Type: Trad, 300 ft (91 m), 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: John Turner & Craig Merrihue , Aug. 1956
Page Views: 76,466 total · 360/month
Shared By: jeremyadams on Jan 2, 2007 · Updates
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, Lee Hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan S, Robert Hall

You & This Route

665 Opinions
Your To-Do List: Add To-Do ·
Your Star Rating:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty Rating:
-none- Change
Your Ticks:Add New Tick
Use onX Backcountry to explore the terrain in 3D, view recent satellite imagery, and more. Now available in onX Backcountry Mobile apps! For more information see this post.

Description Suggest change

Although the crux fourth pitch earns this classic climb's 5.6 rating, new and seasoned climbers alike find adventure on each of Thin Air's pitches.

P1- From near the high point on the trail, head straight up a sort of blocky, pillar formation.  The run-out (but easy) first pitch gains fixed bong anchors.

P2- Pitch two's traverse protects well, but offers a keen pucker as the ground drops away (and it's sometimes a little wet) en route to bolts. P1 and P2 can be combined when traffic allows.

P3- Pitch three climbs the face into a fun chimney, gaining a ledge (crowds easily, gear anchor takes variety of sizes and gear types).

P4- Starts off following a weakness through an overlap, continues up an shallow corner system, steps left, then up a few feet, then back right, [this last sequence is considered the crux] then up gaining the large ledge below Pine Tree Eliminate (5.8+) via an easy, dirty corner (left) or...climb up and right easily and then get confronted by a tricky, polished slab (5.7 R)

P5? - Many finish the last 30 feet (going left up the "dirty corner") as a separate pitch.

Location Suggest change

The namesake route of the Thin Air Face is found by following the trail past Cote Boulder past improbable aid routes until the staircase start of the Standard Route chimney is visible on the right. Continue up switchbacks to a dark-brown, featured slab.

Descent: One descent is by following a trail off the right end of the ledge. This trail bends left and gains the summit road in minutes. Hitch or walk down road. Other pleasant options include climbing Pine Tree Eliminate or other more difficult Airation Buttress routes.

Other descent options: Walking the road is more than twice as long as: 1) the climber's trail and/or 2) the mountain bike path.

For the climber's trail from the end of Thin Air hike off to the right, make an easy step up, keep going right until you come to a small step/switch back to get above the smaller crags at the top of the cliff, then head down and right staying pretty close to the cliff edge. This unofficial climbers trail is a bit gritty in spots and approach shoes are nicer than flip flops. It will bring you down to the North End ice climbing area in about 15 minutes.
A faster, and more enjoyable descent, is to use the relatively new mountain bike path. Same as for the climbers trail but after the little switch back trend left a bit towards the road and you should pick up the gentle path. To be 100% positive it crosses the auto road where the big flat rock is about 100 feet down from the parking lot. This path is the perfect angle with soft footing to be able to really cruise down, easily bringing you back to the bottom in about 10-12 minutes. It's best IMO to climb with small packs so you do not need to hike back up the base of the route.

Protection Suggest change

Nuts and cams up to 3 inches.