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Dark Horse 

YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c R

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 200'
Original:  YDS: 5.11 French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E4 5c R [details]
FA: Mark Ward, Kim Miller: 1979
Page Views: 3,121
Submitted By: Orphaned on Nov 13, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
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The bolt belay on top of pitch 2 - near the prow. ...

Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed MORE INFO >>>


From the 4th bolt on The Fin Arete.

Route Description 

Start on The Fin Arete.
Pitch 1: Branch right, toward the roof. I used a short runner on the bolt protecting the (physical crux) roof despite recieving rope drag. It was OK because the belay is right after you clear the lip.
Pitch 2: Climb straight up one of the most exposed hard slabs you may ever climb. Clip the lead rope through the belay anchor to prevent an FF2 fall on the hanging belay. This is the psychological crux. Belay at a 2-bolt station above a dike.
Pitch 3: Finish up a prow that joins The Fin Arete.


The scariest runout section is directly above the first belay station shown. I suggest a few quickdraws with locking carabiners.


Continue straight up The Fin Arete to a 2-bolt station directly above a large corner/crack. Rappel 80' to a low angle slab. Scramble down to Gargoyle Gully.


Some of the bolts were placed while rappelling.

Photos of Dark Horse Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Miller leads on the second pitch of Dark Horse.  2...
Miller leads on the second pitch of Dark Horse. 2...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bryce Thatcher follows the roof on pitch one of Da...
Bryce Thatcher follows the roof on pitch one of Da...
Rock Climbing Photo: The prow on P3, just before joining the Fin Arete....
The prow on P3, just before joining the Fin Arete....

Comments on Dark Horse Add Comment
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By tenesmus
Nov 14, 2007

This really is good beta - I'll be bringing a short draw with that in mind. This route has a serious rep. Last spring someone mentioned there was a horn in the crux that used to get slung but that's gone now. They said the FA's wanted to go and remedy this and make it safer. Anyone know if that happened.

I aspire to this one.
By bsmoot
Nov 14, 2007

Don't think it's happened yet. I'm hoping to get up there with Kim though.

Edit update: Thanks for the photos Kim!
By CalmAdrenaline
From: SL,UT
Apr 11, 2009

if the weather holds out this is on the list for tomorrow. No there are still the two bolts at the base of the ramp, none above it though.
From: Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
Sep 10, 2011

Just a little history about Dark Horse to go along with the old scanned pictures. I have climbed it five times. Twice with Mark Ward, once with Bryce Thatcher, once with Steve Bowen and once with Brandon Pack. I've worn EB's, PA's, Mekan two lace system high tops, and Moccasym's (with socks, of course). The last time was probably '91/92

Only one bolt was placed on rappel (the first or second bolt of pitch two). That was used during our rappel from the Fin Arete to get a closer look.
By James Reynolds
Nov 7, 2013

One of the best routes I ever climbed in LCC. Did it with Lance Bateman about 25 years ago. The sequence over the first roof is absolutely amazing. Consistently good climbing. Heady, out there, awesome. Lance led the first pitch and I led the second and third as a combined pitch. One of the best days of climbing I ever had.
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 11, 2016
rating: 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13

Despite many tries over 30 years I have yet to free that roof move. Tough route!
From: Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
Sep 13, 2016

Just saw in the brand new Granite Guide an odd description of pitch 2 on Dark Horse . . . . the roof is usually passed on the left, but it has been pulled going straight up and over on the chickenhead. Both variations . . . . .

To each their own, but if you are checking this route off in either your mind or the guide book, but missing one of the three distinct crux's of the three pitch route by pussy-footing left around the second of two roofs the route was created to go over - you might be cheating, or kidding, yourself.
By James Garrett
Sep 14, 2016

For sure classic, but unfortunately, one of those classics that I will only lead once:):)... I hear at least the 1/4" er has been retrofitted with more girth. Ranks way up there in one of the scarier and bolder leads in the Wasatch. And drilled on lead, very proud.

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