Type: Trad, 900 ft, 9 pitches, Grade IV
FA: FA-Olevsky and Schnelker, 1978. FFA-Drew Bedford and Roger Amory 1984
Page Views: 21,713 total · 109/month
Shared By: Joe Collins on Oct 29, 2002
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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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


This awesome all-free route has been described as the "Astroman of Zion." It does share a number of similarities with Astroman, including hard climbing, spectacular position, good exposure, as well as a couple funky pitches guarding the top.

However, the climb is not nearly as committing as Astroman (it can be rapped from any point on the route), has a 5 minute approach, and you don't have to descend the North Dome Gully at the end of the day.

Think of it more as six solid Indian Creek pitches stacked on top of one another, followed by two weird desert-adventure pitches at the top.

Don't be scared by the 5.12 rating: the crux is short and easily aided making this an excellent climb at the 5.11 A0 grade.

P1 Climb the easy but runout slab up and left to a belay at the base of the Pillar of Faith. Watch out for wet spots.

P2 (5.10+/11-) The real climbing starts here at the Pillar of Faith. Despite what many guides say, starting the pillar on the right side is 5.11R. Climb the pillar starting from the left and working back to the right.

P3 (5.12) The crux Black Corner pitch. Desperate tips lie-backing (or french-freeing) leads to a moderate chimney which is followed to a belay. The meat of the climbing is the first 15 feet of the pitch before reaching a good stem rest. Easily aided and fun to TR.

P4 (5.11) If you're climbing the route at 5.11 A0, then this would be the crux free pitch. Fun stemming leads to a rest before a difficult roof. The pitch goes for a long ways after the roof so long slings are key here to reduce rope drag. Pull the roof and continue up via sustained fingers in a corner with occasional feet to a very badly located anchor.

P5 (5.10) A fairly short pitch. Lieback and handjam up the corner to a belay in an alcove below a slot.

P6 Two options here:

The standard route climbs the OW and face above at 5.10 (#4.5 Camalot is nice for up high on the pitch).

If you're feeling particularly chipper at this point, you can traverse left to the Monkeyfinger Crack which goes at 5.12-.

Either option leads to a spacious belay in the Monkey House.

P7 (5.10+) Nice liebacking and jamming in the chalked corner above leads to a belay. A fairly short pitch.

P8 (5.10+) This is where things get weird. Climb up and right to a sandy slab which is protected by some drilled pins and bad bolts. Continue upward over interesting rock to a huge ledge and belay.

P9 (5.10+) Even weirder, but just like Astroman, you haven't climbed Monkeyfinger unless you've done the last pitch.

Enter the sandbox/chimney to the right of the belay. After finding a suitable location to empty the sand out of your shoes, clip a couple of bad bolts and undercling right out under a series of roofs and continue up to the rim. Once on the rim fight up through ropedrag, sand, and manzanita to a flat area where you can sling a couple of branches and belay.


  • One set of stoppers
  • Triple set of cams up to #2 Camalot
  • Two #3 Camalots
  • One each of #3.5, #4, and #4.5 Camalots
  • Two 60m ropes will get you down in 5 raps


Park at (or take the shuttle to) the Temple of Sinawava area at the end of the canyon road. Walk 100 yards back down the road to the route which follows the striking, varnished dihedral system on the SW-facing wall. A trail leads up to an often-wet slab at the base.


From the tree at the rim, 5 double-rope (60m) raps got us to the base.

Go soak your hands under the cold water in the sink of the Temple of Sinawava bathrooms.
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Agree with you Joe on Pitch 2. We trusted the guide and followed the right crack, this was totally desperate and protected only by marginal RP's (but with good gear well below your feet). Only on the way down did we realise it is much easier to start left of this and then switch into the right crack when it becomes wide enough to get the fingers into. The last few feet of this pitch is perhaps 4" and seemed 10+. Nov 6, 2002
Joe Collins
Joe Collins  
Yep, that section on pitch 2 almost thwarted us. I started up the right side and wasn't willing to commit to the sketchy free-climbing well above good gear, so I tried to aid it. Anyway, the RP I placed blew as I put my body-weight onto it... very marginal RPs indeed!! We were just about to bail, but decided to give the left side a go which is pretty mellow with the crux coming when you start climbing the right side of the pillar again. I think I used the #4.5 camalot at the top of this pitch. Nov 7, 2002
Lives up to its reputation for quality.

Joe, Where else would you put the 4th belay? It seems to me that a miserable hanging belay is inevitable. It would be nice to have a belay seat for this anchor though it would not be of much use at any other anchor.

A 60 meter rappel just makes it from the third anchor to the ground.

Joe's recommended rack was right on the mark. May 14, 2004
Crux of pitch 2 is the traverse to the left crack, probably 11- face climbing with good pro overhead at the base of the right crack. May 15, 2004
Joe Collins
Joe Collins  
Dave- I think the anchor would be much better located about 30 feet lower. As it is, the 4th pitch is very long and the 5th pitch is very short. The roof at the start of pitch 4 gave me massive roof drag towards the end of pitch 4. It seems that a shorter pitch 4 would make more sense with a belay not too long after the roof... then pitch 5 could be a long pitch up the corner with no rope drag. Also, if the anchor were lower it would be on the slightly lower angle section where a hanging belay would be more comfortable. Its not like its located at a natural stance right now... it's a full-on hanging belay in the middle of the corner.

That's just this punter's opinion, of course. May 25, 2004

2 #2 ball nuts provide plenty of protection at your feet for the right side of the ultra-cool second pitch...

cheers, aaron Jul 30, 2004
T T  
climbed this route on 9.13.2005. I lead the first two pitches, and the fifth pitch.

I totally agree with the idea of lowering the top of the third pitch to the lower angle part. That full blown hanging belay at the top of four just plain SUCKS!!! DOn't forget the buttbag and knee pads.

The pillar of faith was awesome climbing, plugged in the grey and purple Met. FCU to protect when going into right corner...and saw a good foot placement half a body length above and just went for it...climbing only gets easier and easier from there to the belay. Top of pillar can be protected with a 4.5 BD or 5 Wild Country , really good features in back of OW and then just throwing for top is bomber safe...jug and a welcome lip on top to grab onto. Sep 30, 2005
T T  
Oh yeah...two pieces of fixed gear, one (what I believe is a SUPER BOMBER NUT) located in the back corner just before pulling out under the roof and another nut about thirty feet below the top of pitch four. Sep 30, 2005
Josh Janes    
For parties wanting to save weight, you can get away with a double set through #2 Camalot, a single #3 Camalot, and a set of wires. Although having only doubles will demand some run outs or back cleaning on the 5.10 handcrack pitch just above the 5.11 roof, the #4 & #5 Camalot are truly optional. It is nice to have two or three purple TCU-sized pieces for the Black Corner. Also, this route can be rapped with a single 70m rope. May 20, 2007
Wasatch Back, UT
drewford   Wasatch Back, UT
Not sure where the FFA info got off-route, but this route was first freed in 1984 by myself and Roger (Pokey) Amory.

To be accurate, we did yo-yo the crux pitch, but this was before micro-cams and those small nuts in soft sandstone were freakin us out a bit. Olevsky should be willing to confirm the facts--he watched us from the parking lot and pumped us for details at the end of each day. Mar 31, 2008
St.George Orem Denver Vegas
Klimbien   St.George Orem Denver Vegas
Great Route! Long live Olevsky. Jul 1, 2009
Ben Venter
Tucson, AZ
Ben Venter   Tucson, AZ
Rap it with just 1 70m rope.

Do the Monkeyfinger pitch! The first move getting into it was quite hard and the gear is slightly wonky but then it's just awesome splitter fingers with tons of air under your feet! Mar 29, 2011
Max Tepfer
Bend, OR
Max Tepfer   Bend, OR
"Enter the sandbox/chimney to the right of the belay. After finding a suitable location to empty the sand out of your shoes, clip a couple of bad bolts and undercling right out under a series of roofs and continue up to the rim. Once on the rim fight up through ropedrag, sand, and manzanita to a flat area where you can sling a couple of branches and belay. "

The beta posted here for the 9th pitch is a little bit screwy. No it's not that sandy, yes the bolts suck, yes there's plenty of bomber gear around the bolts, no there's no need to wrestle 'ropedrag, sand, and manzanita, once on the rim. (unless you screwed up) There's a massive tree with a rap-anchor on it. It's pretty straight-forward. Jan 9, 2012
Onsight soloed by Alex Honnold, April 2012 Apr 30, 2012
You can rap the entire route with a single 70 m rope. You can link pitch 4 and 5 to avoid the hanging belay. It's worth going to the very top even though the last chimney pitch is a kitty litter box. Oct 3, 2012
Michael Layton
Sonora, CA
Michael Layton   Sonora, CA
Supertopo shows the last pitch going right at A3 and left as 5.10

I'm pretty sure this is bass-ackwards. I saw the bolts on the right and was thinking why would an A3 pitch have more bolts and better rock...anyway I went left. I've been climbing for about 20 years and have done a lot of choss. But going left was the worst pitch I've ever led...hands down no question. I freeded it if that counts for anything! It was like trying to climb rock being actively poured out of a dump truck in a gypsum quarry...choss treadwall. My partner let out more explatives following it than a david mamet film.

rest of the climb was great! next time I'll rap after pitch 7 :)- Feb 13, 2013
Brad G  
I blew my onsight on that short roof on pitch four. It looks easier then it is so don't rush into it. Those few moves are for sure the hardest on the route imo. The crux pitch and monkeyfinger pitch are amazing! If you're psyched on finger cracks, you must climb the Monkeyfinger crack! Apr 23, 2013
Landon McBrayer
Salt Lake City, UT
Landon McBrayer   Salt Lake City, UT
What an amazing route! Here is my pitch by pitch breakdown:

P1: crappy slab/traversing pitch to get to the bottom of the Pillar of Faith. This pitch would be awesome if a bolted direct line was put up. As is, it pretty much sucks.

P2. The Pillar of Faith. As others have noted, start up the left side and switch to the right side at the obvious foot jug. You can't miss it. From there, it's tight fingers to hands to a short bit of OW which you can layback to the belay. A #4 or 5 BD is comforting, but by no means necessary.

P3: Crux. French free up the tips corner for 15 feet, then climb the easy chimney to the belay.

P4: The human crux. Easy climbing to the tricky roof (extending the gear with runners is key here), followed by a long stretch of fingers, a bit of hands, and back to fingers. It's not unreasonable to have quads of .3-.5 camalot sizes for this pitch. classic. An absurd belay which should be moved 30' lower.

P5. Fantastic. Fat fingers to big hands in a corner to the belay. A few of each .75-#2 camalot is perfect, with maybe a #3 thrown in for good measure. Pretty short.

P6: a crappy belay, followed by a long OW section to a fantastic belay (each lunch at the latter). Sure, you'll use the #4 and #5 camalot if you dragged them up this far, but the meat of the OW can be protected with #2 camalot sizes in the back of the slot.

P7: after lunch, tackle this fantastic pitch. Tight fingers give way to big hands as you work your way up the nice corner. A couple of each size from 0 Metolius-#3 camalot works great. You'll end up at another huge ledge.

P8: A runout easy section up and right leads to a bolted face (which you can see from the belay), which is followed by a crack (fingers-hands) to the belay. Apart from the horrible protection (two badly drilled angles and an ancient star driver bolt), the face climbing is great on this pitch. If you've done this pitch, admit it: you used that first drilled angle as a foothold.

P9. Not worth doing. Grovel up the horrible chimney to the unspectacular summit tree. This pitch is awful, and you gain nothing by reaching the final belay. The view from up there is the same view you've been looking at for 8 pitches. Absolute garbage.

My rack recommendation: triples .2 - 3", which quads from .3-.5, and a single #4 and #5 camalot size.

The biggest downer of this route is the fixed hardware. Lots of crappy belays consisting of drilled angles and shoddy webbing. Also, the hanging belay atop P4 and the shoddy belay atop P5. A hardware update would make this route much better. If you don't like old tat, bring a shit-load of cord or webbing to replace the anchors.

Can be rapped with a single 70. Oct 16, 2013
There is a rope eating crack just below the 5th belay- it's not that obvious, but if you look as you rap you'll see a little upside-down wedge crack that could gobble up a rope as you try to pull it after rapping. I then noticed that my rope wanted to slide right into this benign looking crack unless I purposefully moved my rope to climber's right as I rapped past. With a little awareness, easy enough. I probably wouldn't have even noticed, except that there was a rope stuck in there when I just climbed it. If it's your rope and you'd like it back, email me at arichy@gmail. Oct 19, 2014
Marblemount, WA
calvino   Marblemount, WA
Webbing mess has been replaced with chain, and there are stainless steel glue in bolts on anchors for pitches 1, 3, 4, and 5. Jan 22, 2015
Rob Warden...Space Lizard
Between Zion, Vegas, LA, an…
Rob Warden...Space Lizard   Between Zion, Vegas, LA, an…
ASCA ReBolt is concluded. All anchors now have chain and wave bolts or 1/2in by 4in bolts. the Slab has a 1/2 pro bolt. route can still be rapped with one 70 but the intermediate anchor which was left untouched will need some tatt. Feb 22, 2015
Ray Hellinger
Gunnison, CO
Ray Hellinger   Gunnison, CO
One of the best climbs I've done. I didn't lead the 3rd pitch, or the monkey finger pitches, but I had to French free a short section of each. The 4th pitch was pretty enduro for me.....and yes, the belay at the top blows. Make some stirrups to stand in or your legs will go numb. Didn't do the last pitch. Didn't seem worth it......and we were beat, ha! Mar 10, 2015
Mr. Stevens
Boulder, CO
Mr. Stevens   Boulder, CO
What's the sun exposure like for the route mid-October? Sep 22, 2015
bheller   SL UT
^^ MF gets a lot of sun mid-day and Octobers of late have most often been too hot for me (i hate heat)...I'd say mid November on a clear day around 65 would be perfect...as long as you can climb quickly. Sep 22, 2015
Pretty sandy currently. Oct 14, 2015
Mr. Stevens
Boulder, CO
Mr. Stevens   Boulder, CO
I was really bummed about this route. As Kenny said above, we did it and it was incredibly sandy. I'm sure the climbing is fantastic, but it was hard to focus on that with sand pouring out of the cracks and coated on the walls making smears and lay backing damn near impossible. I'm assuming this route gets climbed a lot more in the spring helping to clean it up and then it just sits untouched over the summer. Oh well...

In mid-October the sun hits the top of the route and works its way down. We started around 8 AM and got hit by the sun at the top of the 4th pitch. We were also moving very slow given the conditions. A competent team could definitely be at the monkey house before the sun hits. Route was in full sun by noon.

Also, thanks to the person who carved "LSD" with a bunch of hippy suns, stars, and moons at the top of the 4th belay. Very classy, and it truly shows how much you love nature. Oct 18, 2015
Travis McClinchey
Squamish, BC
Travis McClinchey   Squamish, BC
I climbed this a couple days ago. It was a bit sandy, but mainly in the easy sections. After our ascent, I'd say it is perfectly fine and climbable. We continued to the top and even the final chimney pitch is now fine.

If doing the monkey finger variation, you can stash all gear from BD #3 and up at the anchor after the second pitch and retrieve after rappel. Nov 4, 2015
Climbed up to the top of pitch 3 the other day. Had to go down due to a sliced finger my girlfriend friend obtained the night before. As for pitch 2: im not going to spray any beta, but if done right it's a mellow pitch. We both felt that this pitch only went at Zion 5.10. No need to lug a #4 up on this pitch, you can protect the back of the crack with a orange or red metolius.

Pitch 3 was awesome!!!! Gray metolius protects the crux really well. I'm excited to get back and finish this route.

Sun seemed to hit the top of the route around 10:30-11 as of March 15th, 2017 Mar 16, 2017
Boulder, CO
michalm   Boulder, CO
Both the Black Corner and the start of the Monkeyfinger pitch feel like solid 12. 50 degrees and cloudy was comfortable. I wouldn't want it to be any warmer than that. The route is currently very clean and raps easily with a 70m rope.
I highly recommend linking 4-5 and suggest including triples of small tips to .75 C4 for this linkup for a long, pumpy pitch and good belay stances. Don't burn all the small cams under the roof. Nov 9, 2017