Surrealistic Pillar (5.7)

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Trad Climbing
Spring, Summer, Fall
Time Required:
Less than two hours
A stout 5.7
Rock Difficulty:
5.7 (YDS)
Number of Pitches:

Route Quality: 4 Votes

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Surrealistic Pillar (5.7)
Created On: Jun 10, 2010
Last Edited On: Jun 17, 2010


For mortal climbers looking to tag a classic line at a moderate grade, check out Surrealistic Pillar on the Lower Buttress at the 'Leap. Though the route follows a striking crack system, you'll find Surreaistic Pillar to be more of a face climb- utilizing the fantastic horizontal dikes that the 'Leap is renowned for.

It is a short walk from the top of the Lower Buttress to the Main Ledge at the Leap. For the best 5.7 day you may ever have, consider linking Surrealistic Pillar with the ultra-classic Corrugation Corner (5.7). This enchainment will take you straight to the top of the Leap for an unforgettable outing.

Getting There

Surrealistic Pillar is located at the westernmost end of the 'Leap on what is known as the Lower Buttress. Take the Pony Express Trail past the boulders and make a right via a well worn climbers trail. Head up the switchbacks until you find yourself contouring the base of the Lower Buttress. Throw your rope on the ground near a small ledge that stands between the obvious dihedral to your left (Surrealistic Pillar Direct .10a) and the dirty chute (AKA Crud Gully 5.8) to your right.

Route Description

Second Pitch Wide CrackSecond pitch wide crack
Typical of most routes at Lover's Leap, Surrealistic has a bit of a wandering nature about it. Here's a breakdown of the route:

Pitch 1 Ascend the ladder of juggy dikes while traversing left. An airy step across a prominent crack puts you on the fast track straight up to a belay station offering a horizontal crack, amongst numerous other anchor possibilities. You may spy a pair of tempting bolts with rap rings to your left these are not for you. Keep your follower in mind as a tight belay may yank him or her off their purchase during the airy traverse below.

Pitch 2 Continue up the widening crack straight up for 20 feet or so until you can gain on a huge horizontal dike/flake which will allow you to traverse left around an airy corner. The small ledge next to a fairly large knob is your second belay station.

Pitch 3 Trivial and easy face climbing to the top concludes your stay on Surrealistic Pillar.

Essential Gear

Standard single rack to "2, Many slings, approach shoes for the descent.

I have heard that a number #4 Camalot makes life cozy at the first belay station but I found the hand-sized horizontal crack more than willing to accept two #2's and a #1. A #3 may als be used if you reach back far enough (just don't lose your cam...).

A #1 is a handy piece to have on pitch 1...
A .75 is a nice thing to have for pitch 2...

External Links

5.8 Variation

I'm fairly certain that when my partner and I did this route that we did the 5.8 variation which follows the wide crack straight up and then steps over to the climber's right via an easy, yet committing lunge to a standing pillar. Finger locks and delicate flake work on grainy granite leads to a sandy belay spot. Trivial climbing sends you to the top.