Type: Sport, 250 ft, 3 pitches
FA: John Langston and Bernard Gillett, 2009
Page Views: 2,316 total · 18/month
Shared By: Bernard Gillett on Aug 5, 2009
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac

You & This Route

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Sympathy for the Devil is a brilliant variant finish to The Devil's Backbone. It may be the best pitch at Mary's Bust at present.

Climb the first two pitches of The Devil's Backbone (both 5.11a), but skip the last bolt at the end of the 2nd pitch and head right to a great ledge on the edge of the buttress with a hidden two-bolt anchor.

Pitch 3: Start up the arete, and move onto the overhanging wall on the right. After clipping the 4th bolt (awesome 5.12a to here), you have two options.

A) Traverse straight left to the arete and follow it for about 8 feet. Move back right again, and clip the 5th bolt with a long sling. This was the way I first envisioned the route, and the way it was first led when John and I did it.

B) Punch straight up from bolt 4 to bolt 5 (and clip with a long sling as above). This is the stronger line and doesn't really add much difficulty to the route; you just have to go a little bit further with a few more hard moves to get to your first shakeout (I led this version with Jonathan Siegrist a couple weeks after the FA). Both versions are worthy; do them both over a couple visits.

Having clipped the 5th bolt, continue right to a bulge/small overhang. Lever over this (5.12a) to beautiful face climbing that hangs over the abyss. A belay anchor is found on the arete at the top of the face. Lower off from here to clean the pitch, or move left to the anchor on The Devil's Backbone to rappel off.


This route climbs the right edge of the buttress immediately left of the main wall at Mary's Bust. The last pitch provides exceptional position as it overhangs the gully to the right, and the rock is nearly perfect. See The Devil's Backbone for more detailed approach information. See topo for The Devil's Backbone to check out where the route lies.

Rappel three times (60', 90', 95') to reach the ground. The first rappel goes to the normal anchors on The Devil's Backbone; you'll see them from the crux pitch belay.


Bring 15 quick draws and a thin, over-the-shoulder sling for the horns on The Devil's Backbone. There are nine bolts on the crux pitch.