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Arrow Spire 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, 1500'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
Page Views: 4,293
Submitted By: Ray Hellinger on Jul 16, 2012

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Navigating the towers.


This is one of the best routes in the San Juans (that I've done at least). The first pitch is the cruz and is an amazing 5.8 dihedral for 200+ft. Second pitch is runout on easy climbing and then works through some overhangs. The rest of the climb kicks back and is 5.6 at the hardest. Working around the towers before the summit of the spire is fun and exposed. We rapped into the notch and got socked in by a nasty thunderstorm. It didn't relent so we had to bail down the horrendously loose gully below. We were able to downclimb all but the final 150ft, which we rapped (anchors should still be there). The climbing out of the notch seemed around 5.5/6. I attempted one pitch and had to bail due to lightning. Anchor is still up there, haha.


This is the obvious west buttress that you see from the beaver ponds with the spire on top. Walk around to the west side of the peak (approaching the Arrow/Electric saddle) and you will see a ramp running up to the south. Start up the ramp and go up the obvious dihedral. If you walk to the end of the ramp there is some very steep terrain that may add a couple more hard pitches.


Double set of cams and stoppers.

Photos of Arrow Spire Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The classic pic of Arrow from the beaver ponds.  T...
The classic pic of Arrow from the beaver ponds. T...
Rock Climbing Photo: Second pitch.
Second pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch.
First pitch.

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By Kenneth Gillingham
From: New Haven, CT
Jun 14, 2014

This route is a blast but doesn't look like it has been climbed much. Climbed it on 6/10/2014. The first pitch was a bit mossy at the bottom and then turned into a really nice 5.8 dihedral. The second pitch started with a short, mossy, wet chimney (you may be able to bypass it around left with some run-out moves) then switches to run-out 5.7ish and the overhangs, which had great pro and probably were easy 5.8. We simul-climbed the rest of the route, none of which went harder than 5.6. Navigating the towers is indeed quite a lot of fun. At the notch, we downclimbed rather than rapping, which wasn't bad. People had left lots of gear on the climb - I think I cleaned up something like 10 biners and some nuts (slings and cams were gone and needed to be thrown away).

Not sure what the correct descent is, but we dropped down into a gully on the south side and ended up doing two raps to get down. Maybe if there wasn't steep snow in there, it would go as an exposed 4th class descent, but I'm not even sure of that. The ramp on the north side was much too wet and snowy to go down for us.

A great alpine day; highly recommended (just watch out for the weather!).
By Ben Gleason
From: Durango, CO
Sep 3, 2015

Climbed this yesterday. On our hike in, we met a party that had just attempted the route. They said the first two pitches were soaking wet and very loose, to the point that they bailed partway through the second pitch. With this beta in mind, we opted to skip the first two pitches by heading up the giant, obvious ramp cutting across the west face (a little 4th class, some loose stuff, otherwise a cruise). This variation reduces the overall difficulty and length to 5.7 and 5 pitches.

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