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Safeway Spire - Five Finger Discount 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b C2-

Type:  Trad, Aid, 5 pitches, 400', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b C2- [details]
FA: Jon Butler and Cameron Burns with Luke Laeser on the first pitch (April 8, 1995)
Page Views: 2,577
Submitted By: Ben Kiessel on Feb 24, 2007

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BETA PHOTO: Bolt I pulled out with my finger tips on the rappe...


Five Finger Discount climbs Safeway Spire.

P1 - Climb up the dihedral past some bad rock, to a belay in a chimney. 5.10d, about 100'.

P2 - Cut left out of the chimney on bolts to a hanging belay on the face. C1, 30'. (Note that this pitch looked as if it would go free without too much trouble 5.11+?)

P3 - Aid crux thin gear. 30' of manky rock to a splitter crack, that leads to another hanging belay. C2-, 70'. (Note that this pitch also looked as if it would go free, the crux of which would be the manky rock on dicey gear.)

P4 - Continue up the widening crack system to a belay. 5.10 or C1, 70'.

P5 - Climb 20' of 5.9 to a thin crack in a tight dihedral, (Loweballs make this go clean). Continue to a wide crack and fun climbing, drilled pins and an interesting mantel gets you to the summit. 5.9 C1, 130'. (Note that everything but the last 30' of this pitch will go free without to much trouble. The last 30' might go free with a variation out left instead of following the bolts out right.)

We short fixed pitch 2 thinking it was much longer then it was, I would combine pitches 1 and 2 in the future. We combined pitches 3 and 4 with no problems.

This route will likely go free at hard 5.12.


To find Five Finger Discount, walk about a mile past the Liberty Cap cragging area up Ute Canyon, Safeway Spire is obvious. Start on the southeast face.


Double set of cams to #3 Camalot. #3.5, #4, #4.5, #5. Loweballs, stoppers, can't remember using tri-cams, Belay chair? NO PITONS AND HAMMER!

Photos of Safeway Spire - Five Finger Discount Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Safeway Spire from the approach.
Safeway Spire from the approach.
Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron jugging pitch 5.
Aaron jugging pitch 5.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ben on pitch 3.
Ben on pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron on the first pitch.
Aaron on the first pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Safeway Spire.
BETA PHOTO: Safeway Spire.

Comments on Safeway Spire - Five Finger Discount Add Comment
Show which comments
By Bryan Gartland
From: Helena, MT
Feb 24, 2007

Ben, I had a go at this 3 years ago but could not find the bolts/angles/bootied-angle-holes/whatever leading out left on the second pitch. We saw hardware higher up but nothing low enough to get us out of the chimney. We fixed a large hex and bailed.

Did you have to pendulum way out to find them or have they just been replaced since then?
By Ben Kiessel
Feb 25, 2007

Hey Bryan,

The pins/bolts must have been replaced, because we had no trouble finding them. Aaron climbed the first pitch and fixed it, and then short fixed and was at the second belay by the time I had reached the first. There were some new bolts at the anchors (like the one pictured out of the rock), so maybe there were some bolts added to the beginning of the second pitch also. Sorry can't remember for sure.

By Airbiscuit
Feb 26, 2007

No anchor there when we did it back in '98. Shame folks counldn't leave well enough alone and climb another 30 feet of bolt ladder. Instead of busting out the drill right away. Burns' memory must have been a little cloudy when he gave the topo to Eric. I really don't think there ever was a belay at the top of the chimney.
Bryan, we did have a bit of trouble finding the bolt ladder as you. I recall we climbed to high in the chinmey and had to downclimb and then move over via some face moves.
By Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)
Apr 1, 2008

"Burns' memory must have been a little cloudy when he gave the topo to Eric. I really don't think there ever was a belay at the top of the chimney."

Love the assumptions climbers make....
By Jeremy Cleaveland
From: Lake City, CO
Dec 1, 2008

How would the first pitch go on aid?
By Vic Zeilman
Mar 24, 2011

The first pitch seemed to go at about 5.9, C1 in and out of the aiders quite a bit. There's definitely some mandatory free climbing up in the dirty chimney getting out to the bolt ladder, but no mandatory 5.10+ anywhere. Also, you can get down off this thing with one 70m rope in 4 rappels (the first and last raps are pretty close). This route was a lot of fun.
By Tom Cruise
From: CO
Mar 9, 2013

This route needs to be freed. Free that mof.
By Michael Schneiter
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Mar 30, 2015

Did this route recently and thought it was pretty darn good, although it's definitely got the typical Monument good and bad pitches. Unfortunately, the first pitch is filled with an amazing amount of sticks and birds nest material along with other bird detritus. The crux aid pitch is heady due to the super sandy and soft nature of the rock. All of the anchors and fixed protection are in bomber shape. Enjoy! The route is in an excellent setting!

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