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A Question of Balance S 
Banana Peel T 
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Calculus Crack T 
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Karen's Math T 
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Rambles T 
Rock On T 
Rock On Direct (aka Hard On) T 
Sickle T 
Slab Alley T 
Snake T 
South Arete T 
Sparrow T 
St. Vitus' Dance T 
Start From Scratch T 
Teetering on the Brink of Madness S 
Unfinished Symphony T,S 
Vector T 
Voodoo Amour T 
Whirlwind T 
White Lightning T 

St. Vitus' Dance 

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

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 600'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Robin Barley, Gordie Smaill 1974
Season: Summer, Late July, August
Page Views: 13,369
Submitted By: Michael John Gray on Jul 22, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (143)
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BETA PHOTO: Pitch 1 of Calculus Crack / St. Vitus' Dance.


P1 From the base of the Apron climb up trees and cracks 5.7 to the base of a beautiful 5.9 jam crack. There is a small square of carpet on this belay assuring you are on route.

P2 Climb a nice 5.9 right facing dihedral with thin gear and mantel left at the top to a ledge this is the direct variation and should be done.

P3 This next pitch is a long pitch starting with nice hand jams steepening at the top into a wide fist offwidth crack. Its tempting to place a big cam at the top although I find saving a #3 Camalot for the belay essential. This pitch ends on a small ledge below 3 prominent cracks.

P4 Climb up starting on the left crack to an obvious traverse, across the crack systems proing as you go. This is the crux pitch its exposed and the best on the route. (5.9)

P5 The final pitch from a ramp climb up to a 5.9 hand jam roof that I thought was 5.8 although stellar fun its very short. Then climb up easy slab for the rest of the rope and find a belay near the top of the Apron (could be a 6th pitch of easy slab).

I would recommend that you then continue up memorial crack a beautiful 5.9 crack off of memorial ledge to The Squamish Buttress to summit the Chief and make it a nice full day.


This route starts on Baseline Ledge, hike from the parking lot staying left at the top of the hill and follow it out along the base and up. (I would recommend buying a guidebook Kevin Mclane recently Published an awesome extensive guide to Squamish)


Single rack Camalots 0.5 to #3 doubles on #2, and a #3 maybe a 3.5. Some small cams i.e. Aliens, TCUs are usefull, and of course a full rack of nuts.

Photos of St. Vitus' Dance Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Todd at the 5.8 crux on Pitch 2 of Calculus Crack/...
BETA PHOTO: Todd at the 5.8 crux on Pitch 2 of Calculus Crack/...
Rock Climbing Photo: Follow the obvious (polished) crack
BETA PHOTO: Follow the obvious (polished) crack
Rock Climbing Photo: To help you find the start, which is deep in the w...
BETA PHOTO: To help you find the start, which is deep in the w...
Rock Climbing Photo: Kevin Vallely on P1 of St. Vitus Dance.
Kevin Vallely on P1 of St. Vitus Dance.
Rock Climbing Photo: Kevin Vallely on the last pitch of St. Vitus Dance...
Kevin Vallely on the last pitch of St. Vitus Dance...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2 on St. Vitus' Dance this climb has three e...
Pitch 2 on St. Vitus' Dance this climb has three e...

Comments on St. Vitus' Dance Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 7, 2016
By David Trippett
From: Squamish, BC
Apr 9, 2008

St Vitus "Extra" (St Vitus Direct+St Vitus+Karen's Math+Memorial Crack) makes for 6 pitches of varied and enjoyable 5.9 climbing. And Now you can continue all the way up to the top of the Chief on Sonnie Trotter's 5.9 variation to the Squamish Buttress; "The Butt Face" for a full day of 5.9 goodness.
By atfarley farley
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 11, 2011

"Crux" (bulge crack) is very hand size/style dependent. For larger hands and upper body strength it feels like 5.8. For smaller hands and a finesse style climber it may be 5.10
By Colin Parker
From: Idyllwild, CA
Aug 9, 2011

I'm thinking about doing this route, but I have a question about the crux section. I'm a pretty solid 5.10a/b trad leader, but I don't have much experience doing fist jams (tons of hand/finger jams). Could this section be a show-stopper for me?
By Mark Roberts
From: Vancouver, BC
Mar 26, 2012

Climbed this yesterday, loved it though it kicked our asses.

Some notes:

Not sure what's meant by a small patch of carpet, whatever this referred to isn't there anymore.

Squamish Select says the first pitch of St. Vitus proper is 50m, but I think it's closer to 40. Wide and burly, I found this pitch the most difficult. Didn't find many places to place nuts at all, for the most part just wide cams. I thought the gear recommendations here were a little sparse for me, though I'm far from a hardman. If sustained steep 5.9 hands/fists sounds near your limit I'd recommend 4 #3s (including one for the gear belay) and 3 #4s at least. Maybe some wider nuts, we only had nuts up to a WC #10 and I placed one #10. I found I was able to make a bomber gear belay with a #3 and a .4 in the left crack and a #1 in the right.

Also, I noticed a bolted belay about half way up the first pitch to the left, I suppose it's the belay to No Saints Left. Looks like a good plan B if you want to get on this but don't feel you have the rack to feel comfortable, the traverse looked pretty doable.

The next two pitches are not sustained. The second probably is slightly technically harder than the first, in that there is a bona fide offwidth section in which you can fit your whole body (but protects adequately with a .75 and a #4.) After the offwidth it's an easy romp to a sturdy shrub. I backed up a sling around the shrub with a #3 and a .5, again a bomber belay.

You can link the next (short) pitch with the scramble that follows if you have a 70m. They say this is the crux but I found it the easiest pitch of the three. Three moves of steep fist with great feet and it's over, the rest is 5.4. Even with a 70m it's a rope stretcher, we found I actually had to stand up at the bottom belay so my partner could reach the tree before Memorial Gully.
By Matt Hoffmann
From: Squamish
Apr 23, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Great route. Fun jamming with a good bit of variety. The bulge section is easy to protect and aid past if it's really giving you trouble but, it's really only 2 moves. Seriously fun route.
By Nick Wilder
Site Landlord
From: The Bubble
Aug 3, 2012

Have double Camalots from #1, 2, 3, and 4 was fine (plus some smaller stuff). The wide crack on P3 take a surprising amount of smaller stuff.
By Sean H
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 6, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Super fun route, imho. Pitch five felt like easy 5.8 to me, fwiw. Like, one or two moves, at that. Point is, def don't be scared of the word "overhanging" in guidebooks or similar.

Pitch 3 gave me an ear to ear grin the whole time, and I think I placed like 3 or 4 pieces tops. Mostly vertical, Indian Creek style hands, on granite, getting wider near the top - but easy wide - not hard, FML, Yosemite wide. Reminded me of p2 of Phobos in the meadows.

I guess my beta comment there would be - if "sustained", but straightforward hand jamming is comfortable to you, don't bother with the triples (or more!) racks some will suggest. Otherwise, bring the gear, and you'll enjoy the pitch just the same.

Also, my partner thought the pulling on trees and branches and what not on P1 was lame, but I kinda found it fun. Felt like gym climbing holds when they came up.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Aug 7, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This one will get the feet hurting. The 10a variation for P2 is highly recommend. I was happy with 3x#3, 1x#3.5, and 2x#4. And I was glad I saved a #1 and #3 (hence the extra) for the belay atop P3.
By rl23455
From: Portland, OR
Jul 26, 2014

The 2nd pitch is/feels offwidth, but there is a finger crack inside. But the exit is offwidth as the inside crack disappears. There is a parallel crack to use as side pull. I had to walk a BD #1 in the finger crack. Great climb.
By Eddie F
From: Edwards, CO
Jun 15, 2015

Nick's gear recommendation was pretty good. We had singles from small to .75, doubles of 1 and 2, triples of 3, a 3.5 and a 4 and were pretty comfortable. make sure you save a 3 or a 2 and something in the .75/.5 range for the anchor at the top of the hand crack. Also, mountain project says start in the left crack and work your way right. We found that if you start in the hand crack on the right side of the ledge and work your way right to the crux, it made the start of the pitch significantly easier.
By Mark Roberts
From: Vancouver, BC
Jul 24, 2015

I followed my gear beta from above yesterday and was woefully overburdened. Nick's gear recommendations are solid. I placed two #1s, two #2s, two #3s and two #4s, spaced out with other, much smaller gear. Could have done without the second #4 as there's a bomber 0.4 placement a foot above where I placed it. It was nice to make a gear belay at the top of that pitch with all those leftover #3s and #4s though.

If you really are maxed out with 5.9 hands, fists and offwidth techniques then that original rack I suggested might not be a terrible recommendation, but definitely overkill for a competent climber.

New rack recommendation: Double rack from 0.3 to #4, extra #3 for the first belay and some nuts.

Some beautiful climbing on this route in many styles of wide. Great fun.
By B-Slim
From: San Jose
May 16, 2016

Totally understand why ppls recommend double of #4 and #3 for the first pitch, but if you are comfortable with the 5.9 hand crack you can run this out pretty easy the crack is perfect size #2 C4 so very solid jam for me plus your feet will sink in.
So if you are short on gear like us don't be hesitant it goes with out double of #3 and #4. We have done it with one #3 and one #4, plus double of #2 and #.75 thought some nuts in the beginning.
By Serge Smirnov
Aug 7, 2016

If you don't want to run out the easy (~5.6) first half (~20m) of "First pitch" (P3), I'd recommend triples in not only #3 camalots but also #2. .75 and #1 go in a few places too. A #5 (suggested in the book) is useful, but only if you're short on the smaller sizes.

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