Smith Spire West Face
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Smith Spire. Photo; Todd Gordon
This is a very interesting climb on a very cool formation is an extremely isolated corner of the Navajo Reservation. This formation blends into the canyon walls behind it, and is hard to spot from the road. When you finally find it, it is an awesome formation shaped like a lightbulb. the climb is only 2 pitches. 4th class up a ways to to pitch one Pitch one; a short bit of aid, to a 4th class traverse, followed by 5.7 hands leads to the top of pitch one. Pitch two goes up a thin section (A 2), then to an overhanging section (The underside of the "lightbulb".)....maybe A3/4......more thin nailing leads to the lower angle section and finally the summit.(Big cam near the top )
Up against the mesa to the east of the highway, just south of Rock Point, Arizona.
10 angles, 20-30 more pins, many slings/sections of rope for summit anchor. about 10-15 cams, tie offs, biners. The anchor on top is sort of wild;... about 7 or 8 pins hammered into "dirt" at various sections of the summit, and all tied off together with a section of rope I thought it was dicey.
From: Joshua Tree, California
May 10, 2007
This is a wild climb, on some soft, suspect rock. I rated it A4, but I believe Brad Bond (Boulder, Colorado)and friend did this climb, and said is wasn't harder than A3. Climbing overhanging soft sandstone on pitons is creepy. Near the top, the climbing gets really low angle, but it's so sandy that I had to aid until the bitter end;...it was funny (I suppose) to be in aiders on very low angle rock. At the summit, there were not real cracks to speak of;...I hammered in pins all over the summit in creases, wrinkles, and seams;.....then tied them all together with a very large piece of extra rope;....the summit looked like it was covered with a cargo net. Still;, I admit, that when Doug was cleaning/following the top pitch, I untied from the anchor, so if the anchor pulled, I wouldn't perish with Doug. Then I thought about it for awhile;...I would be trapped up on the summit all alone and perish anyways probably if the anchor pulled...so I tied back into the anchor and told Doug not to bounce on the jumars if he could help it.......On the rap from the top of pitch one on the way down, I was so gassed, and out of slings, for extensions on the anchor I used the sling on my hammer, and a string of biners clipped together;...I just wanted down. This climb really worked my ass;....it was a great adventure for us.