Route Selection

"If you want the big rewards, you gotta tackle the hard problems. If not, well, I hear there's a good climbing game you can play on your computer."    — Lord Slime.

Here's a selection of the best routes we've climbed, those I've featured on my site, super classics, routes that scared me enough that I want to warn others, good memories, hard summits, bailed climbs I have yet to finish, firsts ascents... Click on the first row to sort the table by various methods. The grades are expressed in whatever system is used locally:

Those grading systems should be familiar to most climbers. As for the Alaska scale or the NZ scale, who knows...? A few of the grades I gave from memory, so they might not be too accurate, others are purposefully different from the guidebooks (particularly for ice).

Personally I think there aren't any 'boring' routes. Either something is dangerous and no one should go on it, or it's as good as a good day of climbing can be. So I gave a personal opinion on those routes, in the form:

***
better than a night with a top model,
**
worth leaving early in the morning while the family ain't watching,
*
better than a day at work or watching TV,
0
there be daemons.

There are a few other abbreviations in this list:

FA
First ascent
SA
Solo ascent
FSA
First solo ascent...

Pass the mouse above the route descriptions to see a picture (if available). Just reload the page if you want to hide all the pictures. Click on the images to view the content of the corresponding CD of images.




AlaskaDenaliWest RidgeMountainPD1995/06*Crowded and rather flat. Rather boring.
AlaskaHunterWest RidgeMountainD1995/07**Varied and steep.
AlaskaPrindleThe CherryTrad5.9 III1995/08*FA on licheny rock.
AntarcticaIcebergsAnyIceAI41993/09*Nice pictures but the very worst ice in the world.
ArizonaCochise StrongholdWelcome to the machineSport5.10 III2003/12**A good route, all bolted (only take one 2 cam) and easier than its grade."
ArizonaGranite MountainDislocation directTrad5.6 II2002/12**Very nice route for a beginning trad leader. Solo.
ArizonaGranite MountainWaterstreak DelightTrad5.10 III2003/11**Tiny flakes on 1st two pitches, followed by amazingly airy hand traverse under roof. Dangerous for the second.
ArizonaMnt LemonChimney RockTradMostly 5.102003/11**Several interesting long pitches on large grain granite.
ArizonaThe MaceEast face - regular routeTrad5.9 III2001/12**Nice tower and impressive step to reach the summit.
BriançonLocal cliffsVariousTrad/SportVarious2004*Lots of stuff, good for local climbing, almost all season.
BriançonMeijeEpinards HallucinogènesTrad/Sport6b ED-1996***High altitude, sustained climbing and long route.
BriançonTête d'Aval de MontbrisonVoie KelleTrad/Sport7a1991**A friend's route, a bit uneven.
Briançoncrins - Pic sans nomAurore NucléaireTradED2004*Great settings, not very sustained, dangerous start and lot of loose rock for the rappel.
Briançoncrins - SagnetteSoleil glacialSportTD2004***Excellent sustained multipitch climbing with short approach.
Briançoncrins - SialouzeAttaque à main arméeTrad/SportED2004**Great rock, great view, great route but long approach and still crowded.
BriançonAilefroide - PalavarLa voie des maitresTrad/SportED2004**Nice route with short approach, some very cruxy moves.
BriançonAilefroide - PalavarLa vie devant soiTrad/SportTD+2004**Just a few hard moves.
BriançonAilefroide - EboulementDerborenceSportED-2004**A great crack pitch.
BriançonAilefroide - RiouLa mèche fataleSportED-2004**Short approach and a couple good moves.
BriançonCerces - Tour TermierMarmotta impazzitaSportED2004**Don't remember.
BriançonCerces - Tête colombeEncore du DéversSportED2004**Very sustained from the start to the end.
BriançonCerces - Rocher RobertSpit mugissantSportTD2004**Interesting but not very long.
BriançonCerces - 3eme tour de QueyrellinLes dents de CirielleSportED2004**Some excellent and very sustained pitches.
BriançonTenailles de MontbrisonVariousSportTD/ED2004**Several excellent and similar routes, most of them well bolted.
CalabriaPolinoNew routesTrad6a/b II1999/07*Some FA on virgin limestone.
CaliforniaJoshua TreeVariousTradPlenty2003/11**Plenty of nice routes but far from each others, so it's hard to do more than 4~5 pitches per day.
CaliforniaLake TahoeEagle Lake CliffTrad5.10 mostly2003/07*Some very nice trad lines in a sport climbing setting.
CaliforniaLover's LeapHospital CornerTrad5.10a2003/07*Nice dihedral.
CaliforniaLover's LeapThe GrooveTrad5.82003/07*Nice wake up with the shortest approach possible.
CaliforniaLover's LeapTraveler's buttressTrad5.92003/07*Nice exposed route.
CaliforniaNeedlesAiry InterludeTrad5.10a II2003/10**Exposed hand traverse.
CaliforniaNeedlesThin IceTrad5.10b II2003/10**Beautiful area away from the crowds, Yosemite-like cracks.
CaliforniaSugarloafVariousTradVarious2003/07**Some excellent lines but we couldn't do the upper pitches due to excess wind.
CaliforniaSuicideVariousTrad5.102003/11**Great rock, a bit runout.
CaliforniaTahquizOpen BookTrad5.92003/11*A Royal Robins route, so expect it to be hard for the grade...
CaliforniaTuolumneFairview Dome - Lucky StreaksTrad5.10d III2003/08**Sustained on smooth knobs, interesting.
CaliforniaTuolumneFairview Dome - Regular RouteTrad5.9 III2003/07*One or two interesting pitches only, too crowded and polished at the base.
ChamonixArgentièrePetit VikingMixedAI3 III1991/01*Long approach and still crowded.
ChamonixDent du GéantNormal routeMountain4+ D1998/08**Incredibly crowded by totally deficient 'climbers'.
ChamonixMt BlancPilier Central du FreneyMountain6b ED1998/08***Mythical highest rock route on Mt Blanc, very steep and varied. Quite a testpiece.
ColoradoBlack CanyonScenic CruiseTrad5.10+ V2002/09***Long and incredibly sustained, routes don't come any better than this.
ColoradoBoulder - Third FlatironStandard East FaceTrad5.4 II2002/11*Too boring if you can lead above 5.4, too runnout if you cannot.
ColoradoBreckenridgeLincoln FallsIceWI32002/02**Lots of possibilities, crowded.
ColoradoClimbingShelf RoadSportVarious2002/01*Main limestone area in Colorado, plenty of stuff.
ColoradoEldorado CanyonGreen SpurTrad5.9 II2001/08**Not as crowded as the Yellow one.
ColoradoEldorado CanyonNaked EdgeTrad5.11a III2003/12*Crowded, way harder than the grade, some dicey pro, all polished and overall I didn't enjoy it.
ColoradoEldorado CanyonYellow SpurTrad5.9 III2001/08**Good but crowded.
ColoradoFort CollinsBoulderingBoulderVarious2002/01*Used to be better but most of it is now destroyed or off-limits until they reopen the dams.
ColoradoGarden of the GodsMiscSportVarious2001/05*Scary soft sandy rock but magical settings.
ColoradoMt ElbertNormalSkiMSA2002/04*Late spring slush on the highest summit of Colorado.
ColoradoOurayHorsetail fallsIceWI4 II2002/01**Longer than the Ice Park.
ColoradoRMNP - HalletCulp-BossierTrad5.8 III2002/01**Good long route.
ColoradoRMNP - Loch ValeMixed FeelingsMixedM52000/12**Single hard pitch with easier stuff nearby.
ColoradoRMNP - Longs PeakCasual RouteTrad5.10 IV2002/02***Visible from the entire Front Range and well worth the drooling: steep, intimidating, long, high up, a long way from the parking lot...
ColoradoRMNP - Longs PeakFields ChimneyTrad5.82002/020Heinous mistake.
ColoradoRMNP - Longs PeakKiener'sTrad5.4 III2001/08*From Broadway to the top of Longs Peak.
ColoradoRMNP - Longs PeakLambs SlideMountainII AI22002/06*Snow/ice gully that gets you to Broadway, worth doing in good conditions.
ColoradoRMNP - Longs PeakStetner's LedgesTrad5.7+ II2001/08**Nice way to get to Broadway, watch for rockfalls on the right.
ColoradoRMNP - Lumpy RidgeMainlinerTrad5.92001/09**Classic of Sundance.
ColoradoRMNP - Lumpy RidgeSidetrackTrad5.92001/09**Just left and better than Mainliner, more sustained and runout.
ColoradoRMNP - Lumpy RidgeThe NoseTrad5.10a2002/04**Interesting.
ColoradoRMNP - Lumpy RidgeTurn KornerTrad5.10a2002/10**Offwidth not as bad as its reputation.
ColoradoRMNP - Mt AliceCentral RampTrad5.8 III2002/07**Remote good route.
ColoradoRMNP - Petit GréponWestTrad5.9 III2002/01**Crowded.
ColoradoRMNP - SpearheadSyke-SicleTrad5.9+ III2002/01**Flaky.
ColoradoRMNPAll Mixed upIceAI3 M32002/01**Easy if good conditions.
ColoradoRMNPGrace FallsIceAI42002/01**Nice playground.
ColoradoRMNPWest GullyIceAI32002/01**Long approach for a short easy climb.
ColoradoSilvertonStairways to HeavenIceWI42003/01/03**Excellent ice climb. Solo in 1h. Avalanche prone.
ColoradoVailThe FangIceWI5+2002/02***Mythical (if it doesn't collapse on you).
DakotaMt RushmoreVariousSport5.82002/09**Nice relaxed place. Smooth.
DakotaNeedlesEye of the NeedleTrad5.102002/09**Magical and runout. The inside for the picture, the outside for the runout factor.
DolomiteCivetta - Torre di BabeleGoedeke/RienTrad6a1999/08*Runout old pitons.
DolomiteCivetta - Torre VeneziaWest faceTrad6a1999/08**Good route.
DolomiteLavaredo - PiccolissimaCassinTrad6b1999/08*Scarry runouts on old pitons and pinch holds.
DolomiteLavaredoDibonaTrad5 D1999/08*Easy on lots of very loose ground. Quick.
DolomiteLavaredoSpigolo GialloTrad6b1999/08**Good and crowded.
EcuadorChimborazoNormal RouteMountainPD1994/08*Snow slog.
EcuadorChimborazoNew RouteMountainPD+1994/08*Just another snow slog.
EcuadorCotopaxiNormal RouteMountainPD1994/08*Snow slog.
EcuadorIlinizaNormal routeMountainPD+1994/08*Somewhat more interesting than the other volcanoes.
FranceCeuseVariousSportVarious2004***Major sport climbing, not much easy stuff. No climbing in winter.
FranceFontainebleauVariousBoulderingVarious1990-92**Every boulder you could wish for.
Gran SassoCorno GrandeCanale BissolatiSkiOSA1994/12**Classic hard ski descent. Called the 'killer chute' for good reasons.
Gran SassoCorno GrandeDiretta ConsiglioTradTD VI-1994*Fairly good with some loose stuff at the end.
Gran SassoCorno PiccoloIskraTradD- V-1994*Super classic crowded easy route.
Gran SassoCorno PiccoloNE ridgeTradAD- IV-1994*Quickest descent.
Gran SassoCorno PiccoloSpigolo a destra della crepaTradTD VI-1994**Long and good.
Gran SassoFiamme di PietraVia del TettoTradD+ V1996**Excellent rock, long approach.
Gran SassoFiamme di PietraVia GervasuttiTradTD- VI-1996**Excellent rock.
Gran SassoIntermésoliConca del SambucoSkiBSA1994/12*Remote ski descent.
Gran SassoMonolitoUra mawashi tobi geri jodanTradTD+ VI1994**Nice way to reach the Monolito. Offwidth..
Gran SassoMonolitoVia Di Federico-De LucaTradTD V+1994**Nicest (and easiest) route on the Monolito.
Gran SassoParetoneCresta NordTradD IV+1994/09**Complete remoteness on this gigantic route. The rock has an underserved bad reputation.
Gran SassoParetoneDiretta Alessandri-LeoneTradTD V+1994*Isolation and austerity.
Gran SassoParetoneHaas-AcitelliMountainAI2 III1997/04*2nd longest route in the Appenines. Avalanche gully...
Gran SassoParetoneJanettaMountainAI2 M2 IV1996/04*Longest route in the Appenines, facing east gets the sun early.
Gran SassoParetoneTre VetteMountainD IV1994/06*Traverse of all the summits, very long and lots of loose rock.
Gran SassoPrima SpallaMeridionalizziamociTradTD+ VI+1996**Good recent route, mostly slab and finger holes. FSA.
Gran SassoPrima SpallaStefano TribioliTradTD+ VI+1997**Classic slab.
Gran SassoSeconda SpallaIcosaedroTradTD+ VII-1994**Classic slab.
HimalayaChoOyuNormal routeMountainVI2000/10**8201m for a big expedition without sherpa or oxygen.
IdahoCity of RocksVariousTrad+SportVarious2003/07**Short approaches, good mix of trad and sport routes.
IdahoSawtooth MountainAstro ElephantTrad5.10b III2003/07**A sustained route with too many traverses and routefinding difficulties to make it a true classic.
IdahoSawtooth MountainSuperSlabTrad5.10 II2003/07*Incredibly smooth routes on old manky bolts.
MarsDecisionFuture RouteFictionImaginary2100?Fiction.
NevadaRed RocksCrimson ChrysalisTrad5.8+ III2001/10**Classic with too many bolts and too many people waiting in line at the base.
NevadaRed RocksDark ShadowsTrad5.8- II2001/10**Good short easy classic.
NevadaRed RocksEagle DanceSport5.10- IV2001/12**Good and remote.
NevadaRed RocksEpinephrineTrad5.9 V2001/10***Fantastic(ally strenuous) route.
NevadaRed RocksInti WatanaTrad5.10 III2003/10**12 pitches of mostly bolted climbing after a long approach and thus away from crowds.
NevadaRed RocksLevitation 29Trad/Sport5.11 IV2001/12***Very sustained excellent face climbing.
NevadaRed RocksPower FailureTrad5.10 II2003/10**3 pitches of excellent trad intermixed with bolts; take a light rack and combine it with Unimpeacheable Groping for a *** day.
NevadaRed RocksPrince of DarknessSport5.10c III2001/10**Very sustained face climbing.
NevadaRed RocksResolution ArêteTrad5.11+ V2003/10**Probably the longest route at Red Rocks. Disconnected crack systems; very time consuming if you want to pull all 24 pitches in a day. No bolt, no belay.
NevadaRed RocksRock WarriorTrad5.10R III2003/10**Just like the Prince of Darkness and a few meters to its left, but without the bolts! Constant runout and good climbing.
NevadaRed RocksSolar SlabTrad5.6 III2001/12**Long easy slab, great winter route.
NevadaRed RocksUnimpeachable GropingSport5.10 III2003/10**7 pitches of excellent fully bolted face climbing; combine it with Power Failure for a *** day.
NevadaRed RocksYellow Brick RoadTrad5.10 III2001/10***Very sustained face climbing.
New ZealandAspiringSouth West RidgeMountainNZ3-1994/02**Some boulder moves on the ridge.
New ZealandElie de BaumontMt GreenMountainNZ22000/02*Nice traverse, dangerous descent.
New ZealandMalte BrunFull West RidgeMountainNZ32000/02*Fairly good rock.
New ZealandMt CookCopland PassMountainNZ1994/02*A hike with crampons.
New ZealandMt CookEast RidgeMixedNZ41994/02**Very long mixed route, you'd better be ready to solo a good part of it to save time.
New ZealandMt CookLinda GlacierMountainNZ31994/02*Dangerous but quickest way down.
New ZealandMt CookPorter ColMountainNZ22000/020Insanely dangerous.
New ZealandMt CookWest RidgeMountainNZ3+2000/02***Very nice long rock route, but how do you get down ?
New ZealandMt TasmanSilberhornMountainNZ31994/02**Very scenic.
New ZealandSeftonNorth RidgeMountainNZ3+2005/12**Good technical climbing, long descent.
New ZealandTaranaki-EgmontTrailsHikingNZ1994/02*Hike.
New ZealandTasmanNorth SoulderMountainNZ22000/02**Easy, scenic and safe.
OregonSmith RocksDihedral/Morning Glory WallSportVarious2003/07*Good sport climbing but nothing earth shattering.
OregonSmith RocksLower GorgeTrad5.10 and above2003/07**Excellent single pitch cracks.
OregonSmith RocksMesa VerdeSportVarious2003/07*Climbing on pebbles sticking out of a mud wall or so it seems.
PeruAlpamayoFerrari directMountainAI2 D1995/07**Well worth the pictures...
PeruCashanWest sideMountain4+ AI2 D1995/07**Very hard and hair-raising final ridge.
PeruChacrarajuAmerican DirectMountainAI5 ED ?1995/08*Insane snow overhangs on top.
PeruChopicalquiNormal RouteMountainAD1995/08**Nice view on Huascaran from there.
PeruHuascaran NorthFrench DirectMountain5+ AI2 A2 TD+1995/08***Great long varied route. FSA.
PeruHuascaran SouthEscudoMountainAI2 D1995/07**Can't get any more direct. Solo.
PeruRanrapalcaSlovenian RouteMountain4 AI2 D+1995/08**Interesting.
PeruTocllarajuWest RidgeMountainAI2 D1995/08**Nice pyramid. Solo.
SardegnaGoloritzeAgugliaTrad6b II1998/05*A large rock on the beach presenting the hardest normal route in Italy.
UtahCapitol ReefVariousTradVarious2003/11*Some single pitches of sandstone crack, great potential but not very developped yet.
UtahMoab - Ancient ArtStolen ChimneyTrad5.8 A0 II2001/05***Incredibly shaped summit well worth the soft rock.
UtahMoab - Arches National ParkOwl rockTrad5.8 I2001/05**How to impress the tourists.
UtahMoab - Bridger Jack SpiresEast face of Sunflower TowerTrad5.10+ II2003/11**A boulder move on the 1st pitch, a great hand crack that turns into an off-finger crux and a sandy final pitch.
UtahMoab - Castleton towerKor-IngallsTrad5.9 III2001/05**Nice varied route on the most famous tower.
UtahMoab - Indian CreekSupercrackTrad5.10 I2001/05***The most famous crack in the world. Stand in line and trade your cams.
UtahMoab - LighthouseLonely VigilTrad5.10 III2003/11**A funky first pitch followed by a wild stem pitch and more.
UtahMoab - Moses TowerPrimrose dihedralTrad5.10+ A1 III2002/10***Sustained and varied testpiece.
UtahMoab - RectoryFine JadeTrad5.11 III2003/11***Excellent climb on great rock with 3 hard and very different pitches.
UtahMoab - Sister SuperiorJah ManTrad5.10 II2002/10**Good but too short.
UtahMoab - South Six ShooterSouth faceTrad5.6 II2001/05*Introduction to desert towers.
UtahMoab - Washer WomanIn search of sudsTrad5.10 III2003/11**Very soft rock on most of the route but great views on the Colorado basin.
UtahZionIron MessaiahTrad5.10 III2003/11**Good all free trad route in Zion.
UtahZionNorth East buttress of Angel LandingTrad5.11R III2003/11**Very sustained, very good, quite runout and really no more than 5.10, but be solid if you go.
VerdonEscalèsLa DemandeSport6a IV1990/04***Long and old classic.
VerdonEscalèsLa UlaTrad/Sport6b IV1991/04***Long and old classic with a hard offwidth crux.
VerdonEscalèsRoumagaouTrad6b III1991/04*Varied.
WyomingDevil's TowerEl MatadorTrad5.11a2001/09***Incredible stemming.
WyomingDevil's TowerVariousTradVarious2002/09**Lots of very good rock, very good cracks and very dumb tourists.
WyomingDome RockVariousTradVarious2003/04*Nice lonely place on a good granite similar to Vedauwoo. Drive to it from the closest (forbidden) dirt road.
WyomingFremont CanyonVariousTrad+SportVarious2003/040Rock either brittle or slippery. Either too hot or too cold. Didn't like the place at all.
WyomingGrand TetonFull Exum RidgeTrad5.7 III2002/08**High and long.
WyomingVedauwooMRCTrad5.9 II2002/06*From bloody offwidth to better things.
WyomingWind RiverPingoraTrad5.2 II2003/07**Beautiful setting, good rock. Quite crowded for such a remote place.
YosemiteEl CapitanEast ButtressTrad5.10b III1995/08**Easiest free way up El Cap.
YosemiteEl CapitanSalathé WallBig Wall5.10 A2 VI2003/10**Harder than the Nose with a lot more chimneys (you'll need a #6 friend on at least 5 pitches).
YosemiteEl CapitanTriple DirectBig Wall5.9 A2 VI1995/08***Nose variation with more free climbing.
YosemiteHalf DomeRegular NW faceBig Wall5.10 A1 V2003/09**26 great pitches doable in a day if you are fast.
YosemiteHalf DomeSnake DykeTrad5.7 R1995/08***Pure slab. Solo.
YosemiteHigher Cathedral SpireRegular routeTrad5.91995/08**Nice.
YosemiteHigher CathedralBraille BookTrad5.8 III1995/08**Not so easy, slippery start.
YosemiteHigher CathedralEast buttressTrad5.10c III1995/08**Good but crowded.
YosemiteLost Arrow SpireLost Arrow TipAid5.8 A21995/08**Exposed tyrolean traverse.
YosemiteMiddle CathedralCentral Pillar of FrenzyTrad5.9 III2003/09**Nice but crowded; take the time to (try to) top-rope the Bircheff-Williams dihedral as you rap down.
YosemiteMiddle CathedralDNBTrad5.10b IV1995/08*Hard, long and quite runout.
YosemiteMiddle CathedralEast ButtressTrad5.10a III2003/10*Incredibly crowded, even using the variations to pass.
YosemiteMiddle CathedralStoner's HighwayTrad5.10b III2003/10**Pure face climb on tiny pockets, bolted but runout, many traverses for the second\; interesting and exciting.
YosemiteNorth DomeCrest Jewel DirectSport5.10d III2003/09**The longest slab I have ever seen, never a hold, never a ledge, never a crack; you either love it or hate it. A bit runout but safe. Absolutely worth doing once...
YosemiteReeds PinnacleReeds PinnacleTrad5.10 II2003/08**A good complete route (you must do the last offwidth pitch though); also do the excellent Lunatic Fringe and Stone Groove nearby.
YosemiteRoyal ArchesSerenity Crack+Sons of YesterdayTrad5.10d1995/08**Hard, sustained, crowded, interesting.
YosemiteSentinelSteck-SalathéTrad5.10b IV2003/09**12 pitches of offwidth or squeeze out of 15, burly but not as hard as the story goes. Worth doing if only for the infamous 'Narrows'.
YosemiteShultz' RidgeMoratoriumTrad5.11b III2003/10**A sustained dihedral that takes you to the base of the East Ridge of El Cap, why not keep climbing?