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Community Pillar 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 8 pitches, 700', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Joe Herbst & Tom Kaufman
Page Views: 6,499
Submitted By: Larry DeAngelo on Jan 1, 2005

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The start of the upper cave pitch.

Description 

This is a beautiful line directly up the middle of the Community Pillar formation. There are many opportunities for variations, and you could climb the route several times and have widely differing experiences. The choices aren't always obvious, so some explanation is in order.

The start: The "normal" start is in enclosed chimney and goes behind the right side of a huge (cabin-sized) chockstone. This is very tight and scary for a big guy, but the slender and flexible seem to scamper right up. Those fearing claustrophobic death have a few options. Benjamin Smith (see below) suggests a chimney to the left of the chockstone as shown in this Photo. I have heard of people climbing on the outside of the huge chockstone (passing it on the left), but have no first-hand experience. In all these cases, the route continues up the wide crack above the chockstone to a large ledge and easy ground beneath a deep chimney. This point can also be reached by a variation start which bypasses the chockstone and its associated squeezes: climb a 5.8 corner about 30 yards to the right (west) of the normal start.

The next pitch goes up the easy ground and enters the deep chimney, bearing right at the overhang. The tunnel at its top is pleasant and roomy. Belay at the large ledge.

There are two choices above. On the right is a long crack and squeeze chimney with limited protection (5.8). To the left, you can ascend some blocks to a clean, varnished hand crack. This is generally considered 5.9, but is better protected than the wide crack. Both options lead to a small ledge beneath a steep, featured crack. Another pitch up this crack takes you to a belay in a surprisingly extensive cave.

Again there are many ways to continue. The obvious-looking (but not recommended) "window" to the right leads west to Cartwright Corner and substantially harder climbing. It is possible to step back out of the cave entrance and climb the unprotected face on hollow-sounding flakes. Another way is to climb straight up the crack in the cave and move left via some peculiar bomb bay moves and go through a narrow portal leading back to the outside and an easier crack. Probably the best option is to continue up the crack (bearing slightly right at the portal) and heading toward the apparent dead-end at the cave's roof. An unseen squeezeway at the top leads to an opening through the rubble into the floor of another cave above. This is the the upper belay spot for all the cave variations of this pitch.

Climbing above this point leads through an obvious opening above and follows progressively easier climbing to broken ground and the unroping spot.

From the top, scramble to the right (west) to a pine tree in an area of broken rock. Rappel cautiously, then scramble down to the small saddle separating this formation from the Magic Triangle to the west. The most common descent these days is to rappel the gully to the north (which can be done with a few 30-meter rappels). The original descent involves scrambling south and going down the Crabby Appleton approach gully with a few short rappels.

There is an entire chapter about this route in Red Rock Odyssey

Protection 

Some big gear can come in handy...


Photos of Community Pillar Slideshow Add Photo
My suggested first pitch of community pillar.
BETA PHOTO: My suggested first pitch of community pillar.
Community Pillar
BETA PHOTO: Community Pillar
OW above the chockstone
OW above the chockstone
Start of pitch one; Just about to squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze through the tight hole of the chimney.
Start of pitch one; Just about to squeee...
The start of the wide crack midway up the route.
The start of the wide crack midway up the route.
Reviewing beta for the upper pitches.
Reviewing beta for the upper pitches.
Community Pillar, with variations
BETA PHOTO: Community Pillar, with variations
Gigette squeezes through the second tunnel of Community Pillar.
Gigette squeezes through the second tunnel of Comm...
5.6 chimney on the right
5.6 chimney on the right
Community Pillar start
BETA PHOTO: Community Pillar start
Climbing the corner on the variation start to the right of the standard route.
Climbing the corner on the variation start to the ...
Should've brought some lube - going for the crux squeeze on pitch 1 of Community Pillar.  At 6'7" & 220 lbs, this took some time...
Should've brought some lube - going for the crux s...
Looking up the wide crack to the belay at its top.  After the first 30 feet or so, the crack is too wide for ordinary gear, but occasional opportunities arise for small stuff.
Looking up the wide crack to the belay at its top....
On Community Pillar, looking out a cave
On Community Pillar, looking out a cave
At the very top of the upper cave, just before the hidden exit.
At the very top of the upper cave, just before the...

Comments on Community Pillar Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 14, 2014
By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From: Vegas
Aug 13, 2005

Followed this beautiful route yesterday, August 12th. I would have given this climb a 1 star last night (just because I was a little beat up from all the squeezing and contortionist moves I had to do) but after "sleeping on it," and after my morning coffee I'm awarding it 2 stars. I can't pinpoint why, but this route felt a little magical to me upon awakening this morning, on the "day after" doing this route. Maybe it was watching in awe, as Jonny, with his full rack on , backpack and helmet dangling below him, amazingly squeeze through a tiny hole , when I had thought, "There's no way, what the hell is he thinking?!" Maybe it was the pleasure of looking out of the cozy little belay caves, down onto the beautiful Pine Creek Canyon floor, or the welcoming bursts of cool air coming up through the chimney cracks. It could have also been the concerning yet exciting loud sounds of thunder from a storm system moving North of us, or the birds suddenly whizzing past the back of my head, as I belayed in peace and quiet. Could it have been the rumbling sounds of rockfall, raining down from the first rappel which awoken my senses? Maybe I was just pleased to be able to do a long Red Rock multipitch, in August. Whatever the mystery may be, this climb will be engraved in my mind forever!
By John Hegyes
From: Las Vegas, NV
Aug 14, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

With three or four tight tunnels, this route should have been named Tunnel Vision - too bad that name was already taken. Chimney Vision would have been a good choice too. The morning after climbing this route, endless chimneys still scroll by when I close my eyes... We climbed this route in the heat of the summer, so we each carried backpacks full of water and I knew that we'd have to take them off in the tight squeezes, but I was less prepared for the fact that these packs would also hinder the wide crack and chimney climbing as well. As a consequence, I was able to get my body into only a few of the chimney sections so, for me the route became mostly a face climb adjacent to the wide stuff. I carried a double rack of C4 Camalots up to #4 and a single #5, a set of stoppers, some hexes and offsets, and still went quite some distance between viable placements of protection. Combine that with steep climbing on fragile plates and zero fixed pro, and it all made for some tense moments. Wearing shorts and a t-shirt led to getting scraped over most of my body inching through the narrow points. We left our approach gear at the base of the climb, so descending to that location as efficiently as possible was key. After taking the first rappel on the backside of the route down a chute full of rock fall time bombs, we headed for the gully between the Pillar and Magic Triangle. We found the four rap stations in this gully to be in good condition and the rappels were very manageable with a single 60m rope. If I ever consider climbing this route again, I'll only need to remember sweating and grunting my way through the initial constrictions to give me serious doubts but I'm glad I did this climb.
By John Wilder
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 2, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

What a great route this was- did it today finally with some great friends and had a blast. The first pitch wasn't as bad as many had made it out to be, but I suspect that is because it is highly size dependant- the bigger you are, the more you're going to suffer. Luckily, Larry checked out a variation first pitch that starts on the left side of the adjacent gully (i.e. the gully to the right) and meets up at the top of the corner on the second pitch.

Also, if you're solid at the grade, I highly recommend the hand crack variation on Pitch 4- amazing! Steep, exposed, and sustained!

By rpc
Feb 9, 2007

Climbed this in early '06. Great route!

The 1st pitch was the absolute crux for me - took forever to tunnel thru. - had to rid myself of rack, helmet, and eventually my wallet in my pocket before it went. Fact that I'm 220 lbs does not help. Rest is quite moderate but continuously exciting (esp. one of the mid-section pitches, 5.8 wideness w/o pro and with flaky face holds).
By Ian McEleney
From: at large
Apr 20, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Great Route. It's straightforward to get to the top of the chockstone on pitch one without tunneling, but then you're missing out on the fun. The "cave" pitch higher up the best pitch on the route and pretty unique, don't deprive yourself by staying on the face.
By brucelacroix
From: Portland, OR
Jun 4, 2007

Wow! I've never climbed anything like this before. I was completely stumped by the crux stem move on the p7 variation. Took a long time to figure it out. Wow!
By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 9, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R

This route involves unrelenting and varied types of OW almost the entire way...One of the most physical routes I have climbed so far. While climbing it, I thought I was hating life, but this route grows on you after you are done and you start rehashing how great it was. Also should be rated R on two of the pitches (4 and 5, if I remember correctly).

P4 seemed the sketchiest lead due to the fact that the 5.8 sections are not really protected and the placements you DO get for the last 80-90 feet (i.e. the majority of the pitch) are small pro in useless flakes or brittle-ish cracks that would blow in a fall. If you want true gear on this pitch, nothing other than Big Bros would protect the majority of it--no joke!! The 5.9 alternative pitch is a better protected option (our friends behind us took it ... that's how I know).

Route requires a full rack from very small to very large gear. No fixed gear or anchors exist that I remember.
By brucelacroix
From: Portland, OR
Jul 4, 2009

Climbed this route again, for the second time, on July 3.
We started the first p at 7:45. Most of the route, and all the belays, were in the shade. I used a #4, #5 cam, and a #3 big bro, several times. I wished I had brought a # 4 big bro.
BEWARE, Large, loose blocks at the start of the 5.6 chimney,
p4, in the DeAngelo guidebook.
I would have trundled them myself but, I heard several other climbers in the area. Turns out, they were on Honeycomb Chimney.
By sqwirll
From: Las Vegas
Nov 1, 2009

That 5.9 pitch is a must do. I almost whipped off of it when a foot broke off and I was left swinging on a hand jam. Good times.
By Doug Foust
From: Henderson, Nevada
Nov 1, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The chockstone on the first pitch wasn't as bad as it looked, just relax and go with it. The 5.9 handcrack was awesome! I really enjoyed the route, but the loose stuff at the top of the first two rappels wasn't fun.
By Benjamin Smith
Apr 26, 2011

This is the most HILARIOUS route I've done. Watching your partners squeeze through impossibly tight hole after impossibly tight hole is priceless. I highly recommend that everyone gather up all who are willing and do this route!

The following is how I recommend doing this route to get the most hilarious bang for your buck:

Scramble up to the back of the chimney to reduce rope drag. Looking up, to climber's right is the tight squeeze chimney which is the original 1st pitch. To the left there are two holes around the chock stones. The hole farther to the left and farther outside the chimney is bigger and has light shining through it. The hole to the right and deeper in the chimney is smaller and is completely dark. This dark hole is what you want.

My suggested first pitch of community pillar.
My suggested first pitch of community pillar.


Pitch 1: Climb up the right side of the chimney for 10 feet, then traverse left to reach the dark hole. Move up into the hole a few feet, then look to your left to see its exit. Squeeze/contort through this hole and you will pop out directly above the other larger hole and be able to see your partners below. Belay here off of slung chock stones.

Pitch 2: Move belay up on top of boulders to base of obvious offwidth in a right facing corner. Head up this offwidth (easier than it looks, lots of good face holds) and belay at one of the nice belay ledges above it.

Pitch 3: Follow crack on the left to a chimney above. Stay right of a large tongue of rock in the chimney. Jam, stem, and chimney until it is possible to walk deep into the chimney, and squeeze up and out of a hole onto a nice belay ledge. Belay takes 2"-4".

Pitch 4: Head up the offwidth on the right side of the belay ledge. The start is hard, but it eases off within 10 feet. Continue up the offwidth until it turns into a huge chimney that you can stem to the back of. From here, stem/chimney/faceclimb up and squeeze out a hole on the left side of the chimney into a cave. Crawl out of the cave and belay on a nice belay ledge. Belay takes 2"-4".

Pitch 5: Jam and face climb up crack on the left side of the belay ledge. Climb up to a chimney, then walk into the chimney into a huge cave. Belay here using .3"-3"

Pitch 6: In the back left of the cave, jam up a crack that eventually widens to an offwidth. Continue to jam and stem up until almost to the ceiling, then look behind you for a small hole and squeeze through this into a nice cave with exits to the north and east. Head for the east exit (climber's left) and belay there. Belay takes .75"-3"

Pitch 7: Exit out of the cave and onto the face. Slab climb up the route of least resistance to the top. Belay at a horizontal crack .4"-1".

Decent:

From the top head to the second pine tree to the south west. From here carefully do a single rope rap down a lose gully.

Scramble down to hiker's right to a large pine tree and do a single rope rap to a large bushy ledge.

Traverse to hiker's left above slabs to a large vegetated ledge. From here do a short single rope rap off of a small tree and slung boulders to a ledge with a large slung boulder and two nuts fixed in a crack.

Do another single rope rap here to another large vegetated ledge.

From here scramble down to a small tree and do a single rope rap to yet another large vegetated ledge.

Scramble down the ledge to another small tree, and do a single rope rap here. This rap will bring you to one of two last rappel stations. The first of which has a small bush, a fixed nut, and some horrible looking slings that NEED backup. The second possible rap station is in much better condition and is a slung large chock stone of sorts. However, to get to the better rap station it is slightly more than 100 feet.

I suggest tying single overhand knots in the ends of your ropes and going for the second rap station. From here it is another single rope rap to the ground. Allow at least two hours in daylight for the decent.
By Cultivating Mass
Nov 2, 2011

The belay spots as marked in the Handren guide don't match up to the description. We went left istead of taking the first tunnel, belayed at @100' on top of the chockstone. This has fair pro, is semi-crunchy, and a good option for us barrel-chested folks. From the top of the chockstone a low 5.8 physical crux protected by 4+5 camalots led to easier face (protected with blue bigbro), ledgy scrambling interspersed with jams, up to a steepish looking chimney right of a prominent tongue/roof that features some of the best rock and pro on the route. The finishing squeeze was mellow, not tough for bigger folks. I topped out this long (210') second pitch to a nice ledge with 1-3" gear. The 3rd pitch was the start of the more rotten, runout, intense stuff. Used 2 bros (green+blue) and all the big cams on the pitch. Still runout, still spooky considering the hollowness that's mandatory to get up the pitch. Belay took 2 hand-size hexes and the #5 cam. Spooky rock continues on P4 but easier and more fun climbing; good jams and pro the whole way. The belay cave took any size cams and was impressive and spacious. P5 was the psychological crux-numerous bad-looking options presented themselves, from the chalk it looked like a lot of scratching around was done before the last party committed+went for it. Head up the interesting crack in the corner you're belaying out of, place a six high (possible #4 6' higher for the paranoid and/or cautious), then step back down and head out a bottomless flare that aims east and has pretty wild moves. The climbing doesn't relent entirely til the belay, the most consistent 5.8 on the route. Last pitch runs out the rope on low 5th class up to a big flat ledge in sight of a tree that marks the descent gully. Use of a few pieces will keep the rope running smoothly, otherwise snag potential might waste some time.

Descent beta: one 70 works perfectly on the raps, the first tree you see with slings at head height is an easy no-hands walkdown, head towards the Magic Triangle, don't bother with the rappel. The next tree is at the top of the Triangle gully proper, and is pretty short-50' or so off of small trees linked with a lot of cord and extended pretty far towards the lip. There's an interesting looking hole in the ledge not far down this rap-don't use this unless you brought 2 ropes. With a single, touch down beside the hole and walk climber's right to a slung boulder/nut anchor. A full rope rap puts you 25' above another tree, a solid scrub oak. I replaced the bleached slings on this one with a new dyneema. Another full length single rap leads to scrambling down the easternmost side of the gully to the final rap tree. On this rap, even with a 70, you'll come up 8 feet short. Aim slightly right to an easy varnished corner that is fine to downclimb at 5.3 or so. This lands you 20' from the base of Small Purchase and a 2 minute walk to your packs.

This climb is more physical and draining than you'd expect from the grade and length; I strongly suggest the late exit pass even with an early start. This thing kind of feels like Tunnel Vision's mean-ass grandaddy, and with the possibility of snags being strong on the raps, the runouts requiring care and sure movement, and the choss factor, it's definitely pretty challenging for the grade. We brought too much gear but I'd suggest small-med wires only, two-three large hexes to free up cams for the leads, single rack from .3-6, with doubles from .4-3, and either purple-blue bigbros or another set of #4-6 cams. A bunch or cord to back up and/or replace the worst slings on the descent would be wise. Not wearing a helmet on a loose, wide physical route like this would be really, really dumb. Additionally, the physical, wide nature of the climb means that carrying even a very small pack on the route or a pair of approach shoes on the harness will significantly interfere with your climbing. We each took a nalgene clipped to the harness and that was trouble enough for us.
By Vince Neil
Apr 7, 2012

A Herbst Masterpiece to be sure; this is among the most interesting and unique climbs in all of Red Rocks. Make no mistake, however, the crux pitch is burly; especially for moderate trad adventure climbers such as ourselves: You are faced with a choice between tough unprotected offwidth squirming or a beautifully varnished steep, sustained, and difficult handcrack. Attempting to place our #6 Camalot in the offwidth was basically laughable....maybe the largest Big-Bro would work(?) Also, please note the last double rope rappel on the descent comes up short by about 50 feet. We veered to skiers right and found a slung shrub equalized with a creaky nut and tried not to fully weight the rope for this last short rap to the ground. All in all a beautiful and memorable adventure climb...not to be missed!
By Dan Birman
From: Berlin, Germany
Mar 12, 2014

For a full caving experience, do the caving descent. After topping out drop into the chimney between you and the obvious pine tree following some cairns. Go to the back and chimney down, walk out 50 feet and chimney under another chockstone. Hug the right wall and head north towards another obvious pine tree with rap slings. Ignore the slings and chimney down to the bushy ledge, cross the slabs (west) to a bolted rappel. Be careful to rappel behind the chockstone for full value. After this, unfortunately, we were unable to locate any more chimneys.
By Andrea Charest
6 days ago

Climbed this last week and did the left corner variation to start and avoid the first chimney per a recommendation- went at about 5.8 on fun, steep huecos. Rock quality is a wee bit suspect but just be gentle and check holds.

The hand-fist crack variation was super fun, steep jugs and crack moves, recommended!

The pitch lengths that I climbed definitely didn't line up with Handren's book, but just have your belayer keep you updated on the length of rope out and you'll find good spots to belay every 100-150 feet.