Type: Trad, 250 ft (76 m), 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: FA: Aid climbed by Fred Becky and Eric Bjornstad in 1967, FFA: Bob Yoho, Chick Holtkamp '78
Page Views: 71,263 total · 270/month
Shared By: Mark M. on Aug 13, 2002 · Updates
Admins: Peter Gram, Mike Snyder, Taylor Spiegelberg, Jake Dickerson

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Warning Access Issue: June Voluntary Climbing Closure and Seasonal Raptor Closure DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

This is the classic box stem on the far south end of the west face easily visable from the trailhead at the parking lot. Expect tourist gawkers on this route. There is good reason for them to stare, this is one of the most unique and classic climbs in the country.

Pitch 1, 30m: Climb the ramp and short section of 5.8 to get to a big ledge on top of a broken column at the base of the box.

Pitch 2, 38m: This is the pitch you've heard about. Climb up setting gear in the crack on the left when ever you feel like it. There are some good jams and fingerlocks on your way, but you must stem your legs and in some places pure stemming is the only option. Move fast and fight the burn. Easier for taller people, but the box narrows as you get higher. Belay at the top of the lefthand column. They say no move is harder than 5.9, but endurace and pain threshold are the keys here!

P3, 13m: Climb the near-vertical hand crack directly above the belay 40 ft to large ledge with two bolts. (5.8 fun)

P4: Jam the left crack on the ledge (you do not step off the ledge to reach this crack) for about 15 ft until you can clip a pin on the left wall. The pin looked marginal so I placed a bomber large stopper. Traverse straight right on good feet to the right crack. Now place some small wires and balance up to the roof, place a small cam and crank over on finger locks (10a crux). Climb over one more small roof and a short #.75 C4 crack (5.9) to a stance with two bolts. ~90ft

P5: Climb the rotten chimney directly above (5.4) until you reach a large ledge directly below the summit. Be extremely careful not to knock any of the loose blocks in the chimney down as they will funnel directly into the stacked up climbers waiting to climb the first two pitches! From here you can climb the easier looking chimney to the left(5.4?), or the hard-to-protect crack/face directly in front of you (5.7) to two bolts. Once again be very careful what you pull on. ~150 ft

The loose rock on the last pitch is avoidable, just something to be aware of.

The standard rap descent is on the far side of the tower. It would be possible to rap the route with 2 60m ropes but you would risk dropping your rope or rocks on someone climbing below.

Most people only climb to the top of pitch 2. From the ledge on top of pitch 2 you have 3 options to descend: (1) with 2 70m ropes do a clean 68m double rope rappel back to the packs, (2) with a single 70 rap down McCarthy West in 2 rappels, or (3) descend  El Matador in 2 rappels with 2 ropes (2 60s or 2 50s are fine) or a single 80m rope. 

Protection Suggest change

stoppers and small to medium cams. The less gear you set the less burned you will get!