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The Upper Great Face
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
A Few Moments of Pleasure T 
Big Steep, The T 
Brass Junkie T,S 
Golden Monkey, The T,S 
Hotness, The S 
Paul's Boutique T,S 
Wiffle Ball Bat S 
Unsorted Routes:

The Big Steep 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 300', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: S. Kimball & Fred Day, 2000
Season: summer
Page Views: 3,109
Submitted By: david goldstein on Aug 6, 2007

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Justin Dubois following the direct (Tormalehto) fi...


This is a three pitch line up the middle of the left side of Upper Great Face. It has good position and climbing, a mix of sport and trad, and the potential for big bonus points by doing both the 3rd pitch of this climb and the 2nd of Golden Monkey. Kimball calls this route "The Crown Jewel of the area."

P1: Follow 10 or 11 bolts diagonaling right up non-slabby face climbing. The crux is at a roof/bulge midway where the bolts happily get closer together. Belay at bolts. 5.10, 100'.

P2: Follow bolts traversing right to a right-facing corner type feature where the climbing gets easier and you place your own protection. We thought getting to the first bolt was the crux. Belay at bolts at the base of a narrow left facing corner. 5.9, 90'. (Note: Golden Monkey P2 starts about 10' below and 10' right of TBS P2 belay bolts.)

P3: Follow the corner which is at present somewhat licheny. (This corner is shown in the action photo under the route Tribal Regions on Lower Great Face.) Crux is at a bulge midway. At the end of the corner either veer left and belay on a ledge, among blocks and next to a small tree (this is what we did) or after the corner, cut straight right to find the anchor bolts atop Golden Monkey; the second option could be problematic as far as rope drag, route finding and protecting the second.

Descent: Either walk off (see Gillett for details), rap from a very sketchy sling set up around the tree mentioned in the P3 belay description or do a mini pitch, traversing right, to the Golden Monkey P2 anchor bolts which are about 10m right/south and 2m lower than the regular P3 belay ledge. A 60m rope is the bare minimum needed to rap.


This is about 20' left of the start of Golden Monkey or, very roughly 200' right of the top of The Enclosures. Note there are two lines of bolts in this vicinity, TBS takes the right one.


At least 12 QDs for P1 and a rack heavy on small to medium nuts and finger size cams for P3. You could considerably lighten the rack if you choose to do Golden Monkey P2 instead of TBS P3.

Photos of The Big Steep Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Upper Great Face.
BETA PHOTO: Upper Great Face.
Rock Climbing Photo: Justin Dubois leading pitch 2, 7-2-03.
Justin Dubois leading pitch 2, 7-2-03.

Comments on The Big Steep Add Comment
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By Dougald MacDonald
Aug 7, 2007

Dave's description is excellent except that he doesn't do the third-pitch corner justice. Despite a bit of lichen, the climbing on this pitch is very good. About 5.10a or b, I'd say.

Location: Both the Big Steep and Golden Monkey basically climb the middle of Upper Great Face, aiming for the high point. There is an enormous dead tree at the base of the routes.
By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Jul 1, 2008

On pitch 1, be aware that there is now another line of bolts, left again of Big Steep. Led up these, then after ten or so bolts they just stop in the middle of nowhere. A pretty runout traverse right got us back onto the real Big Steep.
By brian wilson
Oct 1, 2008

Tommy Caldwell put up this route. We did first pitch in 2005 and got stormed off. This route is in some guidebook. Not sure which one. I think it was in a Rock n Ice super guide?
By s.kimball
Oct 9, 2008

F.A. S. Kimball & Fred Day, 2000.
By Phil Lauffen
From: The Bubble
Jul 11, 2011

Wow, really good climb, especially with the monkey finish. I went up there expecting tons of loose rock (as the crags look chossy from the road), but I was pleasantly surprised when I didn't pull anything off.

There is one suspect flake about 40 feet off the ground on the first pitch. It looks like it's attached by some lichen, but I really yarded on it on rappel, and it didn't move or sound hollow at all. The second pitch was extraordinarily scary, as after you clip the last bolt you have to step onto a truck-sized flake somehow glued to the wall. There are also a couple creaky flakes and blocks below that large flake. None of them came off despite me trying to rip them off while seconding.

The last pitch (Golden Monkeys, 9+) was extraordinary. I recommend having both people lead it by lowering back to the ledge, just for the experience. With a 60m, you may have to do a few feet of easy downclimbing.
By Ross Swanson
From: Pinewood Springs
Sep 5, 2016
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

At ledges above crux of P3, head up & left to 2 bolt anchor. Nice balance corner, harder than P1 & P2. For P3, don't bring anything bigger than a red Camolot.
By Kat A
From: Bart and Lisa Ville, CO
Jul 10, 2017

The start can be located from Paul's photo posted under The Golden Monkey: (it's the left of the two routes shown). As Dougald mentioned, Big Steep starts behind the large dead tree.

Pitches 1 and 2 are surprisingly clean for a subalpine route and well-protected. Pitch 3 has an alpine feel to it - no bolts, trickier gear, and a bit more lichen. We used a single rack up to #2 Camalot, double green and yellow Aliens might be helpful on P3.

You can descend from P3 via the top of "The Hotness" anchors, reached via angling left at the top of P3. Three single rope raps to the ground.

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