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The Flake 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 100'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: (lower section): Dick Webster & Woody Stark, 1967, (complete route): Jim Wilson & Dick Shockley, 1971
Page Views: 8,609
Submitted By: C Miller on Jun 20, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (173)
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My friends climbing The Flake on a glowing Interse...


Easily done in a single pitch this semi-classic requires being versed in a variety of techniques to succeed.

Start up a chimney/offwidth (facing left is easier) which narrows higher up and transitions into a flake which is liebacked until it ends near a horizontal where delicate face climbing gains the top. Three stars out of five.


Left side of the west face between Overhang Bypass and a prominent left-facing corner (West Chimney).


Gear to 3.5", 2 bolts (3/8"), slings are useful

Photos of The Flake Slideshow Add Photo
The super fun and thankfully fairly cruiser slab at the top of the flake!
The super fun and thankfully fairly cruiser slab a...
Atop the Flake; a good place to divide the pitch in two.
Atop the Flake; a good place to divide the pitch i...
Sebastian and Kia on The Flake
Sebastian and Kia on The Flake
The Flake. Note the wide chimney on the bottom and the run-out face at the top.
BETA PHOTO: The Flake. Note the wide chimney on the bottom and...
Intersection Rock showing The Flake
BETA PHOTO: Intersection Rock showing The Flake
an entertaining night ascent of The Flake - no lines, no waiting!
an entertaining night ascent of The Flake - no lin...
The Flake at dusk.
The Flake at dusk.
approaching the Flake
approaching the Flake
Eric clearing the off width.  Photo by Geoff
Eric clearing the off width. Photo by Geoff
Toss the #4!
Toss the #4!
This is the initial chimney section.  I am smiling because I have a big cam placed above my head!  Photo by Chris Parks.
This is the initial chimney section. I am smiling...
Climbers on The Flake
Climbers on The Flake
Seth Lighthouse on the Flake, Joshua Tree National Park
Seth Lighthouse on the Flake, Joshua Tree National...
Finally past the offwidth section.
Finally past the offwidth section.
Ginger on The Flake, Joshua Tree
Ginger on The Flake, Joshua Tree
A crappy scan of a pic from an early 90's trip. <br /> <br />
A crappy scan of a pic from an early 90's trip.
Roman having fun with the start of the flake - The crux for sure.  A real Yosemite 5.8 chimney.
Roman having fun with the start of the flake - The...
Jason Partin topping out on the Flake.
Jason Partin topping out on the Flake.

Comments on The Flake Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 25, 2013
By Anonymous Coward
Dec 23, 2002

If you don't have a big piece, don't worry, there is a small Horizontal crack about 10' off the deck that you can stick a TCU or an Alien into and it will help you get started.

Have fun in the chimney! Get through it and the rest of the route is fun!
By Cpn Dunsel
Jan 9, 2003

Just did this route again last weekend after not having been on it for more than five years. The bottom (chimney/offwidth)was a little harder than I remember!, but gears up nice. A compelling natural line that has a little bit of everything on it to enjoy.
By Woody Stark
Mar 9, 2003

Dick Webster and I put up the FA to the top of the flake in 67. I've climb this route more times than I can count--twice this year. I use it for instruction. First, I believe we should have rated it 5.9. There are many nines I've done over the years that are easier. Second, after putting pro in the small horizontal and moving to the jam, reach back behind the edge and you'll find a large pocket with a small one within it. The small pocket will take a bomber cam. The horizontal has taken a lot of stress over the years, and I no longer trust it alone.
By Steven Powers
Oct 6, 2003
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

kinda stiff for 5.8, wouldnt call it a classic but fun none the less.
By M.Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Oct 23, 2003
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The route is approximately 165' long. A 4" piece helps protect the strenuous chimney. The face climbing up top is a little "spicy".
By Donno
From: Newport Beach
Oct 30, 2003

I find the chimney not too strenuous if you use classic chimney technique: don't get sucked in too deep & start 'off-widthing'. The chimney atop The Orphan (5.9) feels stiffer, so I feel 5.8 is a good rating.
By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Dec 9, 2004

I led this route today with Woody in tow and I must admit, that "Squeeze Chimney" move was no easy task for this old boy. I kind of think maybe 5.9 fits. It really is a fun route. But I don't think I'll rush back and get on it again anytime soon. Thanks Woody! It's over; let's get the hell away from Hidden Valley now!
By David & Lori Gaston
Feb 28, 2005

I did this route in 97 or 98 with a bunch of canadians. The idea was to watch the sunset from the simmit. I was last of 5 of us and had to climb it in the dark no lamp. I really enjoyed it even tough I couldn't see much. I think it deserves 3 stars. Although when I topped out I saw millions.
By Bo Johnston
Oct 10, 2005
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

My buddy (Anthony Bilotti) did this route back in 1990 during our spring break in High School. We did not have a lot of leading experience but managed to pull this off and have a lot of fun. Great route.

Came back to do it again after many years and WOW, that chimney sucks! The rest is great! It simply is not 5.8 at the start.
By d-know
From: electric lady land
Jan 25, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

great start and superb finish. the stuff in between aint bad either
By Will S
From: Joshua Tree
Dec 24, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Fantastic! Long pitch with lots of variety. I'd add an additional star to this one. At the same rating, I think it's better than Dogleg and Hands Off. The 5.8 rating is fair if you have any wide experience at all.

The wide section deters some people, but it's really not bad, and you can almost sew this up once you get to the first little horizontal slot (takes good yellow TCU or yellow Alien). After the intial thrutch, the climbing eases off considerably until the final slab crux where you have a bolt right below you. This is a long pitch, but you don't really need doubles. Take a set of nuts and a single set of cams from yellow TCU/Alien to purple (old 4/new 5) Camalot and you'll have plenty. Don't get suckered by the bolt on the face of the flake out right about halfway up, apparently it's for a squeeze job between this and the west chimney.
By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Jan 20, 2007
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I agree with Will. This route is much better than "hands off" for the grade. Get your chimney skills rolling right from the deck with relief coming soon. Watch your head at the top of the chimney, I just bonked my head. Protect there with 3" cam or so the immediately start in the heel toe section about it until you gain a nice finger/hand crack. Protects extremely well from there.

Exciting top moves in the wind. Thank God for bolts. By the way this is not a good route to solo, I don't care who tells you it is. HUGE penalty for coming off up high. Stay on a cord and stay alive.

3 stars!
By Jeremy Werlin
Feb 17, 2007

Don't listen to all these chimney-whiners! (Are you rock climbers or sport climbers?) The flake is a fantastic line and usually the first route I jump on when I'm back in the park. Cheers to Woody and Dick who put this thing up the year I was born. *Remember to bring the windbreaker as it often seems to be blowing on top.
By Cory
From: Boise, ID
Nov 12, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Really fun line. I found the chimney at the start to be tricky, but that probably just means I need more practice in chimneys. I actually fell near the top of the chimney, and was caught by my 1st piece which was a bomber grey C4 that you can place before the chimney gets tricky.

The climbing after the chimney is so fun that after only a couple of moves you completely forget about your recent struggle up the chimney. The 5.8 slab at the end is very easy, there is so much friction that you can practically just walk right up it.
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Dec 7, 2008

One of the best .8s in Josh, and no giveaway.
By Catherine Conner
From: Phoenix, AZ
Dec 20, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This is hard-I think it's 5.9. Did the last half in the dark, and yes it was cold up there. Nothing a little pie and some brandy-laced hot chocolate couldn't cure!
By Chris D
From: the couch
Apr 6, 2010

This climb is great, and one I was glad to be following rather than leading. The chimney at the bottom can be climbed a lot of different ways. Though strenuous, I though it was as much an enjoyable component of the climb as any other part, maybe moreso, if you like problem solving. You don't need to temporarily leave the chimney/off-width at the first big block on the right as some do. There's a spot where I found making a couple of moves facing straight out made life easier.

Another thing I really liked about this climb was the continuous hand/finger and toe jams you can stuff under the flake on the left. Really nice.

Battle up the chimney, then it's a long section of easy fun climbing to the short but thoughtful section of slab at the top. A great climb.

Lots of harder 5.8s in the park.
By Patrick Kaufer
From: Laguna Hills, CA
May 12, 2011
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I found the chimney to be horrendous! Other than that it was a great climb though haha
By Ben Sachs
Oct 10, 2011

Really fun route. A #5 Camalot and a couple wires made the chimney very safe and fun. It did feel hard for 5.8 (and no I'm not bitching about the chimney, it legitimately felt hard to me compared to other old-school 5.8 chimney and offwidth climbs)
By Ryan Stefani
Oct 24, 2011
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

I second the "hard for a .8". I'd give it a solid, old-school .9. Especially if you grunt your way up the back of the chimney to place a couple of bigger pieces...

The top is awesome and soooo unexpected when you get there!

Great climb!
By Michael Bartosek
From: Los Angeles
Feb 14, 2012

Having nothing larger than a #2 on my rack made for a spicy lead of the chimney! After that it was 80 feet pure fun until I realized that both those bolts were spinners and the rope drag was terrible beacuse we did it as a single pitch...otherwise,super fun route.
By Canon
Nov 17, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Solid 5.8, but not a .9! The chimney protects with a .5 BD (purple) in a pod up left, and then a #5, where I got a knee behind a flake for a solid jam. The rest of the climb is awesome, too. So much variety! Do this route!!!
By Tommy G.
From: Killeen, Texas
Dec 3, 2012

I have wanted to get on this for a while. Seeing someone on the top slab is pretty crazy looking from Park Road! Pretty awesome. Get yo' chimney on.
Crazy wind up top :/
Chimney is the crux.

Figure out a belay from inside the pit to avoid buffeting on a windy day. Starts and ends memorably.
By bmdhacks
Apr 30, 2013

The start can be protected ok with just a .5 and a #3. I threw in a #4 as well but it was a bit tipped out.

Watch your rope drag if doing it in one pitch, the top slab got... interesting.
By Alex Doria
From: San Diego
Aug 25, 2013

Pretty awkward start. Enjoyable because it has everything but I could of done with out that chimney exit.