Type: Trad, 1300 ft, 10 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Dave Jones & Conrad Anker, May 1992
Page Views: 4,110 total · 31/month
Shared By: bsmoot on Mar 4, 2008
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


Starts in a 7" crack & follows various sizes of cracks, face & chimney climbing to the top in 10 pitches. There is a good ledge (bivy) at mid height. This is an outstanding route, with some sporty face climbing. Topo available at visitors center.

Probably the best route on The Watchman.

Descent: Hike off or rap route.


Starts at the left third of the West face of The Watchman, in the 2nd major crack system left of a prominent, left-facing corner. See
The Vigil, photo - Dave Jones .


  • One set of R.P's & nuts to 1"
  • Three to four sets of cams to #4 camalot
  • Two extra #3 & #4 friends


My advice would be to not even consider hiking off this route. The raps are very straightforward with no rope snag problems and great ledges/stances at each station. Mar 5, 2008
But Roxy...

What if climbers want the FULL VALUE Zion experience??? If so, hike off the back. Mar 7, 2008
Colin Moorhead
  5.11 R
Colin Moorhead  
  5.11 R
Found this to be an excellent, adventurous route. Classic in a different way then say Shunes or Monkeyfinger. Some comments to add to the supertopos rather vague description.

Rack Used. Double set of cams from tiny to #4 BD, one #5 and #6 BD, full set of wires including a couple RP's. I really could have used one extra .75 and 4 BD.

Pitch 1. 5.10a, The only pitch I used the 6" cam (it was nice to have)

Pitch 2. 5.9

Pitch 3. 5.10c

Pitch 4&5. 5.10c R, tricky route finding. Climb crack off belay for 20', step right into face crack, climb until bushes then step right and slightly down to well camoflauged bolt, straight up with some runout but straightforward climbing, protects with large cams. I linked into the base of pitch 6 in 60 meters.

Pitch 6&7. 5.11b, Inadvertantly linked these two in a 59.5 meter rope stretcher, the intermediate belay is inobvious and would be cramped and akward. This link made for one of the best 5.11 crack pitches I've done in the desert. 3 .75 and 3 #4 camalots (save at least one #4 for the end)

Pitch 8&9. 5.9, Easily linked. Less intimidating than it first appears.

Pitch 10. 5.11c R, It ain't over till it's over. Bolted slab, climbing stays hard well above the 2nd bolt, hard to say if you'd clip a ledge falling off the final, tenuous moves.

Rappel descent is relatively straight forward if you make it to the top, rappelling down the climb from anywhere above the 5th pitch would be tricky. May 5, 2010
Rob Duncan
Salt Lake City
  5.11 PG13
Rob Duncan   Salt Lake City
  5.11 PG13
It might be good to watch your ropes a bit on the raps, we had a few snags especially up top. chimney pitch is crazy! Nov 1, 2010
Mark Austin and I got up to two pitches from the top (base of chimney pitch) on a first attempt, ultimately descending and drilling rap anchors by a rapidly dying headlamp -- we were laughing the whole way up and the whole way down. Returning with Conrad, I found the sketchy run-out free variation (Mark and I having partially aided a corner pitch to the left) and, bivying on 'Violation Ledge', we casually pushed the route to the top. May 24, 2011
Cottonwood Heights, UT
Trevor   Cottonwood Heights, UT
so roxclamantis...did you or conrad take the "chimney" pitch? after you exit the easy initial part? in hindsight, i started up the right way, but backed down cause i was thinking this cant be the right way?!?!?! instead, i ended up climbing some of the most rotten rock i've encountered in zion to the climber's right against the main wall in the corner. after a couple moves, i was committed and backing down was not an option even though i knew i was off route by this time... i do not recommend this variation...but it's likely only zion 5.9+. Sep 11, 2011
The chimney pitch was Conrad's lead as I had just led the prior pitch.

One of those classic 'much easier than it looks' chimney's that, I agree, looks terrifying from the bottom. Dec 20, 2011
Sandy, UT
notmyname   Sandy, UT
any advice for getting down without doing the last pitch? Mar 7, 2014
Crux on the last pitch is moving immediately above the bolt. The climbing eases quickly thereafter. I don't recall it being particularly scary, and an attentive belayer should eliminate the danger. Mar 22, 2014
Travis McClinchey
Squamish, BC
Travis McClinchey   Squamish, BC
Awesome route!

For those looking to do this climb, but hesitant because of the 'R' rating, I did not find it as bad as the guidebook and other comments suggests. The crux on the final pitch is at the bolt and thereafter it is maybe 5.10 for a while. Although it is runout, it is not 5.11. This is for both tall and short people. Oct 21, 2014
Patrick Ellinwood and I climbed this brilliant and very physical line last week
PE displayed his choss-chops on the very iffy 5.9 face pitch.
After the thread about the chimney, I was surprised to find it so clean, pure and classic.
For me, it was among the best on the climb.
PE busted out the last pitch, getting it done and not bothering to look for gear.
Following it, I found a couple of good placements.
One more reason to do this route.
The linkage suggestions are practical and efficient
The raps are slick and easy.
Bravo Feb 22, 2016
Drew Thayer
Denver, CO
Drew Thayer   Denver, CO
A great adventure route, what a line! As said, 'classic' in a different way, perhaps the scrappy way that gets you into all kinds of interesting positions. Echo what Travis said: this is no more run-out than expected for a 5.10 desert-tower-style route, and the last pitch is quite manageable. The crack pitches up the steep red rock in the second half are amazing and memorable. In the upper chimney, it looks nuts, but stay in the chimney, it goes!

Note on the start: there is another climb to the RIGHT that looks better from a distance, and has a visible anchor. It is not The Vigil... and it's much harder than "5.8...5.phooey...5.10" as the guidebook describes The Vigil's first pitch (although it looks really good). So if you spot that pitch, keep looking left ~40 feet, up in some trees and blocks, and find a large right-facing corner/flake system with a wide crack/chimney in the back that looks like it could be 5.phooey... that's the correct start.

Also, it would be wise to bring new cord to replace old tat on first two rap anchors, and two hangers (and a wrench) to place on the anchors at the half-way ledge (currently wire nuts cinched to bolt heads under washers, outward pull of rapping from this station is less than inspiring on this hardware). Oct 29, 2018