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Dihedral of Horrors 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 4 pitches, 400', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
Season: Climbable early
Page Views: 7,395
Submitted By: Nick Stayner on Apr 7, 2006

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Halfway up the crux pitch


Another fun Omega Buttress diversion, though fuller value than Annals of Time. A great day involves climbing Dihedral of Horrors, then rapping in from a tree to Annals of Time's final crux pitch.

P1: 200', 5.7R: Same as for Annals of Time

P2: short, 5.9: Move to the right end of the broad ledge and climb a short dihedral with a 5.9 move into easier terrain, trending right for the obvious dihedral.

P3: 120', 5.9: Full value! A powerful lieback up a flake (3" piece is great!) brings you into an awesome dihedral. Use a variety of jamming and stemming moves to reach a point below the roof. Here, bust a tricky move left and set a semi-hanging belay beneath an obvious crack in the roof.

P4: 70', 5.9: Pull the roof in the finger-sized crack and traverse right underneath the huge diamond-shaped roof (Ship's Prow). Beautiful moves, awesome location.


The route is located just to the right of Annals of Time. It's the obvious dihedral capped by the giant roof.

Approach and Descent, see Omega Buttress


Take a healthy rack with a 3" piece for P3. Takes a good range of gear.

Photos of Dihedral of Horrors Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Ken Jern in the dihedral.
Ken Jern in the dihedral.
Rock Climbing Photo: About the do the exciting finish traverse.  This i...
About the do the exciting finish traverse. This i...
Rock Climbing Photo: View of the intimidating crux pitch.  Belayer is v...
BETA PHOTO: View of the intimidating crux pitch. Belayer is v...

Comments on Dihedral of Horrors Add Comment
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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Jun 25, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

A good route with one classic, but somewhat loose, pitch. Recommended for those comfortable at the grade and those looking for a little adventure and exposure.

We opted for the 5.7R start. You definitely want to be comfortable on 5.7 slab, as a fall would be very bad. Alternately you can scramble up an easy crack just right of the slab. Both of these starts get you up to a 5.6 move and onto a dirty ledge.

After climbing the 5.7 slab I continued up for about 150 feet over loose terrain aiming for the obvious tree on an obvious ledge (up and left). This pitch was >200ft and required a little simulclimbing.

We started the next pitch about 30 feet left of the big tree. Not sure if this was the right way to go, but it worked out. Some easy climbing, one 5.9 stem move, more easy climbing, and a traverse right led to the base of the big, intimidating dihedral.

We did the next pitches differently then described above. We did one long (140 ft?) pitch up the dihedral and out the right side of the roof. We set a belay here in a spectacular position on a great stance with good gear. A short 5.6 pitch finished the climb.

We chose this pitch breakdown to minimize the chance of the rope getting stuck in the 5.6 pitch (it has happened) and because the belay stance is just so fricken' cool. Highly recommended! This does create a very long and sustained pitch, so be sure to bring lots of slings. For this belay, I placed a #3 Camalot, green Alien, and larger nut.

This dihedral pitch does have classic moves, great exposure, and generally good gear - but the rock isn't consistently solid and this adds to seriousness of this pitch. You definitely want to be comfortable on 5.9 in the Tetons.

I suspect this route has cleaned up over the years, which makes me understand why the first ascensionists called this the "Dihedral of Horrors" - I can only imagine how loose it was 30 years ago!

Gear: nuts, 2 sets of cams from TCUs to a #3 Camalots. Lots of slings. Two ropes required for the rappel.
By Nick Stayner
From: Wymont Kingdom
Jul 8, 2006

Great photos Andy! Dihedral is such a spectacular route. I've never done the pitches the way you've described, but I've heard that it's the way to go. Plus, I hate the semi-hanging belay after the first crux!
By Alec LaLonde
Jul 26, 2010

We broke up the pitches much like Andy, where the crux included the full dihedral plus roof traverse. This combined was one of the most exhilarating pitches I've ever done, anywhere. Massive exposure and hero moves below the roof, with a hugely exposed but comfortable belay position on the prow. We climbed on half ropes which was mandatory for reducing drag.
By Tradiban
Aug 16, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Great route. The guide book suggests going up a gully left of the Ships Prow start. Do the slab start same as Ships Prow (5.7R) but angle left to the ledge. 60m ropes get you there fine and then you can scramble 20ft to the start tree.

The real start from the tree is in the dihedral to the right, going straight up is harder with not as good gear as angling left. There is a nice belay ledge to belay from at the base of the big dihedral.

From there a long pitch finishing with a mantle move onto a 1.5ft ledge with a fixed tricam for the start of an anchor, will set you up for a great 5.6 traverse under the roof. I belayed just over the roof to manage rope drag and sent my follower over the top to hip belay me for the last 15ft.

Most loose rock is gone and this climb is classic!

One double rope rappel will get you on a grassy ledge for the descent. Don't rap into the next gully.
By Jason Albino
From: San Francisco, CA
Jul 18, 2013

Climbed this on our first trip to the Tetons July 2013. Typical Tetons adventure in terms of the approach. Though I'd heard a lot about the climbing difficulty grade-wise here, I actually found this climb to be fairly easy for its 5.9 grade, despite the looming appearance.

The driving portion of the approach gets you right to the hiker's trail with a short 4WD portion (otherwise you can park at an earlier lot and hike in the extra ~2/3 mile). The trail is definitely pleasant all the way through the lake overlook point, and then down through the switchbacks.

To nail the final part of the approach, note that you will pass several talus fields (some guidebooks reference talus as a landmark, so take care not to jump off the hiker's trail too early). At a point ~20 minutes after the hiker's trail finishes it's main descent down towards the lake level, you'll start entering forest again and will see a rocky gully/wash area under the tree cover on your right. This is NOT the climber's approach trail, so keep going. After this point and ~5 more minutes hiking, you can pause on the trail and match up views of the Omega Buttress and Ship's Prow with the 2012+ guidebook pictures.

After ~10 more minutes heading back gently uphill on more switchbacks, when looking carefully on the right you'll hopefully spot a cairn or two marking the start of the climber's trail portion of the approach. If you reach a short horizontal stack of rocks in the middle of the hiker's trail, you've gone about 30 seconds too far.

Once on the climber's trail, you might lose the trail once by a large log blocking your way, and later by weedy cover seeking to erase the trail line. But persist on the faint trail that trends right once near the rock until you clear the bushy area. Once out of there, you'll be on the final talus where you'll head back left and should shortly be able to match up views of the approach pitch options with the 2012+ guidebook pictures.

Overall, this climb feels like a lot of approach work for the sole good pitch or two, but once you get to that good pitch or two, you'll start at a large belay ledge under suddenly super-clean rock and will revel at the lieback, jam, and stem-ready clean climbing. The roof exit at the end is much easier than it looks with great hands and good gear. Just make sure to throw a bunch of gear/slings at the roof exit area and just beyond to avoid getting the rope stuck when belaying from the summit. It's almost impossible to communicate from the summit belay to the pitch down below, so consider walkie-talkies should you need to manage potential rope issues here.
By Kevin Bradford
Oct 10, 2015

I managed to extract two new-looking cams with the same color tape on them from the roof on 10/9. PM me if they are yours and I'd be more than happy to get them back to you.
By Kevintgregson
Jun 30, 2017

First 2 pitches.. Meh.
Last 2 pitches were pretty great.

Also, my follower left a 1.5 wild country helium friend (silver) near the top.

Send me an email ior text f you find it! I'll buy you a beer. 717.756.95one eight

I live nearby!


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