Type: Trad, 800 ft (242 m), 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: Beckey, Davis 1962
Page Views: 28,378 total · 165/month
Shared By: Chris Joosse on May 18, 2010
Admins: Jon Nelson, Micah Klesick, Zachary Winters, Mitchell McAuslan

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Description Suggest change

Orbit is probably the second-most popular route on Snow Creek Wall, and is regarded to have a more airy, exposed feel. Although the climbing is technically more moderate than Outer Space, the combination of exposure, route-finding challenges, and the occasional runout section combine to provide a spicy feel beyond the grade.

With the exception of pitch 1, all pitches put your climber out of line-of-sight, and out of earshot.

Pitch 0: 5.6, 180 feet. Scramble up to the large tree slightly right of the Mary Jane dihedral. Move left and enter a 4th class gully. Follow this up toward the distinctive 'hanging' tree at the top. Sling the flake and/or the tree. (Some route descriptions omit this pitch, or call it the scramble to the first belay station.)

Pitch 1: 5.8+, 90 feet. Move right of the tree to the main ledge and proceed up corners and slabs to the crux of this pitch, an 'awkward' roof which can be negotiated via the slab on the left, or stemming high and pulling over the roof. Once past this, climb 30 easy feet to a small ledge directly below the Mary Jane dihedral.

Pitch 2: 5.8 - 5.9, 150 feet. Find the easy overhung traverse moving left and up at a diagonal. After 90 feet or so, you'll find yourself at the foot of a fantastic 5.9 finger crack system which presents the technical crux of the pitch, in the form of another 'awkward' transition leftward when the finger crack system peters out.
Set belay on the ramp with bushes above the finger crack, and chill in the slot behind the large flake. (an alternate to the crack system is to continue traversing left, then climb up low-fifth class blocks to the belay).

Pitch 3: 5.8+, 180 feet. Take an airy, exposed step up and right to a slab which progresses about 40 feet up to a roof. Clip the bolt, skip the buttonhead, and when the slab begins to roof out, move right around the arete.
If the fingercracks of the prior pitch are the technical crux of the route, the face climbing above the arĂȘte in this pitch are the mental crux. Proceed directly up the face (small cams for pro here) through some fun mantling moves to a dihedral with a small ledge and vertical and horizontal cracks. This will be your most-exposed feeling belay station.

Pitch 4: 5.8, 90 feet. From your belay, climb straight up the dihedral. When crack in the corner runs out, move up and to the right to gain the knobby face, and marvel at the beginning of a sea of chickenheads. Pull over an easy roof and continue up the 5.5 face to the large ledge with an overhanging roof and obvious right ramp. Belay from the ledge.

Pitch 5: 5.6, 200 feet. Move up the ramp on the right side of the ledge and marvel at the endless chickenheads in front of you. Pro is very sparse- sling the occasional chickenhead- and move generally left, following the easiest path. Climbing will become progressively easier from here, and eventually you'll reach 3rd-class jumbles of blocks- go as far as you have rope and set belay.

Pitch 6: low 5th, 150 feet. Climb generally up and left toward the top, then head right up one of the gullies to the sandy summit.

Descent: From the summit, move left to find the cairn-marked descent trail, which will lead you across the top of the gully at the base of the wall and onto the rib across from the wall. Take a moment to enjoy the view, and follow the cairn-trail down. Some of this will be 4th class scrambing but if done right will not require a rappel.
Near the bottom, enter a narrow gully and work left (back toward your packs). A short scramble (watch for the cairns!) over a fin ridge will gain you the flank at the foot of the wall- continue down and left until you reach your starting point. If you proceed too far, you'll be cliffed out.

Location Suggest change

Follow the climber's trail from the snow creek trail up to the base of Outer Space. From here (for reference you'll be roughly under the Shield), go left along the base of the wall for about 150 yards or until the base of the wall (and the trail) start going steeply downhill. Rack up here, stash your packs, and say hello to the goat welcoming committee. Scramble up and left over easy terrain toward a large evergreen below the prominent Mary Jane dihedral. Use the gully to looker's left of the hanging tree for easiest access. Some of this scrambling may warrant roping up, as the last moves up to the ledge are probably 5.6 and feel exposed.

Protection Suggest change

Gear to 3" with an emphasis on finger and small hand sizes, double set of nuts