Type: Trad, Alpine, 500 ft, 7 pitches, Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 10,310 total · 76/month
Shared By: Hans on Dec 2, 2007
Admins: Kate Lynn

You & This Route

38 Opinions

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The Route

A popular climb on the right side of the west face of Snowpatch Spire, Surfs Up follows broken cracks on somewhat poor rock for three pitches to Surfs Up ledge, then finishes with another two or three pitches of beautiful cracks on excellent granite. Thanks to Steph Abegg for the excellent route overlays shown below.

Route Overlay Surf's Up.

Route Overlay Surf's Up Pitches 1-4.

Begin at the right side of the west face of Snowpatch Spire, near the Pigeon icefall. Climb 3 pitches of indistinct cracks leading up and right to an alcove.

Looking down from the belay on top of pitch one.

In this photo I am leading Pitch 2. I am looking for the 5.8 bulge, which was still above me. I figured this out and continued up the slot to my left in the photo, and exited it about 20 feet below a large horn wrapped in slings. The 5.8 move was pretty easy. The routefinding on the lower pitches is a bit tricky. The description makes a note of not being suckered up too high.

Though protection is somewhat limited on these first 3 pitches, the climbing is easy. Note that many parties get lost and climb up too far. Slings may indicate bail anchors and be off route.

Pitch 4 is a traverse right from the alcove to reach Surfs Up ledge. This is another place where it's easy to go wrong and go up instead. The ledge itself is an excellent place to have lunch, take a nap, or just enjoy the view.

Surf's Up Ledge.

On Surfs Up ledge

Napping on Surf's Up Ledge. East Face of Pigeon in distance.

Pigeon Spire and the Howsers as seen from Surfs Up ledge

The crack pitches above Surfs Up ledge are excellent, and make the route worthwhile. Follow an obvious handcrack for 2 pitches to the top of the wall.

Looking down at the first pitch above Surf's Up ledge

Pitch 7.

Scramble or simulclimb to the south summit from here, and descend the Kraus-McCarthy rappel route.

Scramble to summit (3rd with a few 5th class steps).

Overall, a recommended route. Avoid the alpine start, as it's pretty cold over there until the sun hits the route.

Getting there and getting down

Located on the far right (south) side of the west face of Snowpatch Spire, Surf's Up is located just above and left of the Pigeon Icefall rappel route. Approach via the Bugaboo-Snowpatch col.

Descend via the Kraus-McCarthy rappel route (chain anchors). Four 60m or eight 30m rappels reach the bottom. The second rappel (or first if doing double raps) is a notorious rope eater, so beware. Typically it will get stuck near the station and not be too hard to fix.

If rappeling with a single 60m rope, note that some of the rappels are rope stretchers. Be very careful and be sure to knot the ends of your rope.

The base of the rappel route is close to the base of Surf's Up and there is no need to carry over approach shoes, crampons, or an ice axe.


A set of nuts and cams from 0.2 to 3 or so is sufficient. An extra 0.75 and 1 may be useful but not necessary. Crampons and ice axe are required for the approach but can be left at the base of the route
More pictures and a TR at piquaclimber.net
Brad Jan 4, 2009
Jared Spaulding
Central WY
Jared Spaulding   Central WY
It would seem that the picture in the Atkinson/Piche guide is a bit off. It shows a traverse at the top of pitch two. Instead go up and right to the dihedral, then straight up on pitch two to the "flake" belay, a giant slung flake or horn. Then on pitch three's start, move right, back towards the "corner" and up to the "alcove" belay, also with a slung horn.

Overall an excellent route. Route finding challenges can be had on first four pitches, but protection is readily available. Granite is not too gravelly at all. Jul 30, 2014
Mike Sullivan
Durango, CO
Mike Sullivan   Durango, CO
First few pitches can be cold and windy, and the climbing is fun but not amazing. Once you hit the Surf's Up ledge, the upper part of this route is FANTASTIC -- great climbing and great fun. Sep 23, 2014
N. Aksamit
Canmore, AB
N. Aksamit   Canmore, AB
The scramble pitches on the ridge were a bit more involved than I imagined, but maybe I was just tired. Little to no sun on the route until hitting surf's up ledge after starting the route at 11 on July 24. First three pitches were slung horn belays, upper pitches were all gear. Jul 30, 2017
Alex SP
Canmore, AB
Alex SP   Canmore, AB
Bloody cold until you get into the sun on the big ledge. I wouldn't start this route too early unless there's a heat wave, or bring gloves, a puffy and long johns! 7 days ago