Type: Trad, 200 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Mark Ward, Kim Miller: 1979
Page Views: 3,450 total · 25/month
Shared By: Orphaned on Nov 13, 2007
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed Details


From the 4th bolt on The Fin Arete.

Route Description

Start on The Fin Arete.
Pitch 1: Branch right, toward the roof. I used a short runner on the bolt protecting the (physical crux) roof despite recieving rope drag. It was OK because the belay is right after you clear the lip.
Pitch 2: Climb straight up one of the most exposed hard slabs you may ever climb. Clip the lead rope through the belay anchor to prevent an FF2 fall on the hanging belay. This is the psychological crux. Belay at a 2-bolt station above a dike.
Pitch 3: Finish up a prow that joins The Fin Arete.


The scariest runout section is directly above the first belay station shown. I suggest a few quickdraws with locking carabiners.


Continue straight up The Fin Arete to a 2-bolt station directly above a large corner/crack. Rappel 80' to a low angle slab. Scramble down to Gargoyle Gully.


Some of the bolts were placed while rappelling.


This really is good beta - I'll be bringing a short draw with that in mind. This route has a serious rep. Last spring someone mentioned there was a horn in the crux that used to get slung but that's gone now. They said the FA's wanted to go and remedy this and make it safer. Anyone know if that happened.

I aspire to this one. Nov 14, 2007
Don't think it's happened yet. I'm hoping to get up there with Kim though.

Edit update: Thanks for the photos Kim! Nov 14, 2007
CalmAdrenaline   SL,UT
if the weather holds out this is on the list for tomorrow. No there are still the two bolts at the base of the ramp, none above it though. Apr 11, 2009
Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
RKM   Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
Just a little history about Dark Horse to go along with the old scanned pictures. I have climbed it five times. Twice with Mark Ward, once with Bryce Thatcher, once with Steve Bowen and once with Brandon Pack. I've worn EB's, PA's, Mekan two lace system high tops, and Moccasym's (with socks, of course). The last time was probably '91/92

Only one bolt was placed on rappel (the first or second bolt of pitch two). That was used during our rappel from the Fin Arete to get a closer look. Sep 10, 2011
One of the best routes I ever climbed in LCC. Did it with Lance Bateman about 25 years ago. The sequence over the first roof is absolutely amazing. Consistently good climbing. Heady, out there, awesome. Lance led the first pitch and I led the second and third as a combined pitch. One of the best days of climbing I ever had. Nov 7, 2013
Tim Wolfe
Salt Lake City, UT
  5.11 PG13
Tim Wolfe   Salt Lake City, UT  
  5.11 PG13
Despite many tries over 30 years I have yet to free that roof move. Tough route! Jan 11, 2016
Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
RKM   Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
Just saw in the brand new Granite Guide an odd description of pitch 2 on Dark Horse . . . . the roof is usually passed on the left, but it has been pulled going straight up and over on the chickenhead. Both variations . . . . .

To each their own, but if you are checking this route off in either your mind or the guide book, but missing one of the three distinct crux's of the three pitch route by pussy-footing left around the second of two roofs the route was created to go over - you might be cheating, or kidding, yourself. Sep 13, 2016
For sure classic, but unfortunately, one of those classics that I will only lead once:):)... I hear at least the 1/4" er has been retrofitted with more girth. Ranks way up there in one of the scarier and bolder leads in the Wasatch. And drilled on lead, very proud. Sep 14, 2016