Adventure Projects is hiring a web engineer to join us in Boulder, CO
Mountain Project Logo

Routes in Trail Lake Pinnacle

Behemoth T,TR 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Clean Cut T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Larsen Aid Route T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b C2+
Mini Moses S,TR 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Mountaineer's Route S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Pleasant Surprise T,TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Shadow Dihedral T,TR 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Spring Fever S,TR 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Technicality S,TR 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Wide One, The T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
YTP Crack T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Order Wrong? Sort Routes
Type: Trad, Aid, Alpine, 60 ft
FA: Joe Larsen 2-21-71
Page Views: 364 total · 23/month
Shared By: Eli Boardman on Aug 2, 2017
Admins: Lauren Heerschap, Mike Snyder, Jake Dickerson, Taylor Spiegelberg

You & This Route

1 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Access Issue: Petroglyphs and Private Land Details


It goes clean!

No need to bring a hammer, pitons, or hooks.

This is a wonderfully steep, aesthetic, and historic aid line on the west side of Trail Lake Pinnacle. It was first climbed by Joe Larsen in 1971, and you can still read the original entry in the summit register! In those days, it was probably climbed mostly or entirely on piton aid. I made the presumed first clean aid ascent on June 14, 2018. Cam hooks are not exactly clean aid on sandstone, so I did not use any pins or hooks at all. In my opinion, nailing or cam-hooking this route is no longer worth the damage it causes.

To begin the ascent, find the obvious crack on the west face just right of Mini Moses' bolt line. The crack is more of a seam here with occasional pockets. After aiding up a few pieces, make some tricky free moves (dirty 5.7) through some white rock. It is not trivial to transition from aid to free at this point, and keep in mind that you're still dangerously close to the ground if you fall and the first piece blows. Beware a large loose block on the climber's right in this section. Extend the slings through this part to avoid drag later. From a large ledge, locate a right-slanting, extremely thin crack about 20 feet high. I made 3 bodyweight placments to get up this part. After this crux, aid the wider, drastically left-angling crack below a roof. As the crack widens, you will pass a fixed #1 BD cam, and eventually you can place the #2 and #3. The now-wide crack turns straight up and dissolves into easy blocky terrain offering passage to the summit.

Cleaning the route (if your belayer isn't following) may prove just as tricky as climbing it....the rappel anchors are not positioned to give a good angle to reach your pro.


Since this route now goes clean, and it is sandstone that scars easily, there is no need to hurt the perfect cracks with further nailing or hooking. The recommended clean rack is:

doubles of cams .3-1 plus singles of cams 2, 3
1 set of nuts
1 set of tricams
1 set of HB offsets
1 set of micro stoppers
1 set of ballnuts (recommended, not required)

For historic purposes only, the small placements above used to be replaced with a couple LAs and/or a camhook. The camhook is not clean aid in sandstone, and is adequately replaced by modern micro-stoppers and ball-nuts.


This is the complete crack about 10-20 feet climber's right of the bolt line on Mini Moses on the southwest face of the pinnacle. It wanders below the white band, then trends slightly right and then sharply left.


Trevor Bowman
Flagstaff, AZ
Trevor Bowman   Flagstaff, AZ
This was the route of Joe Larsen's FA of the tower back in '71. I also heard from Davin Bagdonas that he had done the presumed FFA of the tower via a variation of this line in '98 or '99. He definitely didn't free the initial crack, but started somewhere off to the right and then upper cracks. I'll see if I can find the notes he sent me. Piton scars in the initial crack were still visible when I was there 15 yrs ago. Aug 2, 2017
Eli Boardman
Boulder, CO
  5.7 C2+
Eli Boardman   Boulder, CO
  5.7 C2+
I updated the first ascent data accordingly. I couldn't see any scars in the lower or middle crack. Aug 3, 2017
After digging up my old climbing journal the history as I know it:
The route was indeed first done by Larson in '71. The original route was repeated by John Walker, Barry Rosenbaum, and potentially others circa '84 or '85. In '86, Jamie Walton and John Walker climbed the "full tower" using mostly free climbing, but aid up top, via "Clean Cut" and/or "Pleasant Surprise. They climbed the first bit of "Clean Cut", into "Pleasant Surprise/Shadow Dihedral" to the white ledge and belayed. Second pitch went around the corner/arete and climbed the Larson Route's second half via free and aid. July 23rd, 1998, I climbed the "full tower" variation with Jamie Walton all free. Direct from my journal "Onsight first free ascent of an old route with Jamie! 5.10c R of the aid route top to the tower. Was a little scary turning the corner into the thin crack and the rock was too soft to trust small cams much. Descent was from the free floating boulder on top the tower. We removed all the old slings before going down."

Apologies for previous confusion with this tower and routes. It was a long time ago for me and many many many climbs ago. I was 18 then, so lucky I even recorded it, but thankful I did. It's a good route and worthy of more climbing. Jun 27, 2018

More About Larsen Aid Route