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Living On The Edge

5.10c, Trad, 450 ft, 4 pitches,  Avg: 3.7 from 130 votes
FA: W. Harding & Partner
Utah > Saint George > Snow Canyon SP > Island In The Sky > Aftershock Wall

Description

This route is a destination climb, and the finest I have done in Snow Canyon. The pitches are each distinctly different in nature, with 3/4 of them each being 2-to-3 star pitches in its own right. The position of the climb is also great, giving a nice view of the area and plenty of exposure.

Hike into Aftershock Wall and find the line of chalk and pins/bolts rising up and left on the right hand edge of a massive arch.

P1: (5.10a, 30M) Start up this first pitch on some insecure moves (5.9). These are unprotected, but close to the ground. After the initial smears, the feet come back on and the hands are locker. make a mantle and clip the first bolt. Climb up and left above the roof formed by the edge of the arch for some distance, clipping bolts and pins along the way to a fixed belay station (chains), even with the apex of the roof.

P2: (5.10c, 32M) start up above this belay on the obvious line of pins and bolts. the line goes up a few moves over the belay to reach the first clip, so be mindful not to fall on your belayer. Pass some poor rock and a little runout (2" cam may help) to reach a slightly crumbly section just below a pod and roof. Pull up and left into the pod and clip a pin around the corner to the left. Pull left onto the face (10c) and follow a line of drilled angles up and left past multiple 5.10 cruxes to reach an fixed belay anchor (chains).

P3: (5.10c, 25M) From the belay work up and right on a ramp to make some relatively easy moves (5.8, runout) to reach the first clip, perhaps 5M up. Do NOT fall before the first clip. Continue up and right to a smooth crux (10c) off of a small undercling before reaching "thank god" holds in the black Patina. Continue upwards and slightly left though an odd mantle (5.9, mental) and then up a face to reach a hidden belay (chains) below the black overhang. This is just left of a single visible bolt of the 4th pitch.

P4a: (5.9+, 30M) From the 3rd belay work up and right past a single bolt (long sling) to reach a crack system. The black patina is hard, but crisp-edged and might fracture away without careful placement of protection. Be mindful that the rope is now turning a sharp corner and might be damaged or cut in an severe or unlucky fall. Work up the crack with plentiful but somewhat tricky pro (offset nuts would have been nice) for perhaps 30M to a fixed anchor (chains) on the left. Keep an eye out or miss it. You can continue...

P4b: (5.6, 30M, S) So you've decided to continue... continue up the wall past some fun and interesting climbing, but mostly not.. past less and less gear opportunity other than some fixed slings... to the top. According to the guidebook, as you arrive on top there will be a 'difficult to find' anchor system just to climber's right of the topout (South). I did not find, nor really look for it. It's actual existence is questionable to me, considering the other errors in the book I will not digress into the discusion of, presently. Rapping from here may or may not be possible.

To descend:

From P4b: See pitch note for P4b. A walk-off may be the only real option, or perhaps walkign far enough to find the anchors on the top of something on Circus Wall.

From P4a: Rap ~30M to the anchors for P3. Not tested with a 60M Advise 2 ropes or a 70M.

From P3: Rap ~30M (less) to the anchors on P2. A single 60M line will almost certainly make it.

From P2: Rap ~30M to a set of EXTRA anchors at a height even with those at the top of P1, but to the left and above the apex of the arch. From there to the ground. Neither of these has been tested by me with a 60M rope. I again advise 2 ropes or a 70M.

I did not find or look for a top anchor. The book is ambiguous about it's possible presence. If you top out, plan on walking off just in case.

Protection

This climb is a mixed climb, with three 30-Meter pitches of 5.10 sport (in which a #2 friend can be placed at a slight runout if desired) followed by a gear pitch of 5.9+ on thin gear for either 30M to an anchor or 60M to the top. You will need at least 10 draws + equipment for each station.I fyou intend to rap the route, please consider the advice to take 2 60M ropes.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

First Pitch in evening light. Photo Keith Beisner
[Hide Photo] First Pitch in evening light. Photo Keith Beisner
Sarah above the big roof on the amazing first pitch. November 2010.
[Hide Photo] Sarah above the big roof on the amazing first pitch. November 2010.
Lyndsy on P1
[Hide Photo] Lyndsy on P1
Me halfway up the stellar first pitch!!!
[Hide Photo] Me halfway up the stellar first pitch!!!
Don't pull too hard on the "car door" flake on the 3rd pitch!
[Hide Photo] Don't pull too hard on the "car door" flake on the 3rd pitch!
Chris Strouthopoulos nears the top of pitch 2 of Living on the Edge
[Hide Photo] Chris Strouthopoulos nears the top of pitch 2 of Living on the Edge
The 2nd pitch has some airy moves moving through the bulge. A 0.5 & 0.75 camalot are nice to sew up the "loose" section.
[Hide Photo] The 2nd pitch has some airy moves moving through the bulge. A 0.5 & 0.75 camalot are nice to sew up the "loose" section.
Just moved through the crux.
[Hide Photo] Just moved through the crux.
Kelly and I years ago on Living On the Edge.
[Hide Photo] Kelly and I years ago on Living On the Edge.
Craig experiencing life on the edge!
[Hide Photo] Craig experiencing life on the edge!
Annie coming up the 4th pitch crack
[Hide Photo] Annie coming up the 4th pitch crack
Tony Bubb gets a peice of trad gear in just before he starts up the crux section of the 'choss pitch' (a short section of it) on 'Living On The Edge' (10c) in Snow Canyon. Photo by Joseffa Meir, 11/03.
[Hide Photo] Tony Bubb gets a peice of trad gear in just before he starts up the crux section of the 'choss pitch' (a short section of it) on 'Living On The Edge' (10c) in Snow Canyon. Photo by Joseffa Meir, 11…

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Two 60's will work fine for the rappel from part way through that last pitch. It is a fun face climb with an easy crack pitch that climbs like a face climb at the end. Every pitch is fun - especially the first two. Did this years ago as one of my first multi-pitch climbs, and it remains one of my favorites. Sort of like a poor boy's Prince of Darkness but steeper and much shorter.

edit (1-11-09) to say 1)you can do it in 3 raps with a 70 as Tony mentioned, 2)if I'd known the anchors had so much tat on them I'd have brought 3 sets of chains. The 4th pitch anchors were especially bad and we left a draw to back them up as the webbing was half-way sawed through 3)Tony is right about that hand-sized piece off the 2nd belay as the rock is... well you can imagine - really soft sandstone and plugging in a cam would be nice in case pulled off an enormous jug in there like we did. An ideal rack would be medium nuts and .3,.4,.5,.75,1,2 camalots and 4 or so long runners to supplement 10 qd's. Finally, 4)What's up with all the chopped bolts right by replaced bolts on the first pitch? Jan 7, 2004
L. Hamilton
  5.10c
[Hide Comment] Also unlike Prince of Darkness, each pitch has its own personality. The 5.10 comes up pretty soon on pitch 1. Pitch 2 gets more wildly exposed; I've seen several leaders fall apart and hide out on the pro. For me, pitch 3 is most memorable, with that touch-it-carefully car-door flake. Mar 21, 2004
Teleman
Steamboat Springs, CO
  5.10c
[Hide Comment] I have done this climb several times and still find it interesting, varied and fun. If you skip P3 you are missing a unique and delicate pitch. The right traverse moves almost off the deck will test your smoothness and faith in friction. Apr 18, 2004
triznuty
Salt Lake City, UT
  5.10c
[Hide Comment] Classic climbing for sure! Go for the top and do all 4 pitches. The first pitch is amazing every time you look at your feet. One of my favorites in Snow. Nov 29, 2009
kayakscum1
  5.10c
[Hide Comment] Great climb but beware the wind. We rapped off in two raps with double ropes. When we tossed the ropes from the anchors of the 4th pitch, the gusty wind blew them off route. Getting them unstuck from the hook like chicken heads was a half an hour ordeal. The rope falls easily past the chicken heads on route, but was a pain to get off the uncleaned chicken heads to climbers left. If you are climbing near dusk and it is windy, you may want to coil your rope, sling it, and let it pay out as you rappel to save time.

Aside from that, it is a great climb! May 23, 2010
Spencer Weiler
Salt Lake city
[Hide Comment] Definitely do the whole route, don't just rap after 2 or 3 pitches. The "walkoff" is thrilling in and of itself. A few words about the route. The pitch labeled 4b in this description is really just a 4th class scramble. We felt totally comfortable unroping here. As for the walkoff, it takes some exploring as it is more of a canyoneering descent. From the top of the 4th class pitch follow cairns south and then east down a bushy gully, then back up north where you find a fixed rope. Lots of 4th/5th class downclimbing, though no rapelling is necessary will get you down. Look for the roman numeral "III" carved in the rock with the occasional cairn to guide you down. It took us about 30 minutes not having any knowledge about it. Fun if you like adventure walkoffs. Save you the stress of potential stuck ropes/hauling 2 ropes up the wall. Mar 7, 2011
Christian Weaver
  5.10c
[Hide Comment] This is a classic climb and a must-do if you are in Snow Canyon. I still need to do the 4th pitch. Jan 9, 2012
[Hide Comment] Just a few notes. The anchors at the top of the third pitch are not chains, but just two bolts. Also, the last rap station on the way down doesn't have a rap ring or chains, just two bolts. And the left bolt on that station is a little sketchy. Awesome climb. Mar 5, 2012
Hendo Henderson
Denver, CO
  5.10a
[Hide Comment] I only did the first pitch, and it was one of my top-5 routes of all time. It is a must-do in life. The holds/moves are all there. Definitely a 5.10a. Nov 6, 2012
uncasid
 
[Hide Comment] i dig this route.. only did first pitch, next pitch looked awesome.. first pitch was commiting + airy for a fantastic lead, bolts in just the right spots Jan 3, 2013
Corykelley
  5.10c
[Hide Comment] P1 MUST READ CLIMBING TIPS!

Here's some info that I wanted to know before I climbed it 2 days ago, but couldn't find it on here:

A brief on me: I'm 5'10" @ 150lbs. This is was my first time leading the P1 but my second trip climbing there.

P1 has the need for about 10 quick draws (Bring 12 just to be safe). It's topped with 2 anchors and a single chain. It feels like a 5.10c when leading (fear factor), but top roped it only feels like a 5.10a.

The first draw is about 10ft above the ground, but it's not that hard to get a comfortable position to clip into it. The hardest draw for me to get to was #6. (SEE PIC FOR MORE INFO)

It's best to get there when it's shaded (before noon or late evening) because my buddies and I literally BURNT our fingers climbing it in the sun.

I used a 60M rope and had about 4 meters to spare after coming down.

MOST of you are good at this but PLEASE stick to the trail. The ecosystem here is very fragile. There is a bathroom about a 30 sec. drive down the road from this climb.

Sep 18, 2013
Levi Call
Moab Utah
[Hide Comment] You CAN rappel to the ground from the top of the arch with one 60 meter rope. I simul climbed the first 3 pitches in about 25 minutes with one sixty meter rope. Keeping about 40 feet of rope between myself the leader spaced us out well so we didn't hit the cruxes at the same time. We had a bit of a scare on the way down because it was almost completely dark and we were not sure if we could rap all of the way to the ground from the top of the arch. This is an awesome climb if you don't mind exposure. But hey, you are on bolts. Mar 7, 2014
mtnsoceans
Ivins, Utah
 
[Hide Comment] Climbed to the top with my wife yesterday. Great route! Every pitch is entertaining, and the rating was fair The descent was "interesting." We'll forego the 4th pitch, and only climb the 1st three in the future. Yep, that expanding/detached flake on the 3rd pitch is thought provoking and worrisome. Just don't use it. Ha! May 23, 2014
Cha Tate
Saint George, UT
 
Cha Tate
Saint George, UT
 
[Hide Comment] I was up at the top of the 5.9 portion of the fourth pitch and replaced the tat with 1" webbing. Anchor is solid now. All other anchors are all Metolius Rap Anchors and are fine. Did three raps with a 70M rope. Great route. Sep 2, 2014
B-Mkll Mackall
Bozeman, MT
 
[Hide Comment] Beautiful route but IMO the third and fourth pitches are totally anti"climb"actic and really kind of steal the thunder from the spectacular and exposed face climbing on P1 & P2, unless you are dead set on a summit push. The rap over the arch is spectacular, similar to rapping off the arch in Black Velvet Canyon (i.e. Fiddler on the Roof, Sour Mash)

The flake on the top of the second pitch is actively flexing now, and maybe an inch wide at the top. Horribly dangerous and scary to lead on as it would crash right towards the belayer and whoever is gawking at the pioneer names on the slabs below, and getting past it without using it is quite hard/ tenuous. It's gonna go real soon. May 15, 2015
Steve Bachmeier
  5.10c
[Hide Comment] Awesome climb! The first pitch is just rad, although it felt more like a 10b - it may have just been the spookiness of the exposure while on lead as well as the fact that my hands were FREEZING.

The large flake at P3 is ready to go - the entire thing shuddered when I pulled lightly on it and you can see a tiny crack running almost the whole length of it. Someone should probably get up there and knock the thing off. We opted to just stand up on the "base" of the flake (which is still pretty sturdy), make the clip, then pull on the draw to minimize use of the unstable stuff.

Definitely do all four pitches (you can skip P4b if you want). We rapped from the very top and in hindsight should've just walked off. Lots of risk of getting the rope stuck, plus I didn't love rapping on the sling around the sandstone pillar/column. Dec 5, 2015
Hyrum j. C
St george, ut
 
[Hide Comment] To avoid having two of you on an uncomfortable and scary repel station tie one end of your 60 M rope onto a locking beener and hook it to the chains on the top of the second pitch and have one of you single strand repel all the way to the ground and then the other person pull the rope up and do 2 regular rapels to get down. Saves a bit of time and is a lot more comfortable. Oct 7, 2016
BigNobody
all over, mostly Utah
 
[Hide Comment] Man Hyrum, I think you're just scared? And also no need for the racial slurs here on MP. Oct 7, 2016
michalm
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Looking forward to climbing the entire route next week. Did the first pitch a few years ago and it was fun. At the time I thought the hangers above the arch weren't equipped for rappel... turns out they are Metolious rap hangers! Also, the above comments are hilarious! Dec 19, 2016
Isaac Christensen
St. George UT
 
[Hide Comment] The First pitch has crazy exposure because there is only an inch of rock beneth your feet at some times and is one of my favorite climbs!!! Feb 11, 2018