Type: Trad, 600 ft, 5 pitches
FA: Robin Barley, Gordie Smaill 1974
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Shared By: Michael John Gray on Jul 22, 2006
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You & This Route

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P1 From the base of the Apron climb up trees and cracks 5.7 to the base of a beautiful 5.9 jam crack. There is a small square of carpet on this belay assuring you are on route.

P2 Climb a nice 5.9 right facing dihedral with thin gear and mantel left at the top to a ledge this is the direct variation and should be done.

P3 This next pitch is a long pitch starting with nice hand jams steepening at the top into a wide fist offwidth crack. Its tempting to place a big cam at the top although I find saving a #3 Camalot for the belay essential. This pitch ends on a small ledge below 3 prominent cracks.

P4 Climb up starting on the left crack to an obvious traverse, across the crack systems proing as you go. This is the crux pitch its exposed and the best on the route. (5.9)

P5 The final pitch from a ramp climb up to a 5.9 hand jam roof that I thought was 5.8 although stellar fun its very short. Then climb up easy slab for the rest of the rope and find a belay near the top of the Apron (could be a 6th pitch of easy slab).

I would recommend that you then continue up memorial crack a beautiful 5.9 crack off of memorial ledge to The Squamish Buttress to summit the Chief and make it a nice full day.


This route starts on Baseline Ledge, hike from the parking lot staying left at the top of the hill and follow it out along the base and up. (I would recommend buying a guidebook Kevin Mclane recently Published an awesome extensive guide to Squamish)


Single rack Camalots 0.5 to #3 doubles on #2, and a #3 maybe a 3.5. Some small cams i.e. Aliens, TCUs are usefull, and of course a full rack of nuts.


David Trippett
Squamish, BC
David Trippett   Squamish, BC
St Vitus "Extra" (St Vitus Direct+St Vitus+Karen's Math+Memorial Crack) makes for 6 pitches of varied and enjoyable 5.9 climbing. And Now you can continue all the way up to the top of the Chief on Sonnie Trotter's 5.9 variation to the Squamish Buttress; "The Butt Face" for a full day of 5.9 goodness. Apr 9, 2008
atfarley farley
Salt Lake City, UT
atfarley farley   Salt Lake City, UT
"Crux" (bulge crack) is very hand size/style dependent. For larger hands and upper body strength it feels like 5.8. For smaller hands and a finesse style climber it may be 5.10 Jul 11, 2011
Colin Parker
Idyllwild, CA
Colin Parker   Idyllwild, CA  
I'm thinking about doing this route, but I have a question about the crux section. I'm a pretty solid 5.10a/b trad leader, but I don't have much experience doing fist jams (tons of hand/finger jams). Could this section be a show-stopper for me? Aug 9, 2011
Mark Roberts
Vancouver, BC
Mark Roberts   Vancouver, BC
Climbed this yesterday, loved it though it kicked our asses.

Some notes:

Not sure what's meant by a small patch of carpet, whatever this referred to isn't there anymore.

Squamish Select says the first pitch of St. Vitus proper is 50m, but I think it's closer to 40. Wide and burly, I found this pitch the most difficult. Didn't find many places to place nuts at all, for the most part just wide cams. I thought the gear recommendations here were a little sparse for me, though I'm far from a hardman. If sustained steep 5.9 hands/fists sounds near your limit I'd recommend 4 #3s (including one for the gear belay) and 3 #4s at least. Maybe some wider nuts, we only had nuts up to a WC #10 and I placed one #10. I found I was able to make a bomber gear belay with a #3 and a .4 in the left crack and a #1 in the right.

Also, I noticed a bolted belay about half way up the first pitch to the left, I suppose it's the belay to No Saints Left. Looks like a good plan B if you want to get on this but don't feel you have the rack to feel comfortable, the traverse looked pretty doable.

The next two pitches are not sustained. The second probably is slightly technically harder than the first, in that there is a bona fide offwidth section in which you can fit your whole body (but protects adequately with a .75 and a #4.) After the offwidth it's an easy romp to a sturdy shrub. I backed up a sling around the shrub with a #3 and a .5, again a bomber belay.

You can link the next (short) pitch with the scramble that follows if you have a 70m. They say this is the crux but I found it the easiest pitch of the three. Three moves of steep fist with great feet and it's over, the rest is 5.4. Even with a 70m it's a rope stretcher, we found I actually had to stand up at the bottom belay so my partner could reach the tree before Memorial Gully. Mar 26, 2012
Matt Hoffmann
Matt Hoffmann   Squamish
Great route. Fun jamming with a good bit of variety. The bulge section is easy to protect and aid past if it's really giving you trouble but, it's really only 2 moves. Seriously fun route. Apr 23, 2012
Nick Wilder
Boulder, CO
Nick Wilder   Boulder, CO  
Have double Camalots from #1, 2, 3, and 4 was fine (plus some smaller stuff). The wide crack on P3 take a surprising amount of smaller stuff. Aug 3, 2012
Sean H
Salt Lake City, UT
Sean H   Salt Lake City, UT
Super fun route, imho. Pitch five felt like easy 5.8 to me, fwiw. Like, one or two moves, at that. Point is, def don't be scared of the word "overhanging" in guidebooks or similar.

Pitch 3 gave me an ear to ear grin the whole time, and I think I placed like 3 or 4 pieces tops. Mostly vertical, Indian Creek style hands, on granite, getting wider near the top - but easy wide - not hard, FML, Yosemite wide. Reminded me of p2 of Phobos in the meadows.

I guess my beta comment there would be - if "sustained", but straightforward hand jamming is comfortable to you, don't bother with the triples (or more!) racks some will suggest. Otherwise, bring the gear, and you'll enjoy the pitch just the same.

Also, my partner thought the pulling on trees and branches and what not on P1 was lame, but I kinda found it fun. Felt like gym climbing holds when they came up. Aug 6, 2012
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
This one will get the feet hurting. The 10a variation for P2 is highly recommend. I was happy with 3x#3, 1x#3.5, and 2x#4. And I was glad I saved a #1 and #3 (hence the extra) for the belay atop P3. Aug 7, 2012
Portland, OR
rl23455   Portland, OR
The 2nd pitch is/feels offwidth, but there is a finger crack inside. But the exit is offwidth as the inside crack disappears. There is a parallel crack to use as side pull. I had to walk a BD #1 in the finger crack. Great climb. Jul 26, 2014
Eddie F
Edwards, CO
Eddie F   Edwards, CO
Nick's gear recommendation was pretty good. We had singles from small to .75, doubles of 1 and 2, triples of 3, a 3.5 and a 4 and were pretty comfortable. make sure you save a 3 or a 2 and something in the .75/.5 range for the anchor at the top of the hand crack. Also, mountain project says start in the left crack and work your way right. We found that if you start in the hand crack on the right side of the ledge and work your way right to the crux, it made the start of the pitch significantly easier. Jun 15, 2015
Mark Roberts
Vancouver, BC
Mark Roberts   Vancouver, BC
I followed my gear beta from above yesterday and was woefully overburdened. Nick's gear recommendations are solid. I placed two #1s, two #2s, two #3s and two #4s, spaced out with other much smaller gear. Could have done without the second #4 as there's a bomber 0.4 placement a foot above where I placed it. It was nice to make a gear belay at the top of that pitch with all those leftover #3s and #4s though.

If you really are maxed out with 5.9 hands, fists and offwidth techniques then that original rack I suggested might not be a terrible recommendation, but definitely overkill for a competent climber.

New rack recommendation: Double rack from 0.3 to #4, extra #3 for the first belay and some nuts.

Some beautiful climbing on this route in many styles of wide. Great fun. Jul 24, 2015
San Jose
B-Slim   San Jose
Totally understand why ppls recommend double of #4 and #3 for the first pitch, but if you are comfortable with the 5.9 hand crack you can run this out pretty easy the crack is perfect size #2 C4 so very solid jam for me plus your feet will sink in.
So if you are short on gear like us don't be hesitant it goes with out double of #3 and #4. We have done it with one #3 and one #4, plus double of #2 and #.75 thought some nuts in the beginning. May 16, 2016
Serge Smirnov
Seattle, WA
Serge Smirnov   Seattle, WA
If you don't want to run out the easy (~5.6) first half (~20m) of "First pitch" (P3), I'd recommend triples in not only #3 camalots but also #2. .75 and #1 go in a few places too. A #5 (suggested in the book) is useful, but only if you're short on the smaller sizes. Aug 7, 2016
Joshua Thompson
Seattle, WA
Joshua Thompson   Seattle, WA
I totally agree with atfarley farley. The crux for me was the 5th pitch through the wide bulge crack. It is really short but I struggled with this section the most. I'm 5.6 and have small hands. I really struggled to get a jam solid enough to pull myself up and into the crack. I fell here a few times.

As far as the 4th pitch goes, nowhere in any of the descriptions I've read, does it mention the offwidth chimney that you go through. We passed two separate parties that were retreating off of the route due to getting lost and getting thoroughly lost. If you've never done the route before, then the traverse is far from "obvious". The description should say head to the chimney and then there would be zero question as to the direction you need to head.

Final note: Leave anything smaller than a .75 behind and bring ALL the large cams you have. 2nd pitch, as Mark Roberts mentions, is wide and burly. 3rd pitch I was leaping frogging gear so I would have at least a couple #3s to build an anchor. I had 3 #3s, 2 #4s, and 1 # 5 and used every one of them numerous times. Could have probably used 3 more #3s! Jun 12, 2017
Vancouver, BC
ihategrigris   Vancouver, BC
Did this one today, went up intending to do Calculus but it was super busy. Unfortunately, we only had 1 #4 and 2 #3s. Knowing we needed the 3s for the belay, I conserved both of these by finding a number of sneaky small cam placements through the wide section at the top, including a small pocket off to the side, perfect for an orange mastercam. I think the gear recommendations discussed in the comments are a little bit overkill. If you're a competent crack climber you should be able to do this one a lot lighter than even described by the guidebook. Jun 12, 2017
Las Vegas, NV
J W   Las Vegas, NV
A double rack to a #4 is completely fine, and you can probably skip the second #4 if you're solid at 5.10, although it would make the route spicy in a couple spots.

The long pitch is 35m and requires 1 #3 camalot (save the second for belay) and one or two #4s.

I wouldn't double up anything below a purple camalot, singles is fine. I didn't use any stoppers, either, although you probably could.

We did the regular start up the 5.7/5.8 cracks- the corner mentioned above is a variation in the guide and called 5.10, which we weren't up for this morning.

If you're doing the rappels into the Rock On gully, keep an eye out on your left as you approach Broadway- they're about 50' below it on the left edge of the apron. Jul 11, 2017
keith story
Castlegar, BC
keith story   Castlegar, BC
If you cruise up hand cracks and are happy with run-outs, no need for triples. Doubles of 2's and 3's were fine (including belay gear). Super consistent crack with fantastic feet and hands if you have basic jamming down. Sep 6, 2017
Kyle Wall
Richmond, BC
Kyle Wall   Richmond, BC
Don't miss out on the Direct approach -- a great little corner that takes St. Vitus from good to great.

P1 is tree climbing

P2 Right facing corner. It was wet when I climbed it and made it feel kind of insecure. I imagine the locks would be great were it dry. Despite it's wetness, I still enjoyed it thoroughly and would highly recommend this over the usual 2nd pitch.

The P3 splitter really only has 1 difficult move right before the belay. Besides that it is great hands 2/3's of the way before it gets wider. Sure, bring the big gear if you have/want it, but I found small gear throughout most of the pitch. Save a #3 for the belay.

P4 is awesome. Great exposure, great gear. Fun!

Linked P5/P6 -- I would suggest this if you have a 70m rope, as you can belay at a tree wayyy at the top of the slabs. You're partner will also be wayyy out of sight. As for the climbing, it's 1 move in a hand crack and then 5.easy from then on. May 9, 2018
James Enright
Burlington, ON
James Enright   Burlington, ON
Make sure you have a solid jam! Jul 3, 2018
Matt Hagny  
Mostly low-angle climbing in the jungle. Were it not for doing the Vector variation, this route would have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Aug 23, 2018