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Sundial Crack 

YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 430', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c [details]
FA: Bob Mitchell, Will Fulton - 1972
Season: Fall/Winter/Spring (you'll roast in the summer)
Page Views: 16,443
Submitted By: reddirt on Nov 28, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (133)
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BETA PHOTO: Overkill hanging belay at the top of the 3rd pitch...


Although it's not a long sustained splitter crack, this is a really nice route, especially if the Nose is occupied. The crack actually runs for only ~20 ft on the 3rd pitch and is flaring, but protectable. The Lambert/Shull guide rates it 5.8, but I thought it was really mellow for the grade.

This description is meant to supplement the Lambert/Shull book. Ratings are from the book.

Start: Pretty much where the approach trail meets the rock. Relatively short approach.

P1: 5.5 80' Climb up and stay right of bulge, then move left to anchors. Either this pitch is underrated or the next pitch is overrated, as they didn't feel that different in difficulty.

P2. 5.8 100' At start, look up & right to anchors at top of 2nd pitch. Aim for those. Plenty of gear options.

P3: 5.7 120' If climbing on 50m ropes, climb more than 120' to ensure enough rope for last pitch. There are no fixed anchors for the end of this pitch.

P4: 5.6 150' Move up & left, aiming for the top of The Nose.

Descent: same raps as nose at the base of a distinct downward pointing flake. Using two 50m ropes rap to the "parking lot"-anchors are on right end if facing rock; rap to anchors between The Nose & Sundial Crack; rap to ground.


(stolen from the description of The Nose): "Lots of small and medium cams, TCUs, tri-cams, etc. Make sure you bring plenty of runners and some good stiff shoes."

The first pitch takes larger gear than you'd think. I used a yellow #2 Camalot. The party before us used a blue #3.

I was glad to have multiples of .3-.75 camalot C4's, C3's, & several TCU's. The gear in the goofy belay picture is pretty typical of what's needed through the whole climb (.5 C4, .4 C4, yellow TCU, 000 C3, 0C3).

Photos of Sundial Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: We are beginning the 3rd pitch.  Me leading off af...
We are beginning the 3rd pitch. Me leading off af...
Rock Climbing Photo: This gives a good idea of the angle of Sundial Cra...
This gives a good idea of the angle of Sundial Cra...
Rock Climbing Photo: 22 degrees...
22 degrees...
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch of Sundial Crack. Anchors hidden behin...
First pitch of Sundial Crack. Anchors hidden behin...
Rock Climbing Photo: P2 Sundial
P2 Sundial
Rock Climbing Photo: The rock turns golden in the late afternoon as Rob...
The rock turns golden in the late afternoon as Rob...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sundial Crack
BETA PHOTO: Sundial Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Sundial P1 late in the afternoon.  Sea of granite
Sundial P1 late in the afternoon. Sea of granite
Rock Climbing Photo: This is the "crack" on Sundial Crack, Lo...
BETA PHOTO: This is the "crack" on Sundial Crack, Lo...
Rock Climbing Photo: I scope out placements leading the second pitch of...
I scope out placements leading the second pitch of...
Rock Climbing Photo: The "crack"
The "crack"
Rock Climbing Photo: Moonrise on Sundial.  Photo by Michael K.
Moonrise on Sundial. Photo by Michael K.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch two of Sundial Crack
Pitch two of Sundial Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Sharing the second belay with a friendly party.
Sharing the second belay with a friendly party.
Rock Climbing Photo: Jacob exits the 'Sundial Crack' just as the sun be...
Jacob exits the 'Sundial Crack' just as the sun be...
Rock Climbing Photo: Headed up Sundial
Headed up Sundial
Rock Climbing Photo: Crack section
Crack section
Rock Climbing Photo: The "Crack"
The "Crack"

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 20, 2015
By jeffinatlanta
Jan 6, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

Whatever the first pitch is rated in the book, it's 5.7 in my little world of ratings. I think the crack pitch (3rd) is actually easier.
By Floridaputz
From: Oakland Park, Florida
May 2, 2007

I just climbed this again last weekend. I really think this is every bit as good as the nose. The exposure is better. One note of beta, the wind hits this climb directly, it can really blow. Make sure in the spring and fall you dress right. I think the 2nd pitch is solid 5.8.
By John Matthew
Dec 24, 2008

I'd suggest taking a #3 camalot to protect the crux mantel move at the top of the 1st pitch. I found protection on P1 to be sparse after the first 20 feet.
By Mike Anderson
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 27, 2009

I liked this much better than "The Nose", and I thought it was easier and significantly better protected (with the possible exception of the first pitch).
By Joel Longo
From: Mooresville, NC
Mar 25, 2010

For anyone who might be climbing this for the first time, it may help to stand back far enough on the ground to see where the crack is in relation to the first belay. I neglected to do this and as a result completely missed it. The topo in the Lambert book makes it look as though pitch 2 is mostly straight up however I found out the hard way this is not the case.
By esha
Dec 17, 2010

the amount of gear you find on the first pitch will highly depend on the path you take. anyway you slice it, there isn't a ton of good gear. and it probably is a little harder than 5.5. much like the nose, i think the first pitch might be a tad sandbagged.
By camhead
From: Vandalia, Appalachia
Apr 23, 2012

I agree with Joel's comments on the 2nd pitch. You trend pretty hard right to get to the bolts below the crack. I did not do this, and wound up having to make a straight horizontal traverse for about 40 feet. My follower was not thrilled.
By photocodo
From: Hendersonville, NC
Sep 2, 2012

what a great crack, flaring but protectable. Wish it went on for 400ft. top of 2nd pitch is further right than the selected climbs suggests.
By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Sep 8, 2012

Fantastic Route!! I would have to say my favorite out of the three classics on the nose wall! The Actual crack on the third pitch is so super fun! Enjoy!!!!
By photocodo
From: Hendersonville, NC
Apr 23, 2013

Led all four yesterday. second pitch has lots of pro. Great route.
By Greg Berry
Apr 23, 2013

The second pitch of the Sundial is my my favorite in the Nose area. If you stay on route it's several 5.8 moves one after another with great gear. Little mail slots all the way up the pitch. Clean moderate climbing on perfect granite with an awesome view.
By Ano
Jul 5, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This route's 5.7. Quit trying to compare real climbs to the blue route in the gym!
By munkeybog
Oct 24, 2013
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

^^^This is an instant classic of a comment^^^

5 star post!
By AD_Ange
Oct 25, 2013

Not saying this 5.8 or 5.7 but I am pretty sure it was rated before there were any climbing gyms in NC or anywhere for that matter
By Alex Ch
From: Fairfield, CT
Jan 7, 2014

first pitch feels 5.7 if you go straight up, 5.5 if you follow the path of least resistance (wander)
By b.t.miller
From: Charlotte, NC
Mar 12, 2014
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

Honestly feel like this is a better climb than The Nose. Rationale for the comment if you're deciding to climb either the Nose or Sundial: the line on this climb really is so clean and classic. P1- climb straight under the bulge, move right and pull around the bulge. P2- look up and right at about a 45 degree angle to spot anchors... then climb beautiful 100' line direct to those anchors. P3- straight through a short but fantastic crack.

P1 - We took the direct line underneath the bulge which seems a touch more than 5.5.

p2 - not sure it's 5.8- (maybe a little easier) but it's fun, well protected and a great sequencing of foot work. Hard not to enjoy this pitch. Crux seems to be ~10' from anchors. Finger sized cams and tricams are important on this pitch.

p3 - crack is great fun. protects well with hand-sized gear. plenty of options.
NOTE on P3 belay: there is an obvious and very large eyebrow that will soak up multiple pieces at about 90'. We belayed there. if you are on 60m ropes, this potentially will leave you short of The Nose anchors by about 20' depending on how you send the 4th pitch. We should have belayed higher on P3, and there is a good eyebrow for doing this at about 130' on P3. The big obvious eyebrow will seduce you... don't give in. Climb at least 130' on P3 to make sure P4 ends at The Nose anchors.

p4 - had to stop about 20' below Nose anchors and setup natural belay. Cost us some time that you'll be able to save if you belay higher on P3. Ended up as a 5-pitch climb (granted the 20' P5 was a low-angle jog over to the anchors). It's still time wasted though.

Rappel is smooth and straightforward! 3 raps on double 60m ropes.
By Jonathan Dull
From: Boone, NC
Apr 10, 2014

A classic moderate eyebrow route. The rock quality was great; I was expecting it to be polished in places due to it being a super classic line, it wasn't. Pink and red tricams are really useful.
By Ryan Frederick
Sep 20, 2015

Some thoughts on gear:

The p3 "crack" eats gear in the cups to fist range. The third belay and p4 eat up small cams in the blue TCU to small blue/gray C4 range. I thought doubles in the red, yellow, (#3) blue camalot and triples in blue TCU through blue (0.3) C4 range would have made my life easier.

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