Type: Trad, Alpine, 60 ft
FA: Bill Wright and Mark Oveson, D. MacDonald & K. Kovaly?, 1995.
Page Views: 13,113 total · 81/month
Shared By: Mark Oveson on Aug 25, 2005
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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The Bishop's Scepter is a stunning, narrow spire just west of and downhill from the Bishop. It looks much harder than it turns out to be. In fact, the climbing is clean, fun, reasonbly well protected, and only 5.6 in difficulty. The top of the spire is so narrow that a regular 2-foot diameter sling will easily go around it.

From a comfortable belay east of the spire, make a few moves to engage its east face. Move up and right to a subsidiary thumb that you can stand on to place some gear. From here, traverse left under a steep wall to a comfortable stance and engage the crux, which consists of one or two 5.6 moves over a bulge and onto a slab. Reach out and touch the summit--and stand on it if you dare!

The first ascent party rappelled from a sling. Downclimbing off the route could leave the summit clean. An nice addition would be a well-placed pair of bolts or pitons near the summit.

This is a classic and stunning tower well within the ability of mere mortal climbers.


Cams and stoppers, sewn sling for the rappel.


For what it's worth, Karen Kovaly and I climbed this spire in August 1996, during a traverse of the ridge aborted by poor weather. We too rapped from a sling around the top, which must have blown or rotted off or been carried away by acrobatic marmots. We called it Un-Impotent (Un-im-PO-tent) Pinnacle, but I'll bet it was climbed before... it's an obvious target if you're up there. Very fun and dramatic climbing, and well worth bringing a rope and small rack to do this one if you're traversing the ridge. Sep 3, 2005
. . . CO
nruea   . . . CO
Looks like fun - looking forward to it next time I'm up. Dec 14, 2010
Eric Klammer
Boulder, CO
Eric Klammer   Boulder, CO
Clean rock, amazing views, a formation that is rarely found outside the desert, and no crowds to share it with! What more can be said? This is a great route that should be in the sights of anyone attempting the Kasparov Traverse.

Also: Summit slings in good condition as of today. They seem to disappear with time though so plan on still bringing your own. Sep 2, 2013
Adam Fleming
Adam Fleming   Moab
As of 8/27/16, there are two slings and two locking biners all in excellent condition.

Fear not! The formation can not be seen if hiking in from Pawnee Pass. After crossing right across the glacier (at the time of this comment, the snow was packed enough to walk on but soft enough to kick steps), continue to just below the ridge. When the scrambling turns into vertical climbing, head left for easier access to the top of the ridge. The formation should now be visible.

This is a very short climb. We placed a #2, medium nut, and smaller cams. Don't bring the whole rack if this is your only objective. Aug 28, 2016