Type: Trad, Aid, 820 ft, 8 pitches, Grade V
FA: Ron Olevsky 1977 solo FFA: Mike Anderson, Rob Pizem
Page Views: 44,523 total · 224/month
Shared By: Craig Quincy on Sep 25, 2002 with updates from Alex Temus
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



Touchstone is an excellent adventure and one of the greatest big walls of all time. Angel's Landing looms across the canyon and makes a scenic backdrop. What the route lacks in height it makes up for in wonderful aid and free climbing. Bivy ledges atop pitch 5 and on the summit make this an excellent first wall since no portaledge is necessary. Don't forget that a bivy permit is required for all overnight routes! This route was one of the earlier big wall routes done in Zion and was put up by the prolific desert rat Ron Olevsky.


The route goes all clean and has good anchors, so leave the pins, hammers and drilling equipment at home. Credit for the fact it can be climbed with only nuts and cams goes to the vision of Ron Olevsky who realized early on that in order to preserve the classic walls of Zion they needed some fixed gear and some constructive scaring. (I guess that makes this a chipped route?) Otherwise, the route would have become a mess of unclimbable pin scars.

Unfortunately, even when done all clean, the route can still be trashed by the careless cleaning. So, when trying to decide whether or not to leave a $4.95 nut or whether to get it out with all means necessary, think twice and do the right thing. And it goes without saying, leave all fixed pins in place.

Pitch-by-Pitch Beta

Note: there are intermediate/belay anchors in the middle of the first 4 pitches to allow parties to bail safely with one rope. Pitches are described based on skipping the intermediate anchors.

P1 (5.6 C2 or C1, 35m) Unlike other Zion big walls there are no nasty pitches getting to the good rock. However, there are two choices for the start. Climb the tree to some fixed pins and interesting free climbing and belay on a nice ledge or climb the bolt ladder on the left which requires some top-stepping. The tree start is very interesting and was the original start. It also requires a little 5.6 traverse to start pitch 2. The bolt ladder start is easier and more straightforward.

P2 (C2, 41m) This is possibly the crux of the route. Climb some fixed gear up to the roof and traverse left under a roof. The traverse culminates in hanging on a fixed Rurp. Exciting! It's probably better to use the ease-on-to-it method of testing rather than bounce testing, which will inevitably loosen the fixed gear. Continue by aiding through the C2 roof. A creatively-placed 0.5 tricam works nicely here.

After the roof, start cruising up the beautiful crack that splits the walls. This crack eats nuts. Ignore the first set of anchors on the right. Belay at chains on the right side of the crack. This pitch is very exciting to clean since it traverses. The haul bag will probably get stuck on the roof, so have the second wait there and flip the bag over the roof (Big Wall Tip #23).

P3 (C1, 42m) This is what it's all about. A beautiful crack on a beautiful wall with good exposure. Aid climbing never gets any better than this! Put stuff in the crack and cruise. Pass the midway belay station and continue to a nice ledge. This pitch goes free at 5.11-.

P4 (5.10, 45m) Get out the cams and climb a sandy crack. This can be aided or free climbed at 5.10. End at Halfway Ledge which is not a good place to bivy.

P5 (5.8+, 25m) Choose the best off width climber and get out the phat cams. Climb the four inch crack and be mindful of a loose block before the Virgin Berth Bivy Ledge. There's room for two people here. Next, eat all the Chef Boyardee.

P6 (5.9, 27m) This makes an interesting wake-up call after the bivy. Climb a 5.9 crack on the left then choose either a 5.6 crack on the left or a sweet 5.8 hand crack on the right. This section can be french freed if necessary.

P7 (5.9, 26m) Climb a weird, wavy and wide fist crack up into a short squeeze. Leapfrog gear as necessary. Belay at a very large tree.

P8 (5.9, 26m) The original route rated this pitch T4, as in climb the tree and swing onto the juggy wall to the left. Luckily, a variation exists that climbs excellent jugs up the steep wall with fixed pins. Pumpy! Belay near the lip at a manzanita bush, fixed pin, and crack where you can make an anchor. A nice bivy can be had on the Summit Prow.

P9 (5.6) To get to the summit, a little free climbing is necessary. This last, little pitch is nasty to haul. It might be possible to do this as part of pitch 8, but the summit prow is very cool to hang out on.

Free Version This route has been freed. That's something to think about while happily hanging in the aiders.


Answer 1: Standard Clean Big Wall Rack.

Answer 2: Olevsky's original recommendation - 25 wired nuts 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch. 25 to 35 nuts and Friends to 5 inches.

Answer 3: A more exact rack:
  • Three sets rocks, mostly medium, no RPs (extra #5). HB Offsets work very well in Zion.
  • 0.5, 1, 1.5 Tri-cams
  • #4-7 hexes
  • Two sets TCUs #1, 2, 3 (no #0)
  • Three #1.5 Friends
  • Four #1 Camalots
  • Three #2 Camlaots
  • Two #3 Camalots
  • Two #4 Camalots (or just one if you're not afraid)
  • Loads of slings
  • Loads of biners


What goes up, must come down. The established descent goes over the summit and then begins rappelling down the hanging canyon which is to the climber's right of the route and forms the right side of the Cerebus Gendarme formation. The last couple of rappel anchors can be seen while climbing up the route. This is a lengthy canyoneering adventure that involves lots of rappelling and scrambling. Experience says: it's not fun in the dark! There are lots of bushes, sand and the potential for the rope to get stuck. By the end of this, the haul bag will not be your friend. Have fun!

Here's the descent beta based on Olevsky's original topo that used to be available in the visitor's center: From the true summit, walk north along of the top of the Gendarme (about 500 feet) and then look to the right for two bolts with slings. From this anchor, do a short rap to the NE notch. Scramble 10m south (that will be to the rappeller's left). Rap 35m. Rap 35m from a large tree. (Sorry, but I can't remember if I'm repeating myself or if there're two raps.) Scramble 40 meters down the gully. Rap 30 meters from smaller tree to ledge with two bolts. Rap 35 meters. Scramble 100 meters down hanging canyon to an abrupt drop off. Make two 35 meter raps down and left. Two ropes are needed for the last two raps. Kiss the ground, it's over! Go to the Bit and Spur.

BTW, another means of descent that involves rappelling can be employed if no one is on the route.

There are intermediate/belay anchors in the middle of the first 4 pitches, probably placed to allow parties to bail safely with one rope. There seems to be some confusion about this.


George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
If you're a reasonably experienced aid climber, this route can be done in one day with no fixed lines. Problem is the route is very popular and usually festooned with multiple fixed lines and beginner aid climbers moving slower than molasses. Some parties rap off when the free climbing starts, for fear of getting benighted.

The OW on pitch 5 is no big deal with one #4 Camalot, this is one of the easiest pitches on the route and no actual offwifth technique is needed. It is in fact a realtively low angle hand/fist crack that opens up to 4" in a few sections (several face holds also make this easy). The pitch after that (pitch 6) I found quite scary. It starts with a flaring, unprotected 5.9 chimney. I think you can also go up a thin crack left of this which may be the way you describe.

Just when you reach the big tree and think the route is over, there is the final bizarre pitch to deal with. Be careful here! There are some long runouts and traverses on this pitch, a tired leader or even follower could slip and go for quite a tumble.

I don't quite understand why many of your rap distances are listed as 35m. We were able to do all the upper raps with a single 50m rope, so I don't think any of the upper raps are more than 25m. I would recommend doing single rope raps even if you have 2 ropes as there are tons of bushes and trees to snarl your ropes.

For our last rap the guys ahead of us let us use their ropes and double 60's just reached the ground. I believe there was at least one intermediate anchor for those with shorter ropes.

Sep 27, 2002
this route is great in the winter because it gets early sun that sticks around most of the day. I did this route in seven and a half hours and I am no speed climber. Oct 24, 2003
Will Cobb
Flagstaff, AZ
Will Cobb   Flagstaff, AZ
Once beyond the little aid roof on this climb there seem to be many bolted anchors to choose from. Where are the most popular stopping points/best belay spots? I have been as far as the first left hand anchor after the roof. Which pitches run together well?

Thanks for the info.

WC Mar 22, 2004
as of 5.1.04 the c2 fixed rurp on the pitch 2 roof is not necessary (though it is fun to look at as you reach by it). there are fixed pins traversing under the roof to a c1 reach through the roof to a tied off fixed angle. the eye of the pin is broke, though it is tied of flush w/ the rock. imo, the route is no longer c2 but probably c1/c1+. the crack above the roof is probably c1+ for about 8-10' w/ somewhat blown out placements. bring the micros and step up for a long reach to a red (#5 i think) tcu placement in a flaring pod. note: this route (as others in zion) seem to be in a constant state of flux in relation to placements, fixed gear, etc. for example, a shallow, flaring placement one day may "suddenly" become a deeper, bomber placement the next (this through no action of my own, i should add), or vice versa. also, concerning linking belays, w/ a 60m rope, one can climb from the anchors at the top of the first pitch, through the roof, past the first anchors out right, past the first anchors on the left, to the second set of anchors on the left. that would be the third set of anchors reached from the chains on pitch 1. another option, though maybe not the best, is to skip the first set of anchors, climb through the once c2 roof, to the chains on the right above the roof.additonal info: from the third set of chains found on the route (the second set on the left of the crack), a single 60m rope can be fixed to the ground.also, as of 5.1.04, all of the route appears to have been freed except for the traversing slab on p1. have fun May 7, 2004
Will Cobb
Flagstaff, AZ
Will Cobb   Flagstaff, AZ
Some of this will echo AC's comments above.

My pard and I climbed Touchstone on 5/7/04. This route ranks as one of the very best I have ever climbed. (Moonlight still being a little better.) To make the day even better, Ron Olevsky, Jeff Lowe, and Megan (didn't catch last name) were filming a "how to aid climb" video on the upper pitches. Ron, Megan and Jeff gave us water, food, encouragement, and were far more concerned with our ascent than with their own filming. It was pretty cool to meet two climbing icons (and one up and coming icon in Megan) and find out that their hearts were huge and egos small.

Ron mentioned that he had "done some work" on the route, but we didn't talk about specifics as to what work he had done. I assumed this ment the fixed gear under the aid roof along with a couple of new bolts at belays, but that doesn't mean that I am correct. Ron has the best beta on the route and contacting him regarding the new fixed gear would give you the most accurate information.

Speaking of beta, Ron gave us some in regards to the last pitch. He suggested finishing the little sport pitch at the two pin anchor located on the summit prow. At this point instead of going up the 5.6/5.7 slab to move left, step over a little exposed spot (with a belay) and run up the gully that cuts into the summit. We took his beta and had a nice, fun, adventure scramble to the summit.

The descent down the canyon right of the route is fun and straight forward. We thought that it added the "cherry on top" to our ascent. As mentioned above, do not try and run any of the rappels together as it will probably result in a stuck rope. This descent only took us about 45min. We counted 8 rappels total:

1. short rap from two drilled angles to saddle, scramble south on worn path2. 80' rap from two drilled angles into drainage, scramble down drainage a few feet to next anchor3. 80' rap from strange tree further down drainage, scramble south a little ways to next anchor4. 80' rap from small tree to ledge with one drilled angle and an old star drive (a nice public service would be to replace this star drive)5. 40' rap from angle/star drive into main streambed6. 80' rap down streambed from tree7. very short rappel from thread anchor, scramble down streambed8. 205' rap from bolts and chains down face right of Coconut Corner

The only other suggestion I would make is throw in 4 x .75 camalots. I ran out on the 4th pitch and lowered back down to back clean a couple of cams. But, .75 camalot is my worst crack size.

Have fun on this classic.

Will May 14, 2004
Clarification of A/C's post on 5/27/2004: the fixed RURP is still there, complete with faded shoestring. As A/C pointed out, it can be skipped entirely with a pretty easy reach from a fixed angle below the roof to the fixed angle above the roof. BUT: it's not completely obvious from below and right of that second pin that the eye is broken, and it won't necessarily be tied off already when you get there.

I had a pretty stressful moment when I made the reach, transitioned to the angle, took a step up in my aiders, and then looked down to see the eye broken and the head of the pin flexing dramatically under my (pretty small) body weight.

Morals o' the story: Don't be like me; take a hero loop with you, pay attention to the condition of the fixed gear, and read climbingmoab ahead of time instead of after you get home. :) Mar 20, 2005
I am thinking about heading to Zion from 5/14 to 5/19 and was wondering if this would be a good aid solo, or if the free climbing at the top would be akward with rack,rope, and a grigri self belay. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks. May 9, 2005
Will Cobb
Flagstaff, AZ
Will Cobb   Flagstaff, AZ
Well, I am a little late, with this but what the heck.

Touchstone would probably be a great solo. I have soloed most of the aid (and 5.11-) climbing and it was no problem. A few of the upper pitches would be akward to aid, but if you can be in french free mode you would be fine.

I really enjoyed this climb, and once through the little roof on the second pitch, it goes very quickly.

Good luck. May 31, 2005
I did this as my first wall solo back in early spring 2002 with haul bag, portaledge, and the whole nine yards. The most memorable pitches for me was 5 or 6 where I got my bag stuck under a roof and ended up jumaring inch by inch with the haul bag on my back and the last pitch where I was doing a 5.7ish move about 40 feet up a super sandy slab, no pro, only 5 feet from the top and my right handhold broke off in my hand (Incidently I met Ron Olevsky in the parking lot the next day and he told me that the last pitch actually goes up and left,right on the edge, and on to the summit, instead of the inviting sand slab above the Pitch 8 traverse). All in all, a great little wall to learn to aid solo as it is all straightforward, no major traverses, all clean, lots of crowds though. Have at it, you will probably have the wall all to yourself for the next 3 months. Cheers, AK! May 31, 2005
Doug Hemken
Madison, WI
  5.10 C1
Doug Hemken   Madison, WI  
  5.10 C1
Stays dry even under melting snow. We really enjoyed this route. The fixed pin on p2 continues to make the roof pretty easy. From there you can practice top-stepped with every move! We scrambled to the summit, scrambled back to the final anchor, and rapped the route. Mar 20, 2006
Mark Regier
Salt Lake City, UT
Mark Regier   Salt Lake City, UT
As of 11/26/06, there is a drilled angle missing from the first pitch of touchstone. Pretty close to the ground-- maybe the fifth or sixth angle is now an incut hole. A talon provided an easy passage for me, but any hook would do. I'm concerned that many hookers will eventually make this thing a big, nasty flared hole, and a scar on a great route. If any of y'all know how to place a good (bigger, now) drilled angle, go get to it! I must reiterate--I have never asked for anyone to place fixed gear on somebody else's route, but I don't see how anything short of a speedy repair will save the hole. Humbly yours. Nov 27, 2006
Laramie, WY
adamgable   Laramie, WY
Just a few quick question, My partner and I are thinking about doing Touchstone in March and I was wondering
1. How crowded will this route be and what might be a good alternative. Length is not an issue, but probably not much harder than 11+ and c2+. Have done a lot of bigger free stuff, Shunes,Iron Messiah etc, but just looking for something mellow and fun with some good aid climbing.
2. How big is the ledge at the top of the fifth pitch in real peoples terms. Never bivied except at the top a few unexpected times and we just want to give it a go and have a good time. No stressful do as many pitches as we can in a day climbing. Mellow spring break.
3. Any other suggestions or comments on Touchstone would be awesome.
4. What will the weather be like beginning to the middle of March. Nov 28, 2006
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
Touchstone can be crowded, particuarly due to the fact that people like to practice aid climbing on the first few pitches. A great alternative, from the sound of your experience in Zion, would be Sheer Lunacy, if you've done the trade routes (Spaceshot, Moonlight, and Prodigal). Also, there's a bunch of excellent free routes in a kind of "second-tier" of classic climbs in Zion. Routes like Sunlight Buttress (which could be aided), Voice from the Dust, Bits and Pieces, Wigs in Space, Made to be Broken, and Equinox are all great routes to consider. Just check out the topos at the Visitor Center and go have yourself an adventure.

I remember the ledge at the top of pitch 5 being good size but slopey. Touchstone is a perfect wall to do as a fix and blast. 2-3 pitches of aid at the beginning and then 5.10 and under free climbing to the top. You can fix the first three pitches with two ropes and blast the next day.

The final pitch gives some people issues. You "sport" climb on drilled angles to a large ledge and then do the infamous sandy slab mantle that is poorly protected (you wouldn't want to fall here). It seems to have become popular to rap the route and it's easy enough to do so. There's a fixed anchor at the large ledge on the last pitch so if you want you can bail from there instead of doing the last slab.

Middle of March can be beautiful, sunny days or it can be cold, wet, and snowy. Just depends on the weather. Usually when it does get nasty it clears off and gets nice again shortly thereafter. But, a couple years ago I spent 22 days in Zion in March/April and was only able to do a few routes (long day routes) due to bad weather. Nov 30, 2006
Laramie, WY
adamgable   Laramie, WY
Thanks for the beta. I will definately consider some of those other routes. I have not really done any of the trade routes you mentioned, mainly just free routes that looked good at the time. Anyways we have no solid plans and i might get there and get all revved up about monkeyfinger again and see how many falls i can take in a two hour period. I got my ass kicked last time. thanks again
adam Nov 30, 2006
BRegan Regan
Joshua Tree, CA
BRegan Regan   Joshua Tree, CA
FYI: Yesterday, 3/22/07, I popped on a piece above the roof (in the C2 section) and the 'broken-piton' clipped with a screamer caught me. The screamer activated and took the brunt of the force. Clipping it made me nervous, but in the end, I was relieved it was there. Great route, long day, lots of fun. I vote for the gully descent. Mar 23, 2007
EB   Winona
Better climbing than spaceshot. Also can link pitches 1&2 easily with a 70 m with minimal rope drag. skip first set of chains on right 20 ft after the roof and go to first set of anchors on left. Nov 7, 2007
Braxtron   ...
Great description, Craig. Thanks! Feb 27, 2008
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
Free at .13b. For the first pitch they climbed the variation to the right. For the second pitch they climbed a new variation above the first belay. From there, it's 5.9 to 5.11 climbing to the top. Check out the link to the old news piece about Anderson and Pizem freeing it. Dec 13, 2008
We got shut down on this last week, but made it through the crux just above the roof cleanly. I found a good spot for a purple mastercam.

For a fledgling big waller, the keys to success in my opinion are having your rope management down and the traffic gods smiling on you. Neither of which were going our way.

Great route and a good but attainable challenge for a novice. I will be back. Mar 31, 2009
Cottonwood Heights, UT
Trevor   Cottonwood Heights, UT
if you were climbing this on saturday august 8, 2009; i have some pics of you if you want them... Aug 10, 2009
ventura, ca
  5.9 C2
scottydo   ventura, ca
  5.9 C2
Climbed this solo the first weekend in March and felt like I had the whole canyon to myself. Did it the fix and fire method which seemed to work pretty well, however I was pretty slow so I'm glad no one else was lining up to climb it. I think i got way off route on Pitch 5 and ended up doing some sparsely protected face climbing off to the left and came back right to the bivy ledge. (not recommended) Overall a great climb. I think the free climbing up higher would have been a little more enjoyable for me if I was climbing with a partner. Two efficient climbers could probably do this route in one longer day. Rapping the route is pretty easy. Mar 9, 2010
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
  5.9 C2
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
  5.9 C2
Great route. I found the free climbing pretty burly for the grade (esp. with the full aid regatta) and there was an abundance of french freeing going on. YMMV. We fixed the first 3p and fired it the next day.

Here's the recommended rack:

  • 2 sets of offset nuts (no really small ones required)
  • 0.5, 1, 1.5 tricams
  • 1 set of finger sized offset aliens (OR an extra set of normal finger sized cams). Offsets weren't required, but they were nice
  • 1 set of TCUs/C3s/Mastercams
  • 3 x #0.5 camalot
  • 5 x #0.75 camalot
  • 5 x #1 camalot
  • 2 x #2 camalot
  • 3 x #3 camalot
  • 1 x #3.5 camalot
  • 2 x #4 camalot
  • I had one red link cam, which was handy but not required

P4 is the gear hog. It is LONG (160-180 feet) and it will take as many #0.75-#1 camalots as you can throw at it. The beta above included hexes instead of more camalots, but C4 camalots actually weight less than hexes, so don't bother with the hexes if you have C4s.

I was pretty happy to have 3 x #3 camalots for P7, and also happy to have the #3.5 camalot. But I like to leave the occasional cam while leap frogging.... :)

Definitely take care on the moves after the first bolt on the "sport" pitch. A fall by leader or follower would be a big tumble on the ledge.

After the sport pitch, we scrambled around left rather than do the "scary" mantle.

We descended the gully, and some of the rap anchors are getting pretty sketch. We didn't have a haul bag, and I was glad for it! Never had to do more than a one rope rap - and the SuperTopo beta is spot on. The last rap JUST made it with my 60m, so be careful. There was one move in the 3rd/4th class section above the last two raps that was sandy and required some attention..... I belayed my wife down the move. Apr 8, 2010
Perin Blanchard
Orem, UT
Perin Blanchard   Orem, UT  
From my experience, I mostly second Andy's rack comments. I jugged through pitches one and two and climbed the rest free so I can't speak to the gear required for the first two pitches, or to what additional gear you might want to aid other pitches.

I had a rack quite similar to what Andy recommends with not quite as many C4s and a few DMM 4CUs making up the difference

I took two sets of DMM alloy offset nuts and never used a piece from the second set. One set would have been sufficient for me (if you were aiding the third pitch you might like the extra set).

I also had shiny new yellow and orange Metolius Mastercams (1 each) and I placed one or the other or both on every pitch (except pitch eight, which I didn't lead, and is all fixed protection anyway). I also placed a blue Mastercam once. I placed red and yellow C3s several times, but no smaller C3s.

I, like Andy, was very happy to have three #3 C4s for pitch seven. I was even happier to have two #4 C4s for that pitch. I was also happy to have both #4s on pitch five. It may be 5.8, but after pushing up a cam for a while I start thinking about what would happen if that single cam should blow.

The descent was straightforward; as Andy says, the Zion Climbing: Free and Clean descent topo describes it perfectly. We did the rap down the final, steep wall in one go with two 60m ropes (the prose description of the descent in the guide says it takes two raps even with two 60's—it's wrong, but put knots in the ends because it might be close depending on how close to 60 meters your ropes actually are).

A hint for getting established on the rap above the steep, final wall: There is a small ledge just over the left side of the large ledge with the rap anchor. Step down onto it and then around to the canyon side; much better than a reverse belly flop (doing which, in addition to being a bit dangerous, terrifies me). May 16, 2010
Richard Shore
  5.10- C2
Richard Shore  
  5.10- C2
tricams were the ticket in the blown-out scars on the lower aid pitches. A brown #1.5 or blue #2 (cant remember which) fit perfectly in the pod above the 'broken pin' at the C2 roof crux.

A note about the summit topout on the route described here as P9; as part of P8 in Supertopo ("5.7R scary mantle") - it is scary indeed. 30' of unprotected, extremely sandy slab above a huge ankle crushing ledge followed by a crux mantle over the lip of the roof. The extra weight of all the aid gear adds to the drama. Make sure the leader carries only the necessary 7 quickdraws and minimal anchor materials for this pitch. Mar 14, 2011
Ian McEleney
Mammoth Lakes, CA
  5.10 C1+
Ian McEleney   Mammoth Lakes, CA
  5.10 C1+
As of April 2011 the fixed angle just above the roof on pitch two is in pretty sorry shape. One of the two eyes is completely gone and the other is cracked through and flexing hard. Tying off the pin (above the eye) seemed to be a good way to prevent the remaining eye from breaking.

The better top out is to traverse straight across the ledge at the top of the "sport" pitch. Make an exciting step-across then scramble up (4th class) to the summit ridge. Apr 21, 2011
My GF and I both thought the 1st half of the 5.11 pitch was rediculously sandbagged even for zion (though stellar). Way harder than Intruder. The 2nd half felt 5.11- Apr 27, 2011
how is anybody supposed to onsite with all this beta flying around? Oct 29, 2011
John McNamee
Littleton, CO
John McNamee   Littleton, CO  
Really nice vid of Touchstone by a couple of Brits.

vimeo.com/37972546 Mar 22, 2012
BJ Sbarra
Carbondale, CO
BJ Sbarra   Carbondale, CO
Fun route. Was surprised by the marginally adequate state of some of the anchors in the descent gully. Added webbing to several of the stations, would have added some bolts if we'd had a drill kit. Particularly the rap off the pin and star drive, and then the one that is two star drives and a rusty quarter incher. Also, if you are planning on rapping the route any time soon, bring a bunch of webbing (or chain) as the tat on the anchors above pitch three is looking pretty old and worn. Also, there's a stuck 5 Camalot on pitch 5, I have your quickdraw if it's yours and you want it back. The cam will probably come out too if you have some time to spend fiddling with it. Mar 4, 2013
Wenatchee, WA
  5.10b/c C2-
DrApnea   Wenatchee, WA
  5.10b/c C2-
Supertopo guide was spot on. We aided P1-3 and freed P4 and up.
We brought more gear than necessary, so here is what we actually used:

DMM offset aluminum nuts: 2 sets (only used 1 set)
TriCams: #0.5, 1, 1.5 (really only need the 1 and 1.5 for placement above the roof on P2)
Metolius Mastercams #0 (never used)
Metolius Mastercams #1
Metolius Mastercams #2
Metolius Mastercams #3
Metolius Mastercams #0/1
Metolius Mastercams #1/2
Metolius Mastercams #2/3
BD C3 # 0 (never used)
BD C3 # 1
BD C3 # 2
BD C4 #0.5 (x3)
BD C4 #0.75 (x5)
BD C4 #1 (x5)
BD C4 #2 (x3)
BD C4 #3 (x3) - was nice to have 3x on P5 & 7
BD C4 #4 (x3) - was nice to have 3x on P5 and 2x on P7
Free carabiners (x16)
Slings (x12)
Hook (never needed, don't bring) Apr 14, 2014
Matt Desenberg
Limerick, ME
Matt Desenberg   Limerick, ME
Pitch 1 and 2 seemed like the only "true" aid pitches. Pitch three has a stout beginning but I wish I'd free'd it. My partner said the same thing about pitch 4; best to try to free as much as you can because it is a long one. For the aid bits around the crappy fixed pin, we wish we'd had another few more medium offset nuts aside from a full set.

I led P5 to the top and a double rack of cams and a few nuts felt right on for the upper section. The upper free climbing is super fun! May 7, 2014
George Perkins
The Dungeon, NM
George Perkins   The Dungeon, NM
For a typical 5.9-5.11 leader, I think Touchstone is best viewed as a 2-3 pitch aid climb, followed by a 5-6 pitch free climb. The last 4-5 pitches will go much more easily if you're in free climbing mode and can free 5.9 and 5.10 cracks. (If 5.10 is hard for you, the short section of 5.10b on the 7th pitch can be dealt with easily by pulling on gear for 1-2 moves). On their own, the last 5 pitches would be considered a classic Zion 5.10.

In particular: Pitch 4 (5.10) and Pitch 3 (5.11) are both standout gems of splitter crack climbing. Nov 16, 2015
Matt Farrell
Bend, Oregon
5.9 C1
Matt Farrell   Bend, Oregon
5.9 C1
Not a single bodyweight placement on this thing anymore if you know how to get high in your aiders. This thing is the definition of C1. If you don't get up in your aiders then maybe you could turn it into C1+ if you tried hard.

The bolt ladder is not reachy at all by normal bolt-ladder standards. Mar 15, 2016
Johnny Ringo
  5.9 C1
Johnny Ringo   Tuscon
  5.9 C1
Soloed route and was a super fun time. The "short and no fun squeeze" is really not bad at all. You can stay on the outside of the squeeze and it's actually pretty fun. If you take haul bags up the route, DO NOT descend the gully, it's not worth it and it's actually pretty sketchy. Just rap the route. With the addition of a piton on P2, this route is no longer C2. Also, I skipped p3 anchor and went to the intermediate, it is a super short pitch and at the intermediate belay you can actually see the next pitch. Mar 19, 2016
My partner and I rappelled this route via the gully with a single 70m. I highly discourage doing this. Definitely bring two 60m's for the last rappel. Oct 6, 2016
Andrew Brodhead   SLC
This comment is intended for those who are going to free up to 5.11.

There is absolutely no C2 on this route! High step like a boss and it's easy C1. The fixed gear is great! We stopped at the alternate belay on pitch 2 to free the "5.11" to the base of pitch 3. This pitch is at least 12-. Pitch 3 is drastically easier, maybe 11a/b. From pitch 4 on we thought it was more or less spot on.

We both felt that the gear beta for brining 4-5 of the same peices were absurd....even if aiding. I would fallow the supertopo's recommendation and forget the rest. That being said, supertopo states on pitch 3 many .75 to 1.5 is misleading. Yeah, you place that size but also place your smaller peices...no need to bulk up on those sizes.

Don't be the guy who fixes your lines...stay bold and wake up early to do it in a day. Your only cheating the experience and yourself. Mar 16, 2017
The route is mega classic!

We found a sling on a piton just under the roof in pitch 3 were too old, so we left a new one for safety.

The descend route is horrible,we got our rope stuck once. We found some one add a anchor at the end of "5.7 fun sport climbing" of Pitch 8, it's much better to rappel the route than using the gully descend.

The "reachy bolts" in Pitch 1 is really reachy, I have to ask my wife to lower me to the ground and make a cheat stick.

We fixed 2 pitches at first day and top out the second day. There is no other party in this route, only a guy practice soloing at the first pitch for some hour.

It's the first time we aid at sandstone, much much more scary than granite. My wife take a short fall at the crux. Apr 11, 2017
Johnny Ringo
  5.9 C1
Johnny Ringo   Tuscon
  5.9 C1
The newest piton on the roof has been removed,back to C1+ at least. Offsets or totems will make it pretty mellow. Save time and link p1 a d p2 with a 70m. Just be conscious of rope drag and place long runners. Also,link p5 and 6. May 13, 2017
Miguel D
Miguel D   SLC
Help me figure out P5.
Providing previous pitch for reference:
- Started P3 from a fully hanging belay atop P2, ended at the first set of anchors after that on a hanging belay with some small edges (~11a/b)
- Partner leads p4 to a decent ledge about 15ft to the left of the crack used in this pitch. Short-ish pitch (~9+)
- I lead P5, traversing right back onto the crack and follow it up. Was expecting some wide stuff for the second half, but found myself in a narrowing crack that took .2 to .4 sizes and felt harder than P3 (~11b/c). Upper section pictured here:

I haven't seen anyone mention anything about a hard free pitch beyond P3 so I feel like I was off route, but it definitely seemed the most logical route to follow and had the same type of anchors at every belay. However, the ledge we reached after P5 did not seem like a good bivy ledge. So maybe we were 1 pitch away from it? Any help in figuring out what I did wrong would be appreciated May 23, 2017
Alex Temus
  5.10 C2
Alex Temus   Utah
  5.10 C2

The P4 beta is a bit misleading and should say 45m for length. That belay station you mentioned (~15ft to the left of the crack) is only halfway up the pitch. My partner never saw those mid-pitch chains where you stopped, but based on the beta here, we were pretty confused by the length.

Your picture is of the crux for P4 (which, I agree, felt like a pretty burly 10, maybe easy 11?).

There are intermediate belay/rappel stations on all the longer pitches (1-4). Jun 12, 2017
Bishop, CA
DennisL   Bishop, CA
You can rap the route from the summit with one 70, but bring some webbing to back up or replace the existing anchors and watch your ends!!! Oct 22, 2017
Garrett R.
Garrett R.   Colorado
The gully descent has some horrifying anchors. I posted a photo of one of several that should be updated.
I would not repeat those rappels without bringing a bolt kit. These anchors are truthfully fatalities waiting to happen. Nov 26, 2017
Jon Melly
Washington, District of Columb
Jon Melly   Washington, District of Columb
I left my la sportiva boots next to the big tree near the start of 5.7 sport pitch on touchstone. rapped right past them after going to the summit. if you climb it please bring them down i will reward you. Contact info. text me JP (571) 224-3101 i will be in zion until mid Feb and am also looking I left my la sportiva boots next to the big tree near the start of 5.7 sport pitch on touchstone. rapped right past them after going to the summit. if you climb it please bring them down i will reward you. Contact info. "JP" (571) 224-3101 i will be in zion until mid Feb and am also looking for partners. Jan 13, 2018
Riley Butler
Missoula, Mt or SF, CA
Riley Butler   Missoula, Mt or SF, CA
Amazing route! Definitely free the 3rd pitch if you can, it is amazing climbing. Also, the bolt ladder has some very reachy moves, be warned if you are short! Apr 7, 2018