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Routes in Cathedral Buttress

Aerial Boundaries T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Caveat Emptor T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Escape from Death T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Fountainhead T 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13
Freedom Fighter T 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c
Snaz, The T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Sunshine Daydream T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
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Type: Trad, Alpine, Grade IV
FA: Yvon Chouinard, Mort Hempel, 1964
Page Views: 18,230 total · 119/month
Shared By: Nick Stayner on Mar 6, 2006
Admins: Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg

You & This Route

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A Teton classic. Classic crack climbing with lots of variety. The technical crux is a roof pull on pitch 4, while the physical lies in the consistent flake and wide crack movement of pitch 3. There are some notable variations: at the belay for pitch 3, move left for a 5.10 finger crack. At the top of pitch six, you can move 100' right for two more 5.9 pitches, Cousin Leroy. At the top of pitch 7, climb a three-tiered roof at 10+ instead of the .7 chimney. Also very good.


See the Cathedral Buttress overview for approach. If you're planning on rapping, the last reliable fixed anchor is atop pitch six. There is some tat at the top of pitch 8 that could get you down to the pitch 6 anchors, but at this point it's best to continue to the downclimb.
For detailed downclimb info, check out one of the guides. Basically, you continue up easy 5th class slabs for another 200', trending left. This brings you to a trail and eventually a couloir downclimb.


Take a standard Teton rack with extra wide pieces. There are some fixed pins on the route, most notably one at the tech. crux.
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
Some notes from our climb on July 17th, 2006.

We intended to climb the "Snazzette (5.10)" finger crack variation for pitch 4, connect back to the Snaz for the roof pitch, and then rappel after the 6th pitch.

P1 (5.5) - Enjoyable climbing in a short ramp above a tree leads to a dirty ledge system. Belay and then move the belay to below the blocky overhang above the ledge system.

P2 (5.7) - Climb the blocky overhang, pass another dirty ledge system, and continue up steep broken rock to the first set of fixed anchors. The anchors are a little right and about a 100+ feet up.

P3 (5.7) - Up the broken crack system that diagonals left. We aimed for the obvious finger crack on the headwall above and built a belay right below it. The fixed anchors for the regular Snaz route were up another 30 feet to the right and are poorly placed if you intend to do the finger crack variation.

P4 (5.10 variation) - A phenomenal crack pitch that begins as fingers (crux) and slowly widens to tight hands. 120 feet of beautiful crack climbing up a spectacular headwall. A must-do pitch!! We took a 60m rope to its end and belayed too high. It worked out, but a better plan would be to start looking to build an anchor as soon as you're done with the long crack portion.

p5 (5.8) - A diagonaling pitch to the right back to the Snaz. Like I mentioned above, we belayed too high (below a big yellow wall that is part of Caveat's I think) and had to traverse downwards and then up a finger crack to join the Snaz. The finger crack was unexpected, bonus fun! We hit the Snaz at the fixed pin anchors about 30 feet below the giant detached flake.

P6 (5.9+/5.10-) - Fun pitch! Gingerly climb up and around the detached flake....and cross your fingers it will survive one more day. Some wide crack action takes you to the dark roof. Awesome stemming and some conveniently placed chockstones see you over this obstacle. Fun climbing and good gear if you're willing to look around. There were some pins on this pitch, but they looked pretty sketchy. A week before we did this climb, a climber fell off the crux, pulled 3 cams, and landed next to his belayer after a 70 foot fall - resulting in a bad ankle break and rescue. There is plenty of good gear through the roof, so take your time to find it!

We rappelled from here (should have kept going!) with two ropes. We passed the fixed anchors below the detached flake and continued down another 50 feet to the anchors directly abovethe wide pitch on the Snaz. The anchor is hidden but it on an obvious ledge. This anchor consisted of 3 bomber, fixed nuts. Another rappel down to the bottom of the wide pitch. Another rappel to fixed anchors below the long, easy crack pitch. Another rappel to a small tree with slings directly above the first 5.5 slab section. And a short 40 foot rappel to the ground. Next time, skip the raps and keep climbing!

Gear: Nuts, 2 sets of cams from TCUs to #3 Camalot, one or two bigger pieces (I had a #3.5 and #4 Camalot). We didn't do the wide crack pitch of the Snaz, so this gear recommendation is for the doing the Snazette variation! Jul 17, 2006
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
"A roof at the end of every pitch" - that is how I remember doing this climb. Awesome! Oct 19, 2006
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
Fixed nut near the crux of the Snazette as of 7/07. Also, first two 5.7 pitches of the Snaz are easily linked w/ 70s. 3 #1 camalots may be nice for some people on the Snazette variation. Another note: one can easily continue into the 5th (overhanging handcrack) pitch of Caveat from the top of the Snazette. Just trend left. Jul 19, 2007
Eric Goltz
Boulder, CO
Eric Goltz   Boulder, CO
To find the second pitch, you basically climb plumb straight above the giant fir tree below the route. Don't get tricked into going left in the vicinity of the chimney with the chockstone (O's topo somewhat confusingly depicts a left-slashing chimney with a chockstone; there are apparently two such features)! Jul 30, 2007
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
The Caveats/Snaz link-up is a great way to get the best pitches of both climbs. Climb the first three pitches of Caveats, and then do a right-trending pitch (first right, then up, then across a dirty ledge, up a finger crack, then right again) until you intersect the Snaz. Belay here (right below the huge flake on the Snaz's 5th pitch). Then climb the crux pitch of the Snaz and continue to the top. 8 pitches in all (3 at 10-), with only one dud (the first pitch of Caveats).

The walk-off descent was surprisingly quick. After topping out on the last pitch, climb up and left on the 4th class slabs for about 300'. There is a huge cairn on the left skyline that becomes visible... aim for that. Once there, an easy trail leads West back to the Death Canyon trail. It only took 45 minutes, including climbing the slab.

Gear for Caveats/Snaz linkup - nuts, 1x TCUs, 2x #.5 camalot, 2x# .75 camalot, 2x #1 camalot, 3x #2 camalot, 2x# 3 camalot, 1x #3.5 camalot or #4 camalot... We also brought a pink tricam and two big hexes. The hexes were great instead of lugging up some more big-hand-size cams. Jul 7, 2008
Daniel Trugman
Los Alamos, NM
Daniel Trugman   Los Alamos, NM
Excellent climbing! We did the Snazzette variation on pitch 4 (which was superb!), and rapped after pitch 6.

A few thoughts:

1. If you set your belay for pitch 1 as high as possible, you can get from the top of pitch 1 all the way to the base of the Snazzette (or to the anchors for the original variation) in one 60m pitch.

2. If rapping the route, you can skip the anchor just below the base of the 5.9+/10a roof (pitch 6). We had plenty of rope to do this with twin 60m ropes; I think twin 50m would also be fine. You probably can't skip any other rappels.

3. The last rappel anchor is well hidden from above. It's a smallish tree just below the ledge splitting the 1st pitch. If you're looking for it while climbing the first pitch, you'll probably see it. My partner and I missed it.

Anyone have a rack recommendation for the original P4? It looked pretty damn wide and sustained. Aug 20, 2010
Stan Pitcher
Stan Pitcher   SLC, UT
Did it yesterday with standard rack to 3.5 camalot and doubles of .75 thru 3 which seemed ample. On the forth pitch you can walk the 3.5 to a fixed chockstone and then walk above there till some small nut/tcu placements left of the wideness. I ended up having the 3.5 at the belay! Great climb! A lot harder than I remembered from the previous ascent 15 years or so ago! :) Aug 24, 2010
Daniel Trugman
Los Alamos, NM
Daniel Trugman   Los Alamos, NM
Thanks, Stan! I was thinking that you might need all sorts of wide gear for the original P4, but it sounds like you can get by without it. Good to know. Aug 24, 2010
e Dixon
Durango, Colorado
e Dixon   Durango, Colorado
Did this with a random that I met at the Climbers' Ranch, they brought the rack and I the ropes. Remember thinking that a #4 Camalot would've been nice on the rack (had a single #3) for the OW. There are a couple of chockstones to sling that made it reasonable without the big cam. Good route with some fun climbing. Jun 20, 2011
erik rieger
Ridgway, CO
erik rieger   Ridgway, CO
Highly recommend "The Snazzette" variation and the 10+ roof on the last pitch. Four double rope rappels get you down to the base quickly. Jun 16, 2012
My friend and I were doing The Snaz/Snazette on 7/14 and one of my descent shoes became unattached from my harness at some point above the Snazette variation. It is a grey/orange La Sportiva Helios. I believe it is a size nine or ten.

Also, do the Snazette! it is incredible, pumpy, and varied. We were glad for the triple .75-1 Camalots. The triple roofs on the last pitch are also a blast, and way easier than 10+. You can also motor up the first three pitches on simul pretty easily with some rope drag. Jul 14, 2015
Suzy Stoke
Salt Lake City, UT
Suzy Stoke   Salt Lake City, UT
Exceptional route that myself and a girlfriend did this past weekend finishing with 'Snazette' variation last pitch. Girl Power! You can rap off this route with one 70m rope. Bring at least one #4, I clipped every piton I passed, they looked solid. Ledges were huge and have ample space for rope, shoes, pack, etc. Thanks Yvon for this uber-classic!


Jul 23, 2015
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
Hey Suzy!

That is cool to hear you can rap w/ a single 70. I hadn't heard that before. Do you remember how many raps it took? Were you on bolted anchors?

Also, the Snazette actually refers to 4th pitch finger/thin hands crack variation on pitch four, not the last pitch. The last pitch 5.10 variations are Cousin Leroy and Cousin Leroy's Uncle, both rad.
Jul 23, 2015
Suzy Stoke
Salt Lake City, UT
Suzy Stoke   Salt Lake City, UT
Hey Nick Stayner! Thanks for the info about the last pitch: you're right about the variation.

It took us 5 rappels, one of which was pretty awkward to do - there is a pseudo-anchor under the roof of P4 which we stopped at due to the length of P4.
Getting to the ground on P1 was close but a 70m rope(with stretch) made it to the ground easily, even with knots in the end of each side.
Bolts/rap rings for every rappel - all of which were solid.

Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
Good Route over all, and improved by taking the 5.10 variations on Snazeat (P4) and Leroy's uncle's Brother (P7).
Best linking we found:
0) Solo the approach pitch to the belay at the base of P1 (40' + walk, 5.5)
1) Link P1/2 (190', 5.7)
2) Snazeat to the diagonal (120', 5.10)
3) From Snazeat to the top of P5, original crux. (180' 5.9+)
4 &5) Frankly, I forget it - it frankly wasn't that memorable, but you can link more pitches

Finish with the 'Cousin Leroy's Uncle' varriation for more challenge nad quality as well.

You can rap the route in 5 raps with twin 70's. 60's will be very close ( less than 10' left) to the top of P4, and won't reach the ground from the top of P2 (only the P1 belay tree).
60M ropes do easily reach the true ground (where your packs are) and pull OK from that P1 belay tree. Jul 15, 2016
greg t
Chevy, Silverado
greg t   Chevy, Silverado
confirmed. Rap with 1 70m Aug 16, 2016
mike h
Denver, CO
mike h   Denver, CO
Echo above comments that SR to #4 with doubles 0.75-3 is good for the standard variation. The OW section felt as hard as any of the roofs, but it was all high quality fun. From top of p8 in Gams' book, 4 raps w/ double 70's to starting ledge, then a short single rope rap off the tree at top of the 'approach pitch'. Passed many anchors at about 1/2 way, so agree that this could probably be rapped with a single 70, but it would be ~9 raps to the ground from the top. Aug 30, 2016
Great Route! Did the full thing last week with the Snazette Variation. Pretty strait forward route since there is a anchor at every belay. Can be climbed with a single rack .3-#4 and some nuts. Not really run out on snazette if your clever. Walk off is steep and loose but pretty quick. A stuck .3 on pitch 5 before roof. Tried to get her out but looks like others before me have as well its real stuck... solo the last pitches and save some time. Also bring more water than you think! Aug 1, 2017
John Roark  
Amazing route. We took doubles .3 to 3 and a single 4. May have been fine if we dropped a 3 and the 4 but didn't hurt to have them. Did the route in 6 pitches. W/ a 70m we linked 1&2, we did the snazette variation - the variation starts about 20' below the belay so you may want to move the belay down, we linked the snazettes two pitches but be aware of rope drag at the top of the pitch bc you have to move far right, linked pitches 4&5, we did the cousin leroy's uncle variation thought it was fun but short just used a few finger sized pieces, we were back at the starting alcove in 4 raps w/ double 70 meters Jul 30, 2018

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