Type: Trad, 400 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Kirk, Frye, Till 2013.
Page Views: 575 total · 16/month
Shared By: Zach Harrison on Jan 16, 2016
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

You & This Route

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Thumbs Up is a split personality line that offers with classic but varied climbing. The line was first eyed by Nick Gillespie and Cullen Kirk but Nick tragically died in an avalanche before getting to start the climb. The formation is named Gillespie Butte in his honor. Kirk, along with Eric Frye and Steve Till, did the FA of the formation via the original route. While the original route was quality, the real allure was the summit headwall, which yielded a hard pitch in an amazing position. This variation adds a number grade and a few stars.

Pitch 1 Boulder past the roof to the nice corner. Eventually step left to the ramp and start clipping bolts. Launch into the steep dihedral above, extending the last bolt to prevent cross loading the rope end biner! Eventually pass a 2 bolt anchor at 90 feet, continue over the wild roof clip the directional bolt and move left to 2 bolt belay at a sloping stance. Wild and rad. 5.11++? 130 ft.

Pitch 2 Move left and, levitate up the corner with bolts. Continue with hands and fists past your mandatory OW squirm into a finger crack. Pass a bolt way out left (This is where the original route breaks off, clip 2nd rope to it for raps on the way down) on the face to a mini triangle roof. Load it up with small gear and punch to the sloping ledge. Traverse right to 2 bolt anchor in funky spot. 5.11+? 70 feet.

Pitch 3 Lurch off the belay on jugs up to a bolt. Funky moves lead up the finger crack with cool holds. When the crack seams out, fire up the turbos start clipping bolts and link increasing hard and funky moves through the leaning feature to the belay on the nice ledge. Beautiful, sustained and airy. 5.12-? 75 feet.

!!Rap from here if you hate choss!! But you should love choss.

Pitch 4 Squirm up the dusty hand crack above, when it ends step left to slabby ledges with bolts. Crank 2 hard moves tiptoe past a crunky bit and enjoy a roof exit. 5.11 90 feet.

Recommended to hike to summit of Gillespie Butte from here.

You can also climb the original version of Thumbs Up as done by the FA team by:
Original Pitch 2 Clip bolt on left and traverse left to rap station belay. 5.11 60 feet.

Original Pitch 3 Go up the crack and move left past blocks on ledge. Gain right leaning OW and climb to a bolt and belay with wide gear back up. 5.9 50 feet.

Original Pitch 4 Continue up the OW to a thankfully short lived slot belay at belay ledge. Same as top of pitch 3 of new version. Can TR pitch 3 from here from rap station if you are a corndog. 5.10+ 40 feet. BD #5,6 needed. Continue up to summit as above.

Rap with one 70m from Top of 4 to top of pitch 3.
Rap with one 70m to rap station left of pitch 2. Pick up your second rope from the bolt to the right of the rap station.
Rap with 2 ropes to ground.


Approach as for Firecat Spire/Fisher King in Margs Draw. 3 Minutes after leaving the main Margs draw drainage break right out of the subdrainage at a car sized boulder in the wash and work over to slickrock with Ocotillo. Angle up and right on slickrock then traverse upper slickrock ledge right into a talus field. Go straight up to the limestone band and go right to the base of the route. Start 150’ East of Gunshy at end of ledge. Belay takes small gear at base of left facing corner! There is another route, an old Dustin Wildermuth and Gordon Kear project about 50’ West of Thumbs Up that has 2 bolts on a pillar at the start. Check the Gunshy wall picture, its on the right end.


1X C3#00-C4#4 2X C4#.2-#.5. Bring at least 7 Runners and 6 quickdraws! And your tech slab A game.
Add a BD #5,6 if doing the original finish.
2 ropes for raps.


J. Snyder
Flagstaff, Arizona
J. Snyder   Flagstaff, Arizona
Bad ass fun in the sun!!! Sorta like vertical cragging. 1st pitch will make you feel like a hero when you stick 'the move' and the crux pitch is one of the sexiest; dolled up with Sedona stripes, and tenuous tricks. One of my favs from Winter 2015. Jan 16, 2016