Type: Trad, Aid, 500 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Diedrich, Calhoun, Pitas, Pitas Nov. 1994
Page Views: 4,730 total · 24/month
Shared By: John J. Glime on Mar 7, 2003 with improvements by Cabot Steward
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

14 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
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


Arriving at the end of the road, with Cleopatra's Chair in front of you, the regular route is directly in front of you. Follow the obvious chimney. Listed are 4 pitches which are based on my judgement of rope drag. The route should be climbed using your best judgement.

Pitch one: Follow the corner/ramp for about 40 feet to the base of the chimney.

Pitch two: A wonderful, unique pitch! Sidestep through the chimney until you come to a two move section of climbing, then continue up to a sandy "saddle" next to the main buttress.

Pitch three: This is the aid pitch, and if you want to keep the climb at the 5.6 grade, you will take advantage of your partner's shoulders to stand on as you try to gain access to the right wall. (The shoulder stand is the A0.) Continue over the 20 foot bulge onto the main formation of Cleopatra's Chair.

Pitch four: Simul-climb or use your best judgement the remaining 350 feet to the summit of the formation. Note that the rock is brittle and ledgey on the upper sections, choose the easiest way to the top. The last 350 ft. is really just a roped up scramble.

Descent: Down scramble to the top of the 3rd pitch, as described above. Then work your way left and down to the cliff's edge to a drilled angle/tree rappel station. The free hanging rappel could be the most exciting part of the route, you won't soon forget it. (Two 50 meter ropes, or longer, are required.)


A regular trad rack is really overkill, however, the approach is so short that it doesn't hurt to take it. Perhaps more important is a partner for the shoulder stand. Two 50 meter ropes is a must for the rappel.


John J. Glime
Salt Lake City, UT
  5.6 A0
John J. Glime   Salt Lake City, UT
  5.6 A0
This is a picture of the route from the parking area. The route climbs the center weakness of the rock as seen in the photo (the chimney is obvious when you get close.) The rappel descends from the shaded cliff area just right of center. Mar 25, 2003
This route felt to me more like 5.9 R, with a nasty groundfall potential. From the sandy ledge atop the chimney there is a hard first move. The optional shoulder-stand bypasses this bouldery 5.9 mantel move, and gets one to the committing 5.7+(ish) mantel which is about 10 or 12 feet up. Don't blow it! You'd fall backwards and possibly hit your head on the back wall of the chimney, just as you hit the ledge. Bring a helmet, and get a good spot. There is no gear on this pitch; above the mantel is progressively easier climbing, but with no gear at all. Just bring a sling or two for a bush belay, as I recall.The ranger at Hans Flat told us that most folks back off here and fail on this route. Not many make it to the top. So be warned!This is a great climb, nonetheless. A classic desert adventure. Varied climbing from start to finish, very little gear is needed after the first pitch. First pitch is about 5.6/5.7, up a slabby dihedral hand crack, second is pretty gearless, but easy, and sideways, third is described above, and we left the rack at the raps before heading for the summit. The last several hundred feet are real fun as you zigzag up the dome. Some care is needed with route-finding. The easiest way is fine, but it rapidly gets dicey if you don't think carefully about where you are going. I recall heading up mostly the northeast arete/side. The south side looks fun and clean, but a little steeper and totally gearless. The summit views are the next-best thing to being up in space. Apr 28, 2003
Definitely agree with Crusher here. I remember thinking that a shoulder stand wouldn't even be of much help. I remember a couple of insecure high step moves with no gear whatsoever leading to the mantel. What a great desert adventure. Tequila mandatory for the drive in. Aug 10, 2004
Andy Roberts  
I did the 3rd ascent with my wife after seeing the easy grade in eric's book. I agree that getting out of the chimney on the right wall was down right scary especially if I was to fall back into the chimney with my inexperienced partner. But going thru the narrow chimney and the unbelievable view from the top make this a worth while adventure. Plus I think we used 2 200' ropes on the rappel and didn't have much too much to spare. Oct 12, 2004
Based on location and asthetics this climb is a must, a true hidden gem. I would agree that the mantle move from the ledge without shoulder assist is more 5.8/5.9ish, definatly the crux (wear your helmet). My first trip up the chair was about 8yrs ago, we hauled up packs and bivied on the summit. The block 10-15ft south of the summit is flat and big enough to perfectly fit a 4 man tent. If you want to experince the ultimate desert sunset and sunrise in the comfort of a sleeping bag this is the place. Aside from the views, the rappel is the most exciting part. Oct 27, 2004
Salt Lake City, UT
RoadTripRyan   Salt Lake City, UT
Definitely an interesting climb. Disappointedly, we could not find a summit register. It would be interesting to see how often the route is climbed.

For gear, I placed a #2 Robot Cam in the first pitch before the traverse out of the hand crack, and used a couple of medium cams to setup a belay. That was it for the route. The slot pitch is easy and secure, and the crux section up high doesn't have any placements.

I avoided the shoulder stand crux move with a wide stem, and tricky balance move onto the first ledge. The moves above the crux moves are committing! Apr 3, 2007
Stan Pitcher
  5.8 A0 X
Stan Pitcher   SLC, UT
  5.8 A0 X
Great adventure route - what a joy to go up and find no sign of previous passage - please keep it that way!

There was a small summit register (pill-bottle that could use replacement) and a special treat from south of the border - mmm thanks!

I was able to avoid the A0 by stemming up a bit before committing to the right wall. As for the rating I'd call it 5.8 X. Although the X moves are easy, you definitely do not want to fall there! Also there is some gear but it is very questionable. The 3rd class scramble to the summit was obvious and easy. For a rack, a single set of cams from blue TCU to 3 camalot is sufficient and twin 50's will get you back to the ground. Nov 12, 2007
andy pitas
Moab, Utah
andy pitas   Moab, Utah
check belay bolts. they get real dicey in sandstone. wendy (pitas) had just had a heart attack(her second). we had just found out that she had a bad aortic valve. she had it replaced in sep. of 1995. she has never liked to be left behind, so she climbed it. we figured she might die on the route, but she didn't. after valve replacement, she has gone on to be one of the top senior athletes in the u.s. currently ranked #1 in U.S.(65-69) in javelin, and # 2 in shotput and discus. still easily does 5.9s. she is 69. senior citizen center? don't think so. worst part of climb was shoulderstand. carl is not light, and i am not big. it hurt.rap is pretty airy.check bolts.


andy p. Jul 15, 2011
andy pitas
Moab, Utah
andy pitas   Moab, Utah
oh, we don't do summit regs. check the big double hump thing on lake Powell, between
colorado and dirty devil rivers. pylon of rocks, somewhat resembling a middle finger.a comment on the glen canyon rec area climbing regs. a million sq. miles of parking lots, multiple visitor centers, lots of power boats and associated idiots, but no bolting in the rec.area. Jul 15, 2011
For the crux pitch, you can use a boost rather than a shoulder stand to get your feet on the ledge from where you can mantle, especially if you have three people. There is a poor cam placement way off to the right about head hight and it may be possible to fit a pin into one of the seams if you had to. The mantle is solid and after you can traverse right on an easy but exposed 5.0 ledge (feet only) to a bush above. Straight up is friable rock and looks harder. Following the north ridge is a 4th-class scramble (climbers right on the formation). We found three new bolts (2 glued-in) for the rappel, located about 50 meters north of the south-east corner of the chair. Nice adventure, we barely made it in and out with the rental Jeep Patriot, Enterprise would be proud. Apr 27, 2012
Bill Duncan
Jamestown, CO
  5.9 C0
Bill Duncan   Jamestown, CO
  5.9 C0
Crusher provides all of the key details. We were able to get a #2 and #3 camalot in a decent pocket after doing the 5.9 move. Having these equalized made the jumping mantle move that came next more palatable. It frees clean, no aid required (I can't remove the aid rating). Only a very small selection of gear is needed for the total of about 50 or 60 feet of actual climbing. The 2nd "pitch" is a 3rd class walk-up chimney. Mar 31, 2015
moab, utah
  5.9 A0
jakobi   moab, utah
  5.9 A0
The summit register is gone unfortunately, it'd be nice if we could keep the history of these towers intact and if you don't do summit registers than just let them be. Oct 16, 2015
Frosty Weller
Frosty Weller   Colorado
Despite Cleopatra's unassuming appearance, to this day I still think it's one of the better desert summits out there. It's just a great place to be, and the views from the top are truly stupendous! Jan 16, 2019