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Routes in Cenotaph Spire

Cenotaph Spire T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c C1 R
Type: Trad, Aid, 400 ft, 3 pitches, Grade III
FA: Paul Ross, Todd Swain, Paul Gardner
Page Views: 1,290 total, 7/month
Shared By: Andrew Gram on Sep 13, 2003
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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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


Interesting route to a cool summit, but lots of bad rock limit the appeal.

P1: From the ramp on the Tombstone side of the spire, aid up an overhanging dihedral that apparently goes free at 5.10 - C1' for me. Walk along a third class ramp, and then enter a heinous bulging 5.8 squeeze chimney. This thing is not protectable for 20 feet or so without really wide gear of some kind - i left a tipped out 5 camalot at the start of the chimney, though it gets easier towards the top. Natural belay on a good rubble covered ledge above this. 80' 5.8R C1

P2: Climb up and then straight left with a little downclimbing to a bulging sandy crack. Pull one hard move and then easy to the anchor. Route finding is tricky and the rocks sucks on this pitch. I took a big fall getting off route going up too high too early - don't be suckered by the stopper I left to get off that part after the fall. 100' 5.8R

P3: Really cool pitch. Climb up to a 4 bolt ladder, and then left up 5.7 munge to the notch. Mantle onto the ledge and then aid up and right on bolts past an optional intermediate 2 bolt belay to a GORGEOUS splitter on the opposite face of the summit tower. Climb the incredible thin splitter on small aliens and tcus to a three bolt ladder and then a mantle to the summit. This pitch is three stars, and makes the first two pitches worth suffering through. The rope drag can be very bad - if you have any at all at the intermediate belay stop there or prepare to suffer on the topout mantle. 140' 5.7 C1

To descend, make a double rope rap to the top of the second pitch, and another straight to the ground. Bring webbing to replace the rap slings, and a register would be nice too.


10 rivet hangers or wired stoppers, 1 set of stoppers, 3 sets of cams from micro to 2", 2 sets 2-3", 1 set 3-12". Many 24-48" slings are very useful for reducing rope drag.
Keswick Cumbria.UK
USBRIT Ross   Keswick Cumbria.UK
Yes the ROCK in that section is like sugar..needs some thought of what to use.. maybe angles Apr 10, 2013
Word on the street is that there are 4 more bolts missing now on the 3rd pitch. Apparently they pulled out with fingertips.

When someone goes back up there and puts the bolts back in hopefully they do it right. That rock needs something more then 3/8" x 1.5". Put some long 1/2" bolts in. Mar 14, 2013
Mike McMahon
Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah
Mike McMahon   Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah
A few thoughts...
I'm not a great OW climber, but the first pitch slot wore me out! By the time I finished groveling through it, I was bleeding on one of my ankles, knees, and a shoulder.

I did not trust any of the gear on the second pitch; incredibly soft 'rock'. Thankfully, freeing that pitch is fairly straight forward.

Finally, I should have read the comments on here ahead of time regarding the missing bolt near the summit. I ended up hooking the bolt hole to reach the top. It looks like one could also make a difficult free move to bypass the missing bolt. I also tried aiding left on blue-alien sized cams... but that route still requires difficult-looking free moves on really soft rock in order to summit. Nov 15, 2012
Good to hear Paul. May 13, 2008
Paul S
Fruita, CO
Paul S   Fruita, CO
the section with the missing bolt on the top of the last pitch can be passed with a 5.10ish move, you just have to top step and reach really high to the second ledge, then feel around for a good crimp in all the crumbly rock and sand, its exciting, but doable! May 12, 2008
More photos and a TR at… Dec 2, 2007
Jay 1975
Jay 1975   Bonedale,CO
i used that last bolt , just pushed it now it would be a dowl hook move. it should start directly, i thought too. May 4, 2007
The first 20' is a fun free climb, the crux is the mantle over the lip. I realize that I am a horrid OW climber but 5.8! I tried that thing over and over and couldn't fully commit, I had to have Brad run back to the car and grab the #6 (Thanks).

Having the last bolt of the 3rd pitch gone will make that pitch considerably harder. Even backing off from that point would be a pain since you are more then 100' out and are on the opposite side of the tower. I'm just glad it didn't pull out when I was hanging on it.

Brad is right that the line you rappel down from the pitch 2 anchor, looks like a good FA. It appeared to be on better rock, and would make a nice direct start. Apr 23, 2007
Ben, Lisa and I climbed this last week. Here are some thoughts on the route...

The slot on pitch one is protectable with a #6 Camalot.

Pitch two is REALLY sandy! I was afraid to free climb the moves at the end of the pitch and equalized 3 pieces to stand on and an additional two to pull on to help distribute my weight. Don't fall here.

The final bolt on pitch three pulled out as I was cleaning the pitch. If you are going up there, you will want a bolt kit and a bolt or piton to put in that hole. The existing bolts are 1.5" deep. Without the final bolt, the last moves are considerably harder. It may be possible to hook past this but we were racing a T-storm so I neglected to look.

If I were to go back (which I wouldn't) I would be inclined to established a direct start leading right to the base of pitch three. Apr 16, 2007
Jay 1975
Jay 1975   Bonedale,CO
sweet tower 11-8, in a great setting, best camp spots around. Nov 20, 2005