Serpent Point and the adjacent walls within one-half mile are closed to public use from March 15 through July 15. This includes the landscape portions above the walls extending 50 feet from the rim edge. This pertains to the following areas:
North Rim areas - The Alpine Aretes, Porcelain Arete, and Painted Wall. These climbing routes are closed: Alpine Route, Porcelain Arete, On the Border, Broken Porcelain, Northern Arete, Beyer Route, The Dragon, The Serpent, Forrest-Walker, Stratosfear, Journey Through Mirkwood, and Southern Arete.
South Rim areas - Dragon Point and Dragon Point Buttress. These climbing routes are closed: Pilgrimage, Crumb Blunder, Magic Dragon, Black Adder, Black Snake, Black Heathen, Black Dragon Rider, and Silent Rage.
This information is a public crowdsourcing effort between the Access Fund,
and Mountain Project. You should confirm closures, restrictions, and/or related dates.
P1. Many variations up slab and ledges, trending up and slightly left. Belay at ledge with small tree just below a corner with a finger crack. (5.6R)
P2. Climb finger crack and then continue up on low grade 5th to the base of the next steep portion of the wall. (5.8)
P3. Traverse right (Casually Off-Route goes left here) to a large crack/corner, climb this and then traverse right again. (5.8)
P4. Climb hand and finger crack up and left to a short chimney, belay on ledges above. (5.8)
P5. Slab, ledges and crack up and left to a large ledge (5.6).
From here, you can walk off left to a gully which is somewhat nasty and not recommended or continue up and right to some mediocre pitches which are also not recommended.
P6. Climb diagonally up and right across loose ledges. (Worst pitch of the climb.) Aim for a small, left-facing corner and after surmounting this, traverse right on a ledge 50 feet or so. (5.7)
P7. Climb peg groove-corner for 40 feet then easier ground. (5.8)
P8. Many options to top. (5.6ish)
This description combines Pitches 4, 5, 6 from Williams guide into 2 pitches. Other combinations would be possible but with all of the low angle climbing and traversing (and great belay ledges) linking may be difficult.
There are some good sections of this climb, but they are short. Despite the 8-pitch description, this climb goes quickly. Much of the climb is 5.6 or under.
Head down the SOB to the buttress uphill from the Escape Artist-Comic Relief area (if you've reached them you have gone too far). There is a half-dead tree at the base that serves as a useful landmark. Gain ledges just above and to the right of this tree.
Now that I've done both Casual and Casually Off, I'd definitely say Casually Off is the better climb. Casual is nice but really just about 100' of climbing over 5.6 on it.
I'm not sure about either the description here or the one in the guidebook. P3 seemed mostly easy - didn't find any 5.8 on it. It was also fairly long and ended in a small stance where the route divides between the OW and the hand/finger crack. This is the only non-huge ledge on the route. P4 is definitely the money pitch - the hand/finger crack is excellent (but short) and the chimney is big fun. The topo in the book shows slab above the crack but that's a lie. The chimney turned out to be well protected (didn't need any big gear either - the #3 and #4 stayed on the rack) and a lot of fun - once you get going there are good stemming options on the walls. The crux is definitely the top of the chimney (green Camalot at the very top). Not a good pitch to wear a pack on! I stepped left and traversed to a short layback above the chimney to avoid the overhanging step above.
The book shows a belay below the chimney, but this would make the previous pitch just 40' and the next one 50'. So, I can't see why you would do this.
Climbing this late season (mid-October), there was no sun till about 2:30 or so. Casually Off Route seemed to be even shadier and had snow in the cracks. All of Casual was dry except for the exit gullies.
It is true that there are many variations on this climb. The chimney was the fun part for me due to the wedging of the body to get into it. I disagree with the other comment that it is better than Maiden. Very easy in my opinion. Half or fewer pithes of this climb are not worth climbing if you like The Black for its pucker factor.
By Rich F. From: Colorado Springs, CO Sep 3, 2012 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-HVS 4c
Climbed some variant of the Casual Route on Saturday, and maybe the toughest part was figuring out where the route went after the finger crack at the start of pitch 2. I upclimbed and downclimbed several places trying to make sense of where I was on the route but did not see anything like the pictures submitted by John Peterson. On our pitch 3, we were more or less above the pitch 2 finger crack and climbed a wide crack formed by a left-facing dihedral which required a short layback move at the top to get onto the belay ledge -- we did not see a 5.7 finger crack nearby. Pitch 4 included a fun, short layback, followed by an undercling above it that went horizontally to the left for about 20 feet, and finished below a short tight chimney. Getting in and out of that short 12-foot chimney above the undercling was by far the toughest part of the entire climb for me. Pitch 6 was easy, then we finished by climbing the nice sharp arete near the top on pitch 7.