Steve Bartlett sent me the following email that provides additional information for those climbing the Three Cracks Route:
My wife and I climbed the Three Cracks Route a couple weeks ago. We have a few suggestions.
1. The initial pitch that we did was a nice left-facing dihedral leading to the tree belay on the 5.10 route–a long pitch and harder than 5.6. Is there an easier start somewhere else?
2. We did the 5.10 route the next day and it was excellent. However, the topo which I hastily scribbled down from the web site topo was not entirely accurate. Pitch 2 has no bolts but the topo mentions a couple. Pitch 3 has one bolt, not two. Odd mistakes for a topo drawn by one of the first ascenders or am I just blind as a bat? Pitch 1 (referred to as 5.9/5.10) is a bit of a sandbag. Not sure what it actually is, as I traversed left about 15 feet at the third bolt, then up edges to some fist-sized holes at 5.9+ish, very R. Then traversed right easily above the last bolt and did not clip it at all. Surely direct it must be 5.10. My partner came up more direct, about 6 feet right of the last bolt (again, there are 4 bolts, not 5) at about mid 5.10. Pitch 6 weighs in at about 5.10c. Thin friction moves, very cool, on sticky granite. A great pitch.
3. The bolts (though fine right now) are destined for a short life span and are very disappointing for a modern route. Rawl Buttonheads (I wonder how long?) with what was referred to 20 years ago as “Death Hangers” where the leverage of a fall or hang pulls directly out on the bolt. A shame on such a fine route.
4. The first pitch ends at a small tree. Unfortunately this is probably also destined for a short life span due to the removal of dirt around its roots (hard to avoid) and, more seriously, some folks appear to have been rappelling (or even lowering?) directly off the trunk. The bark looks pretty scarred from ropes being pulled. We left a sling and a leaver-biner here. Anyway, a fine route. The 2 climbers from Boise who climbed the 5.10 while we did the 5.6 must have gotten back to their car about midnight. Pretty funny for a “Grade II.” I’d like to come back sometime; the cliff is huge! The drive from Colorado is pretty darn long though.