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Nodes in a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) are usually powered by battery. In a WSN with multi-hop communications, some routing algorithms place heavy burden of forwarding packets on nodes close to a base station, causing these nodes to drain more battery energy and die earlier than others so that lifetime of the WSN is shortened. To solve the un even energy expenditure among nodes, we present a novel clustering routing algorithm, called Grid-based Routing Algorithm with Cross-level Transmission (GRACT), in which sensing field is grouped into grids constituting several levels, a Cluster Head (CH) is set through competition in each grid, clusters are formed by way of letting non-CH nodes choose a nearest CH, and a CH in a level is only allowed to transmit to the CHs within two levels. Simulation results show that GRACT can balance the energy consumption among nodes and improve the network lifetime.