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Step off of the Freedom Bar porch and head slightly right (facing the wall) past the group of huge stalactites to a spot in the wall with a very steep series of bulges separated by horizontals and groups of pockets. Start at a left-facing "flake" of stone and head up and consistently left to a set of anchors.
Most super-steep routes at this grade in the area are all about the pump factor and don't really have any hard moves. I jumped on this route expecting a pumpy endurance issue and good holds. While this was right for the most part, there are a few hard moves and not all of the holds are jugs. Expecting a rest on jugs at the horizontals near the roof's end was a mistake.
This is a great route and is quite steep at any grade. Climb up and clip a bolt then head out the series of steep moves quickly, and don't count on recovering at any given place--just keep going!
There is actually a video of this route at:
It is not as easy as this guy makes it look. He is either reading it perfectly or more likely has it wired. Some of those longer reaches are going to or off of less-than-perfect holds.
If facing the cliff, this route is just down and right from the porch of the Freedom Bar, right of the huge tufas hanging almost onto the roof of the bar. The big bulge is climbed pretty directly on pockets and horizontals past bolts to an anchor up above.
A handful of draws is all that is needed. The roof is big enough that long runners don't really make a difference. I understand that this route has been rebolted with titanium hardware to replace the sketchy steel bolts.
I can't believe somebody graded this 12a. I onsighted a bunch of 12a's while I was in Ton Sai. But that thing took me like 20 tries. I think it's pretty solid 12c, unless of course your a bouldering freak, then it's going to feel easier because it's short and bouldery. But 12a let's be serious.
By Ryan Williams Administrator From: London (sort of) Jun 4, 2010 rating: 5.127b+27VIII+26E6 6b
Hard for me too Tim.
It is a 7b+ here in Thailand which converts to a 5.12c. I don't climb much sport in the US so it's hard for me to say but a lot of people tell me .12c is a bit soft, like most of the routes in Railey/Tonsai. A key hold broke off not too long ago, before my first time on the climb. I'm not sure, but a few people have told me that it did make it harder (7c in the Thai system).
I had heard that when I was there as well. Regardless, I believe La Bab is rated .12a and I would have to say Tidal Wave is quite a bit harder. I realize grades are completely subjective, to each his own, however that thing is pumpy and quite a bit harder then it looks.
By Ryan Williams Administrator From: London (sort of) Jun 9, 2010 rating: 5.127b+27VIII+26E6 6b
You are right, Tidal Wave is a lot harder than La Bab... and in my opinion .12c is a lot harder than .12a. Hell, 12b is a lot harder than 12a! But you are right... it's harder than 12a.
You said you onsighted a lot of .12a's here. Pretty much every sport climber touches 5.12 at one point. Onsighting a .12c or even doing it on the second try is a different story.
It matters not. Tidal Wave is an excellent climb that is worth the work you put into it. Glad you had a good time!
Oh man. I feel bad for giving this a 12a. People hate me now, I am sorry.
I thought this was the same difficulty as Tonsai Playboy. Yeah, I know playboy is just a steep jugfest and Tidal Wave is much less so and technical. To me the overall effort was the same. But what do I know...
I did climb it before whatever hold that broke actually broke. I am certain the same route with one less hold is now a harder route.