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Routes in The Fin

Angry Elf on a Shelf T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Dark Horse T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c R
Dorsal Fin, The T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Fin Arete, The T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
Fins and Needles T 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Fish For Brains S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Gills, The T 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Hand Drills Suck! T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Hook, Line and Sinker T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Lateral Fin, The T 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
Lyin & Cryin T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Other Intentions T 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
Pabst Schmear, The S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Ventral Fin, The T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A2-3
Wasatch Harlem T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Wave of Mutilation, The T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
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Type: Trad, 500 ft, 4 pitches, Grade III
FA: FA George Lowe and Bill Conrod, 1966FFA Lance Bateman and Ben Folsom, 2008
Page Views: 3,138 total · 26/month
Shared By: tenesmus on Nov 15, 2008
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


Classic crack and face route on the fin. 5.12a/b or 5.10 C2/3

P1: Rope up at the base of the Dorsal Fin and traverse around and right on easy ground (5.6?) to a 2-bolt anchor.
P2: Three options - the first is to climb the steep bulge crack at .11d - tape up. The second is aid climbing that crack which we did not do. Third, traverse 50 or so feet (5.easy)around right to a cool, juggy and blocky crack system (5.9?)up and then traverse left to a gear belay that takes a wide variety of gear.
P3: 5.10 or aid climbing a dihedral up to a roof with a spicy handjam mantle, step left and into a ramp system that moves up and right to a two bolt belay (Formerly, this pitch ended at a stance with a piton and 2 buttonhead/rusty old leeper hanger belay that you could backup with small pro). Thanks to Ben and Lance for replacing this belay.
P4: C2/3, R It helps to bring a small rack of pins with a selection of angles, baby angles kb's and LA's. Step up and right of the belay over to a piton that can be supplemented with gear, then straight up into a dihedral. Historical note, my partner says when he first did this (um... 30 years ago) there was a drilled hole that took a hook for the next move. The broken copperhead was cleaned and hole filled by a subsequent party. There is a fixed nut hammered into the crack then two brand spanking new bolts (used to be 30-year-old buttonhead bolts) with aid between and above each.
P5: There used to be a hanging belay at a tree that has since disappeared. We just kept going, but the climbing changes from aid to a really great .10 finger and hand crack. Imagine Green A only its vertical and with sinker fingers instead of tips. Its pretty cool. This pitch ends up at a gear belay in some small trees and a #2 camalot is very useful.

We ended up running the last two pitches together like the topo in the guidebook. However that topo is inaccurate in several ways so be ready. If you have the time, it would be cool to rig a way for the second to jug and clean the aid and then TR the final crack

Descent: Traverse left (5.4) 30 feet and then down to the desecent anchors for the Dorsal Fin/Fin Arete. Its exposed but easy.


Start at the base of the Dorsal fin, traversing down and a little right, then back up and into the dihedral.


Two sets of cams, small nuts, rp's, kb's, angles, baby angles, LA's and camhooks. We only had a few pins and camhooks, making it probably a bit harder than it needed to be.


I'm sure this description could use editing so please tell me and I'll change it. Nov 15, 2008
The 4th pitch could go, or may have already been done clean. Cam hooks are the ticket. It's spectacular, a long exposed face of the best positions in the canyon.

P.S. The first bolt (buttonhead) on the 4th pitch was not part of the first ascent. The bolted belay at the end of the pitch wasn't either.

On a historical note the first 2 guidebooks, 1975 and 1977 gave this route a 5.6 A4 rating. Nov 16, 2008
Ben Folsom
Ben Folsom  
The 4th pitch goes free, or clean if you are aiding it. Nov 17, 2008
Free? By Who? How hard was it? ...Wow!


Great Job!!!! On the 4th pitch, it must have been fun getting to the first did have that feeble looking 30+ year old fixed nut to catch you if you popped making the clip. Nov 17, 2008
I thought you and lance freed this. sketchy pro though - those buttonheads spin in the wind and everything. Nov 17, 2008
Ben Folsom
Ben Folsom  
All the moves have gone free, but a redpoint as far as I know has not happened yet. It definitely goes free, but I am not sure a clean free ascent has been accomplished yet. I posted the message because it for sure goes and I think nailing pins on that pitch would be a bad idea. Some nice, fat, new bolts to replace the 1/4"ers would be great. Nov 17, 2008
Cool! What gear would help that thing go clean and what grade do you think it would be? Brian had a topo from his ascent 30 years ago and there were 4? more fixed pins on that pitch. The fixed nut is also from the FA and its amazing it didn't blow - if it would have things would have gotten desperate real quick with the sketch anchor and no gear below him for a while. When we replace those bolts we oughtta repace the anchor too. way nutter up there. Nov 17, 2008
thanks for posting up! s Nov 18, 2008
Ben Folsom
Ben Folsom  
November 23, 2008... A free ascent of all pitches of the Lateral Fin was completed today. It is an excellent line with sustained, high quality climbing. Lance led the 11d bulge pitch free, I followed it free. I led the middle pitch, and Lance also led the crux pitch free (which to my knowledge hasn't had a previous free ascent... I tried to do my homework). I also followed that pitch free. We put in a good belay station below the crux pitch, but left the old bolts and pin there for historical interest. I also replaced the two rusty quarter inch bolts on the crux pitch. At the top of the final pitch, we put in an anchor on a stance up and left of a bush. The route is in great shape to climb free.

Pitch 1- Same as description above. 115'
Pitch 2- Climb the steep, right leaning bulge. Pumpy! 5.11d 100'
Pitch 3- Same as description above. 100'
Pitch 4- Climb up and right to a fixed pin, then up to a fixed nut(hammered in). Climb up past two bolts (crux 12a/b) to a sustained 5.10 crack passing a few fixed pins. After passing a tricky break in the crack, the difficulties ease. Climb up to a two bolt belay on a stance near the top of the buttress.

To descend, make a 60 meter rappel and then 3 35 meter rappels down to the base of the dorsal fin.

For gear we had one set of camalots from #00 to #4, and a set of stoppers. It would probably be good to bring a few extra pieces from small to medium for the final pitch. The climb is not runout or scary in any way.

This is a great climb! Get up there before the weather gets bad! Sunday was about as perfect as an LCC day can be. Nov 23, 2008
proud! nice work fixing the place up too. The fin continues to amaze. Nov 24, 2008
Boissal .
Small Lake, UT
Boissal .   Small Lake, UT
I was wondering if that's what you guys were up to. We were a pitch up on the Fin Arete when 4 people showed up (mad crowds on the Fin, the place is getting way popular!) and a couple of them disappeared around the corner mentioning something about the Lateral. A bit later I heard someone scream and figured some crazy shit was going down on the other side of the formation... Strong work guys! Nov 24, 2008
Now that it has gone free...I wonder if folks will get ticked off if people continue to aid sounded like a good practice aid climb.

I was on the Lizard Head wall when you guys were working on this. We watched from the road for a few minutes and it looked so dang rad! Way to go...major props to you guys!

It's amazing how some people say that all the great adventures in LCC/BCC/RC/AF are gone...but so many incredible things keep getting done. Nov 27, 2008
Ben Folsom
Ben Folsom  
I think it definitely is still a great line to do with aid. Plus, the bolted belays are much safer now, and we left the fixed pins in place for pro and for aiding it. I believe it should be done clean now, but with tiny nuts and some trickery, I think it would be a great clean aid climb, especially with the up-to-date bolts and belays. Many small tcu's would be very useful. Nov 27, 2008
Oh yeah...all clean is the way to go. Nov 28, 2008
So after talking to Brian we agreed that if people read the comments they'll realize it is a clean aid route now. You need to know its a runnout clean route though. The fixed wired nut is over 30 years old, getting to it is for real and there aren't any options below it and the piton below the mantle.

I can change the description if you guys would like but I'm thinking about leaving it as is for historical purposes. I'll do whatever you guys think.

This would be a stout .12 for most leaders. I'm psyched to get back on it but I wonder if Ben and Lance realize how strong they actually are. Nov 30, 2008
Ben Folsom
Ben Folsom  
Yeah, I'm sure the route is pretty solid for 12b. I thought the gear was good. At the pin below the mantle you can also get a good 3/4" tcu and equalize it with the pin. The 30 year old hammered in nut actually seems pretty good(the cables look like they are still in good shape) and the move to get to the first bolt is about 5.10. Then the crux is well protected by bolts. Above the crux it stays pretty hard for a bit, but there are some fixed pins that seem good and some good tcu and nut placements as well. Dec 1, 2008
Ben reminded me of the amazing free climbing and to change this to the free grade of .12a/b. Whether you free it or not, this is also a super classic clean aid line at 5.10, C2/3. In fact, I'd say that if you wanted to work a hard free line in lcc, aiding this and then TR-ing the pitches would make a killer outing. Dec 15, 2011
The Lateral Fin is is one of the more spectacular routes in the canyon
with exposed positions on excellent rock. Challenging and reasonably well protected climbing especially by Little Cottonwood standards makes
this route well worth the hike up. The .11d bulge pitch looks easy but is quite pumpy and strenuous. The second pitch climbs through a wild little roof and finishes up a nice ramp. The final crux pitch is bouldery past a couple of bolts then climbs one of the best cracks in the canyon to the top. The most difficult section is short and compared to other .12s in the canyon is reasonable as your standing on your feet. I felt that the .11d bulge was the crux of the climb being way more strenuous than the third pitch and I thought that the scariest part was a little runout in the middle of the final crack. I would say .12a/b four stars. Dec 20, 2011
edited to .12a/b or 5.10 C2/3. I think that's what you guys want? The consensus is : 'Get on it!' Dec 21, 2011
I aided this with Lance a long time ago before I became old and weak. I'm consistently amazed at some of the things Lance and Ben have done. Freeing this route is very impressive. A great route with a long and interesting history and one of the most amazing positions in the canyon. Nov 7, 2013
greg t
Chevy, Silverado
greg t   Chevy, Silverado
three or four .5s would not go unused on the crux pitch. Oct 19, 2017

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