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West Face

5.5 X, Trad, 300 ft, 3 pitches,  Avg: 2.7 from 10 votes
FA: Unknown, 1960's
Oregon > Central Oregon > Smith Rock > (x) The Marsupials > Brogan Spire


Long, intimidating, exciting. The West Face, even at 5.5, scares people off regularly. It's probably because the rock is worst, and steepest at the very beginning of the route. By no means would I say, "Don't worry about that, it gets safer". If you are frightened by the start, don't go on. But if 5.5X sounds alright, this is a great route. Perhaps the only 5.5X in the Marsupials that can compete with it is the South Buttress of Brogan (ha ha).
But seriously, if you can abide with the runouts, this route is really fun. It's got almost entirely solid rock (just keep an eye out and you'll see the bad stuff), really fun moves, and great position. What's more, it's a long route, and ends on a cool summit.

It is a bit odd calling it a trad route, because it has no gear, and pretty much the only protection is provided by bolts, but then, I would never describe it as a sport route.


The West Face of Brogan starts by the notch at the downhill side of the Spire. The easiest descent (I think): Descend via the Cave Route by rapping off the summit. Rap again down the corner of the Cave Route's second pitch. Pass through the hole of the Cave Route, walk fifty feet across flat ground, and set up one more short rappel to the ground. A single 60 will get you down this way.


You won't need much. Pretty much just stuff to clip into the bolted anchors, and the (very) occasional bolt along the way. Bring nuts for the last section leading to the summit.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Starting up the final section to the summit. Pretty sure that was the only piece of gear I put in the whole route.
[Hide Photo] Starting up the final section to the summit. Pretty sure that was the only piece of gear I put in the whole route.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Did this route yesterday. Not really sure about the X rating on this route. Protects relatively well. For sure an R rating. Definitely some long runouts but there is the occasional gear placement. I placed about 5 pieces in the first, mega 250 foot pitch, the last 90 feet of which were unexposed low 5th class. Didnt quite make it to the anchors with a 70m rope, but had a massive BFR to belay off just before the anchors atop Smash the Silence. The second pitch to the top of brogan protected well down low and then got quite thin before the most difficult move to the summit. Would recommend taking tricams for the pockets along the whole route. In total I placed a green alien, a gray alien, red and brown tricams, one #0.5 camalot, two #1 camalots, and one #2 camalot. Wished for a second #2 camalot and bigger tricams. This is the only route I have ever wished for bigger tricams in 15 years of climbing!! Definitely not a route for the 5.5 leader out there. Should be comfortable with long runouts and futzing in bad gear in an alpine rock like environment. All in all an outstanding day out with, nobody around until we got to Living Blindly. Feb 15, 2015
[Hide Comment] Great comment! Feb 16, 2015
Ben Stabley
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] I concur with Stonefree, after having done this as part of the Marsupial Traverse. R but not X. Pro wasn't THAT bad if you have the ability to use tricams. I assume "BFR" is the the big fucking rock I saw for a belay anchor. Oct 25, 2016
Patrick Beeson
Portland, OR
  5.5 X
[Hide Comment] X-rated for sure!

I found one red tri-cam placement after the first bolt, and ran it out 20ish meters to a belay just down from the actual belay bolts (had no route beta).

I placed a small nut, another tri-cam and a .75 cam before the summit block; a fall there would have been bad with the runout. But again, not terribly difficult climbing.

My partner and I rapped down to the other side of the summit block and then once more to a cave before a final rap (off one glue-in) to the ground. Fun adventure! Apr 23, 2018