Keyhole Arch is the prominent arch rising to the east above the Tongue River Canyon parking area. The arch is composed of limestone and dolostone of the Madison formation and rock quality is generally poor, but sections of fair rock quality are found on the summit block. There are no bolts or fixed anchors. Extreme caution should be exercised while climbing and placing gear. The arch can be climbed in two pitches. The first pitch gains a brushy and grassy ledge at the base of the arch (where one can walk beneath the arch). From this ledge, the summit may be gained via numerous possible trad lines. Descent is accomplished by tandem rappeling - half of the rope is tossed over each side of the arch. While small bushes and blocks could be slung, this method is cleanest as no slings or gear are abandoned on the summit.
Park in the Tongue River Canyon parking area and ascend scree gullys to a saddle to the north of the arch. Traverse around to the east face and climb a series of steps (4th class/easy 5th class with maybe one or two 5.4 moves) that leads to a mountain mohagany tree belay on the north edge of the arch. Poor rock characterizes this approach pitch, so climb and protect with caution.
Featured Route For Keyhole Arch
Pitch 1 (5.4, 60') The approach pitch to the ledge at the base of the arch (described in the introduction to the Keyhole Arch area). Caution: poor rock quality and plenty of loose. Equalized bush belay (bring very long runners).Pitch 2 (5.9, 50') Begins on the east face of the arch, approximately 15' to the north of the arch opening. Ascend a thin flaring crack (difficult to protect) to a good ledge (1st crux). Stay left to follow finger crack and broken ledge system to a very large ledge (...[more] Browse More Classics in WY