Type: Trad, 650 ft (197 m), 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Lance Bateman & Ben Folsom - September 2008
Page Views: 2,110 total · 13/month
Shared By: Ben Folsom on Sep 29, 2008
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, GRK, DCrane

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


Start as you would for the Lateral Fin.

Pitch 1- Climb up the right facing corner through a 5.6 bulge and up to the bolted belay below the 11d buldge pitch on the Lateral Fin. Continue right up an easy ramp/ledge with some easy 5th class climbing to a bolted belay, right of the base of Fins and Needles. (5.6, 70 meters)

Pitch 2- Climb up a little then right on a small, steep ramp past a couple gear placements to the first bolt (which is about 30 feet right of the belay). From there, technical face climbing leads up a right facing/right leaning corner passing 7 more bolts. (5.12d) After the last bolt, strenuous liebacking continues up the corner (5.11 with difficult protection) to an exit out left at the top of the corner. Belay at a two bolt anchor to the left of the prominent bush, about 25 feet down and left of the belay for the Ventral Fin. (5.12d, 35 meters)

Pitch 3- Climb up and mostly right following cracks around the corner. A face traverse down and right leads to a crack with bushes. Climb this crack to a stance and natural gear belay. (5.9r, 35 meters)

Pitch 4- Continue route finding and following the weaknesses up and right to a natural gear belay at a stance and large block. (5.9r, 30 meters)

Pitch 5- Climb up and then right from the belay along a crack system. Escape up and left from the main weakness to a very gritty and crumbly face. Some serious and unprotected moves on this face will lead to a small stance and a two bolt belay just below the top. (5.9R, 40 meters)

Continue up a short distance to the top. Probably about 5.6 on very rotten rock.

To descend, scramble around to find the normal descent route for the other fin routes. A rappel and some scrambling will lead down the west side of the Fin, passing the Intensive Care slab.

Note: The Gills was established and bolted ground up. The climb was completed to the summit in April of 2005. At that time the crux pitch was not freed. It was led and followed free on September 28th 2008. It is a great pitch and is the main attraction of the climb.

Continuing on above the crux pitch entails adventure climbing at about a 5.9 level but with sections of serious climbing on rotten rock with very little or no protection. Route finding skills will come in handy. The descriptions of pitches 3,4 and 5 are vague, as it has been a few years since we climbed them.

To descend from the top of the crux pitch is difficult but doable. Make sure you don't leave yourself dangling out in space. A good way to get back to the belay would be to leave a trail line fixed to the belay to make sure you can pull back to the anchor. It is possible to not use another rope, but some trickery is involved.


This route is located on the east side of The Fin. To reach the route, hike up the well marked trail up the Gargoyle gully, and scramble to the base of the Dorsal Fin. Downclimb about 15 feet to a small stance where you begin the Lateral Fin. Begin here.


One set of cams from small to #4 camalot size.
For the crux pitch you only need to carry up to a #2 camalot size.
If climbing with a single line, a 70 meter rope is necessary.