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Routes in The Thunderhead

Alice S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Arcing Arm Hairs S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Deluge S 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Derecho S 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Drizzle S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Dust Devil S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
F5 S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Flash Flood S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
G.A.S. S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Gale Force S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Golden Showers S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
In On The Killtaker S 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Jack Twister S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Katabatic Cataclysm S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Monsoon S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Nimbostratus S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Rainbows in the Dark S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Reigning Pussies and Bitches S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Ripsnorter S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Smoke and Mirrors S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Spring Showers Bring May Flowers S 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Squall, The S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Stormchaser S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Tempest, The S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Virga S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Zephyr II S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
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Shared By: Greg Parker on Nov 13, 2002
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Andy Busse, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty
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Description

The Thunderhead is the place to go for the biggest concentration of hard routes in Spearfish Canyon. The wall is very steep and most of the routes are bouldery. Expect difficult starts on sidepulls, underclings and pockets followed by sustained pocket pulling. A stick-clip is required to clip the first bolt on most of the routes. You'll understand why when you see the wall. Often times, you are in the crux at the first bolt and there is no stopping to clip. So, if you're feeling burly, come prove yourself on these Spearfish Canyon testpieces.

Getting There

To get to the Thunderhead, turn right at Cheyenne Crossing (toward Newcastle) and park at the Sunshine Wall parking area, which is the large pullout on the left about two miles up the road. There is a sign at the back of the pullout that reads "Saunterer's Solitude". Walk up the road about 200 yards until you come to a residence. Directly across the road from their driveway is a faint climber's trail that meanders up the steep hill. A short five minute hike takes you right to the center of the wall.

26 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Thunderhead

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Nimbostratus
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Monsoon
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Ripsnorter
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Zephyr II
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
The Tempest
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Alice
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Virga
Sport
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
In On The Killtaker
Sport
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Deluge
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Nimbostratus 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Monsoon 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Ripsnorter 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Zephyr II 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
The Tempest 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Alice 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
Virga 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
In On The Killtaker 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c Sport
Deluge 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c Sport
More Classic Climbs in The Thunderhead »

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Photos

Greg Parker
Cardiff, CA
Greg Parker   Cardiff, CA  
Thanks for the link Brent. That was cool! Too bad they got the name of the 2nd route wrong... It actually looks like he climbs a hybrid of Derecho and Deluge. I'm not sure how Chris ended up doing Derecho, so that could be the way I guess. Very cool regardless. Sep 18, 2013
BBQ
BBQ  
Thunderhead receives some positive press. Congrats, Greg. Louder Than Eleven 100 days trip Sep 15, 2013
Greg Parker
Cardiff, CA
Greg Parker   Cardiff, CA  
I believe the line you're looking at is an old project bolted by Blake Workman. He called it The Zonal Flow and I'm pretty sure it has never been redpointed. It goes straight out the steep roof to the left of Ripsnorter (and the other two 5.11s right there), followed by a shorter black vertical headwall. Is that the one you're thinking of? May 21, 2011
Reedrombo
Home is where you park it
Reedrombo   Home is where you park it
So what is the route that runs right up the huge overhanging prow to the left. Literally the largest roof at Thunderhead, but I don't see the line on here, but it's obviously bolted. May 18, 2011
Miah
The guy who sent Witness Protection was Matt Wendling from Ten Sleep. He is Alli Rainey's husband. He tried a few other routes and thought they were hard (Mechanical Animals, Lee's route on The Hole in the Wall, Sting). The hard routes are still waiting for you to come back and send them Miah.
Jan 3, 2007
Greg Parker
Cardiff, CA
Greg Parker   Cardiff, CA  
Yeah, I hear you. Grades are obviously very subjective. Sometimes certain routes just flow for you. Master Blaster (12c) at the Mohican took me forever to do, but I did Mephistopheles (13a/b) on my 2nd try. Who knows. But I do know that Master Blaster isn't harder than Mephistopheles. I guess you have to take your strengths and weaknesses into consideration. Nov 21, 2006
Joshua Dreher
Bremerton, WA
Joshua Dreher   Bremerton, WA
I'm thinking of Cronin's route called Sweet or Ya or something of that note. It has a huge reach off an undercling pocket. Alice took me two tries but this route took me like six! Who know's? Grades are confusing!!! Nov 21, 2006
Greg Parker
Cardiff, CA
Greg Parker   Cardiff, CA  
Ha. That's funny. I argued with people for a long time that it was 12d and not 13a. Sounds like you would agree. Apparently we are the only two that think that though, and it's been repeated many times. I finally gave in. I think 12c is pushing it. What routes are you comparing it to at the Shadowlands? Nov 20, 2006
Joshua Dreher
Bremerton, WA
Joshua Dreher   Bremerton, WA
I personally think Alice is more like 12c. I thought it was easier than some of the twelves at the Shadowlands. Nov 20, 2006
Greg Parker
Cardiff, CA
Greg Parker   Cardiff, CA  
Speaking of possibly upgrading F5, I think the majority of the routes at the Thunderhead need their grades solidified. Not necessarily upgraded, but solidified. I know that comes with time and more ascents. However, Jeremiah once told me that Stormchaser was the "hardest" 13a he's ever done. What does that mean, 13b? And recently Lee said he thought The Tempest was 13a!! And I think In On The Killtaker is on the hard side of 13b, a sentiment echoed by Dale Snyder, who got the 2nd ascent. He said it could be called 13c and he wouldn't argue. And that's his favorite angle to climb! I do think Gale Force and Alice are right on at 13a.
Anyway, I'm just rambling about my daydreams because it's 45 degrees and raining out in Utah and I'd much rather be climbing these awesome routes. Nov 16, 2006
Saw Blake try it again two summers ago and he could not do the moves. He was rethinking the grade. Nov 15, 2006
Five new routes at the Thunderhead. Far left is Mesocyclone 5.11c/d 13 bolts, Spring Shower Brings May Flowers 5.9- 5 bolts, Lee's Route name unknown 5.10b/c 10 bolts. The other two are right of the next five routes. They go up the arete left of In on the Kill Taker.The left one is Dust Devil (project), other is Bear's Cage5.11c. It shares the first bolt with Ripsnorter 12b. Stick clip the first two on Bear's Cage. ENJOY Mar 25, 2004

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