“Open Book,” the FIRST 5.9 – A Rock Climbing Story

When Royal Robbins did the first free ascent of Open Book in 1952, it was one of the hardest routes in the country and became the first climb given the grade of 5.9 on the Yosemite Decimal System.

By Giant Rock | January 17th, 2021

Open Book is a historic rock climb located on Tahquitz Rock in Southern California. When Royal Robbins did the first free ascent in 1952 it was one of the hardest routes in the country and became the first climb given the grade of 5.9 on the Yosemite Decimal System. To this day Open Book remains an all-time classic and an aspiring tick for any leader.

 

[Also Read Royal Robbins: The First Ascent Of The North America Wall]

 

The route was first climbed using aid in 1947 by John Mendenhall and Harry Sutherland, two leaders of the Sierra Club. Mendenhall famously fashioned wooden pitons out of 2×4 lumber which he pounded into the wide crack on the second pitch. He then attached stirrups to the pegs and stood up in them to make upwards progress.


 

Also Watch

 

VIDEO: The Dihedral Project with Mason Earle – An Epic First Ascent Bouldering Saga

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
William
William
1 month ago

This is a pretty sorry excuse for an article on a great climb. What to not do it justice at all. Open book was given the rating of 5.9 on the tahquitz decimal system. It didn’t get renamed to the Yosemite decimal system until several years later. I seriously do t see how 3 paragraphs is an article, pathetic.