Type: Trad, Alpine, 750 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: Brian Smoot and James Garrett, 24 August 2002
Page Views: 3,694 total · 24/month
Shared By: James Garrett on Jun 18, 2006 with improvements by bsmoot
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

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Access Issue: Please respect this beautiful area. Stay on established trails and do not trample any vegetation Details
Access Issue: Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed Details

Gothic Pillar

Located 250 feet to the right of Evil Eye.

Pitch #1: Face climbing to the right of a left facing corner. 5.8, 100'.

Pitch #2: Climb the overlapping roofs (The Seismic Sea Wave) with incredible position and great rock to another ledge. 5.10d, 90'.

Pitch #3: On low angle terrain, scramble to some easy 5th class to a two bolt belay. 5.6, 160'.

Pitch #4: Climb through a roof passing pitons and bolts to a gully on the left. Traverse past this gully (well protected)to a ledge and two-bolt belay. 5.8, 120'.

Pitch #5: Jog left than right through another roof to underneath a groove. 5.9, 90'.

Pitch #6: Climb past 4 bolts (5.7) to the final upper headwall to the top. 5.11a.

Rappel Black Streak or Walk off
Protection: One set of cams to 3.5 Camalot. QDs and runners. Helmet
Brian in SLC
Sandy, Utah
Brian in SLC   Sandy, Utah
Neat route. Roof on p2 is fantastically unbelievable.

I thought p1 was maybe 5.9-ish, p5 was 5.8ish and for me, p6 finish was the crux at an awkward 5.11a (even with my A0!).

Also, we took up to a #2 camalot and didn't feel the need for anything bigger. Not sure we placed the #2 but could have. Placed only one stopper.

Fun! Jul 9, 2007
Good rte, p2 makes it well worth the easy hike.

I would link p5 and half of p6 to base of final 10c(ish) headwall. Nice to have your belayer near by for those moves.

gear used - 1 hand size piece + 2rock to back up bolt(belay)for last pitch.

Did anyone mention bring a helmet?. Jul 29, 2007
Great route guys. I agree with above info. But I don't think pitch 2 is 11a....I'm not an 11 climber and had no problems with that ptich... the holds are awesome.. I'd give it 10c or Little Cottonwood 10a
The crux for me was also the last pitch 10c... 10 feet or so. Was all good and had a great time on the Castle as usual. Also still snow at the base for your beer. Cheers Steve Aug 17, 2008
James Garrett
James Garrett  
Just goes to show you how hard core you guys getting after it are these days up at the Castle...I was pretty intimidated by that "11a" pitch BOTH times I was on it! Right On! Also, the routes on DC tend to naturally get easier with time...Black Streak was definitely at one time 5.11a as originally rated (complete with a fern garden on pitch #2 and Pitch #3!) and now no one feels it is harder than 5.10a/b...a whole number grade down graded, pretty significant change, really!
jg Aug 18, 2008
On my topo, I tried to make the ratings a bit soft, as to not get anyone in trouble. Ditto with James' comment on routes getting easier with time. Aug 18, 2008
Boissal .
Small Lake, UT
  5.11a PG13
Boissal .   Small Lake, UT
  5.11a PG13
I'm a bit surprised at the almost 4-stars rating on this one. It felt much looser than Horns Of Satan or Shadow of the Blade and way less sustained with a couple of good pitches and the odd fun move here and there connected by some of the worst choss on the castle (P3? really?).
P2 is a bit disappointing considering the raving reviews, the move of the belay is great but the rest is pulling on loose sandy jugs. Nothing harder than 10+ but it's sustained and pumpy.
There's some questionable pro in the second half of P5 with a piton in a completely detached block and a bolt at chest level to protect the hardest move. Nice ledge fall potential, PG13. Same for P5 which is 5.7 if you're comfortable on runout choss, otherwise clench your butt cheeks and test the holds before committing. PG13+
P6 (second half of P5) has a short powerful sequence with cool pockets and intricate footwork. 10c seems inconsistent with the rest of the line, it felt quite a bit harder.
Gearwise, you could get away with only a #1. The gear you get on p3 is barely good enough to serve as a directional and keep the rope off the choss stacks. Don't fall on 5.2.
Poor choice if it's your first outing on the castle. You might be scared into never checking out the other great lines. Aug 31, 2009
Routes that don't get climbed very often tend to build up choss. Guess I'd better lessen my star rating giving all of the whining going on here. Sep 6, 2009
Devils Castle is adventure climbing and you could get the chop up there.
You should expect "Loose sandy jugs, detached blocks, ledge fall potential" etc. To moan about the stars, grades and rock on any of those routes is stupid.

For what its worth I would give the route 3.2 stars because just like the beer I like to have or do one once in awhile.

Keep up the good work Brian. Sep 6, 2009
Boissal .
Small Lake, UT
  5.11a PG13
Boissal .   Small Lake, UT
  5.11a PG13
Brian, I think the route is not as good as some of the others you've put on the Castle. Based on the star rating I was hoping to be in for another Shadow of the Blade style route... It was different. Still enjoyable in a perverse kind of way though.

Nooky, I expect to find all of the choss and sketchyness befitting an adventure route when I'm up on the Castle. Again, when comparing with the others this line just had more. Read the whole post before running your mouth. Sep 6, 2009
Zac Robinson
Salt Lake City, UT
Zac Robinson   Salt Lake City, UT

I have only done the Black Streak and Gothic Pillar, but I thought that Gothic Pillar was amazingly better than I expected. Less Shitty ledge traverses and a few pitches of actual good solid climbing. I was stoked on it. Acually ran into BSmott on the summit and tried to lie to him about the quality, but couldn't pull it off. Sep 7, 2009
James Garrett
James Garrett  
Two stars for a route you don't even like seems generous + a dozen times beaned, you're a lot more of a rock magnet than most, I suspect. Serious # of hits, glad you've survived. Sep 7, 2009
You have taken whippers up there?!, its a good job Brian gives soft grades or you really might get in to some serious trouble.
Like James said, you have been a very lucky(or unlucky)boy. Sep 7, 2009
Well 2 stars = "a good route" so yes, that's being generous. I'm glad to get the input because I did feel a bit leery about giving the route 4 stars. James gave Black Streak 4 stars, so I tried it with Gothic! ... One could in fact argue that the Castle, with all of it's looseness shouldn't get any stars... after all, you're climbing on Satan's turf. Sep 7, 2009
Boissal .
Small Lake, UT
  5.11a PG13
Boissal .   Small Lake, UT
  5.11a PG13
James, I didn't say I didn't like the route, I said I liked it less than the others. Read the whole post instead of hurriedly firing a patronizing post.

The route keeps 2 stars for length, position, exposure and the fact that you can get cold in the middle of the summer.
The 4 mp.com star rating is misleading, it's a Ruckman's 1 star, or a rock canyon 1.6 stars. It's OK when compared with other Castle's routes and as Brian mentions if you look at it within all of LCC it gets a couple of bombs.

As far as the Castle go, I'd say Shadow of the Blade (3.5 stars) > Evil Eye = Horns of Satan (both 3 stars) > Gothic Pillar / Miller (2 stars) >> Portable Darkness = Black Streak (1 star and that's being generous since it's a death route full of idiots rappelling, thanks for that James). Sep 8, 2009
Ooooooooooooh, the "no wonder you hated it, you're not strong enough to climb there". Silly you, I broke holds and took the ride with them, doesn't have much to do with the climbing.

Sorry if you veiwed the post as elitist drivel. It was not meant to come across as that.

What I was getting at is that Devils Castle is no place to mess up and to have fallen off a bunch of times up there is obviously not a good thing. You are very lucky and I'm happy that you fell close(I'm guessing)to the bolts and that everything was ok.
I still worry about falling on the bolts as like you say there is detached blocks everywhere. Over the years Ive seen limestone blocks with the bolts still in them lying on the ground. I just can not imagine taking falls up there and it sounded to me that you were taking it like a badge of honor.
Again sincere apoligies if that was not the case.

I'm sure we both agree its a serious place and I hope everyone else thinks the same way too.
However, I do disagree that breaking holds has not much to do with the climbing up there. I'm sure one of the first things you mentioned about the climb to your friends afterwards(but not your wife/girlfriend/domestic partner) was about taking a fall or getting hit because of breaking holds and bad rock. Only after that did you get into more detail about the climb itself. I know I did.
But like you said we have to agree to disagree on something.

Take care and enjoy yourself. Sep 8, 2009
There is now a new variation that I did to the 6th (last) pitch. From the belay, instead of moving left and going up the groove, climb the arete above the belay...you'll see the bolts 3' to the right. Climb past 5 bolts to an intersection with the last pitch of Portable Darkness, finish up on this, the total pitch is about 150'. There is some looseness between the 4th & 5th bolt, but this should clean up soon. This variation makes the climb easier, although I personally prefer the original route because of the challenge of the last section which I really like. When James and I did the first ascent we did most of this climb ground up. When we got to the last pitch I opted to go left up the groove because it we more reasonable to do on lead.

This new variation is called "Gothic Darkness" 5.8 Aug 26, 2018