Ten of Spades
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Looking up you wouldn't know what a cool climb this is.... I also couldn't judge how challenging it would be.... From the bottom, it looked like a steep slab, but once on it, it seemed vertical with super-techy climbing (which I always enjoy)...Basically having to adjust and readjust my foot work for every hand move on the second half of the route...A great test of mid-grade technical 5.10 climbing....
The start is no harder than 5.8, lulling you in to a false sense of security.... You then hit the upper headwall where things get steeper and more challenging.... This section involves tiny crimps, sidepulls, underclings, and even slopers...even clipping the chains presents a challenge cause the hard climbing won't let up once it starts....
2nd route right of the obvious black chimney of Smokestack (5.9), starting under a tree growing out of the cliff 10 feet up....
7 bolts to quick clips....
By Adam Conroy
From: Cambridge, MA
May 7, 2012
Really great description of the route, Lee. This is one of my favorite climbs and everyone who wants an interesting, varied, 10 to climb should get on it. One note: the lower section has some dishes that can hold water for a long time so just watch out for that as you're making the 5.8 scramble to the slabby area.
By Nick Grant
From: Natick, MA & Tamworth, NH
Aug 14, 2014
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Superb, delicate mid-range climbing up the Ten of Spades arete! How would this be for the all-time greatest New England hypothetical 5.10 sport climb/face climb: Climb Ten of Spades which would lead into the Lonesome Dove arete which would finish up the Skunks in the Gym face. Ahhh . . . 5.10 heaven.