Type: Trad, 850 ft, 7 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Karl Kvashay and Brandon Gottung May 2015
Page Views: 9,249 total · 212/month
Shared By: Brandon Gottung on Jun 25, 2015
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

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Access Issue: Road Work in Kolob Canyon Details
Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures ***** RAIN AND WET ROCK ***** The sandstone in Zion is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN ZION during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby. Seasonal Raptor Closures Details

The Route

Tucupit occidentalis links up cracks of all sizes with memorable face sequences to the top of the west face of Tucupit. The route is sustained with a variety of cruxes and is generally very well protected. Rock quality is mostly phenomenal with a couple sandy sections near the top serving as a reminder that you are in Zion. As a bonus, Kolob offers a stunning backcountry setting that you don't get in the main canyon of Zion.

T.occidentalis shares the first two pitches with the first ascent of the wall: Bill March's and Bill Forrest's West Face, then breaks left linking wonderful cracks and corners to the top of the wall. If you continue straight-up with pitch 3 for 60m, the beautiful steep split face topped with a hanging flare above is the Red Morph var. pitch - a five-star 5.11+ tips crack.

P1: 5.10. 35m. Climb the slab left of the oak filled slot and move right into the chimney which protects with a #6 and optional blue bigbro (protects the #6 from the rope). Tech up the finger crack into the alcove and belay on gear and fixed pins or link into P2, for a full-value 60m pitch avoiding the worst belay stance on the route. This pitch is rated 5.8 according to the original West Face topo, we up-rated it to a reasonable 5.10.

P2: 5.10+. 25m. The classic free pitch of the original West Face passes two drilled angles (Bills' originals) into a cruxy transition to a finger crack and onto the featured face, finishing with a leftward traverse to a two bolt belay at a decent stance.

P3: 5.8. 35m. Move left into the clean chimney that protects well. Exit left on the ledge system 25 m out (as the flake inside the chimney begins to divide it in two separate crack systems) and climb either the left-trending shallow groove (5.9) or continue left to the splitter finger crack (5.7) up to a two bolt belay at a good ledge stance.

P4: 5.10+. 55m. Climb the beautiful sculpted face split by a finger crack into the long, low-angled off-fingers corner, through two pods then out the steep tight hands bulge. Catch your breath (or set an optional belay) at the pod then charge up the sustained flaring #5 offwidth to a comfortable 2-bolt belay.

P5. 5.10+. 40m. Move up and right to a handcrack, up a slot, and into the acute left-facing corner above. A short, hard crux defends the amazing rocker block belay with a fixed nut and hex anchor.

P6. 5.10. 20m. Follow discontinuous cracks off the rocker block to a delicate leftward traverse protected by two bolts. Between the second bolt and the arete, move up then left around the arete to avoid the hollow feature below and continue to a small ledge in the corner and set a gear belay.

P7. 5.10+. 50m. Climb the wildly huecoed corner into the soaring, left-leaning off-fingers crack out onto the north face. Bask in the position and jam up the impeccable tight-hand crack. Build an optional belay at the sit down stance on top of the crack or continue up and right to a 5.8+ mantle then following the path of best rock to a two bolt anchor directly above the rocker block belay below.

Red Morph variation

P3 Red Morph var. 5.10. 59m. Rather than moving left, continue along the central crack system to a beautiful but short splitter on the left, back into the wide crack with constriction feature to a small, flat ledge. Nuts and a red alien for a bomber anchor.

P4 Red Morph pitch. 5.11+. 30m. Take the beautiful warm-up fingers corner on the right up to the steep red wall split by an amazing technical tips crack into the shallow flare that looms above. Bring a bunch of small cams and small offset stoppers. After the flare, move left to the anchor on top of P4 of occidentalis. From here, rapping down and climbing the original P4 and up through the rest of the climb makes for 1000 foot climb!


Park at Middle Fork trailhead and hike trail for 30 mins watching for a cabin on the left. Cut off the trail here, following a more faint trail to the north fork wash, crossing it (the wash) only once and staying on the trail through the trees (don't get suckered into staying in the wash). Follow the trail until perpendicular to the sub-peak of Tucupit. Notice a small cairn with a flat white rock on top and move up the slope here. Follow the faint yet well cairned trail to hit the slabs below the route from the climber's right side. Listen and watch for rattlesnakes on the slopes, we have seen them hanging out close to the trail. 3rd class up the slabs to the base of the route. One hour minimum, mildly strenuous.


Five double rope rappels. All rappels equipped with two .5 x 3.5" bolts and chain besides the rocker block belay which is a fixed nut, wired hex and 7mm cord anchor. Be cautious setting the rap down from the rocker block belay - that corner seems to snag ropes - either saddle bag the ropes or make sure to toss them out so they clear the corner. From the bottom of P4, don't rap to the P3 belay, instead go straight down to the chains below - a full 60 m rap - watch the ends. If you left the #6 on the P3 belay, it's easier enough to swing in and grab it on the way down to the chains below.


Single set of wires. Double set from blue alien to #5 and one #6 with an extra run in fingers to tight hands. Optional blue bigbro for pitch 1. Could get away with one #5 for P4 offwidth if comfortable bumping it along for 30 feet (bumps well) backed-up with a deep #4. Dozen slings and draws. Two ropes, 60 meter minimum.

Weather and Conditions

As standard in Zion, exercise extreme caution with regards to climbing the route if it has rained recently. The route has beautiful sculpted holds that could be destroyed if climbed when wet and the last two pitches have fragile sections that would become extremely brittle. Tucupit's west face gets direct evening sun and needs one clear evening for the rock to dry properly. Check the weather for New Harmony, Utah to gauge the weather and make sure to consider wind speeds. Expect shade until 2pm.


Initially this route name was spelled Tucapit occidentalis due to Bill March misspelling the name of the formation on their West Face topo. Since this route is named scientifically, the route name has been revised to Tucupit occidentalis to reflect the correct spelling of Tucupit Point. Tucupit is Paiute for "wildcat", occidentalis is Latin for "western" in homage to the Bills' original route.
Four stars indeed. We made it up to the rocker block and then bailed as I was not bold enough to make the moves off the ledge. That pitch looked like it could warrant an R rating, must have been real bold to put that one up. Karl, maybe one more bolt for the mere mortals? Fantastic climbing up to there. Sustained, well protected, great rock. Hard for 10+, tugged on my share of gear, kinda got my butt kicked. We linked the first two pitches with a rope stretcher and broke up the fourth pitch in two. We definitely needed two fives for that pitch. With the exception of the sixth pitch one of the best routes in Zion, nice work gentleman. 7/17 Jul 18, 2015
karl kvashay
cedar city, utah
karl kvashay   cedar city, utah
I'm really psyched you headed up there and had a good time. Sorry about that move above the rocker block. I'm planning on heading back up there soon and will re-evaluate that section. A ground fall scenario there would be out of character for how safe and clean the rest of the climb is. Kolob is really something, eh?! Jul 20, 2015
Brandon Gottung
currently Las Cruces, NM
Brandon Gottung   currently Las Cruces, NM
Concerning pitch 6, after following Karl on the pitch twice, I led it as a litmus test on whether it needs another bolt (I'm not bold). At 5'7", the gear was tenuous to place, but totally manageable. The lead was a rewarding challenge, and I think a bolt would take something away, but welcome any feedback. Karl established this pitch onsight, bolting from stances - super impressive! Jul 27, 2015
Pitch 6 was a bold lead for sure and the line is a testament to your style of climbing. Great work, no need to compromise your style for a guy like me. On a bomber route like this maybe a little spice is necessary for the full experience. However, if you were to go up and instal one more bolt I would happily clip it. Just sayin. Jul 27, 2015
Just did the route, fully agree with crusty. If that is the style you are going for, rad. Great work on the route, rapps well and is well equipped. I lead the 6th pitch and found the green alien/grey alien/blue alien, what ever fits, to be marginal at best. It would not keep you from hitting the rocker block/ledge.
Nice lead Karl!

Question, on the 5.8+ after the hand crack. Is there any protection on that portion of the pitch? Looked like there wasn't much and a ledge to break your fall. We continued up the gully above that pitch for 150ft-ish. Then we rapped off a small tree to gain the anchor.

Solid at the grade, no easier :)

again, Well done guys, impressive! Jul 27, 2015
Brandon Gottung
currently Las Cruces, NM
Brandon Gottung   currently Las Cruces, NM
The 5.8+ face finish is protectable but spicy. I think I nested a green and yellow alien in a good horizontal, grey alien in a pocket, slung a horn, then got a #3 friend in a horizontal to protect the final move. Hope you enjoyed it! Jul 27, 2015
awesome, good to know. most definatly did, quality through and through.

Cheers Jul 27, 2015
Fantastic route, highly recommended! That Pitch 4 is quite the amazing enduro pitch. I would be supportive either way on whether the Pitch 6 face move off the rocker blocker needs a bolt or not. I lead the pitch on-sight, its not the crux move and your feet are on a good ledge and with good side pulls one is plenty stable to place a couple of solid small cams. Sreg commented that a green/grey Alien was marginal, my partner thought that the green alien I placed was solid. Anyway, this section was the least of my worries vs, spacing out cams in the Enduro pitch. Sep 14, 2015
Sam Keller  
Awesome route done in great style. Loved the variability in climbing. My partner lead the pitch off the rocker block and neither of us thought it needed a bolt as you can get a piece in the top of the anchor to protect the side pull move and then get a nice piece in the irregular crack above. This route stays in the shade well into the afternoon.

On pitch 5 don't get suckered left by the fixed pin w slung tat. Keep going up!

One of the most pleasant days of climbing this season. Sep 27, 2015
Ethan Berman
Ethan Berman  
Great climbing on spectacular stone! A bold and adventurous line -- you will surely get out what you put in. I would say a 5.10 climb for a 5.11 leader with a few tricky and enjoyable cruxes. Definitely time your climb so you are walking out at sunset. Kolob is incredible. Cheers to the fellas with the vision for this one.
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Can I give it 5 stars? Can I throw my gear off the summit and ascend to nirvana? Amazing, sustained, high quality climbing throughout.

If you're not of the desert you may find the #4 Bigbro to be necessary rather than optional on P1. Or maybe our old school #5 Camalot is quite a bit smaller than a #6 C4? Regardless I was real happy to have the Bigbro. 4 or even 5 #0.75 Camalots would not go unused on the Enduro Corner. Face climbing on P6 was well protected and seemed like no big deal. Great gear. Don't let it intimidate you.

The final bit of 5.8+ face climbing was loose with mediocre pro. A couple bolts up here to guide you up the best rock would have been nice but oh well. It's forgotten in the face of so much amazing climbing below.

Absolutely stunning that this was only established in 2015. What else lurks in Kolob Canyon? Keep posting up the topos boys!

May 18, 2016
Trevor Bowman
Flagstaff, AZ
Trevor Bowman   Flagstaff, AZ
Just a couple of random additional beta bits: You can leave the #6 at the top of the 3rd pitch and retrieve on rappel, or you could leave it atop the 2nd pitch and swing over on rappel to grab it as mentioned in the descent beta above. You can leave the #5 camalots at the top of the 4th pitch (occidental pitch) and retrieve them on rappel. The final rappel to the ground (from the off-route chain anchors) is only 100' and can be done with one rope to save yourself some extra rope-pulling. Oct 18, 2016
JTLA Tolins
Los Angeles, CA
JTLA Tolins   Los Angeles, CA
What Darin said. Glad to get on this before too many people find out about it. Many thanks to the FA party for the great vision and rap line. Not sure how to avoid getting the rope stuck when pulling from the rocker block belay but had a good time climbing back up to get it unstuck. Oct 24, 2016
Excellent! Found every pitch delightful- position and climbing make this one of the best Zion 5.10 routes I've done!...., until 6. When standing on the big foot above the anchor contemplating the ledge fall, both my partner and I decided, like crusty, not to commit to the next move and bailed. We are both very short and were unable to reach the gear that would protect that next move and the climbing seemed tenuous. Neither of us are particularly bold climbers (but did free to there)and we both decided that the risk of hitting the ledge too great. Still, excellent and thanks for your hard work! Mar 24, 2017
Levi Call
Moab Utah
Levi Call   Moab Utah
The Red Morph variation is exposed for the leader and requires a good head for runout. The I don't know if the #6 was necessary for the 5.10 pitch but it was useful and appreciated. The last placement of the 11d pitch was a .5 in a horizontal crack in the arete then you're in for some airy and probably chalkless slab which is balancy but relatively easy until the anchors. Leave the nuts behind and bring from purple c3 up. The 11d pitch would be considered 12- in some places and it was an awesome and worthwhile variation to the route. Haul your pack or clip it to your harness; there is a lot of chimneying/offwidthing on this route, especially the Red Morph variation. Jun 9, 2017
AL .
AL .   UT
A must do for Zion climbers. As someone stated previously this is a 5.10 route for a solid 5.11 climber. A bit of a wide sandbag and the moves off the rocker block are high consequence but managable. For gear I would recommend doubles from .3-3 BD with a triple run from .5-1, single #4, 1-2 #5's, and a 6. I only brought 1 #5 and it seemed reasonably safe but if OW makes you nervous bring 2. If you're doing the red morph add in doubles from purple to red C3, my partner even placed a 000 on that pitch and he was happy to have it. Nice work on the route guys! Oct 20, 2017