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Routes in The Shmotem Pole

High Man on the Shmotem Pole S 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Shmotem Pole, The T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
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Type: Trad, 250 ft, 3 pitches
FA: Marcy and Geir
Page Views: 4,229 total · 38/month
Shared By: Geir on Oct 11, 2009
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

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33 Opinions

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Access Issue: Must Register! Private Property-The Pond, Atlantis and Mine Area Details


A fun adventure climb up the largest tower in LDE. On the southern end of the west face of the tower, start at the obvious crack system.

Pitch 1 (5.10b, 110’): Climb the crack system past two bolts. Instead of climbing the difficult overhanging offwidth on the left, take the crack on the right (10b) and then step left to the main crack system on easier ground (5.8). You’ll arrive at a cave (The Shmotem Hole) – enter it and you’ll find the first belay anchor.

Pitch 2 (5.8, 50’): Climb up through the ceiling of the cave to a ledge on the face. Clip a bolt and climb into an airy, exposed chimney past another bolt to an anchor.

Move the belay (stay roped up): Walk up into the notch and look to your right. You'll see the north face of the Shmotem Pole with a bolt on the right side about 15' up. To the right of the Shmotem Pole a second, smaller feature stands about as high as this bolt. Climb the smaller feature (a few 5.6 moves) to a two bolt anchor.

Pitch 3 (5.10a, 90’): A really fun pitch. Step across from the belay and clip the bolt on the northwest corner of the Shmotem Pole. Move up four feet, then traverse directly left about eight feet to a ledge under an overhanging corner. Pull through this (crux) and follow the path of least resistance to the summit.

Rappel to the top of pitch 2 (about 100').
Double-rope rappel to the ground (about 160').


See overview photo


Standard rack, doubles of #2, #3 Camalots. One #4 & one #5 will help protect a wide but easy crack on pitch 1.
Chelsea Cook  
This is one of the neatest climbs I have been on. That cave you crawl through to get back out on the face is the best! Thanks so much for having us out there. I can't wait to come back! Oct 25, 2009
David Arthur Sampson  
Once this climb cleans up it will be a great route. Nov 3, 2009
Casa do Cacete
Christian   Casa do Cacete
I'm a fan of the Schmotem Hole too :-) Pretty trippy stuff. Nov 16, 2009
Marcy M
Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Marcy M   Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
My favorite parts of the Shmotem Pole:

P1 - entering the Shmotem Hole
P2 - exiting the Shmotem Hole
P3 - the step across, the roof and, of course, the amazing summit! Nov 16, 2009
Mike Dudley
Mike Dudley   Vegas
I rate this climb 5.awesome! Nov 16, 2009
mesa, az
  5.10b PG13
bio   mesa, az
  5.10b PG13
Still a lot of loose rock, two blocks came off and some large flakes, more are ready to go. Overall a fun route but fairly dirty. Exiting the cave and making the dirty (but well bolted)move above it was fun, as was the short 10a bulge on the last pitch. I used doubles to #3, nothing larger. Jan 16, 2010
Tucson, AZ
Geir   Tucson, AZ
I agree, Scott - the rock on the Shmotem Pole is the least desirable in LDE. Marcy and I got most of the big loose stuff cleaned up & the route should be relatively safe. Still it's an adventure route for solid trad leaders. The summit's worth it, though. Jan 22, 2010
roman d
Pasadena, CA
roman d   Pasadena, CA
Easily my favorite route out here. Interesting crux moves, lots of exposure, and a terrific summit.

A little bit dirty from the rains, but the difficult sections are all well-protected and on good rock - seems to be cleaning up nicely! Feb 7, 2010
Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
arjunmh   Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Yes, truly a fantastic route! Especially awesome to think of Geir leading it from the ground up and going the off-width left-hand crack route. Wow. Nice bolt placement in the chimney down low, makes the crux bomber. Shmotem Hole is a delight and, yes, dirty from the rains a couple weeks ago. I didn't see Roman's comment about the register and so didn't check on it. Feb 14, 2010
manuel rangel
manuel rangel   Arizona
Just did it yesterday. I think it will continue to clean up nicely, thanks for the route Geir/Marcy. Careful on the rappel, Lori threw off a large block on the way down. Bring the #4 and #5 for a safer adventure, I did not and wish I had. Never found the register. Mar 22, 2010
Marcy M
Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Marcy M   Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
The register can be found in a crack behind the cairn on top (keeps it out of direct sunlight). Mar 22, 2010
Great adventure route. Awesome summit.
The cave belay and exit is outrageous as it gets.

I would skip the belay on the top of pitch 2 and just keep climbing to the bolts at the step across. Save yourself some time and hassle. Apr 27, 2010
Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
arjunmh   Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Fabulous to get back on this climb after being away from LDE since April or so. It remains one of my favorite climbs and is in great shape. Just stellar and so much fun to wander about on! Oct 13, 2010
Catherine Conner
Phoenix, AZ
Catherine Conner   Phoenix, AZ
Finally got up this one with David Arthur-I lead the first pitch, and DA lead the last two. It's always good to get up a tower, and this one is really FUN-beautiful views!!! Oh, and yes bring a 4 & 5 for the 1st pitch (though I brought two 5's and was very happy with that decision). Nov 27, 2010
Soon......very soon. Nov 27, 2010
And soon has come. Got on this one yesterday and had a blast! Nice variety on this route - whew! Crack, face, 'n bulge-pullin' sweetness. And don't forget the hole!

Nice, nice climb. Dec 12, 2010
Marcy M
Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Marcy M   Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Way to Go, Catherine and Sartor!!!! Dec 17, 2010
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
exciting and fun route. Felt like a rhyolite version of a Sedona spire. Fairly clean, with only a few dirty bits but generally avoidable. The two cruxes are brief and protected well!

A few notes:

P1: save the #5 for the final 5.8 wide crack of the pitch.

P2: leave second rope and extra gear at rap-chains before the notch. Also, instead of moving the belay to the bolts at the step-across, another option is at a gear belay under the bolt in the notch. (couple of nuts / small cam in the horizontals).

P3: Don't need much gear for the last pitch. Maybe a couple of small cams, a 0.4, 0.75, #2, and #3.

Nice work Marcy and Geir for establishing this route! Jan 2, 2012
Justin York
Phoenix, AZ
Justin York   Phoenix, AZ
Awesome route and spectacular summit. Pitch 1 was the best - interesting and thought-provoking moves at the crux. Mar 18, 2012
Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
Gaar   Springdale / Zion UT / Moab
Ha...Fun Dec 3, 2015
Apple Valley, Ca
adventure4life   Apple Valley, Ca
The wide crack to the left on p3 protects with med cams. Dec 12, 2015
Justin Headley   Tucson
Single-rope rappel beta: Rappel off the summit back towards the 3rd pitch anchors and set down on the ledge to the north. Pull the rope. The rope might fall onto some loose rocks/blocks when it falls but it's not hard to scramble over and free it if it gets stuck. Traverse north over to the top of "Up the Hatch" (requires some exposed scrambling, get a belay), and then rap down that route. Might as well do the 2nd pitch of "Up The Hatch" while you're there. Oct 17, 2016
Daniel Evans
Phoenix, AZ
Daniel Evans   Phoenix, AZ
For me, getting to the first bolt felt like a crux in itself (but protected well on gear to that point) and seemed fairly sustained up until I got past the bulge. It definitely felt like a more traditional 5.10b (awkward, less positive, and technical) compared to other routes in the area such as Pathological Optimist (5.10c) on the Totem Pole. Nonetheless, it was an excellent route and worth repeating. The overhanging corner on pitch 3 is a blast, and climbs like a V-easy on jugs. The summit offers the best views in the canyon. Great job putting this one up! Feb 19, 2017
Daniel Evans
Phoenix, AZ
Daniel Evans   Phoenix, AZ

Did this again yesterday. There is a death block the size of a refrigerator 3/4 the way up P1 on the left side of the #5 crack where it turns almost vertical. When I initially climbed this route weeks ago, using the block made it feel like 5.8 face climbing but this time around the entire thing creaked and began to give way under my body weight. It is still there but significantly weaker than before, and will likely detach if anyone else pulls or stands on it. That being said, there is significant risk to the belayer and anyone in the drop zone should this block detach with people at the base. Until someone is able to clean it, I recommend that nobody stands to the climber's left of the belayer in the event that it comes off.

Also, being forced to bypass the flake by climbing the right side of the crack (or the crack itself) makes this section substantially more difficult (5.10a face or 5.8 offwidth if you use the crack).

Edit (4/3/17): To answer the question below--We climbed it as a party of three. I followed P1 last this time around because I led it a few weeks prior, and wanted my buddy who was visiting from CO to get on it. So when I got to the block, there was nobody behind me to move the packs and subsequently trundle it. I also don't recall seeing the block during our descent which leads me to believe the rap route bypasses it. So, someone would have to be lowered from the P2 anchor inside the cave in order to reach it. Apr 3, 2017
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
Just out of curiosity, why wouldn't you instruct your second to clear the base and do everything possible to trundle it. If it creaks it is possibly about to go. Maybe you did this but it wasn't in your post. If you find loose rock and you can trundle it trundle it. Apr 3, 2017
Here's a cool drone vid some of my buddies caught during our ascent. Gives some good 360 aerial beta! Strongly reccomend running up High Man after, really awesome route to end the day on. Mar 19, 2018

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