Altar Crack

3 Stars
 VS 4c

Adjacent Routes
<< New Mediterranean < Moolah  |  Nonsuch > Grimace >>

The clean-cut corner crack is a VS with attitude. With gear placed as high as possible, layback and jam with conviction and try not to pump out before the sanctuary of the horizontal break. A 'go for it' approach is a poor idea here. Move right a short distance and belly-flop over the top. For those who are not pumped senseless a direct exit is not much harder.
FA. Dick Brown late 1940s


From the top of the crack, an alternative finish out left is also good, and probably the same grade.
Nick Smith - 15/Jun/02

this climb is a complete bastard if you don't like laybacks!
dirk the monkey - 10/Oct/02

one of the best on the crag.
Charlie - 25/Mar/03

Felt undergraded to me.
Jamie B - 05/May/03

I had my first lead fall on this last year, but it's still a cracking route. Hard work for VS.
rich - 05/Jul/03

Classic movement & straight forward for an E1 leader, but if you`re just breaking VS and don`t like falling, make sure you like a challenge!
Salamanda - 19/Feb/04

This looks intimidating from the bottom; the crack seems to go on forever. I ran out of steam before the break and fell off... One of my best ever leads
jackie - 04/May/04

Be careful on this route !!! Am experienced VS leader; had just done Croton Oil and approached this with perhaps a bit of complacency. Put gear in as high as I could (6 ft 1) and commenced the layback. Slipped as I was level with the break and ended up with my arse about three inches from the ground (with beleyer having taken some rope in). My head (no helmet derr) also missed the 'alter' by a whisker....woke up this morning and thought about the possible consequences......
Nick W - 01/Nov/04

A sandbag at VS
Simon Lee - 08/Nov/04

I concur, a sandbag!
Jonathon Winter - 08/Nov/04

Be better with a chockstone hey Simon ;-) It is easier if you jam it.
David Simmonite - 12/Nov/04

Can see exactly why epics abound here. Excellent laybacks but tricky to finish final part after the break
mat_galvin - 06/Feb/05

What's all this gush about being a hard layback? Of course jamming cracks are harder if you don't jam them!
Iain - 04/Jul/05

Took a short fall, but then found it surprisingly easy when I actually did the moves properly and committed to the layback. Boldest bit was the slap for the top as I was too short to reach it static.
SecretSquirrel - 17/Oct/06

A compelling line, and technically simple but, up to the break for feet and beyond, pumpy. I also had just done Croton Oil but I thought this a whole grade more difficult to lead.
DuzWalker - 15/Mar/07

Colossal stuff, I reckon it's feasible (and possibly wise) to pause a few feet into the layback, for another runner - then go for the break! I had to walk to the crag (very pleasant by the river) from Hillsborough, which helped build motivation... A must for the VS leader, and jamming is another option!
john evans - 02/Aug/07

Superb if you like this sort of thing. I'm not going to get into any grade debates, but if you're a VS regular and you get this clean, I could recommend some nice E1s that you'd probably get up no problem.
Jon Leighton - 16/Dec/07

Wear a helmet! Lack of concentration as i reached the break meant my feet popped and i ended up going headfirst back towards the ground..right next to the Altar. Hard VS/HVS unless you're ^really^ a fan of long laybacks.
AlanM - 25/Feb/09

Approached this with excited anticipation and appropriate trepidation - one look told me what I was in for! Plenty of huffing and puffing, stopped for an extra runner before the break. Bomber protection if you've got the beans to stop and place it. Hardest VS I've done, but reckon the grade is cock on. Awesome.
jeffsheard - 02/Sep/09

Hard work, but I now understand why the grade is only VS 4c and not harder as many have suggested. Each move is well protected 4c, but there are just so many of them in a row! People who have jammed this must have thin hands, cos mine wouldn't go in above the first few feet.
James Cox - 08/Apr/11

What you see is what you get! A full on layback well beyond the easy gear. Either you stop mid-layback to put another runner in or keep going to the break. It's a bit milder than Crewcut and a classic VS 4c.
pero kalugerovich - 05/Mar/12

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  • Route Grade Votings

    Total votes cast 185
    hard HVS 0 of 64
    HVS 0 of 64
    easy HVS 16 of 64
    hard VS 37 of 64
    VS 11 of 64
    easy VS 0 of 64
    hard HS 0 of 64
    HS 0 of 64
    easy HS 0 of 64
    hard 5a 0 of 63
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    easy 5a 0 of 63
    hard 4c 0 of 63
    4c 0 of 63
    easy 4c 0 of 63
    hard 4b 0 of 63
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    easy 4b 0 of 63
    hard 4a 0 of 63
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    hard 3c 0 of 63
    3c 0 of 63
    easy 3c 0 of 63
    hard 3b 0 of 63
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    easy 3b 0 of 63
    hard 3a 0 of 63
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    easy 3a 0 of 63
    hard 2c 0 of 63
    2c 0 of 63
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    hard 2b 0 of 63
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    hard 2a 0 of 63
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    hard ?? 0 of 63
    ?? 0 of 63
    easy ?? 10 of 63
    hard ?? 18 of 63
    ?? 34 of 63
    easy ?? 1 of 63
    3 Stars 43 of 58
    2 Stars 15 of 58
    1 Star 0 of 58
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