El Matador

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 44.59060°N / 104.715°W
Additional Information Route Type: Classic Stem
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: 5.10d
Sign the Climber's Log


Take the West Face Approach up the talus slope.The route starts 2 cracks right of McCarthy West Face.

Route Description

This route was originally aided by the Legendary Fred Becky and Eric Bjornstad in September of 1967. Bob Yoho and Chick Holtkamp came to the Tower, in the summer of 1978 and found that they could free climb the route. It is a Classic and the subject of many posters, calendars and a movie. Protection is Excellent.

Pitch 1. (5.9, 80 ft.) Jam the right hand crack up to the obvious belay ledge at the base of the Long Stem. You will find a 2 Big Bolt Belay. The crux is the last 15-20 ft. of the crack.

Pitch2. (5.10d, 140 ft) Feet stem, hands and fingers can jam the left hand crack. No hard moves. No easy moves. It is simply continuous, highly systematic and Wildly Enjoyable. Belay on the column top to the left from a Big Bolt Belay.

Pitch 3. (5.8, 50 ft.) Join McCarthy West Face for a pitch and climb the Classic hand crack to yet another large column top and Big Bolt Belay.

Pitch 4.( 5.10a, 160 ft.) Climb the left hand crack until feasable to traverse to the right crack. Jam that crack through both roofs and in to the chimney above. Belay at a bolted stance. The crux is passing the first roof. ( Many parties avoid this 5.10 climbing and follow McCarthy West Face Route to the summit. Others, in search of more adventure, climb the crack to the right ( La Vaca Soliraria 5.11) and rejoin El Matador above the Grey Roofs

Pitch 5. (5.5, 70 ft.) Continue up the chimney, to its end.

Essential Gear

Standard Rack,; stoppers and Friends to #3.5