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The Elephant's Perch
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Astro Elephant T 
Chasing the Dragon T 
Direct Beckey T 
Divine Guidance T 
Fine Line, The T 
Mojo  T 
Mountaineer's Route T 
Myopia T 
Original Beckey T 
Sideline T 
Splittgerber-March Direct T 
Sunrise Book T 
Trunkline T 
Unknown T 
Wendy T 

The Fine Line 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 10 pitches, Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Greg Lowe, Jeff Lowe, 1972
Season: summer
Page Views: 10,563
Submitted By: Clint Cummins on Jul 20, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (26)
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BETA PHOTO: Topo for The Fine Line. I created this after an a...


A stunning line with superb position above a steep wall with blank rock to either side. After a short crux and one hard move on the first pitch, many fun 5.9 and easy 5.10 pitches up the single crack follow. Eventually it traverses onto the moderate upper pitches of the Beckey Route.

p1 was originally done by Fred Beckey, et al, then freed by the Lowes.


center of SW face


standard rack

Photos of The Fine Line Slideshow Add Photo
topo of Direct Beckey by Reid Dowdle, with some edits
BETA PHOTO: topo of Direct Beckey by Reid Dowdle, with some ed...
Elephant's Perch - SW Face, Right <br /> <br />14. The Thorn Bush 5.9 A3  <br />13. Slipstream 5.10 A3  <br />12. Hook & Ladder 5.9 A3  <br />11. Direct Beckey 5.11a **  <br />10. Original Beckey 5.11+, stemming pitch from Fine Line to Direct Beckey  <br />9. The Fine Line 5.11a ***  <br />9a. Fine Line Var. 5.8 A3  <br />8. Lost Horizons 5.10 A2+  <br />7. The Seagull 5.10 A3  <br />6. King's Highway 5.9 A3
BETA PHOTO: Elephant's Perch - SW Face, Right 14. The Thorn B...
Brad coming up Pitch 5.
Brad coming up Pitch 5.
Wide slot near the top of Pitch 3.
Wide slot near the top of Pitch 3.
Court coming up the 7th pitch.
Court coming up the 7th pitch.
Heady, exposed 5.7 taverse on Pitch 6.  Good job Brad.
Heady, exposed 5.7 taverse on Pitch 6. Good job B...
Looking across the traverse to the Beckey
Looking across the traverse to the Beckey
topo of first 5 pitches by Reid Dowdle, with some edits
BETA PHOTO: topo of first 5 pitches by Reid Dowdle, with some ...
Wyatt does battle with the very demanding first pitch
Wyatt does battle with the very demanding first pi...
Court leading the last pitch. The awkward slot is visible above.
Court leading the last pitch. The awkward slot is ...
One of the many cool dihedral pitches!
One of the many cool dihedral pitches!
Looking down Pitch 3.
Looking down Pitch 3.
Lovely evening light
Lovely evening light
Lunch on Pitch 5.  Halfway there.
Lunch on Pitch 5. Halfway there.
Annie following the intense 1st crux pitch.
Annie following the intense 1st crux pitch.
Very old bolt on Pitch 8.  Beckey Bolt?
Very old bolt on Pitch 8. Beckey Bolt?
Looking down on the wide slot at the end of the 3rd pitch. It looks small in the photo, but is actually squeeze size.
Looking down on the wide slot at the end of the 3r...
Don't touch that flake. Will it be there this time next year...?
BETA PHOTO: Don't touch that flake. Will it be there this time...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 28, 2013
By Roger from Ouray
Jul 30, 2008

The rating for this route is a mistake. It is 5.11+. The crux is by the last bolt, where the topo shows a "5.11a" move. In addition, if you climb straight up by the first bolt, it is solid 5.11. You can go left and climb up, and then go back right into the corner to reduce the difficulty. An exceptionally good route.
By Brad Brooks
Aug 2, 2008

I would second the notion that 11a is slightly off. If I would dare to enter a subjective rating, I would say 11b/c, but the crux is short and well protected, and the climb is outstanding.
By Jim Donini
Mar 25, 2009

I agree that the 5.11a rating is a sandbag. It's also on the first pitch which is usually quite cool in the morning shade. Make sure to warm up!
By dave bingham
Jun 29, 2010

Yep, the original Becky / Fine Line sure feels harder than "one move" of 11a shown on the topo. Original ratings tend to linger, but there's no shame in telling it like it is. My vote is 11d.
By Spencer Weiler
From: SLC, UT
Jul 26, 2010

Amazing line! Super fun climbing. The 2nd pitch is by far the best pitch on the route. Finger locks for 110 feet with occasional hand jams and a fun wide section to the top. Jeff G.'s topo is spot on and was a great help. A couple thoughts: 1. Small gear is critical. Doubles in the TCU's sizes is adequate, with lots of nuts, but bring more if you have them. We rarely placed anything bigger than a #2 camalot. 2. On the last pitch, I highly recommend going up the 9+ crack on the left as shown on Jeff's topo. The right .9 crack around the bulge and up the 10a rp seam causes HEINOUS rope drag if you are trying to do it all in one pitch. 3. The descent gully is a breeze. Walk along the south ridge of the perch and down the south gully. One 80 foot rappel at the bottom is all that is required. 4. Pitch 4's wild flake is indeed wild! The mental crux of the route.
By Monica Jones
From: CO
Aug 19, 2010

I took the right side up and fell right off the bat at the first bolt going to the jug. Damn! Came down and restarted for the redpoint. Super fun, I would call it 11b also, pumpy with multiple cruxes but lots of good rests to dissipate the difficulty. Favorite route we did!
By drewford
From: Wasatch Back, UT
Aug 29, 2010
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c

Definitely worth doing the first three or so pitches before joining the direct Becky.
By dave bingham
Jul 6, 2012

Historical correction: The "Lowe's"did the first clean (no piton) ascent, not the FFA. I think the first pitch was equipped and free climbed by Jeff Rhodes of Pocatello in the early 90's.
By Mark SLC
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 30, 2012
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a

+ 1 for Drew's comment. We took his advice last year and it seemed like the best way to do it. The first pitches of fine line are sustained and amazing. Agreed the 11a first pitch felt harder, maybe 11+ or maybe it was just a tough warm up. Pitch 2 is phenomenal fingers. Pitch 3 to join the beckey we aided for time and as it was pretty full on stemming. After that, joining the beckey, pitch after pitch of some of the best granite 5.10 you will ever do. Smiling the whole way.
By Amir
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 1, 2012

Incredible. We were really happy to do this one before Myopia, as Myopia is in my opinion a bigger day physically and mentally. One of the great granite walls in the states!
By James Yates
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug 7, 2012

This is a really fun climb... After climbing Myopia this route felt like a walk in the park in terms of seriousness and sustained difficulty (we were pretty whipped after myopia, and still had enough to cruise this stellar line the next day). That being said the first pitch of Fine line is considerably harder than the crux of myopia. However, it is way better protected and the rest of the route is not near as sustained. Fine line is just good clean safe fun... This would be a great climb for a 5.10 leader.

My two cents of the rating discussion... Ratings are subjective and will vary from person to person... I was shocked that I got the first crux pitch clean... I am 5'8" and I think the difficulty can be height dependent considering that I was stretched to the absolute max with the highest possible feet. Also, I thought it was hard in several spots leading up to the very thin crux. To put this into prospective for those Wasatch climbers... I think the crux of this pitch was considerably harder than concrete jungle (11c) and slightly harder than Fuego (12a). The crux sequence felt very similar in difficulty to All Chalk and No Action (12a). I dont care to assign it a subjective grade, I am just trying to give a few comparisons.
By heppnerd
Sep 4, 2012
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

the giant hanging fang on p1 is very loose it was moving 2 to 3 inches very scary!Its easy to aid past this though.
By jdm
Sep 22, 2012
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

I agree with heppnerd... We climbed the Fine Line just over a week ago. The big flake (see white cross on my photo) is just hanging free and moves about 3". You don't need to actually use it and can reach around it with a long reach to a finger jam off the big rock spike to the left of the base of the flake, without aiding. One thing for sure, if (when) it does come off, it WILL kill the climber...

I'd also add that I think that the crux of that pitch (some ten metres above the flake) is much harder than anything on Positive Vibrations, which we did about a week later. Definitely not 11a.
By Aaron Miller
Jun 21, 2013

And it wouldn't hurt to replace maybe one of the first few pieces of fixed gear with something "modern". Those bolts are spooky.
By Adam Floyd
From: Las Vegas
Jul 19, 2013
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Death flake is now gone. Climbed it before and after, seems like the grade wasn't effected.
By jdm
Jul 19, 2013
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Excellent! Did you pull it off or was it already gone? How much of the flake came off? As I said above, it moved about 3" - but I couldn't see any fracture line.
By kirkadirka
From: Boulder
Jul 26, 2013

It looks like most of the death flake came off. But there is still a small amount of rotten rock that will come off over time.

Fine line is good but not as good as the Direct Beckey.

Reasons for this route only getting 3 stars:

  • Some less than perfect rock on P1 combined with old fixed protection. The climbing on P1 is brilliant however. I wish I could have convinced myself to go for it but it is past my risk tolerance in it's current state.

  • The second half of P4 and the first half of P5 are comprised of a giant stacked block and flake system. Seemed solid enough, but again, not as good quality of rock as the direct Beckey.

  • The traverse pitch back into the Beckey route detracts from the route.

Perhaps linking the Fine Line into the Beckey route via the 11+ stemming corner would improve the quality (AKA Original Beckey). We did not do this. I would say the Fine Line is right on par with the Direct Beckey in terms of overall difficulty (calories burned).
By dave bingham
Jul 28, 2013

Nice job Cleaning up that loose flake, Adam.
We also removed a belayer-killing block on from p-1 of the direct last year.

Hey admin - Why is this route still rated .11A?