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Routes in Devil's Castle

Black Streak T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13
Bush Bullshit S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Des Teufel's Bollwerk T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Easy Snow PG13
Dick Cheese Ball Cheney S 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Evil Eye T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Friday the 13th T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Gothic Miller S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Gothic Pillar T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Hellevator Shaft T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Horns Of Satan T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Political Prisioner S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Poon Limp or Eat Crust T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Portable Darkness T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Shadow of the Blade T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
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Access Issue: Please respect this beautiful area. Stay on established trails and do not trample any vegetation Details
Access Issue: Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed Details

Description

The North Face of Devil's Castle is within the Alta Ski Area boundary and within a 20-30 minute approach hike from the Albion Basin Campground. Spring to late summer snow forms a bergschrund type barrier to the beginning of the routes which adds to the alpine flavor. Take more clothes and weather protection than you think....even if valley temperatures are really hot! Prone to late afternoon thundershowers. Wear a helmet for all climbing here. The rock is limestone and considered chossy by some people, so if you are a sport climber never accustomed to touching possible loose rock...go elsewhere. This is great climbing in a beautiful setting and rarely crowded. If other parties are on the wall, walk off instead of doing the rappels of BLACK STREAK, which can be rappelled with one 70m rope.

Getting There

Drive as far up Little Cottonwood Canyon as possible. Continue on the dirt road (when open) up to the Albion Basin Campground. Ice axes and big boots may be helpful for early season approaches that should not require more than 30 minutes. A fine trail leads out of campsite #13 which passes some private homes. If making reservations for camping, this campsite gives you awesome views and the closest approach to the Castle. Respect these properties and stay on the trail and avoid passing through too close to the homes. Above trail and tree line, the approach is obvious.

14 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Devil's Castle

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
 37
Portable Darkness
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 4
Bush Bullshit
Sport, Alpine
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 3
Poon Limp or Eat Crust
Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13
 128
Black Streak
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 47
Horns Of Satan
Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 37
Shadow of the Blade
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
 12
Evil Eye
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
 13
Gothic Pillar
Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 3
Gothic Miller
Sport, Alpine 2 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Portable Darkness
 37
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13 Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Bush Bullshit
 4
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport, Alpine
Poon Limp or Eat Crust
 3
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
Black Streak
 128
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13 Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
Horns Of Satan
 47
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
Shadow of the Blade
 37
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
Evil Eye
 12
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13 Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
Gothic Pillar
 13
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13 Trad, Alpine 6 pitches
Gothic Miller
 3
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport, Alpine 2 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Devil's Castle »

Sun & Shade

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Tristan Higbee
Ogden, UT
Tristan Higbee   Ogden, UT
Here's a bit more approach beta: From the parking lot, walk through the campground on the main road. You'll pass a small gate on your right and a minute later you'll see a larger gate on the right. The main road goes left here over a bridge thing, but you want to go right through the gate on that road. This will take you through some houses. After the houses, the road will veer left and you'll see a great singletrack trail going straight. Go straight on this trail. After 15 minutes or so you'll pass by a cool looking cliff on your left and you'll be directly under the face. A broad, shallow, rocky, talus-filled gully leads to the base of the face from here. Follow the gully to the base of the routes. It takes me 45 minutes at a not-in-a-hurry pace. Aug 3, 2010
Spoke with some guys who had just finished the raps off Black Streak. They reported that it was easy and not a problem. Problem is, you are rapping down the most popular route on the wall.
A good idea would be for more of the routes to get equipped with chains for raps so as to avoid traffic jams and lose rocks falling on those below.
Maybe think next time about bringing up one set of chains to donate to a belay for the benefit of everyone else. Aug 4, 2010
Or consider walking off which is quick and easy.
Rappelling and pulling the rope = increased chance of knocking loose rocks down on yourself or people below. Aug 4, 2010
Boissal .
Small Lake, UT
Boissal .   Small Lake, UT
Agreed. This ain't the Thumb, the 'convenience first' attitude will kill someone on the Castle. When I did Horns a few years ago I was belaying tucked in the mini alcove on top of P3 when I heard a loud thud and was showered with dirt. When I followed the next pitch I found a head-sized block embedded in the dirt 10' directly above the belay. Failed to mention to my partner that one of us came within feet of the Pearly Gates.
Spontaneous choss fall happens all the time on the castle. Pulling a rope through the death ledge will result in someone dying. The walk off sucks. A broken ankle sucks more. Brain splatter sucks most.

Consider donating chain to restrain ravenous bolters instead... Aug 4, 2010
bsmoot  
I don't think the walk off sucks. You have a good trail down to Cecret lake, It goes fast and it's quite scenic too.

Edit addition: When climbing any route on the Castle, make sure you stick to climbing on the underlying bedrock. Try to avoid pulling on blocks, flakes or fractured rock. Always test holds that look suspect. On the lower angled rock and ledges use your feet as much as possible. Be careful not to drag or angle the rope over much loose stuff. Don't rush it. Aug 5, 2010
Boissal .
Small Lake, UT
Boissal .   Small Lake, UT
Brian, do you rack up at the car? I've always dragged a pack up there and had to walk back down to the base of the lines. That walk-off sucks big times unless you're with Shaft and he's throwing a fit and threatening to call Ono every time he finds the remains of a bamboo stick... Aug 5, 2010
Shaft
Salt Lake City
Shaft   Salt Lake City
I have kinda come to terms with the prevalence of the invasive species of alpine bamboo.

Need an impromptu axe to negotiate the slippery snowfield? Look for a sturdy specimen. Need walking sticks to recon the next killer line? Locate the longest mysteriously splintered 'boo sticks and stability reigns.

Plus chicks dig dudes that have rockfall scars AND haul out trash. Aug 5, 2010
Brian in SLC
Sandy, Utah
Brian in SLC   Sandy, Utah
Reasonable to get back to the pack if you take the trail down before you get to the hike up to Pinchaloaf, uhh, Sugarloaf. Cut down the gully and then head to to the base. Keep the radar on, as, any wind and/or goats could nail you with a loose rock.

Not that bad. Aug 5, 2010
bsmoot  
When I'm up there, the climber going second carries a small pack. This is one of those times when it's better to be on the sharp end! Aug 6, 2010
notmyname
Sandy, UT
notmyname   Sandy, UT
Unless I got hit by a severe storm, I can't imagine a single reason not to walk off. After climbing any one of the routes the first thing throug my mind is there's now way I'm pulling a rope through that. It's one of the easiest walk-off I've ever done and spits you right back to your packs below the routes, or if just doing one, straight down to the car. How would you know somone isn't on Black Streak if rapping? I'd be pissed if I was climbing black streak and someone was rapping above me. Aug 4, 2013
I'm with notmyname and others in recommending that you don't rap the Castle from the top. Unless there is an emergency the walk off is the way to go. The approach is only 30 minutes so what do you have to leave at the base? Your shoes? I don't really like to tell other people how they should do a climb/descent but rapping from the top across all that low angle loose choss??? Not a very good idea. Aug 18, 2013
steve edwards
SLC, UT
steve edwards   SLC, UT
I had to rap this wall once. Would never, ever, do it again and would rather take my chances with lightning, which is something I try and avoid at all costs. Even Black Streak is a crap shoot. If there are others on a route don't climb it. I wouldn't want to be on this wall if there were other people on any route if it meant that at some point they were walking off above me. Big stuff comes down this cliff everyday, even when you've got it to yourself. Jan 20, 2014
C Archibolt
Salt Lake City, UT
C Archibolt   Salt Lake City, UT
It's worth noting that the Albion Basin road isn't always open. We climbed DC a few days ago and the road was closed. We hiked the Albion Meadows trails from Sunnyside, and then followed Tristen's beta from the campground. For us, the approach took about 1.25 - 1.5 hours. The Alta employees said the road probably won't open until 7/10/2016. Jul 3, 2016
How do the grades here compare to other local spots, i.e. Hellgate? Jul 5, 2017
Boissal .
Small Lake, UT
Boissal .   Small Lake, UT
Grades are somewhere in between the spot on ratings of old Hellgate (Towers area) & the soft grades of new Hellgate (Melting Mud).
Seems like most of the routes have gotten easier as they're cleaning up and everything is settling around 10+/10d with the exception of the first couple pitches of Gothic Pillar which may push into 11a terrain. The lower wall is steep and exposed though and makes for a rough warm-up. Jul 6, 2017

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