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Luke coming up to Earth Orbit Ledge
I don't know...unless it's 1000 feet off the deck, C1 can be pretty monotonous. In any case, this route is worth doing for the exposure on the last pitch alone! It is also a good practice route for bigger and better things.
I understand this can be a pretty crowded route on weekends so if you're planning on doing a one day ascent, you might as well forget about it if you get behind a party that's hauling. It gets good sun (SW facing) so it can be done comfortably in cooler weather.
The common strategy for this route seems to be to fix the lower section the first day and then come back the next day and fire to the top. A trail leads to the base of the climbing, a short section of sandy rock that leads to a ramp.
P1 (Easy 5th) Begin by climbing up sandy rock to the large, left-trending ledge/ramp above. Follow the ramp to the base of a chimney (identified by a tree about 10 feet up the chimney).
P2 (5.6/5.7) Climb the fun chimney to a belay (two drilled pins) on a large ledge. If you are fixing a line from here, you may want to back the belay up with a cam (#3 Camalot). We had a 70m rope but a 60m should be able to reach the ground if fixing.
P3 (5.5) Walk around right and climb a sandy trough up to a ledge at the base of the headwall.
P4 (C1) This is where the steepness begins. Aid the bolt ladder and eventually a thin crack on a steep slab, reaching a belay where the wall steepens.
P5 (C2) Continue up the crack system to a belay. Skip this belay and tension right into a thin seam. Aid the seam (crux) with creative nutwork and continue up to the next anchor. The seam aids perfectly fine with nuts, offsets, and tricams, so leave the cam hooks at home (camhooks aren't exactly clean aid pieces in sandstone)
P6 (C1) The crack at this point widens enough that it can be free-climbed at a reasonable grade. The guides claim 5.10 but it looks a bit harder and very sustained. If you're still in aid mode, as is likely the case, continue upwards in your aiders to the second set of anchors.
P7 (C1) This pitch looks like it might actually be 5.10. The crack leans pretty seriously to the right by this point, making retreat difficult. Continue aiding upwards to the enormous Solar Orbit Ledge which looks like a good, but slopey, bivy.
P8 (C1) This is the cool part! Traverse the ledge to the far right side, surmount the roof, and aid the bolt ladder to the top. Make sure you look down for a while at the lip of the roof... big exposure! The second has the option of taking a running swing into space at the lip (highly recommended).
Stoppers, including many RPs (offsets useful). Tricams (pink and red). Double set of cams to #3.5 camalot, with triples in green to blue sizes.
Descend by hiking east to a large tree for the raps. See the Leaning Wall description for beta.
Looking down from near the top of pitch 7. This r...
Dan at the first pitch of aid.
Coming up the 5th pitch, second of aid.
The Bug jugging.
Hex master starting P6.
Awww, shit. Losing the sun already?! But it was ...
The last, exposed pitch. Stepping over that ledge...
Climbing the lone crack system on Spaceshot
Climbing up the first aid pitch. Photo by Luke Tay...
View of the Leaning Wall from Desrt Shield
James Schroeder leading the fourth pitch.
Big Wall James stylin the fourth pitch.
Scott at the belay
Jesse Kirby jugging high on Spaceshot.
Side view of the route, from down canyon.
Bailing because of too much traffic.
Very popular route, thus the traffic.
George Slovensky leading P6, David Champion belayi...
Unknown climbers on Spaceshot 5/18/07. Taken from...
BETA PHOTO: Space Shot as seen from Angles Landing.
BETA PHOTO: Leaning Wall Descent with approximate location of ...
B on P4 of Spaceshot.
Cheese finishing the second to last pitch of spac...
BETA PHOTO: Spaceshot from the top of Touchstone
BETA PHOTO: Spaceshot/Leaning Wall descent beta, view from Des...
relaxin top of third
Solo Ascent - October 21, 2008 - taken from Scout'...
from the road, with approach pitches in view
Short fixing pitch 5 while Cheese jugs P4. Go, Go,...
Photo: Andrew Burr
looking into space
A guy cleaning one of the upper pitches on the aft...
A party on Spaceshot. Taken from Moonlight Buttre...
Leading out on Space Shot
Hanging out under the roof after the big swing! In...
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 8, 2002
This climb isn't too hard to complete in a day, but it is EXTREMELY POPULAR and you are likely to get stuck behind slow parties learning aid climbing. We fixed no ropes and reached the top just behind a party who was on their 3rd day on the route! Probably the best reason to fix pitches is to "reserve" the route, by some unwritten rule.
This is one of the most obvious routes from the road, and the tour buses love to point out climbers on it. When climbing the route, it seems there is always a tour bus moving slowly or parked below you.
|By Dan Russell|
Nov 12, 2002
If I could make a recommendation...
This route is perfect for speed. We simul-climbed the first 3 easy pitches, regrouped at the base of the main wall, then simul-aided the remaining 5 pitches to the summit, going 8 hours base-to-base. It was very smooth and solid the whole way. Not only do you not need overnight gear, cut your rack down a bit, and leave the pig in the car, but nobody has to get bored belaying or jugging a single line! We climbed about 50-60 feet apart. My partner Ryan Sayers carried a small backpack with about a gallon of water and our approach shoes. I still trailed a haul line, which Ryan passed through a biner on his harness. When I needed gear, he just sent it up the haul line and I kept going. The only stops we had were waiting at a couple of the belays to pass! I don't know that I could ever simul-aid on C3, but C1 was a joke! With almost entirely bomber placements (except for a few micronuts in the 15-foot section of C2), I felt very in control. We always had 10-12 great pieces between us, and often a belay.
I used to think all those speed techniques were more dangerous, and I think sometimes they are. But in this case, it was much faster, much less of a hassle, more enjoyable since we didn't have to rush at all, and JUST AS SAFE!! And having less gear even made the rappels a breeze.
Just a thought...
|By Dan Russell|
Feb 27, 2003
Yeah, we topped out just after dark as well. We found the raps okay, but it was a little confusing at that one middle spot. It involved a little scary scrambling when it was too dark to see what we were walking into. Then again, we did it in a half-day so no bags. Having just a light rack and 2 ropes probably made it a bit easier. I certainly wouldn't be excited about doing it with a heavy pig in the dark!
|By Ben Mottinger|
Apr 5, 2003
I can't believe no one commented on the first rap. It was (to paraphrase from a Simpson's episode) the WORST RAPPEL EVER. YMMV, but I first threw our ropes into a patch of cactus, then they got tangled all to shit later by all the bushes and tree branches. It was really fun running our hands down the ropes four more times and getting cactus everywhere.
Great route, but not stellar.
|By Jason Nelson|
From: SLC, UT
Apr 14, 2003
Climbed this route over spring break. I thought it was a prettier line to look at than to climb, but none the less a good time overall. There's no need to simu-climb any of it since we were back to the car by 5 and started just after first light. Short fixing would be a good way to make the aid pitches go quicker. Comments on the free climbing: the upper pitches in guidebook listed as 5.10 seemed a bit on the sandbag side. The first one is .5 and .75 camalot size, usually not a desert 5.10 size. The second "5.10" pitch featured an overhanging #2 camalot crack that went through several small roofs and was very strenous, but good fun!One of the pins on the final bolt ladder sheared under bodyweight just after our ascent. Not sure how it is to get by now. Also, there was a party spending 3 days on this route over a spring break weekend. Have a little more respect out there, or at least let people pass. Pretty lame!
May 4, 2003
How would this wall be for soloing? I haven't soloed a wall yet, but I have to go out to Vegas for a wedding and thought this might make a nice diversion. Is it easy to solo in a day or do you really have to be hauling ass? I actually suck at aiding, so I'm probably slower than most parties on this beast, but ya gotta take it up a notch at some point, I guess..
Also, I've only climbed in Zion in March and APril. Is mid May gonna be too hot?
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
May 5, 2003
I climbed it in a day with a partner but I don't think I could make it in a day solo. It's certainly possible, especially if you can free the upper 5.10 pitches and are a fast solo aider. But I wouldn't try it unless you are really fast at both aiding and soloing. The first few pitches would be a pain to rope solo, although they could be done quickly free solo. No way would I free solo them, I almost fell off one of them on lead! Although technically easy, the rock is sandy and there's tons of loose rock around. Plus you would be carrying 2 ropes and a rack!
The heat is probably OK in mid-May, plus you get max daylight. Touchstone would be a more reasonable solo, especially if you fix the bottom 2 pitches or so.
|By Will Cobb|
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 23, 2003
How do the 6th and 7th pitches compare with the standard 5.10 at Indian Creek? If a person is free climbing those pitches is there a certain number of cams per size that you should take?
Thanks for the info.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Oct 24, 2003
I remember placing many #1&2 camalots, the start of the first 5.10 pitch is likely sand bagged.
From: Sacramento, CA
Oct 25, 2003
Will - I freeclimbed the 7th pitch and felt it to be accurately rated 5.10. Certainly no harder than 10+. I did, however, take a 20-footer when a face hold broke off - be careful!
|By Will Cobb|
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 7, 2003
Mike and AC,
Thanks. I should get up there sometime in the next few months to give this thing a whirl. I would like to free that pitch as I have heard that it is very good.
|By Dave Levy|
Nov 19, 2003
Comment regarding Luke and Andrew's ascent: I don't remember it being necessary to sling the bush (as shown in your photo)and subject it to the forces of jugging. Sure, in moments of desperation we sometimes need to grab onto bushes or sling them for pro, but climbers please show a little respect to the fragile desert vegetation and don't use bushes and trees as fixed gear if it's not needed. Thanks.
|By Dan Russell|
Nov 20, 2003
Especially seeing as it's inches away from a fatty crack.
|By Dan Russell|
Nov 20, 2003
Cool picture, though. Anytime the road looks that far away it's good!
|By Anonymous Coward|
Mar 22, 2004
Just climbed this route a couple of days ago. Excellent route, really fun, straightforward. The exposure is spectacular and really cool. Unless you want to "leap-frog" cams, bring 4-5 each size .75-3.0 Camalots. The descent is easy, although it may be hard to find the stations in the dark.
Oct 28, 2004
So, we fixed to p2 and did the rest the next day, but had to wait for the other party behind us (they needed our ropes to rap) so we ended up bivying on the top in winter. It was frigid, but at about 4 am Magic Fingers ripped up his new guide book and started a fire with our last match. Not quite kosher without a fire permit--but, damn, Fingers was my hero.
Also, be really careful of verglas on the descent gullies to the rap stations in Winter. Ben slipped and fell with the pig on his back and almost slid off the edge. No fun. Be safe.
From: Sacramento, CA
Nov 4, 2004
FWIW, Bigwall.com lists the FA in 1980 rather than 1978 as indicated in Joe's route description above. Not sure who's right.
Nov 7, 2007
Did this route last weekend and agree its better to look at than to climb. Fun positions but only OK climbing. i feel that there could be some upgrading of the harware on the route as well. Easy to do in a day as well. the crux is getting worse every year plaese clean resposibly on desert routes.
|By Stuart Paul|
From: Tahoe City, CA
Dec 7, 2009
If aiding. I found that p6 took .75 camalot more than anything else. P7 took #2 camalot more than anything else. Don't give 'em up.
From: SL UT
Apr 12, 2010
This route has been freeclimbed @ 13a R (with a slight variation), ground up, in a day. FFA:Mike and Mark Anderson
From: Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
Apr 12, 2010
The free variations are on the 4th pitch and just above the earth orbit ledge.. To the right of bolt ladder is a 7ish bolted wandering 5.13- face, that trverses back in to the tips crack. It is HIGHLY recommend to use twin ropes or 48inch runners on the bolts
|By Andy Laakmann|
From: Bend, OR
Apr 18, 2010
rating: 5.7 C2
We went to climb this via Fix & Fire.
We intended to fix all the way to the top of P4 - per the supertopo lengths. You can fix the first two pitches with a 60m (4th class and chimney pitch) - we had a 70m but there was plenty of rope. When you fix it, move right on the way down and clip it into the Alpine Start anchor too - makes for a nicer jug with no debris. P4 (bolt ladder to C2) off the ledge is listed as 90' in the topo. Well, it was more like 130' as I was WAY past half on my 60m. About the time I was finishing the pitch and wondering what shenanigans I was going to use to get us back to the top of P2, a soloist came up behind us intending to fix to the top of P3. So we ended up using 3 ropes to fix to the down (P4, P3, P2/P1 via Alpine Start anchor). So i DO NOT KNOW if you can fix all the way for P4-P2 with a 60m - anyone?
P1 - 5.6 move to 4th class rubble
P2 - Fun and clean 5.7 chimney with lots of holds
P3 - I moved right into a fun 5.6 groove thing.
P4 - STREEEEEETCH, bolt, hook, lots of bolts, bomber nuts..... and then pause. Seems like a definite C2 bit on this pitch now. I leapfrogged bodyweight black & red tricams for about 10-15' above a bomber #1 camalot. Some more C1, and then a few thin placements again. I know no idea why the belay is 10' above a nice ledge! Like I said, long pitch - maybe 130'?
P5 - I didn't lead this pitch, but seemed like bomber C1 to about 10-15' of C2.
P6 - #0.5 camalot to #1 camalot crack jugging. Heavy on the #0.5 camalots to green camalots.
P7 - #1 camalot to #4 camalot crack jugging. Heavy on the #2s and #3s.
P8 - Fun! Easy but exciting free climbing with a few bolts and optional gear gets you below the bolt ladder. Bring a single set of cams and some offset nuts on this piece. Big piece optional. There is a nice long stretch between a couple bolts/pins down low. I had to hunt, but two offset nuts got me up. Dodgy pins for a while - and I also placed an alien and camalot to make some moves between bolts. And then the top out wierdness. I placed a #3 camalot as directional, and tagged up a big cam to move into the easy free climbing to the anchor.
Descent was absolutely trivial in the daylight. A worn path leads between all the rappels. I think the first rap can be done with a single 60m, but all the rest are doubles. The supertopo is spot on.
Anyone see the CRAZY chockstone that is next to the second to last rap anchors. Is that NEW???? It won't last forever! Heck, it looks like your knot could pull it off!
Fun route and we enjoyed it. The two C1 crack pitches are kind of boring for an aid climber, but all the other pitches were fun. Next time I'll free climb the 5.10 crack to EO ledge.
Gear: here is what we had and it was plenty.
- 2x set of medium to big offset nuts
- 2x set of new DMM HB offsets (down to like a #3 or so, I don't remember)
- One set finger size offset aliens (black to red)
- One set regular aliens (black, blue, yellow, red)
- 1 x #3.5 camalot (could just bring another #3)
- 1 x #5 camalot (totally optional, but makes the final move an aid move not a free move)
- Red and yellow link cam (also optional, but made the crack jugging easier)
You could get by with less camalots, you'll just have a long way between pieces on P6/P7. We still leapfrogged a fair bit.
As of April, 2010 - most the fixed hardware has been upgraded. There are plenty of bad pins on the last pitch, but every once in a while you get a fat bolt.
From: Sandy, Utah
Oct 17, 2010
I made an effort to solo Spaceshot starting at 10 pm on October 13th, and finally touching ground again at 2 am on the 15th. I had to bail from Earth Orbit Ledge due to what appeared to be a missing pin on the last bolt ladder. It was dark, and I was exhausted, but couldn't manage to see a way to hook past the spot with the missing pin.
Rapping the route was epic, but possible, and required doing the first rap three four times before I was finally able to pull the line. The first go was to place directionals and get to the lower anchor and secure the end of the rope as a pull line. The second rap was to get the haul bag down. The third rap was supposed to be the final rap of the ledge, but the knot got caught up on the ledge (I had to set a natural anchor above where the headwall crack tops out on the ledge). The final rap was successful by rapping on a single 70 meter rope, doubled over - it barely was long enough.
The rappel to the next anchor also required some rigging, but the remaining were manageable with minor penjies, with the haul bag clipped to my harness.
In speaking with two guys who went up after I did, they were able to top step through the spot with the pulled bolt. I guess I just wasn't feeling that brave at the time, and was pretty trashed at that point anyway.
In retrospect, I should have unloaded some of the weight of the rack, etc. and tried to make the moves through the bolt ladder. Had I known the rappel would be so epic, I would have scratched out hand holds with my finger nails!! Glad to hear the top can still be done even with the missing pin! Let me know if you've got any questions about gear.
I found a .5 tri-cam critical, probably could have used a #1 too, but didnt' have one on me. 3 or 4 #1 & #2 camalots would have been nice for the upper head wall pitches. Things get pretty run out without them. I never found a spot for my #4 camalot, but did place my #3.5 just to get it off my rack. I could have done without it. HB offsets are nice to have, the #1 C3 camalot proved indespensible. It would have been nice to have tcu's for the shallower placements, but was able to manage with Metolius FCU's - but a few of the placements were a little unnerving - being solo, I wasn't down on blowing a piece and taking a whipper.
|By Greg Sievers|
From: Estes Park, CO
Oct 28, 2010
good thread. good beta. it was my first aid climb. we did it the first week of December. We climbed the first 3 pitches about 3pm and left gear on the ledge atop P3. we returned the next morning in the dark at about 6am. batman/jugged to the ledge and then continued to climb the route in a day. topped out about 6pm in the pitch black. following the standard rappel descent we got back to the truck about 10pm. it's pretty much, a kick ass, intro climb.
|By brian hess|
From: Logan, Utah
Dec 13, 2011
Awesome route. We brought a triple set of cams up to a 3 BD, but you could use more .75 and 2 BD sizes. You can use a big cam on this route but you don't really need it. There is enough gear beta already posted refer to previous comments. 1st 3 pitches suck too haul and sleeping on earth orbit ledge blows. However, there is a good bivy after you top out. Have fun its a great route.
|By Chris Francy|
Feb 15, 2012
Just thought I'd add some info while its fresh in my mind.
We fixed the first four pitches with three ropes on day one, as follows: One 60m rope to the top of the chimney (end of P2), clipped through the Alpine start anchor as previously suggested. This rap is about 185-190 feet of rope. Then we fixed from there to the top of P3, I think it was about 100-120 foot. Then another fixed line to the anchor above the "bowl" which is the end of pitch 4. As previously mentioned, this is around 125-130 feet. This method used three fixed lines. We had the idea of fixing to the halfway point of pitch 5, the intermediary anchor that you tension off of, which other people will probably also consider. I don't think you can make it though on a 60m rope, but a 70m would reach for sure and make for a quick day two.
Day two we jugged up those three lines which was pretty easy, and hauled, also easy now on the fixed line route. The hauling day one through the actual free climbing pitches is a nightmare in comparison.
Pitch 5 is the crux of the route because its lots of small offset nuts, the last part of the pitch took us awhile. Pitch 6 and 7 are really easy camalot pitches, but I'm happy I had five purple, green, red, and yellow camalots to make it easier for my follower. Otherwise there will either be lots of swinging, or lots of back cleaning for the follower. The last pitch my partner led, and he was able to top step his aider past the sheered off (missing) piton. It should be noted that it still took him awhile to get up high enough to make the clip, and he is over 6 feet tall. Looking at it while I came up, I'm pretty sure there is a pod that could either take a ballnut or a grey C3. Alternatively, I think there is a good hand hold on the left side flake that you could use to step on top of the lower pin itself. I'm 5'7 and happy I didn't have to figure this part out. Some people have mentioned bringing a big cam to aid the freeclimbing bit at the very end of P8, but its pretty trivial moves on a rail. You only have to free climb for about 5 feet to get to another placement, not sure its worth the weight to bring along a number five cam just for this. The chimney pitch (P2) could use one or two number four camalots but otherwise unnecessary on the route.
We did the descent in the dark, there is a worn climbers train with occasional cairns. There was one point where the trail goes onto a slab, you have to make some third class slab moves to get past that and back on trail (generally going lower on the slabs). The trails lead to the first rappel tree, which is a 150' tall ponderosa. The first rappel is almost exactly 100 feet. You could do it safely with a single 60m rope, the landing is pretty flat and bushy. Another trail at the plumb point of that rappel leads a few hundred feet over to the first double rope rappel station. The next station is also easy to find, its on a platform. The station after that is to the right of the left facing corner, on a peculiar airy chock stone. The next station you have to rappel (~180ft) down to the huge ledge and walk over to, there is a beaten path over to it, but it is harder to locate than any of the others. From their you rap to the ground and walk a few minutes out to the road.
Have fun and be careful.
|By Ryan Myers|
From: Tempe, Arizona
Dec 8, 2012
Outstanding route! Thought the crux was slightly harder than the crux on Prodigal Sun. Have fun and enjoy the swing!
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 6, 2013
only one hook (any normal type of hook) necessary and pitch 4 is not 90 feet per the supertopo, it's exactly 40 meters.
Gets sun around 10:30 in late jan/early feb