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Routes in Big Bend Butte

Clearlight T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13
Grim Reaper T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Infrared T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Type: Trad, 400 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Jay Smith & Conrad Anker - 1995
Page Views: 6,328 total, 37/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Nov 17, 2003
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

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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

Description

An overlooked gem of a tower route! When looking up at the Butte from the road, three splitters are visible on the right side of the buttress. The thin, thin one on the left is Clearlight. The obvious one in the middle (a 6-8" horror) is Dolomite Wall, and the rightmost one is Infrared.

P1: Begin in the first crack system left of the corner formed by Big Bend Butte and Dolomite Spire. It is a stemming slot up broken rock and roofs to a wide-hands crack. Belay at bolts. 5.10.

P2: Two ways to go. The original route climbs up off the belay, clips a bolt and then immediately steps left on improbable ledges to a steep crack system. Continue up this to a large ledge and ultimately a steep, perfect-fists crack in a corner. Belay below the splitter at bolts. A variation clips the bolt and continues straight up in the obvious wide crack to the same large ledge, up the pillar on the right, then traverses straight left on exposed ramps to the same belay. I've done both variations (we got our ropes stuck on rappel and had to climb it again) and actually recommend the wide crack on the right - but both are very good. 5.10+.

P3: The long, awesome, wide hands/fists splitter! This is the baby that is visable from the road. Climb 120+ feet of beautiful tight fists, past a bolt protecting a loose block, and up to a diagonal crack under a roof (perfect hands here), around the roof, and up to a bolted belay. 5.10+.

P4: Continue up an incredible system of corners and roofs using face holds and broken cracks. You basically follow the overhung dihedral up and right until you are forced left around the arete and onto the final headwall. Many bolts protect this unlikely, awesome pitch. There are two cruxes -- a pumpy one about 40' off the belay, and a technical once you've established yourself around the corner up high. 5.12-.

Four double-rope raps down the route. Make sure to fix the end of one your lines to anchor below the fourth pitch before you depart!!! The top pitch is so overhanging that you will need to reel yourself into the anchor on the first rappel!

Protection

Single set of cams from blue Alien to #4 Camalot. Triples in hands-fists sizes. Wires. Many draws/slings.
Could be worth moving the top rap anchors in to good rock considering they're currently in an entirely detached and hollow block...that being said they've held so far.

The flake mac marked is easily avoided via jugs over head or using the other block on the ledge but it would be an awesome trundle! Mar 9, 2016
Climbed this amazing route yesterday. At the end of pitch 3 there is a death block/flake that could fall on your belayer. It is on the belay ledge and maybe 3 feet right of the anchors. Marked it with an X. We would have tossed it but our packs were in the way. Consider hiding your stuff at the base so you can let this thing fly. So loose that a light touch moved it a few inches and then I just pushed it back into place. Mar 6, 2016
Adam Pecan
Moab, UT
  5.11c
Adam Pecan   Moab, UT
  5.11c
Phenomenal route! One of the best desert lines I've been fortunate enough to climb. Nov 7, 2014
Luke Mehall
Durango, Colorado
 
Luke Mehall   Durango, Colorado
 
Excellent route, didn't have a topo and just went off the beta here, which worked just fine. Lots of #3 camalots on the third pitch, we had 3 and 4 might be nce. It's true you can ditch some gear for the last pitch just be sure to save a few hand sized pieces for the belay on the summit. Mad props to the first ascentionists and how they bolted that last pitch. A job well done, and a desert classic for sure.

First pitch was in the sun at 11:45 a.m. on January 26th. Jan 27, 2014
This is a beautiful route that gets better and better as you climb higher. The third and last pitches are the most interesting. To me the first pitch was the hardest because of the poor quality of the rock and so so protection. Don't forget to fix a rope to the anchor at the top of the third pitch for the rappel from the top of the tower or you will find yourself in a pickle. I climbed it with Mike Kaserman by the end of November. The first pitch was in the sun by 10.30 am. Nov 26, 2011
ben jammin
Moab, UT
 
ben jammin   Moab, UT
 
There are rappel anchors for the last pitch. They are directly above the previous anchors on the face. Kinda hard to find but they're there... Nov 29, 2010
Bryan Gilmore
New England
  5.11c
Bryan Gilmore   New England
  5.11c
Couldn't find the bolts for the rap on this route and rapped from Clearlight's slung block anchor... it sucked swinging/pulling back to the Infrared anchor. Nov 6, 2009
Super cool route. We found the climbing pretty difficult, but I'll stay out of the ratings discussion. I will say that there is a large hollow flake on the second pitch that deserves a heads up. Also, a good rack for us would have been (1) 0 tcu, (2) blue tcu to #1 camalot, (3) #2 camalots, (4) # 3 camalots, (1) 3.5 camalot. You can leave all but a single set of cams at the 3rd belay. Sep 24, 2007
Ken Duncan
Ft Collins, CO
  5.11b
Ken Duncan   Ft Collins, CO
  5.11b
Awesome route. The last pitch is one of the most spectacular in the desert. 11a, 10+, 10+, 11c. Apr 8, 2007
Great route. Don't forget to bring the rack on the last pitch... it may be bolted, but its not sport. Also, the gear list above is a little short on thin gear... we used this gear list instead of the Bjornstad list, and would have liked to have doubles in blue through red aliens for the first pitch, which we felt was just as hard (more technical, but no burl factor) as the 2nd and 3rd pitches. I'd rate the pitches 10+, 10+, 10+, 11. Nov 1, 2004
One hint. If the second is too tired or hot or wimpy to do the last pitch, cleaning the draws on rappel is very hard.I should know... I was the wimpy second and watched my partner struggle. May 5, 2004
david goldstein
  5.11c
david goldstein  
  5.11c
I agree with everything the AC who posted the first comment said. A top flight tower route, up there w/ Fine Jade, Jah Man and a small handful of other super classics. For my money, the last pitch ranks with the crux of Shune's Buttress as one of the two best I've done in the desert.

Good job by Smith and Anker, sussing this out and placing just the right amount of bolts on the last pitch.

I thought the ratings in the Bjornstadt route description were all soft and that the pitches went as follows: 5.10, 5.10, 5.10, 5.11c.

Note: rather than just hauling the 2nd line up the last pitch, have the leader use it as a double rope. This would reduce rope drag and probably provide a better TR for the second. May 5, 2004
The top pitch might pull a 12a if it was just put up in Clear Creek, but it is not, there is no move that would be 11b in Eldo, just a slightly pumpy jugfest... Awesome route, highly recommended... Nov 24, 2003