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Routes in Lower Blacktail Butte

Arch Direct - Waterstreak S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Arch, The S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
As You Wish S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Blacktail Boulder Traverse 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b V5 6C
Do the Right Thing S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Higher Education S,TR 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Inconceivable S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Jingus Road S 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
Kehough Cling S 5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Leftovers S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Times Flies When You're Alive S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Waterstreak S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
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Description

The closest climbing to the parking lot at Blacktail Butte. Hard and slick is the name of the game here, but worth a visit if you can climb 10s-12s.

Getting There

From the parking lot head straight over the sidewalk to the trail. The trail branches right through the woods and up a couple switchbacks. Do not take the trail branching to the left. This heads up a set of stairs to the John Gill boulder traverse and becomes a dead end. (Do not jump the wooden retaining wall at the dead end - this is a restoration area.) Once at the base of the wall, you can continue up right along a switchback to gain access to the top of the cliff (if you're looking to TR)

12 Total Climbs

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Location: Lower Blacktail Butte Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at Lower Blacktail Butte

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 22
Inconceivable
Sport, Alpine
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 10
Do the Right Thing
Sport, Alpine
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 9
The Arch
Sport, Alpine
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 3
Higher Education
Sport, TR, Alpine
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 6
Waterstreak
Sport, Alpine
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b V5 6C
 6
Blacktail Boulder Traverse
Boulder, Alpine
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Inconceivable
 22
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport, Alpine
Do the Right Thing
 10
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport, Alpine
The Arch
 9
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport, Alpine
Higher Education
 3
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport, TR, Alpine
Waterstreak
 6
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport, Alpine
Blacktail Boulder Traverse
 6
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b V5 6C Boulder, Alpine
More Classic Climbs in Lower Blacktail Butte »

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Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
First ascent information on this page refers to those that equipped the routes (as it should). But according to local climbing historians, this was a very popular toprope (and John Gill solo arena?) area before the routes were bolted for leading. Just an interesting historical note. Jul 18, 2006
Sam Lightner, Jr.
Lander, WY
Sam Lightner, Jr.   Lander, WY
Just FYI Nick,
First ascent credit goes to the person who equipped the route and led it without a fall, not top rope. In the case of Blacktail, its generally the same person; Rex Hong. Mar 28, 2007
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
Sorry, that's not what I meant... I wasn't saying that the earlier toprope parties should have FA credit. I think it's an interesting historical note about the crag, that it had a life as a toprope/trad(?) crag before it was bolted.
Thanks for all the work you've done, Sam, especially at Blacktail. Apr 3, 2007
It's amazing how much of the climbing history the locals are missing. John Gill soloed most of the stuff on Blacktail butte back in the late 50's and early 60's. His name is in-seperable from the rock its self. Pat Aments book details it fairly well as well. One comment I recall from aments book, master of rock, "One climber who accompanyed Gill to the butte stated that he couldent top rope some of the stuff Gill was soloing". Sorry to disagree with the comments but the history is there if you look for it. Allen Jun 24, 2008
Hmmmm, a toprope is not considered an FA?
I beg to differ.
A no hangs, tr ascent is an FA, if only a tr FA.
A no hangs tr ascent still requires spotting the potential route and giving it a go, putting together the moves, pulling off loose holds, etc.
Most retro-bolted sport leads are only done after the line has been toproped, making the first sport lead a headpoint at best.
This is not to say that leading while clipping bolts from the ground up is not an accomplishment. Leading ground up is obviously a bit more committing. Actually, I don't see a huge difference between toproping a line and clipping bolts on a sport climb where the bolts are only one body length apart.
I toproped many of the lines on Blacktail Butte back in the mid seventies and they had been toproped for a couple of decades before this Johnny-Come-Lately stepped on that stone in his EB's.
Yes, how the climb was done (tr or lead) does have a bearing on the difficulty, but PLEASE give credit where credit is due.
A big part of the FA is visualizing the line and putting the moves together.
Why disregard the true first ascentionist or rename a route simply because you've turned an existing route into a sport climb?
This attitude may have more credence if the line was led trad, however it would still not detract from the fact that someone has climbed it before you.
History is a fascinating aspect of our sport.
Don't overwrite history in order to feed your ego.
Sure, go ahead and claim the first sport lead after bolting an pre-existing route, but don't claim an FA. Aug 21, 2009
Tom, am I wrong about the john gill thing? seems his name shoule be the fa on most of these routes as the originol high ball boulderer. Sep 1, 2009
I can't say for sure about Gill but I would assume so, since he spent quite a bit of time in the area.

I heard of Blacktail Butte back at Devils Lake,WI and spent a couple of day's TR'g there in the summer of '73.

A couple of weeks later, we ran into "The Master" himself, John Gill while we were bouldering at the Big Sandy trailhead in the Wind's and spent an afternoon with him. Sep 2, 2009
Justin Meyer
Madison, WI
Justin Meyer   Madison, WI
This is a very conveniently located crag if you want to get in some sport climbing while visiting Grand Teton National Park.

To the admins: it might be helpful to note on the route pages which routes can have a top rope set up by rappelling from the bolts on top of the cliff down to the anchors for those that don't want to lead.

Also, the anchors on Time Flies When You're Alive appear to be worn, probably from top roping through them. It might be helpful to make a note that top roping shouldn't be done through the anchors. Jun 1, 2014
M Alexander
SLO, CA
M Alexander   SLO, CA
Cool but hard and somewhat greasy climbing, thin moves.

Hard to set up a top rope on anything but the middle (harder) climbs without first leading them. There are three sets of bolts to rap off to set up tr for the middle climbs by taking the trail right that switchbacks to the top.

Amazing views! Aug 28, 2016

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