Type: Aid, Grade VI
FA: Harvey T. Carter, Tom Merrill, Bob Sullivan, Ken Wyrick - Ap
Page Views: 15,392 total · 74/month
Shared By: Ben Folsom on Nov 13, 2001
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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Access Issue: RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek Details


This was my first real nailing route, and is still one of the best routes I've ever done. It is awesome! This route climbs the obvious fluted chimney system on the south face of the tower. We climbed it in two days, on the first day we fixed to the top of pitch 2 and finished the rest of the pitches the following day. We ran out of water, it was over 100 degrees. All we had were pop tarts, and I will never eat pop tarts again as long as I live.

P1- Climb the blocky crack systems up to the roof, and then climb thin cracks past some bolts to a good hanging belay. (A3)

P2- Climb the right leaning crack (all clean) to another good hanging belay. This pitch is mostly cams and stoppers. (A1+)

P3- Move right and climb super muddy 5.8 and A2 pins hammered straight into the mud to an old bolt ladder. When we climbed this, most of the bolts were hidden under the mud. I had to excavate with my hammer to find them. Then some tricky nailing leads to another hanging belay. (5.8 A2+)

P4- Climb A2 past some bolts heading right into the deepest part of the muddy chimney. Climb 5.9 mud up the chimney past a few bolts. This is one of the most interesting pitches in the desert. Climb light on the mud! A wide crack just before the sloping belay takes a #4 camalot. So save one for there. (5.9 A2)

P5- Climb up a nice right facing dihedral, and then climb right on bolts underneath the roof. Then climb A2 with a few mantles onto sloping ledges to a wiggle move through a weird, short groove to a killer ledge. This would be a great ledge to bivy on. (5.7 A2)

P6- Cross the chasm and climb an A2 crack then tension traverse left to more aid and free climbing to another ledge 60 feet below the summit. Watch rope drag on this pitch. It is bad! (5.9 A2)

P7- Climb the right facing chimney/offwidth to the summit. (5.7r)

To descend, either rap the finger of fate route to the top of pitch 5, then three more rappels down the gully right of the route. We actually rapped down the Sundevil Chimney, and were down in about 30 minutes. I would recommend rapping the Sundevil Chimney.


2-3 sets of cams to #4 camalots. 2 sets of stoppers. A few blades and arrows. Many baby and 5/8" angles. A few of the bigger size angles. A couple really long pitons (for the mud on pitch 3). The route is supposed to go clean now, but I imagine you could still hand place pins. And if going for a clean ascent, bring tri-cams and lowe balls, and whatever other tricks you have.
THERE SHOULD BE NO NAILING ON THIS ROUTE!! When I submitted this route it had not gone clean yet, or free.
Mr Gram better update his intro; Stevie Haston and Laurence Gouault went back and freed this, in May 2002. Way impressive. This totalled about 9 days of effort.1. 5.13-,Belay at the hands-off stance 125' up, not the hanging belay above.Kinda runout at the top.2. 5.12+, 150', great hand crack, with good gear.3. 5.12+, Hard to start, and the section where the route veers left out of the mail chimney is badly protected.4. 5.12+, a short hard nasty section.5. 5.12, Easy to start, up the layback, then difficult over the roof to the wide crack. 6. 5.12+, Starts hard, to a difficult transfer to the right crack. Then wide to a bolt, then traverse 15' left. 7. 5.7. The usual, to the top.Stevie's now freed Echo Tower and the Titan, The Hindu and the Mongoose, with basic free racks of gear, no pins or hammer. Any other takers? Jul 28, 2002
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
The Sundevil was freed? Wow! Does he plan to finish up the Finger of Fate? Jul 29, 2002
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
I lead the first pitch of this last weekend, and it went hammerless fairly easily - placements took some work to find but were generally pretty solid. At least for this pitch, you need two sets of lowe balls and as many red aliens as you can get your hands on to do this hammerless - the red aliens were about the only things I could get to work in the big angle scars. I didn't find tricams to be useful at all, but maybe up higher. Can't wait to go back and do the rest of this in March. Stunning line. Dec 4, 2002
Climbed this route on 4/12/03. We took the mentality from the beginning that it would go in a day, and it did, but we definately underestimated the route a little bit. The beta given by ben is fairly accurate. I would note a few things, though. I wasn't able to get pitch 1 clean cause I didn't have many red aliens I guess. I found that the only real useful pins for the route were sawed offs. I would recommend bringing a good slection of about 6 or so. Baby angles, blades, and beaks were not necessary at all, and I think I placed one arrow. I found tricams to be very useful, especially on pitch one. There are quite a few instances of drilled angle placements with no angles present, which is mostly where we used the sawed offs. The free climbing is fairly dicey, but all the bolts as of our ascent were not covered by mud or anything. I would highly recommend bringing webbing to sling your own rap anchors. The only real shitty thing is that from pitch 3 through 6 there were fixed lines that I am almost positive were left by Stevie haston since last fall as he worked the route, and I'm also quite certain are litter. In my opinion this is bullshit, he should have cleaned off his crap from the route. We had a minor epic rappel session in the dark and were unable to clean them off, but the next ascent would be doing a good service by cleaning these ropes. This route has all the elements for a fantastic adventure and is five stars for sure. Apr 14, 2003
"The only real shitty thing is that from pitch 3 through 6 there were fixed lines that I am almost positive were left by Stevie haston since last fall as he worked the route, and I'm also quite certain are litter"

1. Any particular reason why this would be Stevie's ropes, and not any of the other folks who have done this in the last ten months (Stevie did this in May)? I know that Jimmy Dunn and ??? (I forget now) were working on it, with a view to freeing it, last fall. I'd hate to speculate, but doubt he'd leave stuff behind, either. 2. I just phoned and asked Stevie about this, without mentioning the posting. He told me he left a couple/handful of wires behind, in some pin scars, in the hope of reducing further nailing. He told me no ropes were left. I must say I'm not very comfortable with this indirect dialog, but if there's one thing Stevie likes less than folks nailing a route he has done free (which he hates), it is when folks make incorrect personal accusations. His phone number (in Chamonix) is 01133450545916, he's laid up with a broken achilles tendon right now, so is pretty easy to catch. Just remember the eight-hour time difference and call before lunchtime. Ask him directly.3. It seems sad that someone happily describes their nailing on a route which has gone free once (or maybe twice, just how did that go Jimmy?), and clean a number of times (firstly, to my knowledge by Andy Donson and Kath Pyke in spring 1999, [mentioned in Desert Rock III]) and recommends a pin rack for this clean/free route. Just try recommending a pin rack for the Naked Edge on climbingboulder.com and see what kind of follow-up postings appear. Why should the Sundevil Chimney be any different? The ropes, whoever left them, can be removed. Pin scars will never be. Apr 28, 2003
Well, seems I may have stepped on some toes. If I speculated incorrectly and hurt peoples feelings and or reputations then I am a self proclaimed tool. I "speculated" that the ropes were left as litter from a free ascent, Stevie's being the only one I was aware of, because of their location on the route. They were fixed in a way that seemed to imply working on the route because I don't know of many aid ascents that would fix ropes to one pitch below the top. I speculted that they were litter because the bottom ones had been removed(P1-2) meaning that anyone working the route would have to reclimb the first two pitches to access their fixed ropes. Maybe some other explanation is more appropriate, but either way the next party would be doing a service to all that follow by removing these ropes. As to nailing: I received my beta from this very page that recommends a huge pin rack, one that is not necessary at all, and I was trying to help further ascents so they don't have to carry as much gear. Like I said, all but one of the places I nailed I was merely replacing angles into fixed angle scars where they had been removed. I don't know who removed the fixed angles from these scars, but there wasn't a way(except by maybe busting a 5.13 move) to bypass these holes. Now, ethics are always going to be debated, but a hole for a fixed angle is the same in my mind as a fixed angle itself, and I didn't cry myself to sleep over not hooking the hole and just hammering in an angle instead. The one other place where I did nail you can chastise me on all you want, like I said I'm just a self proclaimed tool, and feel free to kick my ass or something next time you see me at the cock rub. My apologies to Stevie Haston, Jimmy Dunn, or any other desert climber who doesn't feel I deserve to live because of my shameless actions, you can all kick my ass too. I was very impressed by the fact that this route had gone free, it is a beuatiful and remarkable, if somewhat dirty, line to free climb.

Oh yeah. I think a double set, mostly short and fat LA's would work well for P1 of the edge. You could probably use a few blades for P4, and sawed offs and z's would do you nice everywhere else. Double set of hooks mandatory. On your aid ascent you may want to just remove all those other fixed pins so future free climbers can get their fingers in those scars. Get pissed on the internet when people try and put them back in so the route is protectable for mortals again. Oh yeah...and don't take this seriously, I dont actually want to get my ass kicked and this is just a spray forum on the net, right? Apr 30, 2003
Ok, after a little bit of reflection I have just a little more to add, then I'll shut up. Since I don't have an international calling plan on my phone I'll refrain from calling Stevie, but I would at least like to apologize to him here(if he reads this). I was wrong in assuming this litter was his and slandering him like I did. I'll also apologize for my inciteful remarks above. I will not apologize for nailing on this route however, because just as Warren Harding would have said, climbing has no rules, thats why we do it. Just as some people are free to exercise their right to remove fixed gear necessary to an ascent, so are others free to replace it. If pin scars on this route utterly ruin your wilderness desert climbing experience, then you can just as easily blame the hundred or so people who climbied and nailed on this route before me as you can blame me myself. Like I said, I won't duck away from the blame, though. In all honesty, if you hate pin scars, I would highly recommend you climb some other route, casue you won't be happy with what you find on this one. I could just as easily lament the "chipped holds" in the mud in the chimney that were an eye sore to me and were obviously created for free climbing purposes by I know not who, but in a year or two or more they'll be washed away by the mud, so it doesn't really matter. Likewise, in twenty years the erosive action on these towers may turn said pin scars into full blown cracks, and we'll never know they used to actually be scars. Likewise, in 1000 years the titan will be gone, just to take this argument to the point of the rediculous. That's my two cents, and you can rest assured you won't have to listen to me here again. Apr 30, 2003
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
Personally, I don't think there is any excuse to nail on the first pitch. I am a total gumbie, and I got the pitch clean though it scared the crap out of me and took a really long time. I suppose it depends on your priorities - I ended up backing off the route since it was clear at my speed I wouldn't have enough time, but I enjoyed the challenge of filling those weird holes with clean gear and I'll be going back to leisurely shake my way up the route, hammer safely on the ground. May 2, 2003
Hey Bartlett, I just stumbled across your interlectual reasoning and comment about the Sundevil. Lets see, comparing it to the Naked Edge? How about the same logic to the Nose. Since Lynn did it free, it follows that no S.O.B. should be up there wasting everyones time unless they are free climbing also. Oh, and by the way, if you can't do it in less than the 'standard' 24 hours, forget the attempt. I understand that Tribal Rite just went clean at C4+. Another route that no one can attempt now - according to your little set of rules.

By the way, I have run into you many, many times in the desert and you almost always had a hammer and rack of pins. Must of been just a 'special' climb for you and your select group of blokes. Nov 1, 2003
If you're going to make it personal at least leave your name. Nov 3, 2003
Climbrd this route on 11/08/03. It's nice! The Titan needs a new summit register, the current juice pitcher has a big hole in it. Heavy-duty tupperware seems to do ok, or an ammo box if you're feeling especially burly. Nov 18, 2003
Here's another thought. How would the average Joe Climber know that the Sundevil has gone hammerless if he doesn't have a computer and access to this web site? The cover of Bjornstad's Desert Rock III shows some dude hammering away on the Sundevil, and the route is not described as hammerless.

Feb 26, 2004
Dave (Levy) If you read the text in Desert Rock III it says that it recently went clean. It's also mentioned in the Cameron Burns guide and in a Rock and Ice article at the time. However, none of this matters much as long as you only hammer as a last resort. Mar 4, 2004
Ben Folsom
  5.9 A3
Ben Folsom  
  5.9 A3
Maybe someone who has done it clean, or has a good idea of a clean rack for this could send me an email so I can update the rack. When I posted this route a few years ago and it had not gone clean (or free) yet. Now that it has gone clean and especially because it goes free, there shouldn't be any more nailing on this route. Feb 15, 2006
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Check out Dougald McDonald's recent report of this climb on his blog
themountainworld.blogspot.com/ Feb 15, 2006
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
Andrew Gram   Salt Lake City, UT  
Hey Ben,

I only did P1, but for that I found lots of red aliens and two full sets of lowe balls to be really useful. i think i had 4 red aliens and still backcleaned. i got the very biggest lowe balls to somehow stick in the worst of the blown out angle scars. Feb 15, 2006
Ditto the loweball beta for the first pitch. I found the last section of the 3rd pitch to be the hardest to do clean. Tried everything to no avail - I was just on the verge of pulling out the hammer when I found that just hand placing angles worked great. Didnt bother tying them off even though they stuck out a couple of inches, just clipped the eye, which seemed to add valuable torque. In general the pink tricam was the MVP - take a few. Feb 16, 2006
Wade Griffith
5.9 C2+ R
Wade Griffith  
5.9 C2+ R
Dont bring a hammer. Goes clean with minimal effort and is not any more sketchy. Did not find the tri-cams to be particularly useful. The dream rack is 2 blue, 2 green, 3 yellow, (at least) 4 red, 2 of the new gold sizes (if you can get them), and 2 orange Aliens. Yellow/Red offset Aliens are very nice. You cannot substitute camalots or friends for the Aliens, wont fit. Double set Lowe Balls (med and larger sizes most useful), about 2 1/2 sets of stoppers and RP's. RP's worked well. 1 set of larger sawed-offs worked great hand placed on pitches 1, end of 3, and beginning of 4, just treat them like hooks and back clean as you go. The tri-cams seemed like more work than an Alien to get a good placement. They would slide right out during light bounce testing but I managed to get a couple reds to stick bomber and a brown. Other than the Alien rack bring up to a #4.5 Camalot. Lots of QD's. Apr 19, 2006
Jesse Zacher
Grand Junction, Co
Jesse Zacher   Grand Junction, Co  
The ropes previously mentioned a few posts up were off the route and under a bush a few hundred feet away from the beginning of the route. My partner and I packed 280 Meters of old faded rope out. If this trash happens to be yours identify what was with the rope and maybe you can have it back. Leaving your trash behind for years at a time is unacceptable. Jan 19, 2009
Sam Lightner, Jr.
Lander, WY
Sam Lightner, Jr.   Lander, WY
Good job Jesse. ITs leaving shit like that around that creates Access problems. Thank you for removing a problem before it became one. Jan 20, 2009
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
Holy crap! I got totally worked on P1 this weekend. Didn't even get to the C3 portion by 4-5 PM. This is some serious business. Bailed right before the C3 section after the last roof. Damnit, now I have to go back for a rebate.... I guess maybe next time I will let someone else lead P1/2 and I will take the other crux on P3. I used the rack suggested here and it worked alright, I wished I had a full selection of sawed off angles as they were the MVP IMO. Hell even doubles on sawed offs, and a single set of regular angles would make life alot easier(all for hand placments, I placed various sizes of sawed offs and regular angles by hand; even left some for pro). The rest of the rack suggestions are pretty spot on, just take a single set while leading, and tag the rest up as needed. I wish I did that.

I found it was pretty exciting just getting to the first bolt on Pitch 1 (start off hooking a wedge of wood in a pin scar and make some fraid moves up to the bolt looking at possibly decking from upto 20 feet). This route will get you used to fraid climbing it seems. Be careful as P1 could seriously injure you if you messed up good enough (lots of ledges to hit on the way up to the roof). I have heard of someone breaking their leg on it. P1 may require free climbing on atleast 1 hollow ledge. Mar 16, 2009
Jesse Zacher
Grand Junction, Co
Jesse Zacher   Grand Junction, Co  
Having lead both pitch one and three I would warn you about what is to come. Nearly every pitch requires "dicey" or "fraid" free climbing with ledges all around especially if you plan on doing this route clean as it should be done. It is the nature of the fishers. Pitch three seemed to be the crux for me as the climbing was difficult above ledges. The more iron you bring the more you will want to hammer in place to make more solid. A single set of Sawed offs worked fine for us. Almost all the fixed protection after the first pitch are nearly 40 yr old star drives. At some of the belays there is at least one decent bolt. May be prudent to bring a bolt kit and do some fixing up of the anchors.

On a side note I was curious about all the filled holes. As Jason pointed out there are wood wedges stuffed in holes and there are more of them higher up on the route. Was this an attempt to cover up someone doing a bunch of drilled angles after the FA? There were quite a few of them on the all free climbing pitches. There was a lot of shinanigans on the free pitches were people did what ever they could to aid it. I would say do not climb this route unless you are comfortable at sandy runout 5.9. This route does not need more of a beating then it already has taken.
-Jesse Apr 4, 2009
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
Yea I think I need some more practice before jumping back on this thing. I'm not really down with bad belay bolts, and decking on ledges just yet. Looks like WSS just got an upgrade in the bolts department so that might be a good starting point (maybe?) plus the seasons are changing now so Sundevil will be sweltering...

I believe in the ethic of once something has gone clean it should remain that way.

As for the blocks I think they are someones attempt at clean aid, they used to be on artist tears as well (we pulled one out on our ascent). Apr 6, 2009
Bill Grasse
Carbondale, CO.
Bill Grasse   Carbondale, CO.
Climbed this route this last winter and had a blast. Only thing is that I think it needs to be re-bolted. Lead bolts and anchors. We added a bolt to the 4th anchor but really the whole route needs some work. Awesome route though. May 28, 2012
Jay 1975
Jay 1975   Bonedale,CO
is there room for 2 to sleep at pitch 5? Nov 7, 2012
Ross Keller
Parker, CO
  5.9 C3 R
Ross Keller   Parker, CO
  5.9 C3 R
Yeah, it's pretty huge. Nice comfy potholes as I remember. And of course a killer view! Nov 12, 2012
Jon Griffin
Glenwood Springs, Co
Jon Griffin   Glenwood Springs, Co
Anyone know the current state of the belay anchors?

Thanks, Jon Jan 21, 2015
Andrew McLean
Eldoorado Springs, CO
Andrew McLean   Eldoorado Springs, CO
Also curious about anchors on route. May 24, 2017
Salt Lake City
CaseyElliott   Salt Lake City
All the anchors on the route are in workable condition. The top of pitch 3 could potentially use a new bolt but it’s not too bad. Nov 21, 2018