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Des Teufel's Bollwerk

5.9 Easy Snow PG13, Trad, Snow, Alpine, 800 ft, 7 pitches, Grade III,  Avg: 1.3 from 3 votes
FA: James Garrett and Felix Hörmann, 15 July 2009
Utah > Wasatch Range > Little Cottonwo… > Albion Basin > Devil's Castle
Access Issue: Please respect this beautiful area. Stay on established trails and do not trample any vegetation Details
Access Issue: Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed Details


Des Teufel's Bollwerk (The Devil's Bastion) is a grand adventure alpine climb up the NE Face starting up the Apron and tops out on the very top of Devil Castle's highest Eastern summit. The Apron is well known to winter skiers while skiing in the Devil's Castle area of Alta.

As snow melts out of the Apron, the lower pitches will be more loose and unstable...but should be still quite doable.

The lower pitches during our ascent still retained quite a bit of snow, we experienced no spontaneous rockfall and all belays are quite protected. No signs of previous traffic were noted on any part of the line we followed.

Pitch #1: Hug the right side of the Apron to a loose rock step and belay in an alcove. No fixed protection. 5.4, 60m.

Pitch #2: Move left to an obvious hands/fist crack up improving rock until the crack ends. Move right up the slab past a bolt to a ledge and one bolt belay. 5.8, 60m.

Pitch #3: Traverse right to a steep step and climb past one bolt to a huge bomber block and a one bolt belay. 5.7, 30m.

Pitch #4: (Das Bollwerk) Climb up into the steepening slot to a bolt on the bulging face (pockets!) to the right. Continue up the chimney/slot to a two-bolt belay. 5.9, 25m.

Pitch #5: ("The Mad Münchner pitch) Move right on a ledge above the chimney and follow pockets and edges past 5 bolts on pretty good rock to a loose but lower angle band. Now tenuously (your belayer is protected!) traverse right past another bolt to a two-bolt belay ledge. 5.9, 50m.

Pitch #6: (Wall registration and chill out spot) Follow a tag line to the left and around the corner. Belay on a ledge in the "Chockstone Corridor". 4th class, 10m.

Pitch #7: Pocket pull yourself up past a bolt and fixed piton to a phenomenally fine and steep finger/hand crack and belay at a two-bolt belay ledge just below the summit top. 5.9, 25m.

Walk off via the trail. This route is not equipped for descent.


See photo/topo. Start on the right side of the Apron. Orientation should be quite straight forward.
Rappeling the route is not advised. Descent is best via the Black Streak rappels or walking off via the trail.


QDs and set of Camalots from C3 to #3. Many stations only have one bolt, but most people will feel this to be adequate. Pitch #5 may feel wild and a bit scary, but it is German engineered (read quality).

Helmets without question.

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[Hide Comment] Final pitch crack had been climbed previously. The bolts and pins added on this ascent not needed. The anchors are nice though. Jul 26, 2009
Andrew Gram
Salt Lake City, UT
  5.9+ Easy Snow PG13
[Hide Comment] An interesting adventure, though the numerous hanging rubble fields limit the appeal to all but the most choss tolerant. I gave it 1 star because there is just so much loose scree and rubble over dirt on almost every pitch, but I did really enjoy the experience. The rock is pretty good wherever it is steep and the climbing difficult - I bet it would be a much better climb with more snow.

We chopped steps up the X-shaped snowfield at the top of the apron with a rock - no need for an ax or crampons in these low snow conditions. We scrambled up the first 5.4 pitch - the 5.4 part is short and solid and you enter a rubble field above. A rope would probably just make things more dangerous.

Belay 10 feet right of the start of the second pitch using a thin crack for gear. Another large rubble field lurks above and turns the area at the base of the pitch into a shooting gallery.

Pitch 3 is more like 5.4 and has another high quality hanging rubble field to contend with just before the belay.

The rest of the pitches get better, especially pitch 5 before its rubble field finishing ledge and the terrific last crack pitch. The last pitch felt hard for 5.9 and was much harder than anything else on the route.

Scrambling off towards Catherine's Pass worked well for the descent. Climbing this under another party would be suicide. Seconding pitches was scary enough - duck and cover! Jul 29, 2012
[Hide Comment] Climbed this yesterday. There was a lot of snow so we brought ice axes, which helped. It was cool climbing over the the route more of an alpine feel. We missed a few belay bolts because of this but the deeper snow made it worth it as we didn't have much rock fall. The rock was not as good/solid as the other Castle routes but it was interesting ending on the east summit. The final pitch is excellent.

Note: On the 5th pitch (Münchner pitch), I climbed past the bolts to the knife edge ridge and encountered some horrendous rock. It seems like the route traverses lower. Jul 9, 2017