Left linked to the second pitch of 3 Birches would be a cool one, im just not nuts about P1 of 3B...
By Jay Knower
From: Campton, NH
Jun 28, 2010

This is a great route, one of the best on the cliff, in my opinion. I agree with Lee that the gear is tricky to place, but it's good once you get it. I think it is important to be very solid at Cathedral 5.9 before leading Retaliation.
By E thatcher
From: Plymouth/ North Conway (NH)
Jun 28, 2010

Jay, sure you know this, but for those looking to lead this and anxious about the gear, the key is to look for rails to crimp on above the crack. If you miss those, which is conceivable if your head is down looking at the crack the whole time, then placing gear would in deed be desperate, with them it is not to bad.
I love climbing this route and looking down on the people waiting for 2 hours to do black lung or upper refuse. It's the same feeling one gets flying by everyone in the carpool lane.
By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
Sep 27, 2010

The first and second pitches can easily be combined with a 200-foot rope. Don't make this your first 5.9 on Cathedral---it's strenuous and a bit awkward. It's just about the only 5.9 that I've fallen off of in the last 30 years. Fall on it every time. It's not that hard; it's just that I can't do it.
By Mike C. Robinson
From: Rumney, NH
Sep 17, 2011

Do this route! great finish to anything near Bombardment...PS really easy to do in 1.25 pitches with 60m or 1 pitch with 70m, with some mindful rope managment.
By Michael Z.
Sep 18, 2011

Eric is right about placing gear I found the stances to be quite secure, and led the whole route in one pitch placing good gear sparsely and getting into a nice rhythm. Also had an audience of people in line for Black Lung that made it just that much better!