Type: Trad, 600 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: Steve Ellsworth, Mark McQuarrie 1964
Page Views: 7,583 total · 41/month
Shared By: Peter Gram on May 14, 2004
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

23 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: Private Property now at the entrance to Bells Canyon. Details


This route follows a really striking line up the Middle Bell Tower, but has really bad rock up high. Easily pick this route out by looking for the obvious continuous dihedral which goes through 2 huge roofs. Good rock quality is found for the first 2 pitches, but it gets much worse after passing the Arm and Hammer exit.

P1) Incredible roof traverse pitch. This pitch is 3-star quality, and has good rock. Easily climb up to the monster roof, then traverse the roof right for 40 feet of fun climbing. A set of chain anchors ends this pitch immediately after finishing the roof, or link with the second pitch. (5.7)

P2) Squeeze. Good rock, but this is an unpleasant squeeze chimney. Grunt up this passing 3 old bolts on the right face. The crack can be somewhat protected with a #4 camalot. Of the 3 bolts, the first looks like a nail with a wingnut attached, the second has a hanger, and the 3rd is bashed into the rock (and completely unusable). The first can be used if slung with a small stopper. This pitch ends at a nice ledge with a 3 bolt anchor, or can be combined with pitch 1. (5.7)

P3) Climb up the variable sized dihedral through deteriorating rock for 100 feet to another ledge with a 2 bolt, 1 piton anchor. (5.7)

P4) Climb up a rotten crack, which quickly reaches a squeeze chimney. Another bad bolt on the left face, then grunt upwards. Clip another odd bolt on the right face, then traverse slightly left to a sealed up crack (possibly protectable at the start by very small gear). Continue up this unprotectable bad rock to a 2 bolt anchor. (5.6)

P5, P6) Rock gets even worse. I chose to rap the route from here. If not, this next pitch goes up a steep unprotectable bush and dirt filled choss groove to the second big roof. The roof looks easy, but unpleasant to reach. Another pitch apparently climbs through a rotten corner to the top.

Descent) It is possible to rap to the ground from the top of P4 using only one 60m rope.


Standard Rack. Definitely bring a #4 camalot! It seemed like 2 would be nice on most pitches. I placed at least one on every pitch.


The remainder of the route gets better after bushwacking up to the second roof. This pitch is definately spooky, but can be protected, just clean the gravel out of the crack. There is a nice belay stance past the roof with a bolt to incorporate. The pitch following is a cool dihedral that is fairly clean, once it gets steep again 5.6/5.7. Different options exist here and most are mellow to the top of the tower 5.6. Watch your step, as the lower angle slabs are covered with gravel. To rap the line you have to stop after the second roof otherwise prepare for a terrible walk off to the east. May 16, 2004
Olympic Valley, CA
philfell   Olympic Valley, CA
I climbed this to Arm and Hammer last fall. You really should combine pitch one and two together (need a 60 meter rope). Also someone replaced on of the junk bolts in the squeeze chimney, if I remember right there is a new on where the old stud with a wingnut used to be, then you can clip the old rusted 1/4er just above. The replacement of the bolt makes you feel much better going into the layback section. May 25, 2005
Nathan Fisher
St George
Nathan Fisher   St George  
I know it is kind of oxymoronic, but I felt the squeeze was rather pleasant. I have definitely done less-likable squeezes, but this one was rather straightforward. First pitch magnificent. May 19, 2006
Tony, Can I have that weird oval-ish hanger from the first pitch? Clipping that was one of the highlights of the climb. Jun 19, 2007
Tyler King
Salt Lake, UT
Tyler King   Salt Lake, UT
Great Route. Pitches 1-4 are classic, with excellent granite! We had trouble getting to the "top." My climbing partner climbed pitches 6 and 7 up through the trough passing 2 belay stations (webbing around a bush) And as we were out of water, exhausted, and low on time he said there was nothing to see and the climbing sucked. so we rapped down the route. I was under the impression that you could walk off this route (i.e. reach the top) Does it sound like we got to the "top"??? Jun 26, 2008
Sam Cannon
Salt Lake City, UT
Sam Cannon   Salt Lake City, UT
I'm not the type of person to rock popular opinion, but two things felt pretty clear to me after finishing the route - all pitches except the first felt a full grade harder than 5.7 and quite sustained. It's not hard, but it did feel consistently more committing than 5.7 on pitches 2,3, and 4. Personally I'd give it a 5.8 or an LCC 5.8-, with the 1st pitch being the easiest/least enjoyable, 2 and 3 being good 5.8s, and the 4th pitch easing up a tad but still more difficult than the first. Also, just doing pitches 1-4 I give this route 4 stars. Phenomenal, sustained climbing at the grade (again, 5.8 IMHO), very aesthetic, good rock with only one or two spots of "grittiness." Awesome.

Brought two #4s, was glad to have 'em. May 24, 2013
Sam Cannon
Salt Lake City, UT
Sam Cannon   Salt Lake City, UT
One last comment: I didn't think the crack on P3 was that rotten, or that the rock on the final pitch was in a full state of deterioration - my friend had a small flake peel off in his hand on the final section of P4 and I think that was it for the entire route. The final seam that is mentioned as unprotectable takes a perfect #0 and #2 Metolius with good spacing. May 26, 2013
Matt Steubing
Salt Lake City, Utah
Matt Steubing   Salt Lake City, Utah
Climbed this route on Pioneer Day (7/24/16). We intended to do Arm and Hammer until at the base as we were gearing up I realized I left my climbing shoes at home . . . $#Ck!! Luckily my climbing partner had a pair of 5.10 approach shoes that fit me so we decide to do Ellsworth-McQuarrie and salvage the effort to get to this tower. Fun route overall. We did the first 4 pitches as 2 long pitches. The primary reason I'm posting is to say that as my partner started the 5th pitch it was very ugly. Thick brush growing in the crack and no solid pro to be placed. The right face could be climbed to avoid the bushwhack but you better have nerves of steel and good insurance as it was crumbly and would be very run out before you could place any solid pro. Even then it's hard to tell if anything is solid at the corner of the roof where it looks like something might go. We just rapped from the top of 4 and called it good. Still worth climbing the first 4 pitches and even better if you have your climbing shoes!

Jul 25, 2016
Cass Bindrup
Salt Lake City
Cass Bindrup   Salt Lake City
Climbed this route daisey-solo, enjoyed it immensely. Great slabby offwidth and chimney climbing down low interspersed with enjoyable jamming. Might feel like a chore to hump a large piece up this thing but my red BD 4.5 came in clutch. Dont give after the 4th pitch. The 5th "bush and dirt filled choss groove" is indeed protectable by the aforementioned piece. It looks like a variation exists out right avoiding the bushes, but requiring some smaller pieces (.5 and under) as well as what looks like some 5.9+ slab... but it would be less filthy. Pitch 6 is not a "rotten corner." In fact I might call it some of the best chimney climbing in bells. Stay left to experience some unique and protectable but demanding full body stemming on some sweet chock stones and bomber chicken heads. If more people would get on this thing it might clean up. The walk off via the "big green garbage chute" is not recommended but very doable. This thing needs a sub-summit anchor. Jul 11, 2018