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Routes in Spiral Staircase area

8mm T WI4 M7
Big GB S M5
Boxed In (aka Stemcicle) T,S WI5- M6
Dragon's Tongue T,S WI5+ M7 PG13
Lil' GB S M4+
Little Feat S M6+
Log-Jammin' T WI3-4 M4-5 R
Menora T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c WI4 M4-5
Pink Funhouse S M7
Public Masturbation S M8
Rust Never Sleeps S WI5- M5+ PG13
Secret Probation T WI5 M6
Slabutt T WI3+
Spiral Staircase T WI4-
Titties 'n' Beer S WI5- M7
Tourette's T WI4- M6
Unnamed S M7
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Type: Trad, Mixed, Ice, 80 ft
FA: Dave Tucholke and Scott Hovet in 1991?
Page Views: 3,657 total · 17/month
Shared By: Leo Paik on Dec 31, 2000
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Great little mixed route with potentially a stout start. It starts just right of Spiral Staircase.

The start is slightly overhanging & balancy with 3 bolts. Sometimes, there is enough ice that you can't find the 3rd bolt. Beware of decking potential. Move right onto ice when you can...or even straight up in an ice chimney. The level of where you can go right and onto the ice varies and determines the difficulty on any given day. 1 rope. Rap off.

Over the years, the soft limestone has changed with heavy traffic leaving grooved holds and positive edges & some feel the difficulty has decreased. You be the judge.

Note, this route can vary from a pure ice climb at WI4+ to a desperate mixed climb at up to M7. Each ascent is different. For some in the past, the has been a point of contention. Whatever the rating, it's a fun route.


3 bolts, then screws, stubbies useful, possibly sling ice.

Toprope Protection

Slings. There is now a rope slung around a tree/bush system with rings.
My previous posting seems to have dissolved. Does anyone else think that WI5 M6/7 is a bit steep for this climb? I've done it when it was lean too, and it still wasn't all that hard. Just curious if anyone thinks that its a bit inflated? Jan 5, 2004
Andy Johnson  
I have a comment on two of the above comments. First of all djcrux. This route consistently forms A LOT fatter than it did on the first ascent. Thereby making the grade seem really inflated. Look in Jeff Lowe's Ice World or whatever the book is called to see the climb in its original condition. I have seen Secret Probation form as a grade 4 climb all the way to the ground. As for the enchainment, 4 years ago Jeremy Everett soloed every pure ice climb in Vail not including Booth Creek Falls in a day. Tragically, the climbing world lost Jeremy several years later when he moved to L.A. and away from the ice. Jan 14, 2004
Andy Johnson  
A bold step djcrux. Maybe too bold. But I support your down-gradery. It is, perhaps, a neccessary step toward the future of mixed climbing in Vail. However, keep you "V" grades the hell away from ice climbing, they have no place here. Jan 18, 2004
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
  WI5 M6-7
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
  WI5 M6-7

You were right! It is very fat this year. 2nd fattest I've seen. Went up yesterday & found it only took 5 moves to get to the ice. Further, you can get a no feet, L cheek rest about 8 moves up. And the ice is so fat you can basically just hook happily to the top. Big fat foot holes too. Such is the nature of mixed climbing. Different every time! Perhaps we should modify the rating WI4-5+, M4-7.... Jan 23, 2004
jason seaver
Estes Park, CO
jason seaver   Estes Park, CO
Boy Andy, what a sicko you must be! A slow day of cragging? You gotta be kidding. I mean, what's YOUR time for the enchainment (or whatever hardmen like you call it)? Just cause Tobin doesn't climb as fast as you doesn't mean you have to put down his link-up aspirations. Pick on someone your own size (or speed)! Jan 28, 2004
Craig Luebben: Bridalveil, Ames Ice Hose, Designator and the Fang, solo in one day. Now that's an enchainment. Jan 31, 2004
city, state
alpinglow   city, state
Craig's day has a good bit of driving in it too, doesn't he live in FC? Jan 31, 2004
Luebben is in Golden. Feb 2, 2004
Andy Johnson  
Hey Roy, my mom, sister and girlfriend all say hello. I don't really remember falling up anything,but I do remember a pretty good fall down. Just so everyone knows, Roy and I are good friends. We have a trip planned for Alaska this spring where I will be dragging him up all the hard pitches. One question Roy. Did you start Pinch Overhang with both feet on the problem or did you do the traditional start? Feb 3, 2004
Andy Johnson  
Tobin, that is definitely an impressive time. It's even more impressive that it was not solo. We spent one spoonaliscous night on Astrodog right at the top. However, I do see how one could be benighted looking for the start of Comic Relief. Have you ever tried to find the start of Debutante's Ball? Feb 6, 2004
Roy has a girlfriend? I heard he spent New Year's Eve watching movies with another guy... a guy from... Texas???? Feb 12, 2004
Roy has a girlfriend? I heard he spent New Year's Eve watching movies with a guy. To make it even worse I heard the guy was from Texas. What is THAT all about? Apparently when Roy isn't downrating classics he is hanging out with Cowboys. Feb 29, 2004
Princess Mia
Princess Mia   Vail
It is actually pretty funny that I have never looked at this site. But a correction is in order. The first ascent was by Dave Tucholke and Scott Hovet in 1991. I have some old photos of the classic event. Dave and Scott did it ground up, putting in a pin and bolts, without any "top rope beta". I remember reading an article long ago where Greg mentioned the pin and bolts on his "first acsent". Well sorry to break the news. The FA is not his!!! Dec 2, 2006
Eran Viimeinen
Eran Viimeinen   Colorado
ADMIN: Hey Leo (or someone?), could we change the rating on this route to M6-7 WI5? Right now it only reflects the Ice Climbing aspect, but it definitely has a Mixed start. Cheers! Dec 9, 2006
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Got it, Aaron. Dec 9, 2006
WI5 M6- PG13
WI5 M6- PG13
If my memory is correct, the last time it formed in "original" condition was around '96 or '97. Since that time, the route has been gigantic compared to the time around the FA. M6 works but these grades are hard to diagnose anyway. How do FAs get mixed up anyway? Feb 16, 2007
Leo Paik
Westminster, Colorado
  WI5 M6-7
Leo Paik   Westminster, Colorado  
  WI5 M6-7
Rich, FA info can get mixed up since there hasn't been a singular database, word of mouth is notoriously unreliable, and some folks just climb & don't publicize much (e.g. see the Skidmark Left, Roadrash, Skimark Right entries). Thankfully, this is a dynamic database that can be improved with time and the help of folks who have more info. Thanks, all! Feb 16, 2007
WI5 M6- PG13
WI5 M6- PG13
That's what's so rad about the forum, killer site as well. Feb 17, 2007
Bryan Gilmore
  WI4+ M5
Bryan Gilmore   FLG, AZ
  WI4+ M5
This may well be one of the lamest discussions ever. Dec 28, 2007
Princess Mia
Princess Mia   Vail
Just climbed SP today, and it was super fun. For a shortie like me, several dry-tooling moves are necessary before reaching the ice. I couldn't stick the ice until after the first bolt and just before the second. There is ice to the left, providing a nice rest before stepping over to the right. The top is just super fun climbing.

IMHO, if the route was like it used to be back in the early '90s, i.e. no holes in the soft limestone from many climbs, well then it would be a lot harder. But hey, things change, and when it was first put up conditions where different. There used to be a piton at the beginning, but it has been pulled out. Not needed anymore anyway. Dec 11, 2011
Jay 1975
Jay 1975   Bonedale,CO
One of my favs here! Feb 7, 2018

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