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Helm's Deep 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 400'
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Dave Baker, Mike McEwen
Season: later summer, fall (spring seasonal closure)
Page Views: 3,008
Submitted By: Orphaned on Mar 19, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (13)
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Dag Kolsrud on pitch 1 1978

Closed to climbing March 15 - June 30 MORE INFO >>>


nearer to the left side of wall is a roof system 20' off the base. The left facing corner is the route.
pitch 1, great moves off the ground (10+) lead past a fixed pin into the corner and crack above. after a roof system, step left to two bolt belay. Climb straight up face OR, step back to finish the hanging corner (10+). Exiting the corner, climb up and past two bolts (5.10) and then trend straight up to sling belay at bolts (some 5.9). Continue up past another bolt to belay. Two 4th class pitches on chickenheads lead to the summit.


Near the left (west) 1/3 of the base- although I prefer the right side gully descent and longer walk vs the slabby left side downclimb.


small rack including stoppers and camming units to 3". Some bolts and chickenheads for pro and anchors.

Photos of Helm's Deep Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: David leading up the groove before the large roof.
David leading up the groove before the large roof.
Rock Climbing Photo: Good view of pitch 1 and part of 2.
BETA PHOTO: Good view of pitch 1 and part of 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 4
Pitch 4
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3
Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: (part of) Pitch 2
(part of) Pitch 2

Comments on Helm's Deep Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 2, 2016
By Andy Bennett
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 29, 2010

Bring your brown pants for this one...
By Paul Davidson
Sep 30, 2010

Someone should replace that bolt ASAP. As I recall, it was drilled by Mike and lets just say that Mike was never really into drilling bolts. Now a Baker bolt, that was bomber (but probably not almost 40 (HOLY SHIX) years later.

This climb will give you a good idea of the abilities of the McEwen/Baker team. '71 was still Kronhoffers or Blue RRs or ??? Chouinard hexes were first out in '71 and stoppers in '72. Dave Baker may or may not have had them on his rack for the FA of this climb. He was after all, running the Summit Hut out of his bedroom at that time.

One of you Tucson lads should go in and pick Dave's brain on this climb and the post the story of the FA here!
By Andy Bennett
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 13, 2011

We're on those bolts soon as the heat sets in down in the valley, Paul. The bolts on the third pitch spun in their holes upon mild tweaking...

I'd love to know more about this route and all the routes on this area of Rap Rock. There seems to be a rich history of "bringing it" around there. RR's blue suede shoes and hexes...?! I felt rather anxious with Stealth rubber, micro-cams and the better part of my kitchen sink.
By Clay Mansfield
Aug 2, 2011

Hey Andy, if you head up there, I would love to help with the replacement.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 16, 2011

All of the bolts on this classic route have been replaced. Thanks to Andy Bennett for getting the ball rolling and doing the bulk of the work. Also thanks to EFR for helping us obtain ASCA bolts & hangers.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 9, 2012

This climb is fantastic, and certainly a classic test piece.

Pitch 1 feels a little harder than 10+ to me at its crux. It's about 70 feet.

Pitch 2 is excellent and very committing. We did the right hand variation (the hanging corner); plan on solid 10 well above your gear. Once at the top of the corner you must traverse left approx 20 feet left to rejoin the route at two bolts. From here the anchor is more or less 60 feet above you, but some movement to the right and left is needed to find an occasional slung chickenhead and the easiest path. There is plenty of 5.10 climbing and not much pro on this pitch.

Pitch 3 has more committing climbing. Start by moving up and left about 20 feet to a brown, chossy-looking stance. Directly above this is a bolt that is difficult to see from the anchor. Clip it, continue up past a small tree, then angle left to a right leaning ramp.

Pitch 4 follows the easy ramp up and right to the summit.
By Clay Mansfield
Sep 11, 2012

Another one of those "they did this in '71?!?" routes
By jbak
Sep 18, 2012

And......originally rated 5.9+ !
By John Hayes
From: Bend, OR
Feb 15, 2016
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Yeah, Helm's Deep is the real deal. I first did it with John Gault in the early 80's and it was one of my first "hard leads" after John demurred on the second pitch. I went back and lead the whole thing a couple of years later and it seemed just as hard (and scary.) It's definitely a climb that's better done wearing some "big boy" pants.
By Ethan S.
Jul 12, 2016
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

This thing is definitely one to remember! Really glad that the very occasional bolt happened to be a spiffy new one.
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 2, 2016

so even with the shiny new bolts this climb is still a scarefest?

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