Easier Than It Looks (5.5, 3 Pitches)

Page Type
Route
Location:
Texas, United States, North America
Route Type:
Trad Climbing
Season:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day
Rock Difficulty:
5.5 (YDS)
Number of Pitches:
3

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Easier Than It Looks (5.5, 3 Pitches)
Created On: Jan 23, 2017
Last Edited On: Sep 14, 2018

Overview

Jack Belaying from P1

Jack Belaying from P1 Anchors



The name says it pretty well. As the leader begins each sparsely protected or unprotectable pitch, his or her head will start the psych-out game, but the climbing is mostly easy. Still, this is a good example of a "the leader must not fall" route, and despite the grade, this is not a good route for a new leader unless the goal is to learn about runout and questionable rock.




One of the longest routes at Enchanted Rock, Easier Than It Looks is a great way to spend half a day here, or a nice way for a fast party to end it. Because the route tops out on the summit (in a spot often mobbed by hikers, so be ready for strange looks and questions/comments), you can take the trail back down. If you stay harnessed up for the walk down, don't be surprised if someone asks you if you were rappelling. On the other hand, you can enjoy the sly glances from members of the opposite sex who seem to find you far more impressive than they do their out-of-shape spouses with them. ;-)

The Mountain Project page for this route says it is 300', but for whatever this is worth, it isn't; it's more like 250'. The first pitch is about 140', and that is from the very bottom, not from the top of the boulder that that page says the start is. My son and I combined the second and third pitches, and when I built my belay anchor at the end, I had not quite reached the midpoint of a 70m rope. I suppose that if you went on to belay from totally flat ground, then it might be closer to 300' in all. Small matter, but I'm just pointing it out.

Easier Than It Looks is on Devil's Slide, part of the Backside. It shares P1 anchors with Harder Than It Looks (5.6 R sport), and both routes share P2 and 3. On some websites, you may notice comments about bolts on those pitches, but those people actually were unknowingly on a different route (Mark of the Beast, 5.8).

View from the Top

View from the Top


Getting There

Set out on the Summit Trail and then take the Echo Canyon Trail. When that trail reaches a board with lots of information posted, head right on a good trail that follows the Backside and has several spur trails to various walls. Look for the Yellow Trail and take it to the base of the dome. Devil's Slide is to the left, and Easier Than It Looks starts up a slab next to a massive boulder leaning against the slab. With the picture below, you should have no trouble finding the route.

Slab and Boulder at Start

Slab and Boulder at Start


Route Description

P1-- 5.4, app. 140'. Start up the slab next to the boulder. You can get a stopper or small cam up high before the top of the boulder. The climbing up to that point is Class 4-5.2. Continue up or build an anchor and bring up the second. I just continued, but making the start a mini-pitch could have the benefit of improving communications the rest of the pitch. You can place pro at the top of the boulder if you want. After that, the first pro is in some crappy flakes. Then it's about 50 unprotected feet to another flake system (this one is better); from there head to an overlap where there are anchor bolts, and there is pro below the bolts.

P2-- 5.5. Head up and right from the anchors along a flake. You can get two cams in before the flake becomes so thin and flexible that you don't want to touch it at all; this is the last pro you will get in until you build an anchor above P3. Climb to two anchor bolts and belay, or clip one of the bolts and continue; the latter is what I did for both efficiency and to protect against a FF2 on the anchors.

P3-- 5.5. The crux of the route is the moves from the bolts to easier ground above. After that, it's almost a walk-up the rest of the way.

Start of P1

Start of P1


Jack Coming up P1

Jack Coming up P1


Looking Up from P1 Anchors

Looking Up from P1 Anchors


Start of P2

Start of P2


P2 Anchors

P2 Anchors


Jack Finishing P3

Jack Finishing P3




Essential Gear

A 50m rope works if you want to walk off. If you plan to rap, you will need two ropes to get down P1, though a 70 might get you to the top of the big boulder if you want to downclimb the rest.

Stoppers work best on P1. As mentioned, you can plug in some cams at the start of P2; I think I used the Dragon Cam equivalents of a C4 .75 and 1.

Still, you will want a "standard rack" of cams and nuts because you need to build a gear anchor at the end; my anchor included the equivalent of a C4 #4.