East Crack

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.79940°N / 120.135°W
Additional Information Route Type: Technical Rock Climb
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.8
Sign the Climber's Log


East Crack was first ascended by TM Herbert and George Webster in 1966. It is a fine 3-pitch climb on the East Wall, and often has a waiting line to get on it, a testament to its quality. The top of the 2nd pitch ends at Bushy Ledge, which is the confluence of 4 routes - Bear's Reach, East Crack, East Wall, and Between the Lines.


East Crack is on the East Wall (go figure), so following the directions from the main page, proceed up the last use trail adjacent to the Hogsback and then to the base of the wall. Contour the base to the right (south-southwest) past to the double cracks of East Crack, turn left, go up.

Route Description

Pitch One is a very fun pitch, very well protected, and doesn't need a lot of explanation. East Crack follows a pair of parallel cracks, going over a fun three-tiered roof, another small roof, and then ending at an adequate belay ledge just left of the left crack. This pitch is probably only 5.6 or 5.7, and is an excellent warm-up for the climbing on the second pitch.

Pitch Two starts out slightly less steep, but the crack is more rounded and incipient, and footwork takes precedence. The pro is also scattered back and forth between the 2 cracks, so use long slings to avoid heinous rope drag. In my opinion, one the most difficult sections on the climb is just after the belay, where the route jogs right to follow the holds, and then jogs back left to regain the left side crack. It isn't any harder than 5.8, but it sometimes seems like it. Due to the insecurity of this section (and one move a ways above this) I decided on my initial outing on this climb that I didn't like it. I have climbed it twice more since then, and my regard for the route has changed for the better.

After this insecure section, the climbing is again fun for a while, and you will climb up to a steep little headwall that requires a commiting pinch move. The pro is a little shaky, and you reach over your head and pinch a 2 inch vertical rib with your left hand and pull hard. After you pull this move, the angle lays back, and it's a cruise to the Bushy Ledge, a vegetation-free belay spot with several comfortable stances. This ledge system is the belay spot for 4 routes, Bear's Reach, East Crack, Between the Lines, and East Wall, so expect it to be draped in climbers.

Pitch 3 is mostly 3rd and 4th class, with only one move of 5th class (unless you exit via the direct finish, which has a couple more 5th class moves), requiring the use of a secret hold. This "secret" hold is not much of a secret. While thrutching around on the smooth face below it, you will be reaching ever higher in the crack, and eventually your hand will fall in this hidden incut, and the climb is mostly over. As the rock angle decreases, you may exit to the right via a sloping ramp, or continue straight up an overhanging hand crack for a couple of moves.

From the top of the East Wall, descend eastward into the forest and catch the use trail that skirts around the northeast end of the wall and dumps you out on the Pony Express Trail near where you left it to approach the East Wall.

Essential Gear

Standard trad rack with pro to 3", lots of long slings, comfy edging shoes, and some walk-off footwear.