|Big Bend Butte
An unsung classic. Pitch 1- 5.10 climbing with a little bit of everything thrown in. Loose and silty in places but really engaging, worthy climbing that ends at Metolius rap hangers at a nice stance. (120 ft) Pitch 2- a wild traverse left(about 40 ft)from the belay past a couple of excellent bolts, with a few natural gear placements as well... when you reach the off-fingers crack(the route's crux), climb on up. This pitch also ends at some nice steel anchors- 5.11 PG-13(70-ish feet). Pitch 3- The Money... around 100 feet of splitter hands on a beautiful steep, varnished Wingate medium. A few bulges thrown in for good measure. At 3/4 height, at a sloping stance, we traversed right into the finger crack that becomes off-width and ends up in the alcove at the obvious anchors. Amazing pitch 5.10+. Pitch 4 a blue-collar squeeze chimney- make those old boys proud. There's a marginal cam placement deep inside about 15 feet up and a pin in a horizontal that can be backed up with a cam as well. Squeeze for 35 feet or so and then exit, eventually ending up on a ledge. Forth class romp up to tag the summit. This route was one of my most enjoyable outings to date.
Park at the large boulder just before the Big Bend campground on the left side of the road as you are coming from Moab. Cross the road and pick-up the approach trail winding up the talus to the base of the towers (approx 25 min). The route is located on Big Bend Butte on the broad west facing wall to the left (north) of the Dolomite spire as seen looking up from the big-bend area parking lot. There are two prominent cracks splitting this upper wall. The left most and thinner crack is Clearlight. The wide-offwidth crack more to the right may be Dolomight, but I am unsure. Start in the shaley, silty, broken left facing corner to the left of Infrared, this pitch begins with a 15 foot blocky,loose scramble and then starts off the climbing in a finger crack flake of sorts that leads to the corner system. YOU WILL NEED 2 6O METER ROPES TO RAP! Basically rap the route- you have options for which anchors you use, but it should be obvious.
Bring triples of blue #2 metolius size to #3 camalots, and probably 2 old-style #4 camalots and an optional old #5. Also, bring 15 alpine-style draws or over-the-shoulder slings. As of the 11th of November 2007, the anchor webbing on the 3rd pitch bolts was poor (faded, girth hitched nylon/spectra directly in the standard bolt hangers), and the final 4th pitch anchor which consists of a rotten tangle of desert variety 'round a large leaning flake was borderline deadly. Please be a hero- bring ample webbing (20 feet should be plenty)and remove and replace the junk.
BETA PHOTO: Clearlight 5.11 PG13***
2nd pitch traverse. Crumbly... Scary...
Start of Pitch 4
|By Jason Nelson|
From: SLC, UT
Apr 20, 2009
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a PG13
A few additional comments/corrections: P1 is about 120 ft. Prusiks would be a handy thing if you blow it on the P2 traverse (for leader or follower). Keep a tag line clipped into the P3 anchor so you can return to it on the rappel. Otherwise, you might be stuck swinging around in space. For the chimney, you only need a finger size piece for a pocket midway, and then green or red camalots of you want to back up the anchor. Leave the rest of the gear on the anchor, including your helmet. Don't go to P2 anchors rappeling, instead there's an anchor in a direct line below you.
This was a great route, steep, sustained, with fun climbing. I can't say which was better, Clearlight or Infared.
|By Ben Kiessel|
Nov 8, 2013
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
-I thought 'Clearlight' was just as good as 'Infared' just slightly easier.
-We went without the old #5 and didn't wish we had it.
-I brought a green, yellow, red alien on the chimney pitch and placed all 3.