Although written up as a 12-pitch route on MP.com, most choose to rap after seven pitches and many of the local gym rats and sport climbers appear to work the route as an outdoor challenge/intro to trad. We ran into several who claimed they had never been beyond the 4th or 5th pitches. Therefore, this can be a crowded climb on a weekend for sure. A fully bolted variation (much easier I have been told) has been established to the left that runs up to the top of the 5th pitch and appears to have independant rap anchors.
The approach is short and in early June the route receives sun until past noon. The pitches are short and relatively soft for the grade and non-consequential with the exception of the 5th and 6th pitches. The 5th pitch is closely bolted but does require full on layback moves at the grade (5.10). The 6th pitch (crux of the route) is a one move wonder for the grade, but that move is close to being off the deck. It could almost receive an X due to the 2nd bolt’s (the one most parties would whip on) condition as of 2019. It is a spinner and gets plenty of water running through it (this 5.11a section is marred by a seepage). If fact, a young man climbing it after we did, on the same day, suffered serious injuries from falling on this bolt and had to be rescued. The bolt held but a micro piece he had placed above it zipped. The crux gets quite positive after a move or two, but it is overhanging. The 7th pitch is barely worth it but does give you a fun flake traverse to start at least. The ground above the 7th pitch appears to be more of a mixed scramble than climb.
There is a variation bolted slab start, 5.11+, located just left of the start in the crack system located just to the left of the large left facing corner. Stifflers is located 300 yards east of the popular Pentapitch. It is officially located on what they name Coal Pit Buttress. You park on the right (south) side of the road in front of a pumphouse at a small turn out that offers room for several vehicles. Cross the bridge and continue down the trail keeping your eyes out for a climber’s trail on the left, the first one you come to, maybe 5 minutes if even. Hike up the trail and then straight up a boulder field and back into the trees. A good climbers trail leads right to the base of the route. If you don’t do the boulder field straight up, the trail takes you to Pentapitch and you can just hike back left from there. Enjoy the view and action around the “Perpetual Storage” cave across the canyon whilst climbing. Reminds you that you are not in Kansas anymore.
1st Pitch- 70’-5.8/ Note that there is a fully bolted line that parallels most of this route to the left. Start up the easy cracks, flakes and shallow corners to the left of the large left facing corner, just to the right of the bolted line. Only real move at the grade, if even, is a fun short under cling after passing a tree which leads to a fixed rap on a comfy ledge.
2nd Pitch- 70’-5.8/ Slab climb through a bolt. Easy climbing up to a nice short finger crack, although you can climb to the left of it as well. Then up a dihedral to the only slightly uncomfortable belay on the route. Another fixed rap.
3rd Pitch- 80’-5.10/ Perhaps the best pitch on the route, at least from a trad perspective. Start up a fun flake leading to a roof. Climb up to the roof and make a wild reachy under-cling pull for the grade. Power up and follow the thin crack/corner on the blank slab above upward until it peters out. Traverse left and finish on slab above the grade to the belay ledge/fixed rap, or make a wild step across to a left facing corner that is more in line with the grade.
4th Pitch- 80’-5.6/ Mostly a scrambling pitch. Meander up through the trees to yet another comfortable belay/fixed rap ledge (large ledge).
5th Pitch- 120’-5.10+/ Trend up and right placing one small piece, and then just follow the bolts, closely bolted by any standard. Trend up slab that leads to a closed shallow left facing corner (crux). Palm the arete of the corner and power up steep ground through three bolts to a stance. Then traverse directly left through three additional bolts below the grade. Extend your placements on the traverse obviously to cut rope drag. Belay several meters right of the large pine at a fixed rap on a comfy ledge.
6th Pitch- 90’-5.11a/ Pull the roof via two bolts and one micro piece. The micro piece is handy due to the 2nd bolt being a spinner (no doubt the one that gets the most falls/hangs). You get the piece in just above the 2nd bolt in a horizontal. The holds are hidden horizontal features that are positive, however it is challenging to on-sight the sequence since so much is hidden from below the overhang/roof. The climbing is bold and committal off the deck (ledge below), but once you get a foot up over the roof, you can step up and place another micro piece in a right to left angling chossy corner above. Follow the corner up with a 5.10- move or two to easier ground which straightens out to a bolted (3) slab finish (5.10-) to a sloped fixed rap/belay.
7th Pitch- 60’-5.9/ A somewhat convoluted pitch, but worth doing for the under-cling start. Under-cling with good gear up and left. Stop on the small roof at about mid-way and climb up a left facing/leaning corner, keeping an eye out for several bolts leading to a comfortable fixed rap/belay ledge.
Rap the route with a single 70m rope.
MP calls for gear to #3. I honestly do not remember placing the #3 or #2 for that matter. Well bolted at the cruxes. Well exposed to the sun in June well past noon.