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The Headache, ...
The Headache is anything but its namesake: an über-classic line with hands, fingers and a short, offwidth section.
Before undertaking, check at the vistor center as this climb has been subject to raptor closings in years past.
P1 (.10b) The climb begins with two options: either a one inch or a three inch crack, both splitter. Pick one and jam beautiful cracks to the first short, 10b offwidth crux, which protects really well with a 3.5 Camalot.
P2 (5.9+ or easy 5.10) Pitch two goes at 5.9+ or easy 5.10, depending on your height. Cruise up and left from the belay, working through some great .9 terrain until you clip a good bolt on the "puzzle piece" before a splitter roof. Surmount the roof, then up more .9 to the second belay, a tree with slings.
P3 Begins with some really fun, easy, lower-angled cracks and gets progressively more difficult as you near the chains. Save those green Camalots. The pitch ends on a large ledge, from which you rap off 60 meters to a hanging rap anchor. Rap another 60 to the ground.
At minimum, two sets of cams from 3" to 3.5" (heavy on green and yellow camalots), a set of stoppers, 8 draws and 5 shoulder length slings.
All three belays are bolted with bomber bolts.
Bring two 60 meter ropes.
second pitch of the headache
Mike Sokoloff on the first pitch of the Headache.
BETA PHOTO: third pitch of the headache goes in the left crack...
BETA PHOTO: Splitter
BETA PHOTO: Start of the route.
Pitch 3 finish
Lee and Perin at the P2 anchor on May 15, 2010.
Perin Blanchard and Lee Jensen on the third pitch ...
Dean is following the bomber hands on P2
One of the thin hands cruxes on P3
The final crux moves on Headache...
see arturo dominate the headache
Russ on the awesome spliter start
Nov 29, 2003
best three pitch route in zion. pay attention to perigrine falcon closures. we almost got ticketed due to the vague description of closure dates in the bjornstadt guide.
From: Steamboat Springs, CO
Apr 18, 2004
Don't do this climb unless you love to jam!Just did this route 4/16/04 and found it to contain more quality climbing per pitch than anything I can remember any where. Right off the deck you have in your face hand jamming that just leads in to all forms of jams. It is good to remember how to do a face move or two, since every pitch requires at some point that you step a little outside the crack to gain a move.I had no beta going in to this climb other than bring a lot of gear. The #3.5 Met cam was very useful on the off-width on P1 and was even used on P2 when I ran out of #2's and the cracked flaired enough to accept the #3.5. Having 3 #2's would have been useful, I could have left the small nuts and the #4 cam at home, but a couple of tricams and the medium nuts could be useful.The roof on P2 is an interesting problem, but once you identify the hand crack you are there.
May 19, 2004
Why do I see aiders in that picture?
Dec 16, 2004
I thought it was a killer route - especially if you don't have time to do something long. The approach was also perfect if you're short on time - 5 seconds of flat walking. The guidebook says its5.9 + start pitch, but it felt more as described here.We used a #4 camalot as we didn't have a 3.5, and my friend had to scoot it up and through the first pod to retrieve it. Pitch 2 is really cruiser and the last pitch is the best.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jan 15, 2005
Awesome route! I may be mistaken,but pretty sure it is rated 10a. First pitch is standard Zion 5.9+, no harder. Simply straight forward jamming for the first 30 feet.
From: Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
May 25, 2007
A 70m doesnt come close to rapping off the last pitch, USE 2 ROPES!!!!
|By S. O.|
May 19, 2008
One of the best around. First pitch is 5.9 with no real OW that I remember. (If there was 5.10 OW I would have remembered it)
|By Dr. Dan|
Apr 22, 2009
Have done this route four times now. It is a bunch of good climbing with a very short approach. Would agree P1 is no harder than 9+, but a 3.5 is nice and other than one wide move is not OW. P2 is just fun made more interesting with the bolt slab problem and a very secure roof (#2 BD cam) to move through. P3 is the most challenging climbing at 10a/b. Good to bring a bunch of finger and small hand sizes for P3, but the wide crack near the top will happily take a #3.
|By Andy Laakmann|
From: Bend, OR
Apr 14, 2010
Wow - one of the best short multipitch routes I've done. Three varied pitches, bomber gear, and fabulous views.
I had 4 #2 camalots and found plenty of places for them. I had 3 #0.75 camalots and could have placed more if I wanted. The last pitch takes as many green camalots as you can throw at it.
P1 - 5.9+ (the offwidth is littered with handholds)
P2 - 5.10a
P3 - 5.10b
Nuts, from medium to large - tricams can be placed as well
Set of TCU sized cams to red alien. Maybe extra yellow alien.
2-3 x #0.5 camalot
3-4 x #0.75 camalot
2 x #1 camalot
4 x #2 camalot
2 x #3 camalot
1 x #3.5 camalot (not sure if a C4 #4 camalot would fit)
We had a C4 #4 as well, and found a few places for it - but it definitely wasn't required.
Wonderful AM sun in April. I suspect in the depths of winter this wouldn't see any sun.
|By Rob Duncan|
From: Salt Lake City
Oct 11, 2010
I am curious if anyone knows how this route came to be named 'the Headache'. There has got to be a story there, and it might be a good one!
Might be the best 5.10 coupla-pitch route I have ever done. each pitch could stand alone and still be pretty darn good.
|By Greg Sievers|
From: Estes Park, CO
Oct 28, 2010
splitter climbing at its finest !! a nice way to wrap up a visit to the NP. bag this route before you hit the road.
|By Courtney Pace|
Oct 16, 2011
If you like hand jams then this is the route to do and it will feel easy, if you can't jam it will feel really hard. Various short cruxes followed by good rests. This route also gets shade since it is north facing.
|By Peter Valchev|
Nov 28, 2011
Absolutely awesome climb. Link pitches 1 & 2 for one amazing 200 ft pitch (save a #2 for the last 50 ft)!!! A bit chilly in late November as it never sees sun (one more reason to do it in 2 pitches)
From: Oakland, CA
Aug 15, 2012
A friend just emailed me this link of a free soloist's POV video: youtu.be/Q2HObfWqszI
Don't know who the climber is and have no opinion on the feat, but the video shows every single jam on route in a ten minute send, so don't watch it if you don't want beta!
From: Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
Aug 15, 2012
Nice...but he forgot to climb the 3rd pitch! Puss
|By Landon McBrayer|
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 9, 2012
Some quick beta:
-a #4 isn't needed. The "OW" pod on P1 is very short; a #3 BD protects above and below.
-I think that four #2's and four .75 BD cams are useful. You'll use them all.
-the second pitch doesn't end at a tree with slings (as stated). It ends at an obvious bomber bolted belay on a small ramp.
-Lots of shade.