Type: Trad, 90 ft (27 m)
FA: FA - Trevor Bowman & Pat Kingsbury , FFA - Nate Sydnor
Page Views: 1,482 total · 25/month
Shared By: Nate Sydnor on May 13, 2019
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, GRK, D C

You & This Route

2 Opinions
Your To-Do List: Add To-Do ·
Your Star Rating:
Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty Rating:
-none- Change
Your Ticks:Add New Tick
Use onX Backcountry to explore the terrain in 3D, view recent satellite imagery, and more. Now available in onX Backcountry Mobile apps! For more information see this post.
Warning Access Issue: 2024 Raptor Avoidance Areas! Limited Toilet Facilities! DetailsDrop down
Warning Access Issue: RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

"Everybody knew Bagheera, and nobody dared to cross his path; for he was as cunning as Tabaqui, as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant. But he had a voice as soft as wild honey dripping from a tree, and a skin softer than down."

— Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book

All credit and respect goes to Trevor for finding this route and putting in the anchor. I saw it years ago before the anchor went in and of course did nothing about it, assuming from the ground that it was too thin and too hard to reach or someone would have done it already. Trevor intrepidly went up there and opened up the possibilities.

On a random day last Fall I went up it because it seemed like a fun adventure to explore something unknown. Seeing the anchor gave me the courage. What I found was astounding. This is without a doubt the best finger crack at the Cat Wall. I chose the name because Bagheera is the beloved, civilized, yet savage black panther from the fable we all likely know. He escaped his human bondage and became one of the most feared and respected creatures in the jungle. The black shield of varnish that holds the crack, paired with the other nuanced aspects of the climb, make me think the name is fitting. Of course the fact that it sits at the top of the Cat Wall food chain also contributes to the theme.

After my initial foray I did some more sleuthing and I finally figured out that it was likely Trevor's route. I'd seen anchors like this one at Bioturbation, and Trevor put up a route with my late friend Hayden at the Donnelly Canyon Wall with the same configuration. Doing that route (Twitterpated) as a celebration of what would have been Hayden's birthday was the final piece of the puzzle, so I reached out. Trevor graciously emailed back and forth with me about the route, stating that circumstances had kept him from ever getting back to actually free this line. The siren song was too great for me, and with Trevor's understandably reluctant permission I returned another random day and led if for what we believe to be the first free ascent. If anyone has done this thing before this Winter please speak up as you could likely have been the first.

Luckily for the character of the climb it's protected by a gatekeeper series of moves; some sharp fangs that will likely ward off unprepared suitors. One could likely place more than the single BD #4 that I did, but that cam is totally safe. You can hang right at the piece, but if you're going for it you're going for it though. This ain't your Puma or even Johnny Cat or the like. This is the Jungle Book. 

After the opening boulder problem, easier climbing leads you up and right with another cool move or two to the main crack. Once you reach this, unbelievable finger crack climbing leads you to the anchor.

Location Suggest change

Besides the opening moves I think one of the factors that led to this route being overlooked is that the trail goes under the initial overhang, making it hard to see without stepping back to look up. It's to the right of the Trip to the Vet zone and left of the Burl Dog zone. The initial roof is identifiable with a lone box to put both a cam and your hands into.

Protection Suggest change

The initial moves protect with a perfect BD #4, and I placed two #1s and a #3 with some runners before reaching the crack proper. The placements aren't super obvious, but they're good. Once the crack is reached you'll need a collection of .3s and mostly .4s for the majority of the climbing, with a green Alien or similar close to the anchors.