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Independence Chimney 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c C1

Type:  Trad, Aid, 6 pitches, Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c C1 [details]
FA: Mike Dudley & Fletcher Smith, 1970
Page Views: 4,977
Submitted By: Dan Mottinger on Nov 11, 2001

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BETA PHOTO: Start of p1.

6/25-6/26/16 Otto's Route, vicinity, and rap will be closed! MORE INFO >>>


This fun route includes everything from aid climbing to a full-body chimney to a face climbing finish. This route goes up the left side of Independence Monument's south side following a ramp to a distinct chimney/crack system. The south facing exposure makes the route a good choice for cool spring or fall days. Start the climb by going to the left side of the monument's south side.

P1. The climb starts by getting onto the right leaning ramp leading to the chimney system. Accomplish this by aiding up a thin crack on the face under the ramp. The crack has a fixed pin on the face to the side of it about 35' up. This is 20' to the right of a big roof with an offwidth up it. Aid up the crack using small pro until you can free climb. I started freeing at the start of the dihedral with fixed pin. Climb up past a lone fixed pin to a two drilled-angle belay above the crack. You can use these as a belay or directional, then climb up the ramp 5.5-6 to another drilled angle belay.

P2. From 2nd drilled angle belay, squeeze up an offwidth (5.8) and follow wide crack to two angle belay below chimney.

P3. THE chimney pitch - Fun, full-body chimneying is the highlight of this pitch. From the belay on the ramp, get into the tight chimney and clip the drilled pin on the face. Squeeze up the narrow chimney until it widens a little above. Continue a little higher where a 1" crack starts near the outside edge of the chimney. Use this for pro/jams and continue up. After small crack ends, go up and right following the main chimney to a two- pin belay inside chimney.

P4. This pitch continues up the chimney deep into the fissure. Easy, unprotected chimneying leads up to a large ledge above.

P5 & 6. From ledge, go East to the top of the Time Tunnel and meet up with Otto's Route. Continue to the summit via the last two pitches of Otto's Route.

Descent: via Otto's Route.


Standard rack including stoppers, small cams (TCUs & micros), medium to large cams, 1.0-1.5 Tri-cam for Otto's Route. Include a few large pieces for OW (Camalots 4,4.5,5). I got a great Lowe Ball placement on the aid section, FWIW.

Photos of Independence Chimney Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Independence Chimney Route.  Definitely an aid beg...
BETA PHOTO: Independence Chimney Route. Definitely an aid beg...
Rock Climbing Photo: Dan high in the chimney which is protected well wi...
Dan high in the chimney which is protected well wi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Dan Mottinger stemming up the OW start of P3.
Dan Mottinger stemming up the OW start of P3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of Independence Chimney start
BETA PHOTO: Start of Independence Chimney start
Rock Climbing Photo: The route follows the obvious chimney system to th...
The route follows the obvious chimney system to th...

Comments on Independence Chimney Add Comment
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By Ben Mottinger
Founding Father
Nov 12, 2001

This is the best chimney route I've ever done--the full body chimneying mixed with finger jamming on P3 is rather interesting.

On P1, it may be possible to free climb this around 5.11ish, but watch out for the flexing flake! Pro is decent enough, but may be difficult to place. On P2, a #4 Camalot protects the opening, crux moves--a #3 Friend can be placed a little higher. The pitch is a little runout if you don't have a #5 Camalot, but easier than the initial OW. A No. 5 might have been useful for the start of P3 also since it's only protected by a drilled angle low. My suggestion: if you're comfortable in 5.8 terrain, leave the cams larger than #4 Camalot at home.

A tip for the unprotected chimney pitch: the leader must 'solo' this section, but the second can be protected by a directional stopper at the top of the chimney.

Finally, a tip for finishing up on Otto's route--you only need about 5 QDs and a few runners (and a 1.5-2 tricam if you feel like it) for the last two pitches. Thus, you can leave the rest of your rack at the tunnel of time ledge and get it on the rap back down.
By Leo Paik
From: Westminster, Colorado
Mar 9, 2002

The 2 pin belay at the top of the 3rd pitch is a semi-hanging, uncomfortable stop. Be ready for the cramp.
By Anonymous Coward
Oct 14, 2003

Leave the #4.5 and 5 Camalots at home. A lighter alternative for a big piece for the off-width section on P2 might be a large big bro. But really, nothing bigger than a #4 Camalot is needed. There are lots of opportunities for TCU/Alien (up to red) placements in the finger crack that runs to the side of the chimney. The rock is quite solid here and doubles of these smaller units are nice. RPs/HB offsets are useful for the aid section. Some of the rock quality is lousy here so skip the top stepping and sew this up. The two pin anchor at the end of P3 is really only one decent pin and a partially driven old ring angle that I wouldn't trust for a second. Just tie off and clip these as pro and finish up that last unprotected section to the top of the chimney. This is a safer and infinitely more comfortable alternative than belaying here. We had 60m ropes, but still had a good amount of rope left doing it that way, so I think it might work with 50s too. You could probably link P1 and P2 if you can handle the rope drag. Linking P3 and P4 is highly recommended. Great route, but harder than it looked.
By Jason Haas
Apr 28, 2009

I freed the first pitch with Craig Weinhold last week for the FFA. I felt it was probably 11c, he thought 11d. Safe gear and pretty straightforward, though it will get much harder if/when the flexing jug comes off. The rest of the route is fun and casual with no climbing harder than 5.8.

A note about gear, an old #4 Camalot is best. The new #4 works, but isn't as secure. Also, not really a need for any gear larger than that. You could place it on P2 if you didn't feel comfortable (after that pitches crux), but it's not going to do much for you on the higher pitches.
By Zak Munro
From: VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME
Oct 26, 2014

Climbed this route yesterday and here on my thoughts: C1 pitch wasn't bad, wishing I had more offset stoppers, and really glad I had brought the blue ballnut because it was the only thing that fit at the skinny section. Also once the aiding is done I had to commit to probably the scariest mantle of my life as the holds were disintegrating below me, as well as there is only one drilled angle at the top of the pitch. The start of the chimney is pretty burly, and for the finger crack, I was very glad for doubles in 0.3-0.5 sizes, ended up linking p3-p4 as suggested and the upper section is X rated for sure, and when you're exiting the chimney, be very carful for the top is super loose and crumbly. Me and my parter both thought that there were only 4 pitches on Otto's (we weren't counting the last little top out), and I ended up belaying him up at the anchors on top of pitch two, this was supper shitty. Also be sure to bring plenty of water, because the route sits in the sun for most the day, me and my partner neglected to do so and by the top of the offwidth on P2 were spent.
By Mickey Guziak
From: Grand Junction
Mar 6, 2016
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c C1

^ Doesn't sound like Zak has climbed too much in the desert.... This route is incredibly chill and way better than the first two pitches of Otto's.
By Zak Munro
From: VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME
Mar 26, 2016

No, Mickey, at the time I had not and still don't have very much experience in the desert, but looking back at the climb, it still packed in a fair amount of excitement and was no doubt a memorable day.

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