Type: Trad, 800 ft (242 m), 9 pitches, Grade IV
FA: FA: Olevsky 1977, FFA: Mike Anderson and Rob Pizem 2006
Page Views: 887 total · 60/month
Shared By: Brent Barghahn on Apr 2, 2020
Admins: Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, GRK, DCrane

You & This Route


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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

Description

As a free route, Touchstone offers some high quality climbing on good stone and some sandy, stressful sections. The free climbing is lower quality than Spaceshot or Moonlight, but is still worthwhile. The belays are set up for aid climbing and create awkward pitch breakdowns. Below is how I would recommend approaching the pitches for free climbing, roughly climbing "stance to stance".

Pitch 1: 5.13a, 35m
This pitch starts about 40ft right of the aid bolt ladder. Stem against a tree to reach some good holds. Follow a bunch of fixed pins through two cruxy bulges, finishing on a techy under vert seam. A few small offset micro stoppers can help to pull through the cruxes during your initial foray. There is a comfy belay ledge with bolts atop this pitch.

Pitch 2: 5.13b (short ~V8 boulder), 15m
The bolts on this pitch are poorly engineered and don't follow the climbing very well.. walk right on the ledge for 10 feet and yard up the bolt and fixed pin to clip high. Lower back down to the ledge and walk back to the belay. The free climbing goes straight up from the belay for a few moves and then traverses right past your clipped gear. Once the short boulder problem is over, easy rambling leads to a tricky slab and then a traversing ledge system under the roof.

If working this pitch, it is best to lower back down from the traverse bolts and not link into the roof pull. There is a small perch stance halfway across the traverse that is useful to conclude the pitch. Closely spaced lead bolts just below this stance work to create a hanging, awkward belay.

Pitch 3: 5.12- R, 10m
From the traverse stance, continue left along the bolt ladder to the roof pull. This is the aid route crux and has C2 protection, which is more finicky while free climbing past. Pull hard and committing moves out the roof past the infamous broken pin. Just above the roof is a sandy ledge stance out left. This is where the free pitch should end, but keep climbing 20ft up the crack to a fully hanging bolted belay on the right. A stressful ground-up lead!

This pitch is very short, but includes some of the worst climbing on the route. I thought it was best to keep this pitch short to isolate the jingus climbing, not ruining the fine pitches before and after.

Pitch 4: 5.12+, 40m
For a pure experience, you can lower down 15ft to the sandy stance just above the roof to start your "stance to stance" 12+ free pitch. This gives a mega 40m finger crack that goes on forever! If starting at the hanging position, it is probably only mid 5.12. Skip the next hanging belay out left at 100' and keep going through the 5.11 double cracks to a tiny ledge in a steep scoop.

See the main route page for more detail on the pitches to the top

Pitch 5: 5.10c
Slabby thin hands forever to tricky flare climbing. End at a large ledge out right.

Pitch 6: 5.8
Climb the left of the two cracks leaving the right side of the ledge. Wide cracks lead to a large ledge.

Pitch 7: 5.9
Climb the left of the double cracks through bulgy fingers, then step right to a nice handcrack layback.

Pitch 8: 5.10b
Layback and fist jam up the crack to a squeeze chimney, then ramble to a giant tree to belay.

Pitch 9: 5.7R
Juggy sport climbing with pins to an unprotected slab. Belay at a small summit tree

Decent:
See the aid route page. If there is no traffic on route, rappelling back down the pitches is a smoother experience. The summit ridge traverse is really cool, consider hiking out and back even if rapping the route.

Location

The fine crack system up the right side of Cerberus Gendarme. The free climbing starts about 40ft right of the first pitch aid bolt ladder.

Protection

Doubles 0.1-4, extra finger sized cams, RPs

Photos

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