REI Community
Shoshone Spire
Select Route:
In Memoriam T 
Poison Flower T 
Shoshone South Face T 

Shoshone South Face 

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

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 600'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Al Day and Ray Breuninger ~1970
Season: Spring to Fall
Page Views: 13,353
Submitted By: ConorD on Feb 21, 2010

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (48)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [2 people like this page.]
BETA PHOTO: Andrew following up the splitter variation to the ...


P1: start with a series of cracks starting near the west arete. There are many possible choices, but the left-most splitter is probably the easiest and great climbing. Continue until your rope runs out and belay from a tree.
P2: Choose from many variations, and climb up to the ledge that separates the spire into two sections. This is referred to as the lunch ledge, and it is possible to skip the first two pitches by scrambling to this point from the ledges to the east.
P3: Start directly under the small tree about 100 feet up. Take the "railroad tracks", where you'll find a fixed cam and a pin. Belay at tree with gear.
P4: Continue straight up from here following cracks and flares to the large ledge(160 ft).Sling belay off block or gear.
P5: From under the roof, move right out avoiding the roof to get back on the face. Continue past a few face moves(crux) to cracks, and finish on the next large ledge(160 ft). Sling Belay from Blocks or pro.
From this ledge, walk north and around to top out.


Shoshone Spire. The route starts on the west arete of the south face, with a few possible variations. Descend by scrambling down the northeast side, continuing down to lunch ledge. From here choose a slung tree(there are a few), and set one double rope rappel to the base.


All Gear. Bring a rack of single cams to 3", and set of stoppers. One of the best aspects to this climb is the absence of bolts, save one fixed pin.

Photos of Shoshone South Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: From the P5 rap station looking down the whole won...
From the P5 rap station looking down the whole won...
Rock Climbing Photo: Traversing to the poison flower finish from the st...
BETA PHOTO: Traversing to the poison flower finish from the st...
Rock Climbing Photo: You look at photos beforehand of this spire and yo...
You look at photos beforehand of this spire and yo...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is the "Big Bonsai Tree" where you ...
BETA PHOTO: This is the "Big Bonsai Tree" where you ...
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the summit
View from the summit
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 4
Pitch 4
Rock Climbing Photo: P3 Stiffest moves on the route and arguably the mo...
P3 Stiffest moves on the route and arguably the mo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Lunch ledge feeling good
Lunch ledge feeling good
Rock Climbing Photo: Approximate Topo
BETA PHOTO: Approximate Topo
Rock Climbing Photo: A cool variation I have concocted after climbing t...
BETA PHOTO: A cool variation I have concocted after climbing t...
Rock Climbing Photo: emily following the last pitch
emily following the last pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: South Face of Shoshone
South Face of Shoshone

Comments on Shoshone South Face Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 22, 2017
By ConorD
From: Monf***ingtana
Feb 23, 2010

Does anyone know who the FA party was on this?
By ConorD
From: Monf***ingtana
Feb 26, 2010

Thanks man, hard to find that info.
By Dan Bachen
From: Helena, MT
Mar 8, 2010
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Great climb, cracks the whole way up
By Ty Morrison-Heath
From: Bozeman, MT
May 13, 2013
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Made a little video of this climb if anyone is interested.

Freaking sweet climb. So many cracks to choose from. Had several distinct styles though! I found myself pure jamming one pitch and delicate almost face climbing the next.
By James Higginson
Mar 6, 2014

TMH, thanks for sharing the video. It convinced me to get on Shoshone as soon as the rock is dry. Blodgett is amazing.

Question: Is there a descent gully that can be done without a rappel?
By Akio Joy
From: Bozeman, MT
Apr 6, 2014

Anyone have an idea if/when blodgett dries out? I hear it is usually dry early because its all south facing.

By michael s...
From: Denver, CO
May 4, 2014

Just did it yesterday. Snow was a non-issue. Took us about 12 hours Missoula to Missoula. You can even probably rap off the Bonsai tree with a single rope. There is a slung block with a quicklink for an intermediate rap anchor. Might think about bringing some cord to back it up with.

Bring a double rack.

So fun.
By IJMayer
From: Bellingham, WA
May 15, 2014

Some lessons learned:

1 Don't cross the creek too early. Best to find a crossing that leads to a direct shot up the talus to where you need to go.

2. Scout out the shortcut/walk off to/from the lunch ledge. It was really hard to find for us and we ended up rappelling.

3. The descriptions we had for the start were vague but there were a lot of options. The whole route is pretty vague, except for the start from the lunch ledge where there is fixed gear. But go with your hunch, it's all good.
By Tom Causley
Aug 20, 2014

Wish there was more detail about starting this climb so this is what I found.

Upon arriving at the cliff band above the approach gully we headed west along its base. We arrived at a large, crack covered, light colored face that was the edge of the south face of the prominent western arete of the lower buttress of the spire. We walked beyond this face along the trail and decided that the routes to choose from are on the light colored face. I looked for the "left most" splitter and what I saw was a large OW crack in a right facing dihedral with a tricky looking start off the ground. I also saw a finger size crack in a right facing dihedral to the right. Right of that was a series of flared cracks and seams that looked hard to climb/ protect. Right of that was a slitter hand crack that jags left over a face then straightens out again. Right of that is the edge of the face and a chossy gully that could potentially be climbed.

I decided to try to go for what might have been the "left most" splitter by going into the right facing finger crack dihedral because the OW didn't look very "splitter". I got into some 10+ chossy pg-13 climbing into the very thin finger crack dihedral. I decided to bail.

Then I chose the hand crack with the jag to the left and found it to be extremely enjoyable! 5.9 Hands on steep granite. To finish it choose your own adventure to a ledge. Belay here or climb easy 4th-5th to the treed' ledge above.

Not sure where the "left most" splitter may be but the right most splitter on the light colored face is excellent. Hope this info gets you off the ground with ease.
By DanielPerret
Oct 25, 2014

Aim for the ledge on the arete as the last belay before the top.

First and last pitches are stellar.
By Ryan Day Thompson
From: Phoenix, Arizona
Oct 18, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Just to add to everything here:

This really doesn't need to be a stress fest or an epic. I was super stressed about the approach. Super stressed about finding the base. Super stressed about the crux. Super stressed about the descent. Blah, blah, blah etc.

1) The base really isn't a big deal. Just pick a place that looks good for you somewhere over on the west arete area and climb. For some reason we got confused amid all the conflicting info and tried to start this climb at the lunch ledge by scrambling the ledge system up the lower face un-roped. That WAS worthy of stress. It isn't good scrambling at all. Don't make that mistake unless 5th class moss scrambling is fun for you for some reason.

2) The climbing is probably stiff 5.8. It never really felt like 5.9. Everything was there in abundance and I'm not positive straight friction was ever a requirement and there was nothing that required any real pucker. If you feel good on low moderate this will probably not stretch you beyond what you are able.

3) The descent is actually a delight compared to other Montana descents. We climbed The Mutt And Jeff the day before this and compared to that descent this is like a relaxing hike with some jugs and minimal consequence (whereas on The Mutt and Jeff it's like "Don't f--k up this descent or you'll probably be dead").

Don't stress. Just give'r!
By Rick Rowan
From: Missoula
Nov 8, 2015

Had a fun but very long day on Shoshone South yesterday. Ran out of sunlight on the last pitch and needed to build a gear anchor about 100 feet off the top. Ended up leaving a few pieces and lockers in a crack system just below the last belay ledge. I plan to get back there before winter fully sets in but if anyone beats me to it please get in touch with me. I can be reached at or by phone at 203-414-6443.

By Max Dismukes
From: North Quincy, MA
Sep 6, 2016
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

As of August 2016 you can climb and get down off this route safely with ONE 60M ROPE!

I added a photo of the large White Pine, which looks like a Bonsai tree, where you will find a black, two bolt anchor with chain for rappelling. It's a full 30 meters straight down (tie knots!) to the next two bolt anchor, which will take you to the ground with a shorter rappel.

The Bonsai tree is pretty easy to find. From the summit (which is beautiful!) scramble down 3rd/4th class to the North and East until you reach lunch ledge. Don't continue over to the west side of the ledge (Where the route climbs), but rather keep scrambling south down 3rd class and you will see the big Bonsai tree right where it really cliffs out.

This was a wonderful route from start to finish in my opinion. Great rock, great movement, great setting.
By Richard Plummer
Jan 24, 2017

Jim Montgomery from Cody Wyoming and I did the first one day Blodgett Falls water-ice climb and Shoshone South Face accent in winter of 1989. Long day. Thank you Jim for the motivation.
By Harrison Schutt
From: Missoula, MT
May 22, 2017

Bring a double rack to avoid runout and for gear choices when building anchors

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About