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The Bubble
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
"Left Edge" S,TR 
Bubble Boy S 
Catchy S 
Chimney T,TR 
Face T,TR 
Face, The Bubble Mt. St. Helena S,TR 
Ladder, The S,TR 
Old Ladder Route T,TR 
Solar Power S 
West Face, The S 
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The Ladder 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b PG13

Type:  Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 70'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: unknown
Page Views: 2,194
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Mar 2, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (37)
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Jim Thornburg on The Ladder


The Ladder is the left-most climb facing the fire road on the bubble. Its pretty easy to recognize with the large pockets on the slighty overhanging face. Older guide books tend to draw the route just right of the actual bolts - which aren't mentioned. This is the 5.9 version of The Ladder. The climb is neat and mostly straight-forward; big jugs, spaced widely enough to make you work for them. The crux comes between the 4th and 5th bolt where the jugs end and you have to traverse a little right. From the ledge, the next bolt is about 10 feet higher, and clipping this bolt and the following bolt are also difficult.


8 olts to a 2 bolt anchor. There's potential to land hard on a ledge if you fail to clip the 5th bolt and fall.To set up a top rope, walk around the left side of the Bubble and head up a steep path. A long sling will help reduce drag.

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The Ladder. Great climb!
The Ladder. Great climb!

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By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Aug 20, 2002

Nearing the top of this route, at the 5th bolt, I moved hard left to the anchors above the "West Face" (or is it called "West Facing" ? ) and found that to be an interesting variation. It is about 5.10c done this way, at the moves to pull away from the arete are somewhat hard.
By Floyd Hayes
Oct 27, 2008
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13

This climb requires brute strength to lead, more than I am endowed with (I've only top-roped it). For me it's much harder than West Face. I've watched about five climbers flail on the upper part after being lulled into thinking it was only 5.9, based on Tresa Black's "Rock Climbing the San Francisco Bay Area." One took a long swing while trying to traverse left to West Face and was lucky not to hurt his ankle.
By Dodrill
From: Sebastopol, CA
Jul 25, 2010
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13

X? Serious? PG13 maybe.
By Salamanizer
From: Vacaville Ca.
Jul 25, 2010
rating: 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a

Pfft, X. I'm with Dodrill on this one, PG maybe.

Hell of alot harder than .10d too.
By Anders
From: San Francisco
Feb 26, 2012

Definitely harder than 10d. Definitely not X. More like 11b/c, and PG for sure. Bubble Boy, 11b, is significantly easier on the whole.
By Daniel Cicchetto
Dec 11, 2012

Not "x" rated by any means, maybe a tricky first bolt, but totally safe. My favorite climb at the bubble.
By marc g
From: San Francisco, CA
Mar 4, 2013
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13

Very fun, juggy lead with a tricky finger pocket sequence at the top. Maybe there is a way to traverse right at the top, but I went straight up and there were 3 finger pockets that need to hit with the right sequence. Anchor bolts way off to left, unless you extend. Definitely not X or even runout.
By reese butler
From: Altadena, CA
Mar 3, 2014

Going left at the top feels like it goes 10- and going right in the bay area climbing book says 11b. I guess 1-2 moves on the left top out could go 10d
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