Type: Aid, 900 ft, 9 pitches, Grade V
FA: Ron Olevsky
Page Views: 56,191 total · 277/month
Shared By: Aaron Shupp on May 18, 2002
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures ***** RAIN AND WET ROCK ***** The sandstone in Zion is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN ZION during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby. Seasonal Raptor Closures Details


P1/P2 (C1, 160') The first bolt is about nine feet off the ground (have your buddy give you a boost to clip it). The first two pitches can be combined.

P3 (~70') Gain a comfortable ledge.

P4 (C2) Attack the Wrinkles which calls for a series of pendulums (reach right) and tension traverses to the left. When good placements run out move left.

P5 (C1) Climbs through the arch roof via a nice crack.

P6 (C1) Takes a crack to a short bolt ladder.

P7 (C2) Takes a left-facing corner up a few trickier moves to a decent stance for the last aid pitch.

P8 Continues up the corner system and then makes a clever pendulum out left to gain access to another corner. (Fixed point) This pitch ends on a big, dirty, sandy, down sloping ledge (be extremely careful of the loose stuff here).

P9 (5.5) Free climbs a low-angle chimney filled with loose debris to a ridiculously crappy chute filled with loose sand, rock, and plant material. After suffering through this mess, you arrive at a good trees to belay from.

A few recommendations:

1. Bring a belay seat as the stances are not always very comfortable.

2. Do not haul if you can help it. If you think you'll take more than one day, fix the first two or three pitches.


This route is all clean. No hammer is necessary. Bring a full clean aid rack including: cams up to 3" and many smaller sizes (especially small aliens and TCU's), 2 sets of nuts down to RP sizes are essential (offsets are really helpful), a few rivet hangers are nice, and whatever you do DO NOT FORGET A HOOK. There are some moves that can only be done with a hook. Also, have about 25 to 35 spare biners as some of the pitches can be long.


Approach the route from the climbers' trail that ascends to the base of the northeast face of Angel's Landing. Near the top of the wall, there is a large, A-shaped, in-cut section of desert varnish. The route begins right off of the trail under a prominent roof.


Aaron Shupp
  5.8 C2
Aaron Shupp  
  5.8 C2
Some guide books call this route grade IV or IV+. Though it can be done in one long day, it is far more technical than many grade V's in Yosemite. For example, the South Face of Washington's Column has only 3 pitches of C1 aid (the rest is free with a total of 10 pitches). Also, other Zion routes like Touchstone Wall have substantially less aid at the grade IV level (only 3 pitches in this case). I think that Prodigal Sun deserves its original rating of grade V. Jun 4, 2002
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Be aware that climbing this route involves crossing the Virgin River. No problem in the fall, but this can be an interesting proposition at dawn in the spring (no problem this year, however). Scope this out the day before, if it really looks bad you can cross on the Angel's Landing trail bridge, and then bushwhack upstream to the route. This is quite brushy.

Some years this route is reputedly closed in the spring due to Peregrene Falcon nesting, but this hasn't been true the last few years. Jun 6, 2002
No Hook is needed. Simply sling the rivets with a nut cable, synch and stand up high. Jun 21, 2002
A Standard Black Diamond (Chouinard) Hook is needed for the 6 and 7th pitches even if you topstep in your aiders you'll need the hook. The 7th pitch hook is solid but somewhat reachy. Offset alliens (I have one) are very useful in some of the old pin scars. Enjoy! Jun 28, 2002
Just did this climb about a week ago. First of all, regarding the hook controversy: I only used a hook once on the third to last placement of the 8th pitch--and that was only because I was too chicken to commit to a #5 swedge that I could only get halfway in the crack. I don't know why you would need a hook anywhere else unless you're short. I'm 5'9" and was able to reach all of the fixed gear from my top step (although I was probably on my tip-toes a couple of times). How tall is Ron Olevsky? Some of those bolts are definitely stretch.

Second, I'd have to agree with the Grade V rating. Unless of course you really like climbing in the dark or in the hot summer when the days are longer.

Third, while it is possible to survive a night at the third belay without a portaledge, I wouldn't recommend it. I had heard that ledge described as "3 foot by 10 foot", but it isn't really that big and it isn't really that flat.

Fourth, don't disregard the info about the ledge above pitch 8. There is an incredible amount of sand and loose rock (some very large) just waiting to fall on your head if you look at it wrong. Worse yet, you have to climb almost directly through this loose stuff with probably the worst rope drag you can imagine. Be very careful! Fortunately your belayer shouldn't be in path of any rocks you might dislodge, but be mindfull of any other climbers that might be below you. Sep 30, 2002
Ron Olevsky is very short! If you ever meet him ask him to show you how to top step! He has a very good technique for it! Also you do not need a hook! I don't know what people are thinking telling you to bring one! Dec 9, 2002
Geez folks, what's all this discussion about a simple hook? What does it weigh, like 3 ounces!?!?!

I climbed this last year, did not have a hook, and wish I did. Bring one - it's cheeep, light, and can save your bacon if you decide you need it. Mar 26, 2003
DId the route last week. Many shiny new bolts placed by the ASCA on the bolt ladders. DId one hook move off the third belay. Lots of loose shit on top. Also alot of garbage...if you have garbage, PACK IT OUT! Like the other Zion trade routes, I found the red TCU an indispensible piece of gear...probably placed it on evey pitch! Off set aliens and nuts make life much easier also. DOable in a day... Apr 1, 2003
Lot's of hook talk. Finished the route 3 days ago. I own no offset Aliens or tri-cams and relied on dubious nut placements in flared pin scars and a few hook moves to reach a decent placements. Pitches 3, 7, and 8, especially 8, were quite exciting. I'd vote for taking the hook.

Jeff Apr 16, 2003
I just got off this route a few days ago and must say that I found it to be very enjoyable. I brought a sky hook and found it useful but not mandatory. Offset stoppers work unbelievably well on this route. Seriously, bring every one you can find and I promise you that you will be happy you did. I would agree that this route is indeed a grade V. Also, I freed a lot of the sections of this route in Garmonts. None of the spots I freed were harder than 5.9. Don't hesitate to get out of the aiders every now and then. It can really save a lot of time. May 16, 2003
Magic Fingers
Boulder, CO
Magic Fingers   Boulder, CO
Did this route last week. heed the comments at the top of the page, the one about avoiding hauling especially. we started at 9:30 in the morning and reached the top at about 11:15 pm going at a moderate pace. There was a group that started about 10 minutes after us, and were hauling this bag that you could of parked your car in. They got off at about 11:15 pm the next day, which was totally fine in their case. They said they were just practing for bigger walls, and there really wasn't anybody behind them. It really just depends how you want to climb the thing. However, if there is a line at the bottom, you should really consider not hauling. other parties can always pass, but this too can get rather interesting at some the belays. Also, we didn't have a hook, and we wished we did. My buddy was tossing strings of stoppers at the pins on the 7th pitch, trying to hook them over the top, and had to use this crazy scary micro offwidth in this shitty placement on pitch eight. It actually blew out juuuust as he clipped the next pin. Fun stuff. Jun 2, 2003
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
A few thoughts:

- Regarding the approach: Stay on the trail! We made the mistake of losing the trail and trying to bee-line to the base and got into cliffy, loose, shrubby terrain. The access trail heads well right of the start of the route to skirt around the lower cliff band before cutting back left to the base.

- To hook or not to hook. There is no mandatory hook move off the fourth belay anymore (with the addition of a rivet, I am assuming). At a mighty 5'6", I was able to clip it by top-stepping. The last real pitch has one hook move which can be eliminated with a simple cheater stick (about 8' between the pin and next bolt).

- C1 or C2? I've seen the route listed as both. I'd say there are certainly a handful of C2 moves but it's mostly C1.

- Concerning the "pendulums" through the Wrinkles. I don't think pendulum or tension traverse is really an accurate description. It's more like step over 3' into the next crack system. Not a big deal.

- Top-stepping - gotta do it sometimes! Everything is going to feel "reachy" if you're not willing to topstep. Oct 25, 2003
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
  5.8 C2
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
  5.8 C2
Well, I used the hook pretty frequently. A few times to avoid crushing out the flaring tricam placements any further. At least 3 hook moves were 'enhanced' in appearance. I'm not making an ethical qualm about this (after all, it seems the same as a bolt or pin, but cheaper.) but am rather pointing out that the placements are 'near perfect.'

I'm giving the wall 3/4 stars. If it ended after the aid was over, it would get 4, but the last bit SUCKED! It sucked hard, that black-hole powered sucking sucked in some of the stars from neighboring pitches. We finished below another party and while on Pitch 7 were ducking rocks they were bumping off the ledge... it's almost unavoidable. Mar 29, 2004
It would be cool if this route went to the top on Angels Landing. Maybe with another bolt ladder! Jun 7, 2004
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Hey, there is already a "bolt ladder" to the top. Have you checked out all the fixed hardware on the trail? Jun 15, 2004
Make sure you call ahead to find out if the route is open! This summer we drove all the way there (from Salt Lake), purchased our backcountry permit and hiked to the base of the summit. Then a park ranger called us down and told us that the permit was issued by accident and that the route was closed due to peregrine falcons nesting 25 yards to the left of the route near the top. One other note... Zions is like an oven in July!!! You would either need to climb at night or find a route that is in the shade. Oct 3, 2004
Anyone know about linking pitches with a sixty meter rope? How about pitch lengths? What about retreating from the wall? I've seen posting that say link:
1 and 2
3 and half of 4
half of 4 and 5
Can this be verified? Lastly, after much debate and no concensus, it looks like a rack of this description approximates what everyone in talking about:
2 ea. blue-red alien (or tcus of similar size)
1 ea. green-blue camalot (or slcd of similar size)
1 set nuts
1 set offset nuts (including micros)
1 hook
-draws, slings, xtr carabiners, lockers, etc.
-rivet hangers, stickclip, offset aliens, tricams useful but not necessary.
Any additions? Feb 9, 2007
I can't answer all your questions, Nick, but it seems like linking the pitches as you describe should work. There certainly was an extra anchor in the middle of the fourth pitch. It'd be kinda a shame, though, to pass up the only nice ledge on the whole route! :)

Your suggested rack sounds pretty good, however, I would strongly suggest adding another set of the med-large offset nuts--they fit extremely well! Mar 8, 2007
John McNamee
Littleton, CO
John McNamee   Littleton, CO  
This is the rack I used the other day.

2 sets Black Diamond Wires plus extra 4 - 9 wires
1 BD Hook (Used once mid 3rd pitch)
2 Rivet Hangers
4 Tricams (Pink, Blue, Black, Red)
1 Set Metolius ultralite TCU'S (5)
2 Metolius Utralite Offset TCU's (Orange and Yellow)
2 x .5, .75, 1 Camalots
1 x 2, 3 Camalots
4 smallest Aliens
40 free biners

I backcleaned cams most of the time.

I didn't use any wires smaller than a size BD 2. No hb's or peanuts or offsets of any type. BD wires seemed to work very well. Some of the pods are getting really blown out.

If anyone whats detailed beta about soloing this route please email me. Oct 11, 2007
Dustin Wildermuth
Flagstaff, AZ
  5.8 C2
Dustin Wildermuth   Flagstaff, AZ
  5.8 C2
I was on this route on Friday and there was a bolt missing from the third pitch bolt ladder. I was able to hook the bolt hole but it looks like you could get by with some trickery out left. Mar 3, 2008
Scott Bennett
Scott Bennett   Michigan
Glorified bolt ladder. Fun though. Apr 28, 2010
Salt Lake
T_jones   Salt Lake
Did this route 8/4/2012. Here is all the info I can offer...

1) The route was only in the sun from 7:30AM-11:30AM. We fixed the first 3 pitches the first afternoon and then did the whole thing the second day. By the time the route went into the shade the canyon hadn't even warmed up yet. Made it totally reasonable to climb this thing in August.

2) On pitch 3, there is a bolt/drilled angle missing on the final bolt ladder. I didnt have the right kind of hook to hook the whole so I threw on my climbing shoes and free climbed for about 5 feet at about 5.11- to clip the next bolt.

3) For some reason, pitch 4 took me a long time to lead. It is probably the longest, most sustained aid pitch on the climb but in retrospect it is straight forward. I used LOTS of gear on this pitch.

4) BRING OFFSET CAMS. They worked wonders in the many pod-type cruxes of the route.

5) BRING PEENUTS. I probably only placed 3 or 4 on the whole route but when I did, there was nothing else I could have placed.

6) I didn't use a hook until the "reachy hook" move on the last aid pitch. I tried everything to avoid it, but I deemed it mandatory. So, bring at least one hook or you might get stuck 20 feet from the top.

7) We fixed one 70M rope from the top of P3 to the bottom on Day 1. If we had had more time, definitely would have fixed P4 at least also with the second rope we brought. This would make day 2 alot easier.

8) The last pitch BLOWS. "5.5 chimney" expect full on misery. Also, we encountered about 10 pieces of shitty toilet paper in the sandy grovel to the Angels Landing trail. Apparently this is a popular place for people to drop a deuce.

Gear: As many small cams (BD .4 and under) as I could bring, triples of BD .5 (used this cam alot), doubles of BD .75-BD #3. 1 set metolious offset master cams. 1 set peenuts. 2 full sets of nuts. Lots and lots of carabiners.

Only had 3 aliens. Wish I had more.

Hope this helps anyone getting on the route. It's good! Aug 6, 2012
Climbed this route for a second time in November 2013 something like 12 years after my first. Beautiful position with long stretches of excellent moderate aid climbing. Definitely not just a bolt ladder.

P6, P7 and P8 each had 1? very blown out placement. Bring very small brass or possibly medium-large tricams and a cheat stick just in case. A hook did seem crucial at a few spots.

Those blown-out placements will at some point need to be retro bolted if the route is to retain it's original grade/challenge. Nov 22, 2013
Johnny Ringo
  5.6 C2
Johnny Ringo   Tuscon
  5.6 C2
As previously stated, a piton is missing on the 3rd pitch bolt ladder, making a hook move mandatory (unless you feel like making hard free moves).

Pitch 4, never made a mandatory free move as stated in S.T.

For me, pitch 5 was the crux; I remember making at least three body weight placements in a row. I used peenuts and brass rp's on this pitch.

Pitch 6 was tricky, but my blue totem got me through the crux easily.

Pitch 8 had a bad blown out placement (could use a bolt), I bypassed it with a stick clip. My follower had a fun time following pitch 8 with a 30 ft fall/penji while having a lowering out incident.

Pitch 9 sucked, I would never take a haul bag up that thing! A big rack and camelback was hard enough to get up the chimney. Dec 3, 2013
Alec LaLonde
  5.8 C2
Alec LaLonde  
  5.8 C2
Fun but overrated. Doesn't follow much of a natural line and WAY too many bolts, except when you really need them. The last pitch has the hardest aid move of the route right in the middle of a pitch-long bolt ladder; a bit silly. Lower down, some easy free moves get you past many of the suboptimal placements.

Do the other classic trade routes in the canyon first. Aug 25, 2014
In the Supertopo book it says that pitch 4 has a mandatory 5.7 section. This is not true. Pitons are spaced close enough that it can be aided. Nov 1, 2014
Salt Lake City
JeffL   Salt Lake City
I did this as my first wall. Mostly a bolt ladder. As stated above. Tricams, pink, red, blue, brown make the c2 pretty straight forward if you look at how the beta photo places it.

Metolius cams were money in some of the c2 pods, one pod in particular that super topo makes a big deal out of.

There was a missing pin on p3, only spot a hook is really needed. Seems like there's a free variation to the left to bypass this. DON"T USE CAM HOOKS.

Took us 13 hours, base to summit. Don't plan on rapping, the anchors aren't set up well for it, you'd need to leave a lot of cord and you'd want 2 ropes. Don't leave anything at the base, especially not car keys. If you can leave a car at the Grotto you won't have to walk a long way up canyon back to big bend. Nov 24, 2014
madskates   slc
Climbed this in the beginning of september and it was really nice in a t-shirt and shorts. I solo'd it in about eight hours, at a pretty casual pace. Here's beta i would give for someone soloing it. Also, there at a ton of bolts that are brand new and shiny. Go get after it.

1 60m rope
double rack and a single #3 plus one set of c3's
2 sets of normal offset nuts
10 qd's
40L bag to jug with and carry your stuff
I brought 1.5L of water and a few candy bars.
No need for any tricams just top step.
link 1 and 2.
After the 3rd pitch toss the #3 and on of the twos in your pack no need to have that extra weight
Last two pitches only bring a single rack and some hooks, it will make them more enjoyable without the extra wait.
The last pitch really isn't that bad. Feb 11, 2016
two chains
Fucken Zion
  5.6 C1
two chains   Fucken Zion
  5.6 C1
This route is a master piece. If you have ever had to hand drilled angles while high-stepping, you'll have a little more respect for this route. With that said. This is a C1 route! Maybe the FA was C2 (less bolts more bat hooking) Totem cams are game changers in the pods. May 20, 2018