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American Crack

This route is located in the Northern Gorge Region at Fortress Wall

Hollywood Boulevard

0 votes

American Wall 5.3 R (Trad) ***

First Ascent: Bob Molzon, Dick Shori in 1977
Length: 70ft
Gear: (report bad anchors)

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This route ascends the plated face just left of American Crack. Start by climbing the wide start of American Crack then traverse left to a large horn. Continue up the face to a ledge and finish on a slab to the top.
"R" rated 5.11 Variation: Begin by climbing the face 10 feet left of the start of American Crack.
Moves: Jugs
Descent: Rap anchors
Stays Dry: Light rain
Owner: NFS

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Quality Consensus

3.16 stars (44 votes)
Grade Consensus
5.4 (34 votes)

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Submitted by: corduroy
Date: Jan 2nd, 2006

Submitted by: Ascentionist
Date: Jan 2nd, 2006


Larry Day said on January 10th, 2003
FFA: Larry Day, Bill Eidson, early 70s.
The Pirate said on June 28th, 2004
way fun...scary at the start and at the finish
Gaar said on March 7th, 2005
Direct start!! Is the shit
Stewy911 said on March 15th, 2005
none of my gear would have held. Definately would have decked but its basically a ladder.
makisupa said on April 18th, 2005
Start is a giant sandbag...but lots of fun
Gaar said on May 24th, 2005
Doing the Direct start on lead is Fun!
ReachHigh said on August 20th, 2006
Either way you do the route its a sandbag start. very cool route and a must do if your at fortress.
Anonymous said on October 27th, 2007
you might as well solo...thats what i did, your gear isnt going to hold anyways
L Day said on January 19th, 2008
Not that gear is likely to be that critical, but I remember slinging one or two of the big plates, and thinking that it would probably hold.
rjackson said on December 31st, 2008
A different climb for the crag, lots of fun. Anchor placement seemed a little contrived. Good gear, but not for beginners...5.3 makes me laugh.
Anonymous said on June 4th, 2009
Added anchor at top in large boulder on the ledge, in-line with the old cold shut anchors on th face. Two six inch Hilti bolts. No quicklinks or rap rings (yet, I may add them next time). Set at waist level to as this ledge would make a great rappel spot.
bcombs said on June 4th, 2009
Two problems.. 1) Not a good idea to put bolts in something detached no matter how big and heavy you think it is. Sand is like ball bearings. (Note: I haven't been out there in a long time so I have no diret knowledge of what the bolts were put it). 2) I hope you used a hand drill and got permission from someone.
Saxman said on June 4th, 2009
Fortress is not in Clifty so why would he need a hand drill? Replacing anchors is allowed by the Forest Service so why would he need permission? Placing the anchors in that big block I am not going to comment on. I doubt it will ever move, but it is not impossible.
pkananen said on June 4th, 2009
he didn't replace bolt for bolt, he added a new anchor.
bcombs said on June 5th, 2009
Right... he added gear, not allowed. I wasn't aware of the distiction between no drilling on FS and no drilling in Clifty. Good to know though. Still, putting an anchor in something fully detached seems like a super bad idea regardless of the size.
heacocis said on June 5th, 2009
If I recall correctly, the anchors on American Crack are in the same "detached block" that is probably something like 20'x20'x5'.
Saxman said on June 6th, 2009
He didn't ADD gear, he REPLACED an anchor, which is allowed. The real question is, how close to the old anchors do the new anchors have to be?
Saxman said on June 6th, 2009
Should the anchors on The Arrowhead at Pebble Beach be moved lower since the whole block on top can be rocked back and forth?
jonficke said on June 7th, 2009
Anchors are showing rope wear. The left bolt is rusty. Could use some chains to ease the burden, or be replaced.
Anonymous said on September 17th, 2010
In Jan of 2001 I led a variation/new route, climbing the direct start to Am Wall before moving up and right on plates (seen in Ascentionist's photo of me) and then straight up to the anchor. Key pro was slings held down with bungees, small nuts, and a tied off, hand placed lost arrow. 5.8+ R. -Dave Chenault
jay2718 said on April 12th, 2011
Great route, it takes plenty of natural gear. #4 friend in the crack, #3 friend in between 1st and second plate, chocks in slots between plates after that. An opposing #2 friend and chock in hole in the blank face at the top. I climbed to the ledge and used bolts in the wall on behind the ledge and rapped of American wall anchors. The bolts in the climb look difficult to use because there does not seem to be a stance.
aburgoon said on July 10th, 2011
Protects well with slings and even the direct is quite safe with a little rope trick. české piskovce V
DrRockso said on July 7th, 2012
Was just there yesterday and used the anchors in the big boulder at top to lower my second down. That thing ain't going no where ever, it weighs about 20 tons. Would be nice if their were some rings on them so rappelling after top out would be easier. Like everyone else said, the start is very sandbagged.
whoneedsfeet said on July 7th, 2012
Heard its only sandbagged if you can deep throat a sword.
dfspau2 said on January 4th, 2013
Should not be an R rated route... take slings and a set of stoppers and it is plenty safe...
DrRockso said on May 27th, 2015
Lower set of anchors replaced with SS glue-ins 5/23/2015. You can use these anchors for rope-drag free top roping or use the higher anchors in the block to belay from the top. Added quicklinks to the new anchors, as well as the higher anchors so you can rappel off the higher anchor now. Only 1 quicklink on each bolt so add another one to each to prevent your rope from getting twisted up on the rappel.
Anonymous said on June 15th, 2016
Direct start is pretty interesting. Much easier if you're tall!
wsimek said on May 3rd, 2018
Best single pitch 5.3 I've climbed. Do the direct start (unless you're soft).
cplu said on February 4th, 2019
As of Feb. 3 2019, there are no quick links on the ledge anchor.
said on October 5th, 2020
If youre soft, climb American Crack, then climb double ropes on this and TR with a locker until you place your first few nuts, then lead the rest. Super cool vertical nut thread to be had. 4 star nut placement practice! Fun finish.
DrRockso said on October 5th, 2020
Can't say I've ever seen anyone climbing on double ropes in the Red in a decade of climbing here. Most folks just climb american crack, top out and walk the rope over to set up a TR on American Wall. Or they just nut up and lead it proper.
Anonymous said on October 5th, 2020
Lol love how Jagghead has regressed to posting gumby comments on 5.3 trad routes now... nonetheless, this is an improvement... he's finally going through all the necessary steps of becoming an actual rock climber
Eminichello said on November 9th, 2021
This thing is a classic RRG chicken headed paradise, R rated if you dont know whats up