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Gothic Pillar 

YDS: 5.11a/b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c PG13

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 750', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.11a/b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c PG13 [details]
FA: Brian Smoot and James Garrett, 24 August 2002
Season: Summer or early Fall
Page Views: 3,349
Submitted By: James Garrett on Jun 18, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (9)
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The first pitch crack of the Gothic Pillar

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  • Gothic Pillar 

    Located 250 feet to the right of Evil Eye.

    Pitch #1: Face climbing to the right of a left facing corner. 5.8, 100'.

    Pitch #2: Climb the overlapping roofs (The Seismic Sea Wave) with incredible position and great rock to another ledge. 5.11a, 90'.

    Pitch #3: On low angle terrain, scramble to some easy 5th class to a two bolt belay. 5.6, 160'.

    Pitch #4: Climb through a roof passing pitons and bolts to a gully on the left. Traverse past this gully (well protected)to a ledge and two-bolt belay. 5.8, 120'.

    Pitch #5: Jog left than right through another roof to underneath a groove. 5.9, 90'.

    Pitch #6: Climb past 3 bolts (5.7) to the final upper headwall to the top. 5.10c.

    Rappel Black Streak or Walk off
    Protection: One set of cams to 3.5 Camalot. QDs and runners. Helmet

    Photos of Gothic Pillar Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Boissal on the liberally sprinkled choss of pitch ...
    Boissal on the liberally sprinkled choss of pitch ...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The Tallus Rally
    The Tallus Rally
    Rock Climbing Photo: Leading a pitch up high.
    Leading a pitch up high.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Shaft on P4, the gully traverse. More vert, less c...
    Shaft on P4, the gully traverse. More vert, less c...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Plaque just to the right of the start
    BETA PHOTO: Plaque just to the right of the start
    Rock Climbing Photo: Topo
    BETA PHOTO: Topo

    Comments on Gothic Pillar Add Comment
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    Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 8, 2009
    By Brian in SLC
    From: Sandy, Utah
    Jul 9, 2007

    Neat route. Roof on p2 is fantastically unbelievable.

    I thought p1 was maybe 5.9-ish, p5 was 5.8ish and for me, p6 finish was the crux at an awkward 5.11a (even with my A0!).

    Also, we took up to a #2 camalot and didn't feel the need for anything bigger. Not sure we placed the #2 but could have. Placed only one stopper.

    By nooky brown
    Jul 29, 2007

    Good rte, p2 makes it well worth the easy hike.

    I would link p5 and half of p6 to base of final 10c(ish) headwall. Nice to have your belayer near by for those moves.

    gear used - 1 hand size piece + 2rock to back up bolt(belay)for last pitch.

    Did anyone mention bring a helmet?.
    By steve santora
    Aug 17, 2008

    Great route guys. I agree with above info. But I don't think pitch 2 is 11a....I'm not an 11 climber and had no problems with that ptich... the holds are awesome.. I'd give it 10c or Little Cottonwood 10a
    The crux for me was also the last pitch 10c... 10 feet or so. Was all good and had a great time on the Castle as usual. Also still snow at the base for your beer. Cheers Steve
    By James Garrett
    Aug 18, 2008

    Just goes to show you how hard core you guys getting after it are these days up at the Castle...I was pretty intimidated by that "11a" pitch BOTH times I was on it! Right On! Also, the routes on DC tend to naturally get easier with time...Black Streak was definitely at one time 5.11a as originally rated (complete with a fern garden on pitch #2 and Pitch #3!) and now no one feels it is harder than 5.10a/b...a whole number grade down graded, pretty significant change, really!
    By bsmoot
    Aug 18, 2008

    On my topo, I tried to make the ratings a bit soft, as to not get anyone in trouble. Ditto with James' comment on routes getting easier with time.
    By Boissal
    From: Small Lake, UT
    Aug 31, 2009
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13

    I'm a bit surprised at the almost 4-stars rating on this one. It felt much looser than Horns Of Satan or Shadow of the Blade and way less sustained with a couple of good pitches and the odd fun move here and there connected by some of the worst choss on the castle (P3? really?).
    P2 is a bit disappointing considering the raving reviews, the move of the belay is great but the rest is pulling on loose sandy jugs. Nothing harder than 10+ but it's sustained and pumpy.
    There's some questionable pro in the second half of P5 with a piton in a completely detached block and a bolt at chest level to protect the hardest move. Nice ledge fall potential, PG13. Same for P5 which is 5.7 if you're comfortable on runout choss, otherwise clench your butt cheeks and test the holds before committing. PG13+
    P6 (second half of P5) has a short powerful sequence with cool pockets and intricate footwork. 10c seems inconsistent with the rest of the line, it felt quite a bit harder.
    Gearwise, you could get away with only a #1. The gear you get on p3 is barely good enough to serve as a directional and keep the rope off the choss stacks. Don't fall on 5.2.
    Poor choice if it's your first outing on the castle. You might be scared into never checking out the other great lines.
    By bsmoot
    Sep 6, 2009

    Routes that don't get climbed very often tend to build up choss. Guess I'd better lessen my star rating giving all of the whining going on here.
    By nooky brown
    Sep 6, 2009

    Devils Castle is adventure climbing and you could get the chop up there.
    You should expect "Loose sandy jugs, detached blocks, ledge fall potential" etc. To moan about the stars, grades and rock on any of those routes is stupid.

    For what its worth I would give the route 3.2 stars because just like the beer I like to have or do one once in awhile.

    Keep up the good work Brian.
    By Boissal
    From: Small Lake, UT
    Sep 6, 2009
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13

    Brian, I think the route is not as good as some of the others you've put on the Castle. Based on the star rating I was hoping to be in for another Shadow of the Blade style route... It was different. Still enjoyable in a perverse kind of way though.

    Nooky, I expect to find all of the choss and sketchyness befitting an adventure route when I'm up on the Castle. Again, when comparing with the others this line just had more. Read the whole post before running your mouth.
    By Zac Robinson
    From: Salt Lake City, UT
    Sep 7, 2009


    I have only done the Black Streak and Gothic Pillar, but I thought that Gothic Pillar was amazingly better than I expected. Less Shitty ledge traverses and a few pitches of actual good solid climbing. I was stoked on it. Acually ran into BSmott on the summit and tried to lie to him about the quality, but couldn't pull it off.
    By James Garrett
    Sep 7, 2009

    Two stars for a route you don't even like seems generous + a dozen times beaned, you're a lot more of a rock magnet than most, I suspect. Serious # of hits, glad you've survived.
    By nooky brown
    Sep 7, 2009

    You have taken whippers up there?!, its a good job Brian gives soft grades or you really might get in to some serious trouble.
    Like James said, you have been a very lucky(or unlucky)boy.
    By bsmoot
    Sep 7, 2009

    Well 2 stars = "a good route" so yes, that's being generous. I'm glad to get the input because I did feel a bit leery about giving the route 4 stars. James gave Black Streak 4 stars, so I tried it with Gothic! ... One could in fact argue that the Castle, with all of it's looseness shouldn't get any stars... after all, you're climbing on Satan's turf.
    By Boissal
    From: Small Lake, UT
    Sep 8, 2009
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13

    James, I didn't say I didn't like the route, I said I liked it less than the others. Read the whole post instead of hurriedly firing a patronizing post.

    The route keeps 2 stars for length, position, exposure and the fact that you can get cold in the middle of the summer.
    The 4 star rating is misleading, it's a Ruckman's 1 star, or a rock canyon 1.6 stars. It's OK when compared with other Castle's routes and as Brian mentions if you look at it within all of LCC it gets a couple of bombs.

    As far as the Castle go, I'd say Shadow of the Blade (3.5 stars) > Evil Eye = Horns of Satan (both 3 stars) > Gothic Pillar / Miller (2 stars) >> Portable Darkness = Black Streak (1 star and that's being generous since it's a death route full of idiots rappelling, thanks for that James).
    By nooky brown
    Sep 8, 2009

    Ooooooooooooh, the "no wonder you hated it, you're not strong enough to climb there". Silly you, I broke holds and took the ride with them, doesn't have much to do with the climbing.

    Sorry if you veiwed the post as elitist drivel. It was not meant to come across as that.

    What I was getting at is that Devils Castle is no place to mess up and to have fallen off a bunch of times up there is obviously not a good thing. You are very lucky and I'm happy that you fell close(I'm guessing)to the bolts and that everything was ok.
    I still worry about falling on the bolts as like you say there is detached blocks everywhere. Over the years Ive seen limestone blocks with the bolts still in them lying on the ground. I just can not imagine taking falls up there and it sounded to me that you were taking it like a badge of honor.
    Again sincere apoligies if that was not the case.

    I'm sure we both agree its a serious place and I hope everyone else thinks the same way too.
    However, I do disagree that breaking holds has not much to do with the climbing up there. I'm sure one of the first things you mentioned about the climb to your friends afterwards(but not your wife/girlfriend/domestic partner) was about taking a fall or getting hit because of breaking holds and bad rock. Only after that did you get into more detail about the climb itself. I know I did.
    But like you said we have to agree to disagree on something.

    Take care and enjoy yourself.

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