Cosmic Wall

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Technical Rock Climb
Time Required:
Half a day

Route Quality: 10 Votes

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78.27% Score
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Page By:
Cosmic Wall
Created On: Oct 29, 2004
Last Edited On: Aug 2, 2005


Follow the directions on the main page for Mount Hubris to reach the SE "toe" of the formation. Approach time from trailhead is ~2 hours with some nasty bushwhacking possible in the last few hundred yards (where you leave the main Castle Dome Trail near Observation Deck).

Route Description

Chris Bonington did the first ascent of this beautiful line (information provided by Dirk - Diggler - thanks!).

Route begins at a low point on the face of Mt. Hubris. Look for a large evergreen at the base of a short, right-facing dihedral. Looking up from this point, you will see a "notch" through the roofs up above (that'll be your pitch two). Looking up from bottom of pitch 1: here.

Pitch 1: 5.4, 200 feet. Follow the juggy holds on the low angle face next to the dihedral to the top of the dihedral where there's another large evergreen tree. Keep climbing straight up. Pro becomes more scarce on this upper half of the pitch (look for a piton on your right) but the climbing is easy. Look for a small (2 foot) "tree" - the highest of the two or three trees there. That'll just about max out your 60m rope. Belay on gear.

Pitch 2: 5.6, c. 100 feet. Climb the juggy "weakness" straight up and slightly right. You're aiming for a "notch" through the roofs above. Pro is good on this pitch and includes a nice-looking piton as well as slinging some horns (and a small "rock bridge"). Crux of the pitch is the rightward step to reach a detached flake with a bush on it. Belay on the comfy ledge from two bolts.

Pitch 3: 5.5, c. 120 feet. Climb straight up from the belay (moving off the belay ledge is the crux). Pro is mediocre here consisting mostly of cam placements in shallow flaring grooves. Belay from a bolted anchor.

Pitch 4: 5.4, c. 70 feet. Climb up and begin diagonalling slightly left. Belay off gear on a spacious ledge.

Pitch 5: 5.6, c. 160 feet. Climb up a ramp system made up of large flakes. Reach a third class ledge with a small tree on it and climb another 50 feet or so till you reach the notch. Belay off gear.

Pitch 6: 5.6, c. 70 feet. This is pitch 6 as the guide book describes it (it's probably easier and safer to climb straight up the summit ridge - see Variation below). Move left 20 feet to reach the base of a low-angle chimney. Move up the chimney, clip a piton and smear your way another 10 feet to easier ground. Belay off the bolted rap anchor at the summit.

Variation: This is a variation to pitch 6 as was done by the previous maintainer of this route page (rhlaird).
We veered right and belayed in a notch above an old bolt. Final pitch followed a knife edge ridge over the top. Plenty of gear placements until last pitch. Make your way to the back of the summit where you will find large rappel chains.

One double 60 m rap will bring you to the ground. Or do two single 60 m raps (second rap is off a good tree with many slings/rap rings on it - thanks rhyang for this info). Scramble down class 3 terrain down the gully.

Essential Gear

The route takes cams. Probably had a total of 3 or 4 nut placements on the six pitches. In terms of sizes, used all cams from about a green Alien (~1/3 inch) to #3.5 Camalot (though up to #3 is probably sufficient). Pitch one belay (where we chose it) could've used something bigger (like a #4 Camalot to back up the bush) but definitely not essential. Single 60m rope would've been sufficient probably.

Route Overview

Photo topo of pitches 1 through 5: here.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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MichaelJ - Aug 16, 2008 12:56 pm - Hasn't voted

skip the chimney

Agreed about the variation on the last pitch. I started up the chimney in approach shoes and it was totally insecure and scary. I down climbed and tried the flakes to the right, which were fun and easy. Should have read this page before climbing the route.

olsztynr - Oct 12, 2015 2:38 pm - Voted 7/10

Left ramp on pitch 5

I've climbed this route twice now, once using the higher, left ramp of pitch 5, and once using the lower right ramp. I definitely recommend the left ramp as the belay ledge and anchor placement options felt much more comfortable and secure. I didn't take a picture of it myself, but you can see the comfy ledge with tree here (5th pic from top):

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