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Page Type: Route

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 33.77090°N / 116.6967°W

Object Title: Surprise

Route Type: Trad Climbing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Time Required: Less than two hours

Rock Difficulty: 5.8 (YDS)

Difficulty: Some Runouts

Number of Pitches: 3

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: Blair

Created/Edited: Nov 6, 2009 / Nov 6, 2009

Object ID: 571113

Hits: 2071 

Page Score: 72.82%  - 3 Votes 

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Approach to Weeping Wall

The Climber's trail up to Suicide Rock, from the Fern Valley Road parking area, will go up the hill and end near the Buttress of Cracks and The Weeping Wall. Look for the litter at the base of the Weeping Wall. Gain the wall and start of the route, near a pine tree at a small crack/corner. This is Surprise 5.8 R

Route Description

P1- A medium nut protects the start of the route in the corner (.7), then move up and left on nice face holds (5.4 R) for a very long way (50ft) to a 3 bolt belay on a comfy ledge. 100ft to ground from here.

P2- Move Right off the belay on a tapering ledge, then face climbing straight up leads to a bolt (5.8 R). Continue up 20 ft on a beautiful thin white dike (.8) to a small right facing corner. Climb the corner (.5) to its end, and move up and left to a 3 bolt belay.
2nd Pitch of Surprise

View from Belay of 2nd Pitch

P3-From the belay, go left and gain a yawning flared crack. Climb up the crack past a fixed piton (.7) to the top, passing thru a bush.

Variations of Surprise

There are many variations of this route:

P1 Variation #1- Climb the original start, and go more up than left (.7 face) to gain the 1st bolt on Duck Soup. This adds rope drag but protects the runout better. Then go up and left (.6) to the 3 bolt belay.

P1 Variation #2- Climb the right facing corner of the far left side of the weeping wall, right of the Commencement slab (.6) After 20 ft, pass a horn, climb 10 ft and place gear, traverse right (.5) up onto the face up to the anchor.

P1 Variation #3- Go straight up the face (.9 R) for the 1st pitch of Clam Chowder to the belay. No gear.

P3 Variation- From the belay, climb straight up to small pockets right of the yawning crack (.7) and stay on the right edge of the crack until flakes and pro become available higher up as you go (.6) Continue to the top of the rock. Recommended Finish. Gear-thin to 2in.

Essential Gear

-60M rope
-Anchor setups
-4 QuickDraws
-Gear small to 2 inches
-5 runners

A basic, small rack of nuts and small cams along with some draws are good for all variations.


From the top move up and left to a 2 bolt chain to rap 80ft to a notch. Downclimb easy 3rd to Paisano Ledge, There will be another 2 bolt chain to rap another 80ft in a notch. Downclimb 4th class terrain to bottom.

First Ascent

This was the first climb done on the Weeping Wall. In April 1966, Pat Callis and Larry Reynolds came up to Suicide Rock to take a look. Tahquitz was much more popular, and Suicide thought to be too steep to climb, and with no pro on the long smooth looking faces.

They climbed this route, and named it so because they were so surprised that it went so well, and was such nice rock! The two of them would be part of many other spectacular climbs at Suicide Rock.


2nd Belay of Surprise2nd Pitch of Surprise