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Glass Ocean and Environs
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Delta Y 
Get the Net 
Glass Ocean 
High Dive 
Left Tributary 
Lord of the Long Arms 
Northwest Passage 
Open Water 
Patty's Ridge 
Right Tributary 
Sail Away 
Seam, The 

Glass Ocean 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- British: HVS 4c

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 110'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Pat Contor, Gary Taylor, 1988
Page Views: 7,677
Submitted By: Mason on Jun 1, 2002
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Killin' it on glass ocean.


This route is fantastic every time! One of the best 5.8's in BCC!!

There is a ledge about 25 feet up from the start. On the descent it is important to stop on this ledge and walk off around the side. You can NOT lower all the way back down with a 60 meter rope!!! So be careful.

Stuart & Ruckman's Wasatch Climbing Guide simply describes this climb as "Smooth as glass, vast as the ocean. The upper face is beautiful and continuous."

There are some excellent puzzles to solve on the way up, and it feels very, very exposed.

Some of the bolts feel pretty far apart as a result of the exposure.


9 bolts to the anchors. Various sized quickdraws and even a couple of runners useful as the route wanders a bit and rope drag can be bad.

It would be possible to deck between the second and third bolts (but not likely, as it is easy climbing around to the shelf), and also between the third and fourth bolts (because you are basically starting over again from the shelf, and could fall back down to it). This warning is not being issued as a scare tactic, but it should be issued because the possibility exists.

Photos of Glass Ocean Slideshow Add Photo
Adam Symonds on lead.
Adam Symonds on lead.
Edging it out at the start of Glass Ocean
Edging it out at the start of Glass Ocean
Another chilly day at Glass Ocean.
Another chilly day at Glass Ocean.
Chris halfway up Glass Ocean.
Chris halfway up Glass Ocean.
Matt Walker on top rope.
Matt Walker on top rope.
Comments on Glass Ocean Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 22, 2010
By Nathan Fisher
May 30, 2004
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI HVS 4c

Gear Alert

One of the bolts was a spinner (#5 or #6), also, the anchor consists of 2 bolts, neither looked great, and a flake. One of the anchor bolts was definitely bent. Nice candidate for a rebolt.

By Nathan Fisher
Jun 4, 2004
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI HVS 4c

Agreed, about the space between bolts. Bolt 4 is "high" off the ledge. Although, the climbing is easy to get to Bolt 4, if you slip it will create an ankle injury possibility. Also, after clipping bolt 7, you can't see bolt 8, and bolt 9 looks really far off. Don't panic, for as soon as you approach bolt 8, it will become apparent.

By Eric Jacobsen
Jul 17, 2004

Gear Alert

A discussion about rebolting the top anchors to this route can be found here:>>>

By triznuty
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 9, 2005
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

CLASSIC!!!My favorite at the grade. This climb alone is worth the hike...

By Ryan Peterson
From: North Salt Lake, Utah
Jun 16, 2007

8th bolt seemed to be missing, so there was a pretty long run-out between 7 and 9. Anchors at the top were pretty at least.

By cdec
From: SLC and Moab, ut
Sep 28, 2007

We climbed this today and the 8th bolt is there, can't see it from 7 but it's there. 7 to 9 would indeed be run out.

By Robert MacKinnon
Jun 11, 2008
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI HVS 4c

A 70m rope easily gets you back to the base. This also allows you to TR Left Tributary (5.10d) and Right Tributary (5.11a).

By icsteveoh
From: salt lake city, UT
Jun 28, 2008
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

ditto the 70 meter. Had enough rope to feel comfortable.

It should be mentioned that the glass ocean traverses right on the ledge to the next bolt line. If you continue straight up you will be on Northwest Passage.

By Stan Pitcher
From: SLC, UT
Oct 2, 2008
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c PG13

Surprised no comments about the crux? - passing the first bolt and clipping the second. Pretty difficult for 5.8 and the hangar is looking pretty worked. Be careful is 5.8 is your limit. Great climb though!

By LukasJ
May 19, 2009
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

Be careful getting to the second bolt. Fell from here and decked, breaking two ribs.

By Jared Hargrave
From: Salt Lake City, UT.
Aug 22, 2009
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a

I agree with Stan, the climbing at the first and second bolt I thought to be VERY hard for the grade... felt more like 5.10. Past the ledge it was smooth sailing, but that start made me feel a bit down... until everyone else climbing it that day agreed that it felt much harder than 5.8.

Did any ledges break off recently or am I just not seeing the right sequence?

By Finn the Human
From: The Land of Ooo
Aug 30, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

Did this today, and it was a blast! Started out below on Left Tributary (5.10d/5.11a) then continued up Glass Ocean.

There are a few slightly run out bits, but it's never on anything really difficult, so I wouldn't stress it :)

Also, as of today all the bolts were indeed there.

By Greg G
From: SLC, UT
Sep 4, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

if the description above scares you. a purple tcu placement is available between bolt 3 and 4 to give you some added anti-ledge-deck security.

By Finn the Human
From: The Land of Ooo
Sep 4, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c

I think it's worth mentioning that the three bolts directly below Glass Ocean are not part of Glass Ocean. They are Left and Right Tributaries, and are rated 5.10d/5.11a.

Glass Ocean shares the same starting bolts as Northwest Passage, then takes a jog to the right at the ledge.

I suspect people don't realize this when attempting Glass Ocean, hence the comments about difficulty at the beginning.

By Stan Pitcher
From: SLC, UT
Jun 7, 2010
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c PG13

No, I'm talking about the GO start which is the left most line. Did it again and still thinks it a pretty tuff 5.8 section with serious consequences if you blow the 2nd clip! Sorry to hear of your fall Lukas. If the leader belays at the top, a strectch 60 m rope will make it - it will not make it if you try to lower! Safest to always have the second tie in before climbing.

By Jerome Sharpe
From: Wanship, UT
Aug 21, 2010

Stick clip the 2nd bolt and place a purple TCU between bolt 3 & 4 and you won't have to worry about an ankle-breaker. Crux is 5.8+, from the deck to 2nd clip.

By Gary Taylor
Aug 22, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

I strongly agree with the recommendation to place a TCU (or nut) between bolts 3 and 4. This route was not put up as a sport route. We would not have considered placing a bolt next to such an easy to protect crack in 1988. In fact the 3rd bolt was added long after the first ascent when we heard of climbers placing no pro between the second bolt and what is now the fourth bolt. As to the concern at the second bolt and the overall difficulty of the route, the simple fact is this route is NOT 5.8. We always considered it 5.9 and not a particularly easy 5.9. The beginning moves are certainly harder than any move on Hollowman for example (though granted the route is not as sustained).