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Unsorted Routes:

Conn Diagonal 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 300'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Herb and Jan Conn
Page Views: 12,018
Submitted By: Peter Gram on Jun 26, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (74)
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Stew of the HWDAMF topping out the last pitch of t...

Description 

This is one of the most classic 5.7 routes that I have ever done. Hike to the field north of Outer Outlet. The route is actually hard to pick out because it blends into the wall. Look for a crack system that diagonals up the north face. This is the route.

Start by climbing up through face holds to get into the crack. Climb this for one long pitch until a horizontal crack traverse is seen. Set a belay. Then traverse 60 feet or so to the right on juggy holds. This is very airy, and the face drops below you. Finally for pitch 3, pick a variety of ways to the top. A large roof hangs above. There is a chimney on either side of the roof, the left being easier. Grunt through one of these. Otherwise, a beautiful "lightning bolt" crack heads to the right of the right chimney. This is supposed to be a 5.8 finger crack.

This route was first done in 1953 without climbing shoes, a short rope, and both upclimbing and downclimbing it. Very impressive if you ask me.


Protection 

Standard Rack. Large and Small, bring it all.


Photos of Conn Diagonal Slideshow Add Photo
Climbers on first pitch of Conn Diagonal as seen f...
Climbers on first pitch of Conn Diagonal as seen f...
Very near the end of pitch one, the flake temporar...
Very near the end of pitch one, the flake temporar...
The last one up on the Conn Diagonal, notice that ...
The last one up on the Conn Diagonal, notice that ...
Angela Arp stepping past the Kidney Stone on pitch...
Angela Arp stepping past the Kidney Stone on pitch...
Angela Arp pauses to find some crystals for her fe...
Angela Arp pauses to find some crystals for her fe...
Will Becker heading up the first pitch of the Conn...
Will Becker heading up the first pitch of the Conn...
Tyson Arp nearing the end of the traverse on pitch...
Tyson Arp nearing the end of the traverse on pitch...
another view
another view
Climber on the left is at the first belay station....
Climber on the left is at the first belay station....
INCREDIBLE exposure...
INCREDIBLE exposure...
Setting up for the final stem move on P1.  Josh (a...
Setting up for the final stem move on P1. Josh (a...
Climber on the second pitch which does a long hand...
Climber on the second pitch which does a long hand...
Taken Saturday, September 18, 2004 from the anchor...
Taken Saturday, September 18, 2004 from the anchor...
Con Diagonal viewed from the top of Enting in Midd...
BETA PHOTO: Con Diagonal viewed from the top of Enting in Midd...
Tyson Arp getting established in the chimney of th...
Tyson Arp getting established in the chimney of th...
My buddy Art showing how it feels to have gone thr...
My buddy Art showing how it feels to have gone thr...
Tyson Arp pushing through the first intimidating m...
Tyson Arp pushing through the first intimidating m...
Pitch 1 of the diagonal
Pitch 1 of the diagonal
Climber finishing the traverse pitch of the Conn D...
Climber finishing the traverse pitch of the Conn D...
Nickie on the first pitch
Nickie on the first pitch
Tyson Arp mantelling into the opening of the chimn...
Tyson Arp mantelling into the opening of the chimn...
Mollie B. stylin' the hands traverse on the second...
Mollie B. stylin' the hands traverse on the second...
Angela Arp scrambles up the last bit of knobbly ro...
Angela Arp scrambles up the last bit of knobbly ro...
BP about to start the second pitch.
BP about to start the second pitch.

Show All 24 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 10, 2015
By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 26, 2002

This is one of the most intimidating 5.7s on the planet. Its a little shorter than Kor's Flake at Lumpy Ridge, but just as hard and even more of an adventure.
By Bob Archbold
Aug 14, 2002

If you want to make the traversing 2nd pitch a little more exciting do the overhang. That is after you pass the kidney stone on the traverse go up from there through the small overhang. Then after the overhang just go over to the lightning hand crack to finish. This goes about 10a. The route as a whole without a doubt is one of the best routes that the Conns did, along with their route on East Gruesome.
By Dale Nesbitt
Jun 27, 2005

Rob and I did this route last Wednesday. Awesome exposure at the first belay station. We made our second belay right after the blocky traverse. We made a variation for the summit by climbing towards the gully, then traversing right along a handcrack to gain a shoulder (around 5.8 moves), gaining a shoulder which leads to runout 5.4ish climbing to the summit (occasional pro by dipping into the gully and long-slinging). My question is: has anybody done this variation before?
By 1Eric Rhicard
Mar 1, 2006

This is the first multi pitch route I did. It was about the coolest thing I had ever done up to that point in my life. I did it with Tori Stempf on a 3 week climbing course he lead called Project Soar. That was in 1976. That was 30 years ago and I am still climbing in Tucson Arizona on Mt. Lemmon and other areas in the SW. I later returned and put up a route that leaves the Conn Diagonal half way through the 2nd pitch. It is called Long Way To Heaven 5.11-.
By Tyson S Arp
Sep 19, 2006

This is one of those routes that took me a few years to get around to doing--partly due to the intimidation factor and partly due to it's usually crowded nature. Fortunately this labor day weekend, my wife and I found the route empty and had no other good excuse not to give it a try. What a fabulous route!! Enough good things cannot be said about this one. Each pitch contains fun, thought-provoking, exposed, and varied climbing. Definitely not a one move or one pitch wonder like so many climbs are!
I brought a set of standard nuts, peanuts, and cams from small aliens to #4 camalot and about a dozen runners of varying lengths. I found this to be just about the right selection of gear for the climb.
By Gary Schmidt
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 25, 2007

A absolute classic adventure climb that is not easy on the heart. (this is not your mother's 5.7 sport climb). If you do this route, you will most likely remember it for a long time.

For what it is worth, and perhaps a bit of clarity, here is how we did it.

Follow the faint trail east under the huge face quite a ways til you come to an abvious staging area at the base of a very long system of cracks and flakes that will diagonal west up the face. Make a few face climbing moves to get into the crack flake system and climb away. At the 170 ft point you will come to two old pitons. It is tempting to belay there (as we mistakenly did). Instead make one more very exposed step across move and voila, a very nice newer two bolt anchor and much more comfortable belay stance. Pitch one, 180 ft. Pitch two is not for the faint of heart. Continue right about 15 ft and then head up the face passing an old piton that looks like it is at least halfway out. When you bump into the roof start the infamous traverse right passing the kidney stone on some incredibly exposed moves. The traverse ends at an obvious belay stance where it is easy to build a solid anchor. Pitch two, 100 ft of rope. Look up and see two chimney systems. Pick the one on the left. Gaining the chimney is awkward and then you climb about 40 ft with very little pro. We managed to get in one piece, but the chimney is very secure and probably about 5.5. Pitch 3 90 ft. To get down with one rope (as recommended by a local guide), rappel off the opposite side you just climbed. Walk east and find a good two bolt anchor.(The route you are descending is Jugs.) Rappel 80 ft to a landing area. Do a very exposed 4th class downclimb to the west to another set of anchors which are easy to spot. A belay might not be a bad idea here as a fall would have very dire circumstances. Do another 80 ft rap to the ground and take the 10 minutes hike back around to your packs. It is also apparently possible to rap down the same side you climbed, but this requires two double ropes raps. Have fun.
By John Gunnels
From: Gillette, WY
Jun 27, 2007
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Can't say enough about this route. EVERYONE should do it at LEAST once.
By joelhagan
From: Rapid City, SD
Feb 27, 2008

John, I think it should be climbed at least once a season!

Take the alternate 3rd pitch if you want to stay out of the grunt chimney. About ten feet before manteling into the chimney look right. There is a nice crack that starts out going right and curves left thinning to fingers near the top. Placement can be a little tricky in the bottom. After climbing past the crack there is a run-out ramp with easy climbing.
By randy baum
From: Minneapolis, MN
Jul 15, 2008

With lots of long runners, quite easy to link pitches 1 and 2. Just save some slings and gear for the belay -- ie. two #1 camalots, a yellow TCU, two 48" runners or a cordelette.
By Andrew Krosbakken
Jun 11, 2010

Just did this route a week ago. One of the best in the area. So classic. Remember to pass the pitons and go to the two nice solid bolts for the end of the first pitch, and its a comfy place to sit and watch the leader climb the second pitch. For the third pitch I would highly recommend the 5.8 hand crack. You start going towards the right chimney and then youll see it on your right. So fun and classic.
By AndyKemedy
From: Black Hawk, SD
Jul 19, 2010

Great route! You might want to bring an extra rope though, we couldn't find anchors for the second rappel off the backside. We found a flake to sling to rap to the ground. The party after us did one two rope rappel to reach the ground.
By Shawn Heath
Administrator
From: Forchheim, Germany
Oct 10, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Super awesome route! The new Conn's guidebook really keeps the adventure alive on this one. I had no idea where to start and no idea where the heck the anchors were. If you're reading this then you probably already know where the first belay station is. I didn't, so I very unwisely focused on only the route, and not on the rope. By the time I was getting to the belay station I felt like I was pulling a truck! Watch the rope drag. It's not because I didn't sling it long enough or placed too much gear (I placed maybe 8 pieces in 150 feet), but because I let the rope get behind the flake. I think if you can run the rope on the outside of the flake it'll really help. Enjoy!
By Shawn Heath
Administrator
From: Forchheim, Germany
Oct 10, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I saw a chinchilla on this route!!! He did the traverse, then saw me and got scared and ran back in the horizontal crack, then eventually got the courage up to run past me and up the cracks leading to the chimney. Super cute!
By Bill Rusk
From: Duluth, MN
May 29, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I only had time to do one route in the area and I'm so glad we chose this one. Best 5.7 I've ever done. I did the right variation ( looking up into the chimney made be doubt my 6'4" 220 body could squeeze into it), pulled through the 5.8 crack onto the face, almost got blown off by the wind. I continued to the horizontal crack (bomb .75), from that point I moved back into the chimney (now much wider) and finished. Rope drag was pretty awful, but endurable.
By Kevin Dahlstrom
From: Fort Worth, TX
Jul 21, 2012

Fantastic route with an adventure feel to it. Would be a tough lead for a new 5.7 leader! There's no reason to bring two ropes - the single rope rappel off the back is very straightforward. Just finish the P3 chimney on the right side and use the anchor on the back of the formation. You need a 60m to reach blocks below. Then scramble up and over the blocks behind you (easy and not exposed) and find another set of rap anchors that take you to the ground. 5 min hike around the corner (easily done in climbing shoes or sandals) and you're back at the base.
By Suzanne Bonilla
From: New City, New York
May 6, 2014

This is a must do climb in S.D. It is exciting, but everything is there to make it fun. I had the pleasure of meeting the Conn"s at there residence.
By The Cave
Feb 19, 2015

This is one of the greatest climbs I have ever been on. Absolutely amazing!! Great exposure and a real sense of adventure can be had! Highly recommend. For an extra rush do it in the original style. lol
By Matt Edlund
From: St. Paul, MN
Jun 18, 2015

Super fun route, although everything gets a bit more interesting when wet. We had a great time on the first two pitches and then did the 5.8 hand crack variation (highly recommended) to the easy runout ridge finish.

Important to note: If you're doing this variation you should bring two ropes to rap because the anchors on that side of the formation (W) don't reach the ledge that contains the other set of anchors to get you to the ground. We only brought one so we had to down climb the chimney and stem across to the other part of the summit to get down using the rusty anchors above Jugs.

All in all, a great route (especially liked P2) and would do it again in a heartbeat.
By Wilson On The Drums
From: Woodbury, MN
Jun 18, 2015
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

^^^^^^^^ If one does the 5.8 "lightning" crack/variation finish and then up the easy, yet runout ridge, there is a set of anchors once you top out, continue on flat territory for another 10ft and there they are. Then rap off these too. Only 1 rope is needed. scramble up and over and there is another 1 rope rap. however this will put you on the opposite side of the conn diagonal, so a little bit of walking is needed to get back to the start of the route...
By AhK
Jul 9, 2015

"Finding 2 people coming after waiting at the base for 3 hours and have them say "I don't feel comfortable with a party of 3" - Douchebags!" - Seth Hogan

Sandbagged, scary, and the locals won't climb with you. Be sure to tell all your greenie friends how terrible South Dakota is.
By Seth Hogan
From: Frisco, Co
Jul 10, 2015
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Too much hype, its good but the only thing that makes it good is the hand crack on the third pitch which is awesome, but super short. Do the lightning bolt! Otherwise its alright with good exposure. Otherwise the parks climbs are pretty spot on, not sandbagged one bit. The park as a whole seemed pretty spot on to me. Most of the classics, if they were in Yosemite, would be downgraded, imo.
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