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Southern Arches 

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

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 850'
Original:  YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Jeff Lowe, Brad Roghar. 1968.
Page Views: 3,342
Submitted By: Jason Halladay on Jun 12, 2011

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The single piece of fixed gear on the route. June ...


When looking at a topo photo of Steinfell's Dome, the Southern Arches route is likely to stick out the most because it goes from the toe of the dome to the summit in a nice, direct line. The climbing is adventurous with only one old button head bolt as the only fixed gear on the route and easy but run-out slab climbing on the first pitch. Be prepared to do a fair bit of route finding and build your own anchors. This is a fun and rewarding outing on one of the City's most prominent formations. To keep the adventurous spirit of the route, consider stopping reading here and going out to pick your way up this line on intuition. But if you want a few more details, read on.

Pitch 1: Start from a small ledge directly below a steep, moss covered crack and flake and pull up through this to get established on the dome. Work your way up slabby sections between obvious cracks and flakes for protection to a big, obvious left-trending crack/trough. Your eventual goal is the big sideways "V" flake about half way up the dome. Head towards that and run out your 70m rope to a good belay stance in the trough about 60m below the big sideways "V" flake. 70m (5.8)

Pitch 2: Continue up the trough/crack and onto a small ledge. Work up past another flake and crack just below the big sideways V flake. Clip the only piece of fixed protection on the route, an ancient buttonhead bolt and hanger, on the face below the big V flake. Make the crux moves up the face to grab the big V flake and take a sigh of relief. Trend right along this flake and mantle up on top of continue. Cruise the flake's left-trending trough to a belay stance at its top. 70m. (5.8+)

Pitch 3: Continue up and left in the trough/corner for a few feet and resist the temptation to continue left into the chimney. Instead, face climb back right up steep but positive terrain and pull up onto lower-angle terrain. Follow a good crack on increasingly easier terrain until the rope runs out. 70m. (5.7).

Pitch 4: By now you'll probably feel safe enough to unrope and cruise the fourth class terrain to the top. Go for it.


Approach from the new Circle Creek Overlook parking area with the restroom. Once you reach the dome, head left along the base until you are directly below the big sideways "V" flake about halfway up the dome. Look for the positive mossy crack/flake on a small ledge to mark the start.

To descend, hike up towards the summit and downclimb just a short bit on the dome's north face to a bolted rap anchor. One single rappel with a 70m rope will just get you to easily downclimbable slabs and the descent trail to swing back around the dome's east side back to your packs. You can also do two single 60m rope rappels using a second bolted rappel anchor about 40m down the first rap to get to the descent trail.


A single rack from .3 camalot to #3 camalot, a set of RPs and a set of nuts. Cordelettes for building your own anchors as there are no fixed-gear anchors on the route.

Photos of Southern Arches Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Just after reaching the big sideways "V"...
Just after reaching the big sideways "V"...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up from where we started the route.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up from where we started the route.

Comments on Southern Arches Add Comment
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By SMH Climber
From: Midvale, UT
Aug 15, 2012

Don't forget the air voyager for the fixed bolt.
By SThal
From: Logan, UT
Jun 6, 2015

Good, cruiser adventure climbing - more fun with less beta. Don't fear the "+"!
By johnny utah
From: Salt Lake City
Jun 3, 2017
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

This is really a great climb on good rock for the most part. Protection is a bit tricky and route finding is a challenge. Yes, it seems possible to climb this in four pitches but really it is a seven pitch route and pitches can be linked or simuled.

1) 105'. Climb up the mossy crack just left of the large corner then up over a few face holds to where the rock gets lower angled and you can see the route unfolding ahead. A good belay can be set here with wide gear in the left facing corner crack system. 5.6

2) 100'. Go up the remainder of the left facing corner then cruise face up and left to right facing flakes/cracks to a good belay stop on top of an arch like flake. 5.7

3) 95'. Exit the belay to the left and follow a think crack up and left to a trough that leads up into an easy right facing corner and crack. Just before the top of the corner step left to a really nice belay ledge with some grass. 5.6

4) 125'. Go straight up over huge face holds to and over a short steep bit with a right facing flake then cruise some low angled cracks of and slightly left then step right onto a steep face with marginal gear passing an old bolt (in need of replacement) and past to the bottom of the V flake. Pass around the flake to the right then climb up the left trending crack above. Belay in this crack at the top of on slightly below you come to a small overhang. 5.8+ R (due to the bolt quality).
Note: Beware that when looking for the ancient bolt under the V flake and the route that there is another identical looking bolt on the steep face to the right of the correct bolt.

5) 110'. Trend up to the left on some nice cracks then step right up the face and over the bulge. Be careful not to go too far up to the left toward a chimney feature before stepping right as the rock gets really poor and steeper. Belay on a low angled crack. 5.7

6) 220'. Climb low angled slopes up the ridge finding a belay where suitable. 5.3

7) 110'. Go up and around the left of a roof to the summit. 5.3

Competent parties could easily link p1-2 then simul-climb p 6-7.

Rack: .1-.2 and #4 single, .3-#3 double, set of nuts, many long slings and cord. Anchors will take up much of your gear.

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