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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, 1000 ft, 9 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Charlie Fowler and Alison Sheets
Page Views: 8,142 total · 54/month
Shared By: Chris Sheridan on Jul 8, 2006
Admins: Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg

You & This Route

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I have never climbed this route and will pass on writing a description here as it would be nothing more the blatant plagiarizing from the Ortenburger/Jackson Guidebook. I was on The Snaz one day while two guys were on this route and I had a great opportunity to take pictures of them, so this page will serve as a better place to put the pictures then say The Snaz page or some other.

If someone else has climbed this route, feel free to erase the above blabbering and write a good route description.


This route shares the first three pitches of The Snaz, then traverses right.


Standard free rack?
We linked the first three pitches of the Snaz (helps to shorten the rope). 4th pitch traverse is hair raising but the pro shows up as you keep traversing. Pitch 5 is serious! The machine head bolt doesn't inspire much confidence as you look up at the blank slab above. Keep long runners on the gear off the belay lest you get rope drag at the top of the pitch. The crux of the slab is at the bolt but you get a tricky move a ways out. Fear not though, if you stay on the feet you'll make it to the gear. The 10+ crux higher on this pitch is easy since you have pro now. Pitch 6 is easy, belay higher than the start of the finger crack. Pitch 7, is 5.11 fingers to tight hands. Study the pro and moves prior to hopping on. It isn't as easy as it looks off the start. Bring some big gear for higher on the pitch. The last 5.10 pitch is spectacular although a little scary due to rock quality in spots. Excellent jamming. The 5.8ow at the end is wide! #5-6? We didn't have anything that fit and there's nothing else. Climb the face to the right before diving in.

Try a set of nuts including some larger micros, a double set of tcus, and a single set to a #5 or 6 camalot. Maybe doubles in the hand sizes. Jul 11, 2006
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
P1-3: Same as for the Snaz

P4: Traverse directly out right from the bolts at the base of the Snaz’s 4th pitch. Follow horizontal holds and get gear where you can, because there’s not much. There was a fixed #4 stopper about halfway through as of 7/07. When the holds begin to peter out to the right, they appear above you. Climb up when you see a small right facing corner/overlap system. Continue up the corner/overlaps and belay on top of them at a stance beneath the bolt. 5.8, 120’.

P5: Outstanding! Pull some hard moves at the ¼’’ bolt and move right for a .1 camalot/gray TCU placement when the bolt is just below your feet. Contrary to popular opinion, this section is not “slab” climbing, in the friction sense. It’s slabby face climbing. Holds abound. It felt like 5.9 to me, for what it’s worth. Bust up and slightly left toward a bulge. This is the crux of the pitch at .10+ and involves big holds and big reaches. Felt like .10c to me. Continue up easier ground to the base of the crux thin crack. 5.10+, 180’.

P6: The crux, and quite memorable. A classic Teton crack, with varying sizes and moves. Climb up to a fixed nut, clip it, and hang on! Never too technical, but slightly overhanging with some shallow fingerlocks. After topping out the crack, continue straight up, aiming for a 4.5” crack laced with jugs. Climb it, saving your #4 for higher up. After passing a short break, continue up for another 30’, climbing in the wide crack or using large faceholds surrounding it. Belay on a grassy ledge beneath the “coffin” flake. 5.11b, 170’.

P7: Another classic! Rad jamming with a few faceholds and an emphasis on great hands. I honestly don’t know what Ryan was talking about. I didn’t encounter any suspect rock, and would rank this pitch as one of the most classic in Death Canyon. After the handcrack ends, pull out an alcove to the right. Keep going up a slabby face and belay in another small nook. NOTE: going right at the alcove bypassed the 5.8 offwidth that’s part of the original route. We didn’t mind! 5.10, 190’.

P8: Easy fifth to the top of the buttress. End where a large chimney/gash separates the part of the buttress you’re on from a steeper wall above. 5.5, 150’.

Descent: follow the top of the buttress beneath the overhanging wall to the left for a few hundred feet, downclimbing to avoid harder terrain when necessary and joining the Snaz descent.

Rack: We brought a set of nuts, one .1 camalot, doubles from blue TCUs to #3 camalots, and one #4. This was about perfect, though you only need one 3. Pitches 5-7 are LONG and pretty sustained. We brought 13 slings and ran out on each of these pitches.

ESCAPE NOTE: Instead of climbing the 5.11 crack, you can climb the chimney/gully that's pretty much directly above where you belay for the crack. Traverse easily left underneath a roof (the first obvious spot)through some dirty rock, passing over an arete that requires an easy fifth class downclimbing move or two. Continue left until you're back in the Snaz dihedral at a point near the top of pitch 7, the first 5.7 pitch after the crux. Either belay here off a #3 camalot & other stuff or, if drag's not an issue, pull it and continue another 20' or so to the bolted anchor. From here, with 70 M ropes, it is 4 double rope rappels to the ground. Good choice if the weather looks iffy, as retreat from above this pitch on Sunshine isn't possible without leaving gear.

Awesome route, some of the best pitches on Cathedral Rock! Jul 5, 2007
The P5 face pitch (and sketchy .25 inch bolt) can be avoided by climbing a good 5.10- crack instead! While on the 5.8 traverse pitch, continue about 15' farther right and up to a small stance at the base of a 5.9 crack, and belay here. Go up the crack until it gets wide (and a little dirty), then head left and up on a good 5.10- hand crack. This joins the vertical break of the original route to the big ramp. I climbed this variation several years ago, and since then it's been getting cleaner. Currently found two fixed nuts at the belay stance.

PS, seems like only the original author can edit their sparse route description. Nov 23, 2008
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
Hah, the Weez let me in on that secret pitch, but we didn't climb it. Sounds great though! That bolt's not getting any younger! Jan 26, 2009
John McMullen
El Portal, CA
John McMullen   El Portal, CA
Very good descriptions posted already!

I believe my partner Clint (a kid, good free climber ... can't remember his last name, we both worked at Moosely Seconds, in Moose) and I did the second free ascent of this in the early 90's. At that time the route had quite a reputation in the valley, and only a few climbers had attempted a second ascent.

I called Charley Fowler, who I climbed with a lot in Boulder, and got the beta. He said he thought I would have fun on it ... so young "Clint" and I did it. What a great route! i think I did a topo of the route for Renny Jackson after we did it.

We used a couple Steve Burn "ball-things" to protect the sketchy, but not difficult traverse ... no problem.

We did the original face on P5 and it was very cool. I really enjoyed this pitch.

The crack is classic, but short ... no fixed gear on it when we did it.

P7 is freaking AMAZING climbing. It doesn't get any better than this in the Tetons. Loved the exposure!

I have to agree that this is a great climb! The beta so far looks very accurate ... nice job guy. It's great to see people climbing this route ... Charley loved it. Apr 25, 2009
Bryan Feinstein
Jackson, WY
Bryan Feinstein   Jackson, WY
Does anyone know what the offwidth is/goes at climber's left of the coffin flake? We climbed SD today and noticed this line which had a fixed sling around a chockstone. May 28, 2009
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
As of July 2011, the old 1/4" bolt has been upgraded. Jul 11, 2011
As of july 15th 2011 that shiny new 3/8 inch bolt now has a leaver biner on it. Jul 15, 2011
Nick Stayner
Wymont Kingdom
Nick Stayner   Wymont Kingdom
Bryan: I just noticed your comment about the OW to the left of Sunshine Daydream. I don't know for sure, but I believe the OW is referenced in Greg Collins's topo of Sunshine Daydream in his book Lander Rock. Might be wrong though.
Nice to hear the bolt finally got upgraded. Maybe I'll have to go do this route again now... Jul 21, 2011
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
  5.11- PG13
Tony B   Around Boulder, CO
  5.11- PG13
4-star climbing on what is occasionally 2-star rock.
3 stars over-all, considering the detractors.

The route is pretty good and might have been better if I'd done the bolted face climb P4 instead of the crack P4, which, BTW, is probably more like 5.9 than 10 (or even 10-).
Don't let the grade intimidate you. The feet and fingerlocks are mostly good on the crux pitch and it is pretty well protected in any area of objective difficulty. The crux is just not pumping out and with good physical fitness, should not be too bad. Though those with fatter fingers might beware the subjective difficulty they might be in for. Jul 15, 2016

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