Type: Trad, 400 ft, 3 pitches, Grade II
FA: Mike Engle and Linda Schneider--1987 Ground Up
Page Views: 13,708 total · 67/month
Shared By: Peter Gram on Jul 9, 2002
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty

You & This Route

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This climb is one of the classics at Rushmore. It is long and has varied climbing. Follow the trail east from the parking near Dire Spire. Look for a prominent dihedral that shoots up to a gigantic roof. This is the climb, although the route traverses and does not mess with the roof.

Pitch 1: Climb up a steep crack that widens near its top. Some plant life is encountered low. This long pitch is the crux, and ends at a ledge with fixed anchors. Also, a slanting crack (Slant Crack, diagonals up and right), reaches this point.

Pitch 2: Follow an easy (5.6) but loose dihedral (wide) to another ledge. This pitch is very short. Then a long traverse must be made to the right on this ledge. Either traverse this ledge now, or do a short intermediate pitch to avoid rope drag for the last pitch.

Pitch 3: Climb up runout face (5.6 - 5.7) to the top of the formation. This pitch is pretty runout, but then again, I had a small rack when I did it. Maybe some aliens would help? At any rate, take the easiest path possible for upward progress.


Standard Rack. Larger pieces for the second pitch.
Garfield goes to Washington Difficulty: 5.8Protection: Medium to large stoppers, cams, or hexes.Description: Park on the left side of the road as driving down towards and before the road descends to the Monument. Walk up about 10 minutes to the base of the wall and follow it to the right. The first pitch is a crack system along a left facing corner. The crux is a slightly overhanging crack about 30 feet up. Good pro below the crack and in the crack can be placed. Two rappel pins to the left can be used for the first belay. The second pitch is easy. Go up on an easy and nice crack and traverse to the right on a shelf. Don't forget to place a pro before the traverse to keep the second safe. Setup the belay 10 feet before the end of the shelf using a horizontal crack. The last pitch goes up past 2 bolts and has fairly long run outs with relatively good holds. At the end of the face turn left again and setup belay on a ledge above the big overhang which was visible directly above the first belay. 2 rappel chains can be found descending using a short steep and narrow V with vegetation and traversing to the left (when facing the wall). Jul 15, 2002
Mark Berreth
Wenatchee, WA
Mark Berreth   Wenatchee, WA

This is THE route to do. Mar 9, 2003
Definitely one of the funnest climbs in the hills. Surprisingly, no one has mentioned the rappel. The first rappel is an incredible hanging repel for the first sixty feet. It is awesome. A must do route. Feb 16, 2004
Did the first pitch of this route twice but am intimidated by this so called runout third pitch. Is there a crack there or what? From the ground it looks like an unprotected face climb after a chimney. Also, where is the rappel at the top? Do you rappel down to the top of the first pitch and then to the ground? Can you walk off? Thanks!-Kolby Jardine Mar 22, 2004
Peter Gram
Portland, OR
Peter Gram   Portland, OR  
Kolby -

I did this route back in '96 or so, so my memory is a bit shady. When I climbed pitch 3, it was a face with no bolts, but with a few options here and there for small pro in places. It was pretty runout, but I hear there has been 2 bolts added since then (?), which might take the teeth out of it a bit.

When I climbed it, I never found the rap, but it is supposed to be on top of that giant roof. It is a 2-rope rap to the top of pitch one, then one more 2-rope rap. Instead, I did a LONG walkoff. If you choose to do the walkoff, bring up your street shoes to save yourself some foot pain!

Peter Gram Mar 23, 2004
Mark Berreth
Wenatchee, WA
Mark Berreth   Wenatchee, WA
Kolby,The last pitch is a little run-out for the first 25-30 feet, but you can get a couple small pieces in that are sketchy but better than nothing. I usually just run it out until the first bolt. There are 3 or 4 bolts on the top. As long as you're a solid 5.7 climber you won't have any problems. It's an excellent climb, just nut up. Mar 30, 2004
Eric Krantz
Black Hills
Eric Krantz   Black Hills
Above the 3-4 bolts on the 3rd pitch you'll find a desk-sized block with a grapefruit chunk on top. This block can be used to build an anchor, sling the grapefruit and use the small crack around the base. Or, go left from the block maybe 15 feet to a gully and you'll see some anchors below you. This is the rappel that drops over the roof and puts you at the anchors at the top of the first pitch. May 23, 2004
Kolby- the third pitch is very manageable. About 10 feet above the belay, there is a perfect slot for a #1 Camalot (or equivalent). Above that, move to the alcove with the large crystals in it, and look around to your right- there is a decent placement for a yellow alien in this spot. From here, it is only a few more moves to the first bolt, with an optional nut placement before the bolt. Remember, too, that the climbing up to this bolt is not hard by any measure- it's just that with the exposure and runout it seems intimidating. Don't let it stop you from doing the route- this pitch is not as bad as you think it will be. Once you reach the headwall, there are three bolts. Enjoy! May 23, 2004
Dakota Kid
Rochester Hills, MI
Dakota Kid   Rochester Hills, MI
The first rappel is definitely exciting. Pretty much a straight 150' drop to the first belay ledge off of the roof. Give the tourists on the HTL a thrill watching you spider down. Aug 20, 2008
Roy Reichle
Saint Helena, NE
Roy Reichle   Saint Helena, NE
My climbing partner and I just did this route on June 23rd of 2010. It was my climbing partner's first multi-pitch and he had a great time on the route. It was my second time to do the route and each time was a blast.

I first did the route in the 90's, before the bolts were put in on the third pitch. Without the bolts the pitch was quite sporty, but very doable. I found a few placements on the way up that would take short falls, and I put screamers on them for good measure.

This time, the lower pitch was very wet after the previous night's thunderstorms, but we made it through without slips or mishap. The pro is all there and the crux is quite safe. The moves through the crux section are pretty sustained and can be a bit awkward, depending on your technique.

The second pitch is just a ton of fun, especially the exposed ledge system and hanging belay. My partner and I made it into a few people's photo albums as they gawked below us.

The third pitch was easier than I remembered it, probably because I knew about the added bolts! The upper pitch is coarse and climbing rubber sticks like glue. So, relax and enjoy the view.

When you're rapping off, it's a good idea to put the knot over the lip. Our rope became stuck and I ended up prussiking back up to get it loose. Overall, even with a stuck rope, this route is a highly recommended classic. Jun 27, 2010
Kevin Dahlstrom
Boulder, CO
Kevin Dahlstrom   Boulder, CO
Good route. P1 is the business and P2/P3 are cruisy. P3 protects fine to the bolts - I plugged 3 bomber cams. Just look closely - it's there. Also, P3 has maybe one 5.6/5.7 move and the rest is 5.5 or easier.

There are two routes on the right wall at the top of P1. Each has chains at the top. Does anyone know which routes they are and what they're rated? The one on the left felt 10ish but has a section that is difficult to protect. The one on the right is harder quite technical - maybe 11b?

With a 70m rope you can rap from the top with one rope using the anchors for the routes described above. Jul 21, 2012
Joe Brannan
Lyons, CO
Joe Brannan   Lyons, CO
Warning on the walk off, the back side of this wall is closed. Signs are posted everywhere reading 'Federally Closed Area.' Plan to rappel off the front.

Also, P3 makes this climb, don't miss it. Although its no harder than 5.6 the climbing is wonderful and has great position. As of July '12 there are 3 bolts to protect the top half of this pitch. The lower half of P3 is well protected as well (I used #2 C4, medium sized wire and red C3). Aug 5, 2012
Hartford, SD
TREEfool   Hartford, SD
I was told to bring webbing to build an anchor at the top but I found two brand spanking new FIXE bolts/chains about 20 feet below the summit on a huge ledge. I belayed both of my seconds up to this spot and we did an easy, non-exposed, scramble to the summit unroped. Aug 25, 2012
Wilson On The Drums
Woodbury, MN
Wilson On The Drums   Woodbury, MN
If you wanna take the 5.6 Slant Crack to reach the first anchors, note that you start on the face and traverse left into the crack/flake and then go up and right. Don't start the Slant Crack where it actually starts... much harder than 5.6. Anyway you do Garfield is great though. Took a beginner up the Slant Crack today and it was very enjoyable, easy climbing on big flakes. Sep 23, 2012
Mark Orsag
Omaha, NE
Mark Orsag   Omaha, NE
Fun climb. A little run out in spots, but nothing too scary. Did two of the numerous possible starts. I think I might have given it four stars had there been better weather for it-- early June a few years back cold, windy as hell. Awesome top too with the wind-sculpted rock and the little pond and all... May 9, 2013
Ryan Sommers
Lyons, CO
Ryan Sommers   Lyons, CO
WARNING!!! There is a loose block at the top of the first pitch, right at the top of the crack at the anchor. A knob on it shows signs of chalk and seems like it is a hold people commonly use. Unfortunately it isn't exactly obvious it's detached until it starts to move.

My belayer was just below as were packs. Also I didn't have time to survey the fall zone. I would recommend trundling it because it's very likely going to be pulled off, either under control or not. Sep 17, 2015
Alex Zucca
Salt Lake City, UT
Alex Zucca   Salt Lake City, UT
The 3rd pitch is easy but run out. You can get a few marginal tricams in the crystal huecos where nothing else will work. May 20, 2016
l rs
l rs  
We were unsure of rapping from the top of p3 or from the shunt climber's left. We opted for the former but was later told etiquette is to rap ftom the shunt climber's left, if other parties are on the route. Jun 6, 2018