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Skull Queen 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c C2

Type:  Trad, Aid, 12 pitches, 1200', Grade V
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c C2 [details]
FA: Chuck Clance, Jeff Altenburg, and Steve Bosque, June 1984
Page Views: 8,406
Submitted By: Andrew Klein on Sep 22, 2006

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Robert Hecker setting up portaledge in not-so-nice...

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Skull Queen is a good alternative if the South Face is full. The aid is not much more difficult, a few micronut placements on pitch 8 and a few awkward placements on pitch 10. The last pitch is a stellar 5.10c finger crack. Climb to Dinner Ledge via South Face Route and do the Kor Roof pitch. Head right into the slanting crack (the bolt above the roof is for the S. Face route) and follow the rivet/bolt latter (in great condition as of June 2006). It is more or less straight up for 7 pitches from here (Supertopo or the Reid guides are accurate). Most likely will not need for a hammer or pins, and I was able to get away without using a hook either by doing a tricky free move (~.10a) on pitch 10 before the belay. I thought the quality of this route was a little better then the S. Face but they are pretty similar. Cheers, AK!


Route starts same as S. Face. After summitting stay up and right on trail that leads to N. Dome Gully decent.


Standard Free Rack (2 sets of cams including small sizes, 1-2 sets of nuts), 1 #4.5 BD Camalot or equivalent, 1-2 sets micronuts or offsets, 12 rivet hangers for pitch 5, 1 hook. Route relies on a few fixed heads to remain clean (in great shape as of 2006), so you may want to bring a few mid-sized heads and a hammer just in case.

Photos of Skull Queen Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Barry feeling great in the morning after a good ni...
Barry feeling great in the morning after a good ni...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tim Klein jugging pitch 10 on Skull Queen
Tim Klein jugging pitch 10 on Skull Queen
Rock Climbing Photo: Barry Collins clearing the big roof.
Barry Collins clearing the big roof.
Rock Climbing Photo: At the crux thin crack on Skull Queen-photo Tim Kl...
At the crux thin crack on Skull Queen-photo Tim Kl...
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott jugging up P9!
Scott jugging up P9!
Rock Climbing Photo: Belaying my partner up Pitch 6 after leading the l...
Belaying my partner up Pitch 6 after leading the l...
Rock Climbing Photo: Trav Strong. Skull Queen, Sept 2010
Trav Strong. Skull Queen, Sept 2010
Rock Climbing Photo: Ryan leading out the bolt ladder. P5?
Ryan leading out the bolt ladder. P5?
Rock Climbing Photo: Barry Collins on pitch one
Barry Collins on pitch one

Comments on Skull Queen Add Comment
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By Aaron S
Apr 24, 2007

The supertopo recommends bringing a large cam for the ow and last pitches but I would leave it at home. The ow pitch goes from a #4 camalot size to a full squeeze (too big for a cam) within a couple feet making it worthless. My buddy used it at the start of the last pitch but it didn’t look necessary. The good news is that the ow pitch is pretty easy climbing and is probably just as easy in boots as climbing shoes.

I think this route is underrated in terms of quality and just fun climbing.
By Osprey Overhang
From: ...
May 3, 2010

A fun route for moderate aid.

Expect several bolt/rivet ladders linking cracks. If the line was continuous it would be classic.
By Jake Dickerson
From: Lander, WY
Oct 3, 2016

Just did this route this past weekend and it was alot of fun! A great first wall. The gear beta is pretty spot on, we did it with 1 set of RP's+offset nuts, 1 set of BD nuts, Triples in .3-.5, doubles in .75-4, one #5, 2 rivet hangers, and 2 cam hooks. It would have been nice to have some offset cams. If you don't mind leapfrogging rivet hangers the bolt ladder on P5 goes fast, I think there was a total of 6 bolts and usually 2-3 rivets between bolts. We fixed to P% on the first day and finished on the second.

Here are some updated pitch descriptions after P4 (kor roof).

P5 LOOSE BLOCK ALERT! The very first move right of the belay is off a loose block, i put a .3 in and saw it move, please be careful of parties below. I just reached up high and clipped a fixed nut, a few more small nuts leads to a rivet/ bolt ladder, pretty straight forward.

P6 Kinda dirty but there are penty of spots in the crack to get gear, the anchors are up and left past the trees. You may need to channel your inner childhood and climb trees up to the anchor.

P7 Only spot where you need the 4's and 5. if you are solid on squeeze chimneys you dont need the 5 and leave all the small gear at the belay and free this pitch at 5.8. The short chimney leads to a hand crack up and left to the next anchor, it takes 1-3 camalot and maybe a few finger sized pieces.

P8 All aid at C2. Start up the crack on the left, stand up on a rivet into a small crack requiring a few hook moves, trend right at the bolts, up a thin crack and back left to the anchor.

P9 A few bolts to a thin seam past a few fixed copperheads. trend right to a tension traverse to the final crack to the anchor. A blue totem cam is $$$ here.

P10 Prolly the trickiest aid of the climb. Start up the left crack (inobvious) to gain the main left facing corner with a few fixed nuts. Go up to a ledge up and left to the next crack and a few rivet heads to the next anchor.

P11 Splitter 5.10 crack.

Rap Beta: We rapped down South Face and it was really straight forward. The rap stations are to climbers left of skull queen.

We did this without any beak/hawks or alot of offsets. It was my first wall and pretty straightforward. It will possibly take longer than south face because of more aid.

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