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The Polish Route 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 900', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Rick Wheeler and Bob Harrington
Page Views: 11,023
Submitted By: Dustysdawg on Jul 28, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (9)
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Second offwidth pitch.


A good, clean alpine route. Classic.

This route was really fun. Part of the allure for me and my partner was that there wasn't any good beta available. We just heard that it was wide and sustained. Because we didn't know any real beta we had to make our own rack decisions, figure out how to use/conserve gear, decide which crack to take on the headwall, and figure out how to break up pitches. My recommendation is to go climb the route without reading the beta below. It will be memorable.

P1. Start in the left facing corner finger crack(10+). Cross a shallow roof and transition to a right facing corner(5.10). This pitch is sustained for 190 feet. It eats up gear.
P2. Continue up and trend left. The start of this pitch is probably 5.9, but it eases up. 100 feet.
P3. Here you can see the main wide crack system above, but it is just a seam in front of you. We took the right side up some small edges and traversed left to a horn(5.10+). I think the correct way to go is up the left side wide crack, then traverse right to the crack(probably also 5.10 or 10+). Then continue up past a medium sized flake that doesn't feel real solid, and start up the main crack. We continued up this crack to some pods(used 2 #2 C4's and a #5 for belay in the pod). I think it ended up being about a 150 foot pitch.
P4. Continue up the main crack system that you are in. There are cracks on both sides of this crack. Continue up the main crack over a roof to an anchor belay(5.10).
P5. Continue straight up the crack, and over a bulge (5.10-). After the bulge, if you take some easier options on the right, you will find some sketchy loose big blocks. If you knock them off, they will funnel right down to the belay. Up higher there is a cool flake that you traverse under to the left. You can belay here, but we didn't. The a crack continues back right, and then up. We ran this pitch for 200 feet.
At the beginning of the 5th pitch you can go right to Escape From Poland.
P6. 40 feet of easy to top
Here you can decide to go right and up to the summit. Or, you can go back across ledges to rap slings and rap into the gully.


Start in the obvious left facing dihedral, 40 feet left of Positive Vibrations; follow the crack system to the top of the formation. It is a very natural line, and it would be hard to get off route. Expect about 6 pitches of eastern block, blue collar “fun”. If that’s what yer lookin’ for, you’ll find it up there.
Descent: Many options to rap neighboring routes exist and rapping off the backside of the formation can easily be accomplished with one 60m rope.


60m rope. Standard alpine rack, extra(s) #4 C4 Camalots, #5 C4 Camalot and micronuts would not go unused.
Leave the #6 C4 Camalot, big bros, and other trinkets at home, it ain’t that wide. Double knee Carhartt's recommended.
We brought (2) #4's, and that was sufficient. If you struggle with that size, bring extras. There are 40+ foot sections that just take #4. If you want to reduce the rack, bring single cams up to #1 Camalot.

Photos of The Polish Route Slideshow Add Photo
Loving the butterfly stacks on the first offwidth ...
Loving the butterfly stacks on the first offwidth ...
You might have to use all of your gear to link pit...
You might have to use all of your gear to link pit...
Luke demonstrating his mad OW skills
Luke demonstrating his mad OW skills
50 Feet up the first pitch, in the middle of the s...
BETA PHOTO: 50 Feet up the first pitch, in the middle of the s...
Luke and Ben on their rest day
Luke and Ben on their rest day
Psyched for the long wide crack pitch!
Psyched for the long wide crack pitch!

Comments on The Polish Route Add Comment
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By Scott Bennett
Aug 9, 2009

I haven't done the whole route, but if you've got extra time or the weather looks too crappy for a whole climb, the first pitch of this thing is great and currently has a fixed nut anchor. 2 60m ropes are required to get down.
By Neil Kauffman
Aug 29, 2010

Excellent line! You can rap the route to the left, Blowhard (IV 800ft 5.12+), with one 70m rope from the big ledge at the top of the Polish route. Two #4's and one #5 Camalot felt nice...
By harihari
Jul 12, 2011

This is an EXCELLENT route.

The first pitch is a bit scrappy at the start, but the pro is plentiful and bomber.

The third pitch has a 4" off-width that emerges after a bit of stemming trickery, but this o/w should not scare you, because you can fiddle in good small stuff off to the edge.

Rack-- doubles in camalots from .3 to #4, smallish wires. You don't need a ton of slings.

At the top of the first pitch (which can be broken into 2 if you don't have loads of gear) there is a bail station. At the top of the second, you will see a rap anchor off to your left about 15 feet. One 60m rap leftward gets you to the ground. There is a gear-free belay (slings) off a flake in a pod atop P3.
By SamP
Aug 29, 2012
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

Climbed the Polish to Escape from Poland with my friend Matt last week. Found the climbing to be classic and the off-widthing really friendly for the grade. We brought 2 #4 camalots and a #5. I think it would be no problem for a single 4, single 5 or even two 4s. With some creativity the anchor in the middle of the offwidth can be built without using any big gear. The Escape from Poland was rad and definitely added to the climb, being significantly more "western" than the Polish proper.
By snowhazed
From: Oakland, Ca
Oct 1, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

Pitches 1 and 2, and also 3 and 4 can be linked by stretching an 80M rope. We suffered almost no drag, and you can skip the belay in the middle of the ow and climb splitter heaven forever!
By Vlad S
Jun 5, 2013
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

Previous comment by snowhazed makes a lot of sense. It's a pity if you have to break up the flow of climbing the double cracks by building a hanging belay in middle. There's not even a tiny stance there. I climbed "the escape" and the Iron Curtain roof felt like the hardest pitch on the route (11a in my opinion), although none are easy and everything is quite sustained. We had doubles to #3 and just one #4 on our rack and it felt more than sufficient with some gear bumping. The most valuable beta for this route is whoever leads the first pitch should start up not burdened with too much clothes. That one really warms you up and there's no good stance to take anything off (-; I was completely frozen in the morning, but half way up the pitch had to drop my jacket down and have my partner bring it up.
By Caitlin Mac
From: Tempe
Sep 3, 2014

anyone have a topo?
By earl mcalister
From: idaho
Sep 7, 2014

RAP BETA: You CAN NOT rap Blowhard (route to left) with a 70 meter rope (we tried). To rappel from the top of the Polish Tower traverse east (up canyon) for about 200 feet to some small pine shrubs (some live, some dead). Slightly down and left from these shrubs you will find a fixed nut anchor. From there, all raps trend rappeler's left and are slung blocks, and piton anchors. Can be done with a 60 meter rope. Watch for stuck ropes and expect every pull to bring down loose rock.
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