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Routes in Aquarium Rock

Conn Route T 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Four Little Fishies S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Leaning Jowler T 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Red Fish, Blue Fish T 5.13 8a 29 X- 30 E7 6c
Sea Monkeys S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Walking the Plankton S 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
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Type: Trad, 150 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Herb and Jan Conn, June 1949
Page Views: 7,919 total · 39/month
Shared By: Tyson Arp on Sep 11, 2001
Admins: Andrew Gram, Peter Gram, Greg Parker, Mike Madsen, Mark Rafferty

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This climb starts at the high point between Aquarium rock and Icehouse rock. This is easily reached by scrambling uphill on the southwest side of the formation.

Pitch 1: Climb a right leaning crack/flake to an obvious large ledge on the south side.

Pitch 2: Traverse right to reach a low angle chimney. If you're squeemish, this traverse can be protected by a medium nut and/or alien. When you get to the chimney, climb the face placing pro in the chimney when possible. Another ledge is reached at which a belay can be set if desired. Otherwise, traverse to the right again and head up when the climbing looks easy. This last section is runout but the climbing is very easy.

Descent: Getting off the top requires a short downclimb to the east to reach a ledge with rappel bolts. A single rope will just get you to the ground on the north side of the rock.


Standard rack will do, thought you probably won't use much of it.
Rap anchors are scary to get to! You may want to be on belay to get to them or rap to the anchors. Dec 7, 2002
Tyson Arp  
I agree about the anchors. We tied of a big nob in order to belay down to the rap. It's worth noting there is some fun toproping below the rap anchor (or lead climbing if your BOLD!). Just don't get in the way of others who might want to descend from the top. Dec 14, 2002
The top toping that is referred to is actually an old route that is known as "The Pump" since all good aquiriums have a pump. As you rappel down look toyour right at a small seam you will see an old ring iron piton. Dec 14, 2002
Actually, a 50 meter rope will still get you to the ground, a little rope stretch and a little push to swing yourself in the uphill direction and your toes should touch the ground.

Isn't it amazing that someone was able to do this without the consensus of the coalition!? Dec 22, 2004
I would like to thank whoever placed the new anchors at the top of the first pitch of garfield goes to Washington. The issue of the BHCC being responsible for anchors on aquarium needs to be addressed. I was actually at a BHCC meeting last month, the aquarium issue came up and although there was discussion I can not say with any certainty who is responsible. There are anchors out there that need replacing. This could be the common thread that serves to unify the many different climbers in this region. I personally am for replacing aged and outdated anchors in the needles. I've heard of a new orginazation founded in the hills with intentions to educate and inform interested parties, work with land managers to preserve and protect climbing for the future. Anyone with information should post on this site.

Feather Buttress anyone? Dec 29, 2004
joelhagan Hagan
Rapid City, SD
joelhagan Hagan   Rapid City, SD
Fun climb! Would consider doing it in 3 pitches next time to get rid of the terrible rope drag after the "chimney" on the second pitch. Apr 2, 2007
Paul Huebner
Portage, WI
Paul Huebner   Portage, WI
I agree 3 pitches is way to go to avoid rope drag. Thanks a bundle to whomever put in the new anchors. Jul 8, 2007
Chris Duca
Downingtown, PA
Chris Duca   Downingtown, PA
Fantastic route. This was my one and only route in Custer State Park and would highly recommend it. My wife and I split it into 3 pitches and were up and down in less than an hour late one afternoon in mid-June. Jul 9, 2008
Mark Orsag
Omaha, NE
Mark Orsag   Omaha, NE
From the interesting start to the pools on top teaming with life, this is a unique climb! May 2, 2013
Seth Hogan
Frisco, Co
Seth Hogan   Frisco, Co
I thought this route was a tad harder than 5.3. Figured I'd add my 2 cents for the next climber without a partner. I would put more of a 5.5 rating on this, although it is possible I made it harder for a sense of security, I've soloed quite a few things from the Flatirons to Yosemite 5.6's, this was the hardest 5.3 I've been on. Jul 8, 2015
Ryan Emery
Black Hills, SD
Ryan Emery   Black Hills, SD
Lately I have seen parties rap from the old anchors. I have also rapped from them. If you want to reach the new anchors I would recommend anchoring into the old anchors and doing the easy few moves of down climbing to them. I would also do this climb in three pitches. It splits nice into three. If you are tired of the chimney the face to the left is pretty fun. Very unique summit! Mar 16, 2016
jdereks   Minnesota
Really fun route. I'd give it a 5.4 rating for the 2nd pitch. Definitely worth breaking up into 3 pitches to manage drag for the final runout pitch. I used a tcu on the final pitch. May 31, 2017
Daniel Evans
Phoenix, AZ
Daniel Evans   Phoenix, AZ
Right after the chimney section of P2, getting off of the ledge of what others presumably describe as the start of P3 is much harder than 5.3. I did the direct variation true to the line of the route in the wide crack which felt pretty bouldery, but it may be more 5.3 if you go right and then up--lots of rope drag if you go that way though.

I dont see a point in doing this in 3 pitches. The upper portion of the climb that is "runout" can be climbed blind folded in flip flops.

For the descent, once you top out walk to the complete opposite side of the summit to find two bolted rap anchors. Both anchors look good with newish hardware, but we rapped the higher anchor with a single 60 m rope and had ~7 ft to spare on each end. Just tie knots and make sure the half way mark is accurate and you should have no issues. Jul 6, 2017

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