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Devil's Castle
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Black Streak T 
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Gothic Miller S 
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Portable Darkness T 
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Portable Darkness 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a PG13

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 600', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Brian Cabe, Matt Scullion w/ Jason Shumaker and Patty Black
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 4,117
Submitted By: Brian in SLC on Sep 26, 2007

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BETA PHOTO: Portable Darkness route location from the west loo...

Please respect this beautiful area. Stay on established trails and do not trample any vegetation


All pitches are 30 meters (100 feet) long and end at bolted belay anchors. Assume all pitches have loose rock.

P1 - Ascend the lower angle slab to a short, steep finish and belay anchor on a shallow ledge (5.8). 11 bolts.
P2 - Climb slightly left and up the steep, black face. Small to medium cams supplement the bolts on this pitch (#2 TCU especially useful). Finish up a neat chimney to an exposed belay position (5.9+). 11 bolts, one piton.
P3 - Trend up and left, aiming for a steep, black shallow corner at the base of the prominent arÍte. Lower angle rock interspersed with dirt and gravel bars (take care). Pass three bolts below a tree positioned straight above the P2 belay, pass the short pine bush either right (up to tree, then traverse left) or below to the left. One more bolt leads to the belay anchor on a ledge on the low angle slab (5.3). 4 bolts.
P4 Ė Paddle up the slab, clip bolt on face, then climb up to steep, black face in the shallow corner. Pin, bolt, pin (long sling reduces rope drag), bolt. Place gear. Out of the darkness, into the light (climb goes from north facing to west facing). Step up and move right on exposed ledge (pro on right side of flake) then up at transition of arÍte and face, passing 3 more bolts to a belay ledge (5.9). 6 bolts, two pitons.
P5 Ė Pass a tree in the corner, clip piton, then pretty much straight up, staying right of the arÍte at the transition of the arÍte and face, passing ledges in lower angle terrain. Bolt, pin, pin (long sling or skip) then 3 bolts to belay anchor just right of the arÍte, and right of the base of a large, flat topped block on the arÍte (5.7). 4 bolts, three pitons.
P6 Ė Step up, clip bolt, then pin, then step left and clip bolt. Climb up arÍte passing small roof, bolt, then continue up arÍte. Clip several more bolts. At a break in the arÍte, clip bolt on steep face on the left side of the arÍte with a long sling, then traverse slightly to the right side of the arÍte, clip bolt, then up face to short pinnacle summit. Traverse broken low angle terrain to final short steep face, bolt, then up to left angling low angle to belay anchor (5.8). 10 bolts, one piton.


30 meters (100 feet) to the right of Gothic Pillar. Start on a low angle slab and look for a brown colored bolt hanger on the light gray face. There has been notable rock fall from above (wear a helmet). There are lower angle goat trails above and especially to the right of the route. If windy, rocks can dislodge and come down unannounced as well. Route could be descended with a single 60 meter rope (hard rope pull on pitch 4) but itís much safer to walk off to the West.

The route ascends through a chimney visible from below on the first steep section, then a low angle slab to a steeper black face at the base of the prominent arÍte. This buttress is the last steep arÍte on the right side of the main north face that continues to the summit ridge of Devilís Castle. The route follows the right (West facing) side of the arÍte (Gothic Pillar is on the left side of this arÍte) and the last pitch finishes on the arÍte itself.


Helmet. Fully deployed loose rock radar.
Recommended Rack:
Cams: 0 TCU to 1 Camalot (or equivalent)
12 Quick Draws
6 Slings

Photos of Portable Darkness Slideshow Add Photo
Michele following the arete pitch, high on Portabl...
Michele following the arete pitch, high on Portabl...
Portable Darkness route topo.
BETA PHOTO: Portable Darkness route topo.
Carolina and Felix following up the memorable aret...
Carolina and Felix following up the memorable aret...
Route drawn in.
Route drawn in.
What does this mean on the hanger?
BETA PHOTO: What does this mean on the hanger?
Looking down from near the top of the pitch 2 chim...
Looking down from near the top of the pitch 2 chim...
Carolina and Felix coming up the first pitch
Carolina and Felix coming up the first pitch

Comments on Portable Darkness Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 3, 2013
By bsmoot
Sep 26, 2007

"Paddle up the slab" ??? Yes!! ...Adventure!! ...Can't wait to do this!! ... Fixed pins...what more could you ask for?? ...OK, a fixed bashie.
By JimG
Aug 6, 2008

Did this today; fun stuff, a worthwhile addition to Devils Castle. Thanks to the FA team for putting this up; that must have taken some time, effort and expense. Pitch 2 with that little chimney at the top and the final pitch up the arete were great. We took some gear but didn't end up placing any of it, the bolts and pins seemed adequate. The belays are fairly sheltered and we didn't see any natural rockfall, but there is plenty of loose rock so as always at the Castle wear helmets and climb carefully.
Black Streak seems to be seeing more traffic these days, and I would never climb under another party on Devils Castle, so if you are up there to do Black Streak and it is occupied this route would be a good alternative at about the same length and difficulty.
By bsmoot
Sep 7, 2008

This route is a great addition to the Castle as it is the best protected and most moderate of all of the multi pitch routes. The unique 2nd pitch offers cool chimney that ends at an exposed belay. The upper pitches had some good air too.

Great Job!
By James Garrett
Jul 17, 2009
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Loved the chimney pitch, then again the arete pitch up high was spectacular as well. Chopped our rope, but spared our heads on rappel as Black Streak was occupied and we didn't have our shoes along. Just another day on The Castle, I guess. I will be doing this climb again.
By Brian in SLC
Jul 20, 2009

Bummed about your rope, James. Which pitch? Would extending the rap anchor a bit help?
Glad you liked the route!
By James Garrett
Jul 23, 2009
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

It's all good Brian. Black Streak is really the only "better" rap route, both Shadow Of The Blade and Portable Darkness are excellent and strong recommends! Thanks again!
By James Garrett
Jul 20, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Climbed this again this season. The lower pitches are the lamb chops, whereas the upper ones are the landscapes. It baffles me that anyone could remotely think this route is either PG13 or R protected. Even Gregorio doesn't drill this close....Don't misunderstand...I am not complaining. We all loved it....a Swiss friend said it reminded him of Plaisir climbs... beautiful climbing and weather...only ones on the whole wall....walked along summit ridge and did last crack pitch of Des Teufels Bollwerk for a finale.

DC is definitely not for everybody, but I'll be back....
By Tristan Higbee
From: Cambodia
Sep 5, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Really fun climb that I enjoyed a lot! Here's my take on the pitches.

Pitch 1: Mostly 5.6ish, with some 5.8 moves at the last few bolts before the belay on a small ledge. A fun pitch, but nothing spectacular.
Pitch 2: Steep 5.9+ on good, flat edges up nice rock to a sweet, easy, and exposed chimney. Belay is on a good stance above the chimney. My favorite pitch on the route.
Pitch 3: Apparently there are 4 bolts on this pitch, but I only found two. I climbed up to the small tree with rope/slings on it and then left on over to the belay, but I think the bolts are to the left more. Belay on a good ledge. 5.3ish.
Pitch 4: Start out on some fun 5.8+ moves up a dark corner (passing a couple bolts and some pins) to a small ledge on top of the corner. Go right on the ledge to find the next bolt. Climb up the left side of the gully, clipping the bolts on the rocky arete to the left. Belay is on a good ledge with three bolts.
Pitch 5: Climb up to the small tree (I climbed around it to the right, but going around the left of it would result in less rope drag. Thereís a small piton with a ring on it right above the tree. Climb up and slightly left from the tree. 5.7. The belay is on a good ledge right on the ridge.
Pitch 6: The other awesome pitch on the route. Fun 5.8 climbing takes you up the sharp, exposed ridge. Belay at a good ledge with two bolts. As of 9/3/10, there was gray webbing and a quicklink on the bolts. My partner thought that the last pitch was the coolest he had ever done!

I didnít think any pitches were R or PG-13 rated. The route is very well bolted.

In addition to the dozen draws and half dozen slings, I took half a dozen cams and didnít use any of them anywhere on the route.

More pics on my blog here.
By john climaco
From: Park City, Utah
Sep 3, 2012

Just did this today - what an outstanding line. Beautiful and fun climbing. However, I agree there's no way is it R or even PG-13. There are big, fat bolts everywhere you need them (and even where you might not, like on the 5.3 pitch) so bring 12 draws, a few long slings and nothing else. The anchors are all ringed as well just in case you need to bail. I also wouldn't rate it 9+. If you climb that grade you will cruise this thing.

I would add that you should not climb this under any circumstances if there is a party above you. There is loose rock on every pitch (some are covered in it) and it was virtually impossible not to kick things off.
By notmyname
From: Stony Brook, NY
Aug 4, 2013
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13

I fully respect the work that went into this climb, however unlike the previous posters, I thought it was the worst multipitch I've ever done. As for beta - no cams necessary - well bolted and certainly not PG-13 or R rated.
By mandomike
Sep 3, 2013

did this late last Fall (SO cold) and a few days ago (much better weather), and it's a great climb. Pitches 2,4, and 6 are the best to lead (or let a good friend lead =), but the whole climb is really good. A good amount of loose rock (tons in some areas), but the holds are all good and big, and the view is money.
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