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The Elephant's Perch
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Chasing the Dragon T 
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Mountaineer's Route T 
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Original Beckey T 
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Wafer of Woe T 
Wendy T 

Mountaineer's Route 

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

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Gordon Webster, TM Herbert, Dennis Hennek, 1967
Season: summer
Page Views: 30,830
Submitted By: Clint Cummins on Jul 20, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (114)
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BETA PHOTO: Detail for pitch 4. Stay right, up to the roof, ge...


The large right facing corner system which diagonals left.

Check out Brad Brandewie's 2003 photo trip report and 2004 photo trip report to see what the climbing is like!

Quoting from the topo: "The easiest route on the Perch but somewhat dangerous. Several loose blocks and routefinding problems."


On the West Face.


standard rack.

Photos of Mountaineer's Route Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: composite view of the route.
composite view of the route.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Perch in all its glory.
The Perch in all its glory.
Rock Climbing Photo: topo by Reid Dowdle
BETA PHOTO: topo by Reid Dowdle
Rock Climbing Photo: Me on the 4th pitch traverse under the roof.
Me on the 4th pitch traverse under the roof.
Rock Climbing Photo: The flake that I highlight in my inset is super ho...
BETA PHOTO: The flake that I highlight in my inset is super ho...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from pitch 8.
Looking down from pitch 8.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sarah setting off on P3 below the stupid fun roof ...
Sarah setting off on P3 below the stupid fun roof ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down Pitch 3
Looking down Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Approach.
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: Elephant's Perch - SW Face, Left   20. Chasing the...
BETA PHOTO: Elephant's Perch - SW Face, Left 20. Chasing the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Anchors at top of pitch 3. The only real anchors o...
Anchors at top of pitch 3. The only real anchors o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 7
Pitch 7
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down on Saddleback Lake from the Mountaine...
Looking down on Saddleback Lake from the Mountaine...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is the first pitch of the route. I had diffic...
BETA PHOTO: This is the first pitch of the route. I had diffic...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 4
Pitch 4
Rock Climbing Photo: Coming up the crack to the bolted belay below the ...
Coming up the crack to the bolted belay below the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: slightly zoomed in view of the tiered roofs traver...
BETA PHOTO: slightly zoomed in view of the tiered roofs traver...
Rock Climbing Photo: Most of the first 5 pitches are visible in this ph...
Most of the first 5 pitches are visible in this ph...
Rock Climbing Photo: The large blank diamond on the topo.
BETA PHOTO: The large blank diamond on the topo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo from up-valley showing the upper half of the...
BETA PHOTO: Photo from up-valley showing the upper half of the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Slabby, friction pitch 4
Slabby, friction pitch 4
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Koren Nydick nearing the crux of the route.
Koren Nydick nearing the crux of the route.

Show All 24 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Mountaineer's Route Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 7, 2017
By Brian in SLC
From: Sandy, Utah
Jul 22, 2007

Always got a kick out of the commentary on that route topo.
By rpc
Mar 21, 2008

Great route! Picked a wrong crack on topo's pitch 6 (went too far left for whatever reason).
By Jeff Deutsch
Aug 31, 2008

At the risk of looking like an idiot, I'll mention that the Mountaineer's Route is on the West face, about a 10 minute hike left from likely bivy locations. Seagull and Lost Horizons are directly above the bivy and start with a left leaning gully with chockstone topped by a triple tiered roof -- just like Mountaineer's Route. From the large number of bail anchors we found on these routes, others have made the same mistake while aiming for Mountaineer's Route.
By Jim Donini
Mar 25, 2009

If you do this one first your impression of climbs on the EP will be a little skewed. The route is on good but not great rock, and the rating is a bit soft. The other climbs that I did feature great rock and stiff ratings.
By Stan Pitcher
From: SLC, UT
Jul 23, 2010
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Watch your rope around the tiered roofs on p4. Very easy to get profanity-inducing rope drag here! I would recommend either back cleaning everything till you get to the arete which has great pro or extending the third pitch to the arete and belaying there. This is a very fun climb on mostly good rock.
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 2, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Great route. I have taken my kids up this - yes not as good as the other routes but a classic moderate. The final fat crack slows down the beginners but the rest is easy for most climbers.
By Jeffrey Gagliano
From: Pennsburg, PA
Sep 13, 2011

Just lead this route two weeks ago. Lead every pitch. The route is mostly 5.5 and lower, with occasional sections of harder terrain. An excellent route for the new 5.9 leader. Keep in mind though, this route will not prepare you one bit for other routes on this rock.
By Spencer Weiler
From: Salt Lake city
Jul 25, 2012

If you are a 5.10 climber and are doing this one as a warmup for the other routes, I highly recommend the wafer of woe pitch on "chasing the dragon" to avoid the two gully pitches on mountaineers. Stellar flake and hand crack climbing. This one is a cruiser route, really fun overall.
By Kevin Neville
From: Salt Lake City
Aug 10, 2012

Climbed this route 8/7/12 and loved it. My first alpine experience and I appreciated the perfect hand jams on the last twenty feet of the 7th pitch. Great route. Awesome rock.
By Brian Hestetune
From: Logan, UT
Oct 2, 2012

I second Stan on the pitch 4 comment. If you don't back clean, I recommend putting a cam up as high as you can in the roofs and clipping the rope directly in. I mistakenly extended that piece with a runner which allowed the rope to sink to low and catch the flake when I took out slack at the top. It is also nearly impossible (impossible in our case) to communicate from the top of pitch 4 to the belayer. Another good reason to extend pitch 3 to the arete.
By Cory Harelson
From: Boise, ID
Oct 8, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Fun climbing, and for "the worst rock on the Perch", the rock is still pretty darn excellent. The first two pitches are sort of ho-hum, but the rest of the route is all 4 star. Next time I'll try the alternate start.

We were able to link pitches 3 & 4, and 6 & 7 using a 70m rope. We could have linked 1 & 2 also, but the rope drag would have been heinous. If linking 3 and 4, be careful to either not protect, or protect and backclean under the roof, unless you like rope drag. I clipped the bolt at the hanging belay with a double length runner, didn't protect again until around the arete, and didn't have problem with rope drag.
By S.Lee
Jul 3, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

My first "big" alpine climb. The pitch up to the triple roofs and the pitch exiting triple roofs were fantastic! Amazing exposure and well protected climbing. We did the climb in ~7hrs (3 climbers, 2 of which are guides). Definitely no sport multipitch (2 trustworthy bolts on the entire route), and I wouldnt recommend this as a first multipitch trad route. Still an amazing climb though. Makes me want to do more perch climbs.
By Dougald MacDonald
Aug 7, 2013

We started with the amazing Wafer of Woe variation (the first 5.10 pitch, leading to the second belay on Mtnrs Route). We also did an excellent variation to the sixth pitch, climbing steep cracks to the left of the junky 5.7 corner after the slab, and then traversing about 25 feet right to rejoin the line just below the 5.8/5.9 cracks on the 7th pitch. (Or, maybe this is the route, who knows?) With these variations, this was overall better than Sideline to Astro-Elephant, in our opinion.
By Chris Doll
From: Spokane
Sep 16, 2013

After reading the topo and the trip reports for this route, I was a little concerned about getting off route, however it was pretty straight forward and easy to follow. There were some loose boulders and rocks on the route above the corner of the diamond so choose your holds carefully.

We broke this route into 6 pitches with a 60m rope which saved a lot of time by ending at the following belay stations:
P1 At the tree above the mantle
P2 At the anchors below the triple roof
P3 At the top of the gully below the diamond
P4 In a large crack 5-10' above a large loose looking block.
P5 Above the top of the 5.9 finger crack
P6 Top of the route
By Dr. Long Arm
Oct 27, 2013
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Great route. Not as many loose blocks as the topo would suggest. We climbed this in late october, ran out of time/light and got to the top in the dark and ended up spending the night as the traverse to the descent gully was snow covered and dangerous to cross in the dark. Full write up and photos of our trip here:
By Nic Lazzareschi
Jul 1, 2014

Thoughts on linking pitches one and two? Anyone?
By Trevor.
From: Boise, ID
Jul 4, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I'm not sure about linking pitches 1 and 2, but We did pitches 1-3 as two pitches by belaying at the small tree halfway up the second pitch.
By Avi B.
Sep 9, 2014

Beautiful route! Do-able as a car-to-car, but next time I think I would leave some overnight gear at the campsite by the trailhead and wait for the morning boat shuttle.
By Gary Owen
May 18, 2015

As of June 2014, the normal crossing had washed out. A hand line was in place a few minutes upstream. See "area" photos for more detail. As of mid-June 2015, the log bridge was in place across the creek and the approach was nearly snow-free.
By Jayson Nissen
From: Corvallis, OR
Jul 9, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a X

When I climbed the route I did the face traverse under the roofs which was definitely X rated. I did this because I read the dashed line on the topo as indicating a face traverse. A fall on this 5.7 traverse from the bolt anchor around the roof will result in a 30+ foot pendulum into the wall to the right.

As Andrews says it is much safer and equally easy to traverse left via the crack under the roof and protect the climb using that crack. Just watch out for getting your rope stuck in the crack when you pull around the corner.
By Andrew Mayer
From: Driggs, ID
Jul 10, 2015
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Cool route. certainly not X or R rated. there is abundant pro in the crack at the lowest portion of the tiered roofs (but as Stan and Brian mention, make sure to back clean and extend to minimize the rope drag) If you traverse lower on the face as I believe Jayson is describing, then yes there is no pro.
By drewford
From: Wasatch Back, UT
Aug 2, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

In light of a recent fatality, see this pic for detailed 4th pitch beta:

Great alpine route, have fun, but don't go on cruise control just because it's "5.8".
By Alisse Cassell
From: Seattle
Aug 4, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Definitely not 5.9! Mostly 5.6-5.7 with a few 5.8 moves, truly. Great climb, no route finding issues or rock worse than typical alpine. Fun!
By ForrestKaye
Sep 3, 2015

Careful of the wafer of woe variation mentioned in the comments if you're not a solid 5.10 leader. I did it and thought it was fine but thought the comments were a bit misleading. Seemed a bit R to me, but still awesome. That pitch is part of Chasing the dragons, which has an excellent topo, so look for wafer of woe there. I find this when I was looking for info on that pitch.
By Jeffrey Gagliano
From: Pennsburg, PA
Oct 26, 2015

No exactly sure what the fascination is with linking pitches on a climb like this. It's not that long, it's not that difficult (most of the time). Get a crack of dawn start and you'll have plenty of time to complete it.
By Kurt Howes
Jul 9, 2016

At the end of p4 after doing the tiered roofs and then up a gully you arrive at the bottom of "the diamond" where the route then proceeds left. I didn't have a topo and going right looked better so I did. After 100' of climbing a party behind us informed me I was off route so I down climbed. I'd love to know if this variation ultimately goes as I thought I saw chalk and it was great 5.7 climbing. Anyone?
By Andy Novak
From: Golden, Co
Jul 23, 2016

KURT: I think thats Chasing the Dragon. That pitch goes at 5.8. See that climb's topo.

A couple notes on this great climb: Both the leader and follower need to pay close attention when pulling up the slack on the roofs pitch. The flakes make it very easy for the rope to get stuck, but this shouldn't be a problem if the leader pulls slowly and the follower is paying attention. On the 6th pitch, stay close to the corner on the right. There is a 5.7ish looking crack that goes a little left but this is off route. Also, fires are NOT allowed! This is a Wilderness Area, and it was disappointing to see so many ugly fire rings in such a pristine area.
By Scott
From: Colorado
Aug 22, 2017
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Don't expect all the routes on the perch to have similar grading to this
By Jay Morse
From: Hooksett, New Hampshire
Sep 7, 2017

Somes mixed notes on this climb:

Summit Post's pitch-by-pitch beta was very good. We had no route-finding issues following it. The descent information, however, left a lot to be desired. Expect lots of 4th-class scrambling and at least an hour to find your way from the top of mountaineer's route over to the descent gully. There is a separate "walkoff" to the left, but the word around camp was that it is quite the slog and involved some sections of 5th-class descending. If your second is not comfortable on 4th-class terrain and some low 5th class moves here and there with deadly consequences of a slip, leave yourself time for 3 more full pitches to the summit of the perch. But honestly, if your second is not comfortable unroped on 3rd and 4th class terrain, this is probably not an appropriate route to take them on because of the descent. If you aren't comfortable free soloing 4th class and up to 5.2, this probably isn't an appropriate route for you. Leave plenty of time for the descent and bring your headlamps. If someone here is knowledgeable about the easiest way from the top of Mountaineer's to the descent Gully, it would probably be much appreciated by future climbers.

I do suggest summiting the Perch. It is gorgeous and is a relatively easy scramble down to the descent gully from there. Scrambling down from the summit to that gully looking out at the Sawtooths and down on the Saddleback Lakes with 1000'+ of air below you is an absolute gem and one of the highlights of the day.

I think the route would get 5.9 at City of Rocks for the crux pitch, but 5.8 is probably an appropriate alpine grade. However, don't let all of the comments knocking the difficulty of this climb fool you into thinking that this is a snoozefest with some climbing moves here and there. It is very sustained at 5.5-5.7 for the large majority of the climb and just about each pitch has a challenging move or section that is solidly 5.7 or 5.8, with some sections that are fairly sustained at 5.7/5.8.

If you or your second is short, the opening moves of Pitch 4 (Leaving the base of the diamond, pulling onto the slab) will be the crux of the route. If you have a shorter second, you should leave them a long runner hanging off your first piece so that if they can't do the move and swing out left onto the blank slab they will have something to pull on to get themselves established on the route. Keep in mind that communication will be tough on this pitch - only basic commands will be understandable. Cut the pitch short to communicate better if you are worried about your second on this move.

Standard Rack up to #4 worked fine for me, I didn't think doubles were necessary to keep it G-rated. The #4 is definitely worth bringing up, I used it on almost every pitch and in quite a few anchors.

The rappel out of the descent gully is at the very end of the gully. We used a tree with fresh tat and a rap ring that was to climber's right and a 60m rope got us where we needed to be. Rap slightly towards climber's left. There is another short steep section in the gully a few hundred feet before the final rap, which my second felt more comfortable rapping (off a couple of cams) but there is a relatively easy downclimb to climber's right.

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