Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Gothic Nightmare

Nightmare on Onion Creek T A4
Something Wicked This Way Comes 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a A2+
Order Wrong? Sort Routes
Type: Aid, 650 ft, 6 pitches, Grade VI
FA: Brad Jarrett, Brian Warshaw, John Slezak, 1995
Page Views: 3,874 total · 34/month
Shared By: Joe Forrester on Apr 4, 2009
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

3 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Access Issue: RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek Details


"Something Wicked This Way Comes" is a phenomenal climb up a sweet tower. That being said, it is a bit sandbagged and you will want some Fisher's experience unless you have cajones or ovaries of steel/brass. Here is the breakdown on the pitches. I will refer to the pitches listed in the Desert Rock III book although on our ascent we deviated a bit.
P1- Broke this honker of a pitch down into two pitches. P1a- Start in a right facing crack/roof system off the ground. Make sure to go through the roof and NOT around right. Follow rivets and beaks up. We changed leads and back-cleaned about mid-way through the rivet ladder in order to have enough rope to make it to the anchors. P1b- Use some ju-ju to bypass missing section of rivet ladder and then follow mostly clean aid up to a sloping belay ledge with 3 bolts.(210' total)
P2-"Free Gothic" pitch. This pitch will go free with some more cleaning. Otherwise, big gear "2" and up" takes you up to the next belay ledge(150')
P3-"A1 pitch" A bunch of the rivets have ripped on this pitch I believe. Regardless, bring some small beaks, a bunch of rivet hangers and a good eye for rivets and mantles.(140')
P4-"Money" Sweet bolt/rivet clip up wild climbing to the summit ridge(70').
P5- "The summit walk" Smear around the loosley attached alien head, aid up two bolts, and perform the doom mantle. This old 1/4"er could probably be replaced at some point.(fun time')

RAPS: Do a single rap down from the summit, reclimb past the alien head and then bomb down the route.


The route is pretty obvious from the ground on the SW side of the tower, there is a little bit of fixed gear in the starting crack too.


Standard Mud Rack( 1 #5 usefull and small beaks also helpful)
Thank you. Apr 4, 2009
Nice write up dude. Although I think it's very probable the P2 will fall off the tower with "more cleaning" Apr 6, 2009
"This old 1/4"er could probably be replaced at some point"

Yeah! I placed that bolt. Funny thing was, Chip Wilson, Strappo and I got to the shoulder, 30 feet from the summit, and the existing bolts just ran out. We had expected that the bolts would go to the summit. But no, the route ended there, 30 feet from the top. Weird. So one of us (Chip I think) rapped the whole way to to the ground to fetch the bolt kit. Apparently, the FA party just plain ran out of time and energy. They had already been drilling through the night to get as far as they did. I think they were a bit crestfallen when they learned there were only two more bolts needed to gain the summit.
I placed, as I recall, a drilled baby angle (3/8-inch bolt was too loose or something, so pulled it out and placed the baby instead), then above that the 1/4-inch bolt. It might not look very good, but I'm pretty certain it is fully three inches long. Apr 25, 2009
This is the early history of this route, as far as I know.
FA: Brad Jarrett, Brian Warshaw, John Slezak, 1995.
2nd: Strappo Hughes, Chip Wilson, Steve Bartlett, 1997.
3rd: Alan (Heavy Duty) Stevenson. 1997/1998. Not sure who he climbed this with (maybe Keith Reynolds??).

Really enjoyed the monstrously long and wonderfully varied first pitch. Pitch 2 seemed like standard desert rotten crack. Rest was so-so. A lot of bolts. I did not see any other nearby climbable features, but I didn't spend too much time looking. If bits of the bolt ladder are falling off, then that will spice it up a bit.... Apr 25, 2009
Joe Forrester
Palo Alto
Joe Forrester   Palo Alto
Ha, great story. That rap and jug must have been brutal for Chip. Apr 26, 2009
Drew Spaulding
Boulder, CO
Drew Spaulding   Boulder, CO
The Late, Great, Doug Hall and I climbed "Something Wicked..." February 15-16th 1996. I'm sure it was 1996 because Doug passed away January 25,1997. I remember leading the 1st pitch on my birthday Feb 15th, and then finished the route the next day. The summit bolts had already been added and it was well worth going to the summit for sure. Perfect "coffee table" size summit. It was a beautiful day for 2 friends to dangle their legs off that awesome tower. I remember looking over at The Titan in the distance, and in memory of Doug Hall, returned to climb the "Sundevil" 2 weeks after his death in Feb 1997. Looking back over at "The Gothic Nightmare" brought back great memories.... Miss you Doug!
I think "Heavy Duty" Alan had climbed it before us.... Sooo, I think we were the 4th ascent. "The Mysteries"-GREAT PLACE!!! Oct 15, 2009
hey, thanks Drew.

You are right about the dates being wrong. Sorry.... Now I check my old slides, I see they are marked November 1994. The guidebook date for the FA (1995) is wrong. I recall the route was pretty new when we stumbled on it.

Let's try again:

FA: Brad Jarrett, Brian Warshaw, John Slezak, spring 1994 (?).
2nd: Strappo Hughes, Chip Wilson, Steve Bartlett, Nov 1994.
3rd: Alan (Heavy Duty) Stevenson. 1995. Not sure who he climbed this with (maybe Keith Reynolds??).
4th: Doug Hall, Drew Spaulding. February 1996

Jul 2, 2010
Doug was special and will be missed beyond many of our years. Jul 30, 2013
Noah McKelvin
Colorado Springs
  5.9 A2+
Noah McKelvin   Colorado Springs
  5.9 A2+
I got sandbagged by the FA team and by Joe Forresters description. Does that mean its a double sandbag? That mantle on the summit pitch is probably my most memorable mantel. Bolts are really eroding fast up there. Thanks to Joe, Jeremy, and Paul for the never ending sandbagging. :) (the pitch lengths were spot on) Quite an epic experience for us. A2+.....hahahahahahah classic. :) Great time with Derek Wolfe

Citadel looks pretty awesome for A2+ too..... ;) cheers dudes Nov 2, 2015
Joe Forrester
Palo Alto
Joe Forrester   Palo Alto
Glad you guys had fun. Nov 3, 2015

More About Something Wicked This Way Comes