Type: Trad, 800 ft, 8 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Steve Chardon and Dave Jones September 1980
Page Views: 27,346 total · 184/month
Shared By: Evan Stevens on Oct 30, 2006
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures ***** RAIN AND WET ROCK ***** The sandstone in Zion is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN ZION during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby. Seasonal Raptor Closures Details


Considered The Rostrum of Zion. I think it's close, but not quite. Does have the same grade, a bit shorter, but has a nice wide pitch to it to boot.

After scrambling to the base, the first pitch starts up an obvious left-facing corner with a wide pod at the start.

P1 (5.11+) Climb the wide pod to the long section of sustained 1-1.5" crack. Ledge halfway up with anchors on the left, but you can continue to the ledge, about 160' up. The last 20' of the pitch are classic Zion funky climbing, hard 5.11.

Belay on ledge with fixed nut and bolt with rap slings.

P2 (5.9 or 5.10) Two options: Climb a groove/chimney/funky thing for 60' to another ledge at 5.9 or step right to a drilled pin and climb the nice 5.10 finger and thin hands crack to the same ledge.

I prefer the second option.

P3 (5.10++) Get yer offwidth skills and groveling gloves on for this one, and leave your helmet behind so you don't get it stuck. Chimney up the obvious corner until it starts to pinch down—don't clip the bolt in the bowels, instead place a #4 Camalot (old) up above your head and try and figure out how to slide out to the outside of the bombay and switch to stacks and fist jams. After this the pitch gets way easier: sustained hands and big hands.

Three belay options: short pitch on drilled pin anchors on right; longer pitch on hanging stance with bolts on left (150') or simul-climb the last 30 feet of easier chimney to chockstone belay off of bolts (215') at top of chimney where the sort-of tower meets the main cliff.

P4 (5.11-) Clip a bolt up and left of anchor and continue face climbing up and left on positive holds to obvious bolted belay near arete. 40' long—not much gear after bolt, but way easier to anchor.

P5 (5.11+) One of the best pitches anywhere! Downclimb from anchor about 10' then step left around arete and span out to the finger crack on the face. Backclean your gear for about 15 feet; not too hard, mostly fingers with some feet. Crank up the steepening finger to big finger to tight hands crack through the roof, with the occasional face hold. Go for another 50' over the roof to an alcove with a bolt and add a #1 or #2 camalot for the anchor. About 100' long.

P6 (5.9) Handcracks and face holds forever on this left-trending, 165' pitch. Watch out for bad rock; climb carefully. Belay off of as many small scrub oaks and manzanitas as you can tie off, and sit off the edge, belaying off your harness.


Big desert rack. Sizes in aliens and camalots.
1 blue, 2 green, 3 yellow, 2 red aliens
2 purple, 3 green, 3 red, 3 yellow, 3 blue, 1 3.5, 1 4 camalot
Set of nuts-I love and always use HB offsets-they come in handy in the weird Zion cracks


Red Arch Mountain. Park at the grotto, walk up the drainage and then go up to the right to the north facing side of the mountain.


Walk up and right about 15' to the bolted rap anchor. Bring some extra webbing to back up the occasional shitty sling.

190' first rap to a station down and left.

125' rap to either the top of the chimney or out to the pitch 4 belay near the arete. If you rap the chimney be prepare to get your ropes stuck; you may want to swing out to the arete anchor.

Two raps down to the big ledge, then one rope-stretcher to the ground. Watch your ends, it is 210', but you can break it up into two.


Great route. The gear list is about right on, except that you probably only need triples in the #1-#2 friend range. Maybe because I wasn't firing on all cylinders yet, the 1st pitch seems like the crux of the route. There is an 11a variation which starts around the corner to the right, but it doesn't look nearly as good as the 11c way. Considering its dramatic nature, the 5th pitch may be the best pitch I've done in the desert.

Overall, I found this to be a more physically demanding route than Monkeyfinger... there is certainly more 5.11 on this route. Also, the 2nd and 3rd pitches are strenuous, wide, and long. The double rope technique above isn't completely necessary on pitch 4, but may be warranted if the leader is sketched by the crappy 1st bolt (the crux is protected by the good bolt) and wants the protection afforded by the rap anchor above. To protect the follower if single rope technique is used, the leader can always backclean the gear down to the 2nd bolt.

Though this is a quite good hot weather route, it isn't in the shade all day. The route has a lot of eastern exposure, so the upper part of the route sees a lot of sun during the high-sun months (May to mid-August) in the morning until a little past noon-1pmish. There is definitely no insentive in an alpine start, since you'll want to hit the upper part of the route while it's in the shade. Jun 14, 2004
What an outstanding route! Every pitch was great!

I did not find the above described double rope technique on the traverse to be necessary. I climbed the chimney, clipped the old bolt and equalized it to a stud (using a wired stopper). Between these two protection points I had confidence to climb the "not very hard" moves to get to the next bolt which was bomber. From here you come to the traverse moves and have the choice of going low or high. I went high and the moves were very reasonable and not at all scary. After pulling the traverse it is 25 feet or so of much easier climbing to the anchor. The swing potential for the follower is minimal since the belay is so much higher than the traverse.

I took a similar rack to that described above and would make a few modifications. If I were to do it again I would take singles of the smallest TCUs/Aliens then doubles of everything else except for the #1 Friend/0.5 Camalot size which I would take 3 of for the spectacular 5.11 pitch up high. The #5 Camalot I found to be truly "optional"; I placed it but it was hardly necessary. If doing it again, I would take either 2 #4 Camalots or a #4 and #4.5 Camalot. Jun 17, 2005
Admin Note: This was the description Dave Goldstein posted for Shune's Buttress, though the route was incorrectly posted as being on Spearhead. Both Shune's Buttress entries are great and complement each other, so I am posting it here.

Deserves its burgeoning reputation as a North American classic. Varied climbing, sound rock and no throwaway pitches. It faces north and can be enjoyably climbed in very hot weather.

This route is not on The Spearhead; it is across the road, on Red Arch Mountain. If a separate area is created for Red Arch mountain, this route description should be moved there.

Historical note: the town is named after Shunesburg a small village which used to exist near the base of the buttress.

Approach: Get off the bus at the grotto picnic area. Walk east and north through the picnic area for a couple of hundred yards until you intersect a creek which descends just to the north of Red Arch Mountain. Follow a fading trail east up the creek (starts on the south side of the creek) for a few hundred yards, passing some concrete structures. Eventually this trail fades to nothing at which point you head up the slopes to the south of the creek to the base of Shunes, following a trail if you're lucky. Shunes starts in a prominent, left-facing conrer; the trail contours to the right of this corner, traversing back left at the base of the wall. Approach time from bus stop: about 20 minutes.

P1: 5.11c, 150'. Some warm up. Starts w/ 10' of easy wide then 80' of thin laybacking to a ledge w/ two drilled pins where a belay is possible but not preferred. A moderate wide section (#5 Camalot helpful) leads to a cruxy thin section w/ nut pro and a fixed anchor at a ledge. Not too bad for the rating.

P2: 5.10, 50+m. We went straight up moderate corner cracks for about 120' to a ledgey area and a cave like feature at the back of which is a bolt. Above this is a few feet of 5.10 offwidth which is a real pain if you clipped the bolt. There is a fixed anchor and a hanging belay about 20' above the OW. There is a 5.10 variation which leads to the cave on the right. Might be a good idea to break either variation into two pitches.

P3 5.9, 150'. Continue up the corner crack system, mostly hands and chimney, past a rap station on the left to a non-fixed belay on a ledge in chimney about 20' below another rap station.

P4 5.11-, 50'. We coverted from hauling to double ropes for this pitch. If you use double ropes, the following description should provide a serene experience for both the leader and follower; with a single rope someone's going to be gripped. Climb up the chimney and clip the fixed anchor w/ one rope. Downclimb back to the belay and traverse left onto the face and clip an uninspiring 1/4" bolt with the 2nd rope. Climb straight up (facey, about 10-, a couple micro cams), reach left and clip a 2nd, better bolt with the 1st rope. Downclimb partway to the first bolt and traverse left (crux) about 10' to an arete and easier ground. Go up about 20' to a fixed belay/rap station on the right of the arete. After the 2nd bolt, clip only a single rope (probably doesn't matter which one) to eliminate big swing potential for the follower.

P5. 5.11c, 110'. On the Indian Creek five star scale, this pitch gets at least five stars -- non stop action, full-on exposure and just enough rests to allow you to savor the experience. Make an unlikely traverse left around the arete to gain a crack which leads up through a roof and headwall. The crack starts as green aliens, widens to #1 Friends below the roof (tech crux), 1.5 Friends at the roof (mental/endurance crux) and hands beyond. Once above the roof you can catch you breath, admire the straightshot view to the ground and contemplate the sinuous handcrack in the concave headwall above. Romp up this (#2 & 2.5 Friends) to a hanging belay at a pod; there is a bolt at this belay which is backed up with hand sized pieces. Rack: omit the nuts and pieces bigger than a #3 Friend; bring everything else.

P6: 5.9, 110'. Continue in the crack which now diagnals left with many Red Rocks like face holds to a cozy nook.

p7: 5.8 70'. (No problem linking this and P6). Same as P6 but shorter and easier. Once at the top, walk 20' through bushes to establish an anchor in poor rock.

Descent: From the 7th anchor, walk right/south 20' to a rap station. NOTE: the 1st two raps do not go down the route -- the route is rejoined at the station just above the 3rd belay. R1: Rap straight down from here for about 150' to a bolted station on the face.R2: About 110' angling left to the slings above the 3rd belay. There is a good stance here.R3: Coil one rope, the rap with the other (_100') to the anchor (completely hanging) on the left face in the middle of pitch 3.R4: Another single 60M rope rap to the hanging stance at the end of P2.(R3 and R4 can be combined into a single 50+M rap, but doing this seemed to us to significantly increase the risk posed by rope eating cracks on these raps.)R5: Resume DOUBLE rope raps, 50M to anchor at end of first pitch.R6: 150' to ground.

This route seems like a soft grade IV, before you do the rappels. Mar 8, 2007
Dave Vaughan
Boulder, CO
Dave Vaughan   Boulder, CO
One of the best routes in the desert! Awesome and sustained. The OW pitch is fairly burly for "5.10"... The upper splitter pitch is spectacular! Take care on the rappels and treat yourself to a cold brew and meal at "Oscar's" in Springdale afterwards. Aug 17, 2007
Bob Rotert
Bob Rotert  
One of the best routes I have done in Zion and a 5 star route for anywhere!! I would endorse the Goldstein ratings, see route description above, for the crux pitches. Don't be intimidated by the 11+ ratings stated in the initial route description post. Since Evan is a 5.13 climber he probably can't tell the difference between 11c and 11+. It all feels 5.easy to him. 11c is probably closer to correct. Unless you do it in the heat. Like my buddies Dave V and Dirk H. Then's it probably 12 something.\;o)

The roof to splitter headwall pitch is amazing. It's got such incredible position, exposure and is such a beautiful pitch. Enjoy this one, its a gem!! Mar 26, 2008
Amir erez
Boulder, CO
Amir erez   Boulder, CO
Amazing Route...Agree with the above comments. Having done this one and Monkey Finger I also agree that this route is the more difficult and strenous of the two. It certainly requires a wider range of skills. Be very careful on the raps...stuck ropes can be a big issue on this one. May 13, 2008
Allen Hill
FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Allen Hill   FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
A good climb. I actually puked after following the crux! I'll spare the details. May 16, 2008
flagstaff, AZ
markguycan   flagstaff, AZ
enjoyed doing Shunes w/ Mike Sokoloff. 36degrees when we got on the shuttle at 8:30- thought about getting on monkey fingers instead for the sun exposure- glad we did it despite not feeling anything but pain in my toes for half the route. we'd forgot our stoppers at home, cleaned Springdale out when we purchased 5 nuts from the 2 shops- I think we only used 3 of them. Mike led the initial crux pitch (hard), the 10b fingers 2nd pitch variation, combined the 5.9chimney w/ then 11a traverse(felt easier than that to me). I lead the OW and the upper crux pitch (also felt easier than I'd expected). we did one dbl rope rap from the summit, then 4 single raps w/ a 70M. No EPICS! drinking home brews by 3p. Oct 17, 2008
Brendan N
Salt Lake City, Utah
Brendan N   Salt Lake City, Utah
Great route!

A few notes:

Bring small nuts for the first pitch.

Bring medium nuts for the second pitch (5.10 fingers variation)

Climb the OW as a 210 foot super-pitch if you want comfy belays. Bring a new #5 Camalot. A 70m rope is nice.

Bring slings for the last pitch, it wanders.

Double rope rappel the first rap, then single rope rappel to the top of the chimney,
then single again, then double, double, double.

Wow, this route is awesome! Nov 24, 2008
eric whewell
Longmont, CO
eric whewell   Longmont, CO
The wide pitch was hard, the anchor at the top of the route seemed marginal as I recall it being equalized shrubs. Absolutely classic climb, not to be missed! Nov 5, 2009
Rob Duncan
Salt Lake City
Rob Duncan   Salt Lake City
agree with the above mentioned rap beta: double rope, double rope, then single all the way down. It is only three single raps with a seventy. old chopped ropes are readily used as pro in the offwidth's! A #5 would have been nice; glad I didn't have to lead the wide stuff.

awesome! but a bit cold... Mar 28, 2010
After pitch 2 the belays seem to be in odd places to me. There's a good hands-off stance halfway up the entire crack system of p3-p5 (= halfway up pitch 4) where there is a big rock lying on a ledge. The 2 existing belays are both hanging belays. Does not make sense to me. Climbing the crack as a 70 meter pitch was no option to me; to long, not enough gear, no stamina, etc. The hanging belays sucked (no natural stances) and are just plain silly when there's a perfect natural stance halfway up the entire crack system!

Chimney pitch and traverse pitch can be combined easily. Traverse is not hard (feet) and not scary for the follower.

Tip to all rebolters on sandstone: use good glued bolts. Don't waste time and money on ordinary bolts.

Have fun, HMS

p.s. backed-off from pitch 7 because of severe food poisoning :-( Apr 16, 2010
As to the oddity of the placement of bolted belays on Shunes....

Ron Olevsky made an aborted attempt on Shunes prior to the FA by myself and Steve Chardon. All the bolted anchors through pitch 3 are his. The first bolt placed by us was on the traverse across the arrete.

I don't understand the bolt placements either Oct 15, 2010
Ryan Day Thompson
Phoenix, AZ
Ryan Day Thompson   Phoenix, AZ
"If you rap the chimney be prepared to get your ropes stuck; you may want to swing out to the arete anchor."

This is true. Had a bit of an epic when we squeezed our rope about 150 feet up from the big P1 ledge 30 minutes before dark. Go to the arete anchor and save yourself the epic.

I photographed the route since I'm not much of a climber. The exposure and amazingness of the crack and roof is absolutely incredible. One of the most beautiful climbs I've ever seen. Apr 21, 2011
Max Tepfer
Bend, OR
Max Tepfer   Bend, OR
Amazing Route. +1 for the 215' mega-pitch to avoid hanging belays. It means you'll have a really short pitch for the 11-, but it's definitely worth it. It's totally doable w/2x #4s, a double rack from there, and plenty of walking with the big guys. You'll probably be running it out in the finishing chimney, but I was able to find a couple small gear placements in the back of it and the moves are comparatively easy relative to what you just climbed.

The OW is really hard if you try to jam through exiting the bombay slot. If you get into it and move into a lie-back, it feels powerful, but relatively casual.

If you send the 11- traverse, you can rest easy knowing that you've done the hardest moves on the route.... Apr 11, 2012
Caleb Padgett
Rockville, utah
Caleb Padgett   Rockville, utah
A few thoughts regarding max's comments above.
I use a combination of jamming/pinching the edge of the crack on the OW, laybacking always seemed a little insecure and powerful. Either way solid 5.10 but over quick.

Instead of linking into a 215 mega pitch I break it into two. I skip the first hanging belay and climb higher to a reasonable belay stance where you build a belay. Then one more pitch to the traverse.

There are different ways to climb the traverse pitch. I have never climbed directly above the bolt, although there appears to be positive holds. I climb up to the bolt and then downclimb a body length or two and traverse left. A couple thin moves but you are essentially on a toprope. 10+/11-. I think the hardest moves are on the first pitch, left side start.

When finishing the traverse pitch I skip the normal belay and continue traversing around the arete and build a belay in the thin crack starting the roof pitch. This allows for a straight up belay instead of having your belayer to the side and around the arete. Apr 11, 2012
eric schweitzer
Bend, Oregon
eric schweitzer   Bend, Oregon
seems like there is enough comments allready.... Nov 8, 2012
Historical note: Shune's Buttress was not named for the town of Shunesburg (reportedly formerly at the Grotto), but rather for the namesake of the town, an old Paiute indian by the name of 'Chief Shune'.
The route to the left of Shune's Buttress, 'Rites of Passage', was named with thoughts of tribal customs for the passage from youth to manhood.
It is unfortunate that more of the route names in Zion are not reflective of its history.... Mar 23, 2014
Spencer Weiler
Salt Lake city
Spencer Weiler   Salt Lake city
Few notes:
Pitch 1-Nuts are key for upper corner. #5 was nice for short chimney section. Buttonhead stud can be slung with stopper for pro exiting chimney. 2 bolt belay on fat ledge
pitch 2-5.10 fingers variation is great, do it. short cruxy move to get into the crack. 2 sets of bolts on this fat ledge.
pitch 3-i used 2 #4's and 1 #5 and I wouldn't have wanted any less. The entire pitch is #3-#4 camalot size. Stopped at the midway sitdown stance and built belay with red/gold camalots.
pitch 4-chimney is pretty straightforward, nothing tricky. 3 bolt belay in cave
pitch 5-go straight up past the bolt. bomber sharp positive crimps to a huge patina jug. no reason to fiddle with the micro slab below the bolt. #3 cam is all else for pro. crappy belay stance with 3 bolts.
pitch 6-we didn't realize it but its a solid 50 feet of red camalots after the roof. we wanted at least 3 plus one for the single bolt belay. Pumpy.
pitch 7-just a delight. the final moves to the top require small cams so don't leave those behind. its a long pitch of .75-#3 camalots with huge jugs everywhere. solid bushel to sling for anchor.

If all the bolts had chains and the 2 midway anchors on pitch 3-4 got chopped and one placed at the sitdown stance, it would be perfect as the entire bottom could be rappelled on one 70m with good belay stances. May 4, 2014
Golden, Co
WadeM   Golden, Co
Every pitch on this climb delivers delicious SPLITTERS!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a climb I plan to repeat many more times. Everyone else's beta is pretty spot on.

Some of the bolts are starting to go bad, could use a replacement.

The headwall splitter is 25 ft of wavy .5s (if it were splitter this would be a 12 pitch), .75 through the roof with plenty of faceholds to keep it at mid 11, then 30 ft of ones. The one bolt anchor on this pitch is better to backup with a 2.

The last pitch feels as if you were climbing in the RRG, splitter crack with jugs everywhere (just not super great rock quality, but still decent).

Once ontop, sling as many bushes as possible and give a belay off your harness. Another option if you've tagged a rope is to go around the corner to the rap station bolts and extend that anchor to the top out spot.

Get on this thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nov 10, 2014
meghan c.
el paso, tx
meghan c.   el paso, tx
A few small offset cams are handy if you do the easier 11 variation to the right.

You can rap from the top of the 5th pitch to the base of the OW w/ 2 60's, but we got our knot very very stuck doing this - shorter raps would be prudent. Apr 8, 2015
MaryH. Harlan
Carbondale, CO
MaryH. Harlan   Carbondale, CO
It is possible to do this very quickly if you combine pitches 3,4,& 5 with a 70m rope- I call these the "grovel" pitches. Also doing the 2nd pitch variation- the finger crack- makes for a more enjoyable experience. The last 2 pitches can be combined, as well, as long as you are comfortable walking a few #1 cams & not placing gear going around the arĂȘte onto the face, after the bolted face pitch. Agreed with the raps- 2 double rope rappells from top, then single, 70m raps (a few are rope stretchers- watch out). A #5 for the Bombay/ off width move was quite handy & allowed me to save other wide gear (3 & 4 bd cams) for the next 2 pitches I combined. May 9, 2015
There is an abandoned rope on top of pitch 4. It has been there for a month now and should be removed. Cheers Oct 24, 2015
Austin Sobotka
Tucson, AZ
Austin Sobotka   Tucson, AZ
Beautiful route, and definitely soft at .11+. The ow is hard though, definitely hard.

For gear, we had doubles to #2 camalot, singles of 3,4,5, and assorted nuts. This felt totally fine. We had some micro cams, but didn't place any.

After the two raps from the summit, get over to the arete and rap from there down to the drilled angles. From the angles rap to the anchors near the arete at the base of the ow, and from there to the ground. Some micro beta for rapping: situate your knot so that you'll be pulling it away from the chimneys/cracks. Mar 19, 2016
Ben Walburn
Ben Walburn  
Don't Rap the wide pitch!! It will eat your rope. Fortunately there was a fixed line there (thank you). At first we saw the rope on the way up and said "WTF?" After getting our ropes stuck on the way down there was a resounding "DUH!!" then I figured out how to get it unstuck without cutting it and my partner used the fixed line. ( yes, there are several pieces of cut ropes -stuck there...hence the "DUH"). Read above comments for rappel.

Great route!! No way in hell the first pitch is 11+ though. Dec 3, 2016
Rob Warden...Space Lizard
Between Zion, Vegas, LA, an…
Rob Warden...Space Lizard   Between Zion, Vegas, LA, an…
anyone know anything about the bolt protected variation to the left after the 2nd pitch (the 5.9 chimney) Jan 29, 2017