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The Coffin 

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

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: FFA: McQuarrie & Lowe '64
Page Views: 29,045
Submitted By: Peter Gram on Mar 24, 2004

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Dean on the Coffin Crack

Gate Buttress Area Recreational Lease: Climbs on Church Buttress above vault remain closed MORE INFO >>>


The Coffin is the obvious finger crack that perfectly splits the face on the Coffin Buttress. The opening is a little tricky to protect, but still has good pro. After that, the gear is great until the anchors.

Clip the manky pin left of the crack, then traverse into the crack. Place a small cam, then climb up the beautiful finger crack for 80' to the large roof. From here two options exist. Traverse right (easier) to the anchors, or traverse left to anchors. Going left is highly recommended and adds some more fun climbing to the pitch.

Descent) Rap with one rope back to the base.


Mostly finger size gear, .5 and .75 camalots are about the right size. Near the top camalots up to #3 can be used. Also a small cam (green alien) is useful to protect the opening.

Photos of The Coffin Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: What a morning!
What a morning!
Rock Climbing Photo: Took this picture of a climber leading the Coffin ...
Took this picture of a climber leading the Coffin ...
Rock Climbing Photo: "Finger locks or wooden box."
"Finger locks or wooden box."
Rock Climbing Photo: The Coffin. Photo by Blitzo.
The Coffin. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Coffin Crack
BETA PHOTO: Coffin Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: An unknown climber on The Coffin.
An unknown climber on The Coffin.
Rock Climbing Photo: Following the FA on her first Coffin lead!!
Following the FA on her first Coffin lead!!
Rock Climbing Photo: thanks for the belay griff
thanks for the belay griff
Rock Climbing Photo: the coffin buttress
the coffin buttress
Rock Climbing Photo: 1st Coffin sweet
1st Coffin sweet
Rock Climbing Photo: christina durtschi collecting her thoughts before ...
christina durtschi collecting her thoughts before ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Casey climbing the Coffin.
Casey climbing the Coffin.
Rock Climbing Photo: dreaming of coffins
dreaming of coffins
Rock Climbing Photo: The Coffin, late in the afternoon.
BETA PHOTO: The Coffin, late in the afternoon.
Rock Climbing Photo: Late November Sunshine....who needs snow?
Late November Sunshine....who needs snow?
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset...The Coffin,UT
Sunset...The Coffin,UT
Rock Climbing Photo: The Coffin.
The Coffin.
Rock Climbing Photo: Crescent Crack Buttress from the road: 1-Mexican C...
BETA PHOTO: Crescent Crack Buttress from the road: 1-Mexican C...
Rock Climbing Photo: Taken by Trinity, of dad working through the crux.
Taken by Trinity, of dad working through the crux.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sweet Pic Bra~
Sweet Pic Bra~
Rock Climbing Photo: Scenic photo of The Coffin
Scenic photo of The Coffin
Rock Climbing Photo: P1... rattley fingers at the crux.
P1... rattley fingers at the crux.
Rock Climbing Photo: The bottom section of the route
The bottom section of the route
Rock Climbing Photo: Rob Duncan in February
Rob Duncan in February

Show All 36 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on The Coffin Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 2, 2017
By John J. Glime
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 28, 2004

Definitely a fantastic crack... here are a couple of thoughts. You have two options for the start. Traverse in from the left, or climb the plumb line of the crack. Although the plumb line is a tiny bit more difficult, there is better protection with the plumb line. The first ten to fifteen feet are tenuous due to the semi-lack of good protection. You start the climb on a ledge/hillside which could make for an ugly tumble if you fall during those first ten feet. However, when you are standing there you can take a good look and know that after those first moves you are going to immediately come to the great protection mentioned above. This is a great 5.9 route for 5.8 leaders to attempt/climb. As stated, you can sew up this route. If you are gear happy, be sure to save some gear for the top.
By Peter Gram
From: Cupertino, CA
Mar 30, 2004

The direct 5.9 start does look more aesthetic for The Coffin. However, the 5.8 piton start is pretty safe. After clipping the pin, good foot holds allow an easy traverse right where a good small cam can be placed. From here the climb is very protectable and safe. Make sure to have some gear left to protect yourself and your seconder when going left under the roof. A #1 camalot works well.
By Andrew Gram
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 16, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The pin on the 5.8 start probably isn't even worth clipping, but you can get a great small TCU in just before it. Definitely use a screamer on the pin if you choose to clip it.

This is my favorite pitch in LCC so far. Beautiful route!
By vincent pierce
May 26, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

My fave pitch as well! Super classic. I'm pretty sure this is solid 5.9... not old school 5.9 but it makes for an interesting warm-up if you are just breaking into that range of tradThe direct 5.9r start really isn't bad. You can get a piece in pretty low down and it's not as hard as the crux section midway up where it starts getting steep and you have no feet. Of course there is some deck potential so... watch out. .
By Nathan Fisher
Jul 17, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

A fantastic line that must be repeated and repeated. Going left at the roof is also a must-do. Don't forget to protect your second.

As far as the 5.8 beginning, if you don't have Aliens or similar small camming units, just below the pin takes two nuts (1 brass) fairly well. I equalized the nuts and felt pretty confident on those 2 pieces, and made my moves to the main crack.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 29, 2005

I thought this would be something special, but it really wasn't. It has a weird start then the finger locks are funky and off-finger sized. Plus, the approach is fairly long by LCC standards. It looks cool and it's easy, but it's really not what it's built up to be. I will say that it gets more fun towards the top and the traverse. Sorry to rain on this parade, but I would have liked to know ahead of time that there are people out there who aren't enamored by it.
By Dave Budge
From: South Slope of the Hindu Kush
Sep 30, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

After reading the comments of "Anonymous Coward" I'm a bit surprised. Years ago I took a 5.13 sport climber up the Coffin and he didn't like it either. He tried to use opposing pressure to force his way through the crux, despite getting solid instruction on jamming. Other than that experience, AC's comments are the only negative words I've heard about the route. The Coffin would be a 3 star route if it was in the crack mecca of Yosemite Valley. Whining about the approach maybe tells the real story. Utterly fantastic this route is, don't miss it. Also, the surrounding routes above and to the side of the Coffin are all very good, most in the 3 stars range. One of the best chunks of rock in the Wasatch.
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 30, 2005

Some folks just don't like a nice granite crack climb....but if you do....this route is a GREAT, MUST DO LCC classic. aproach keeps the lighweights out but is no big deal, or for a more varied outing do Cresent/final link to the Coffin...or better yet, lead the coffin and the second pitch corner all as one! great stuff!
By Anonymous Coward
Oct 1, 2005

First of all, I wasn't whining about the approach, I just said it's long by LCC standards, which is true. Secondly, I know how to finger jam. Thirdly, you violated the only guideline to this site: don't be a jerk.
By Nathan Fisher
Oct 26, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

There is a second pitch, that I would not recommend. Climb the left-facing crack/seam left of the roof. Flaky rock, and two trees in the way. Also the protection isn't the greatest. There is a fun (too short) lieback section, then you turn the corner to some super easy, super flaky rock, a small varnished face and then, a set of anchors.

2 raps will get you down.

I did it to do it, but probably won't again.
By Rob Hyldahl
Oct 27, 2005

Did this route yesterday and thought that it was superb! traversing the roof at the top was enlightening.
By Mark Michaels
From: Draper, UT
Nov 23, 2005

Do the right side 2nd pitch variation!!! "Long approach by LCC standards??" Huh??Hey anonymous coward.... go climb the Sail, Wheels on Fire, or Memorial Day Buttress, or heck, THE PAWN!!The Coffin does NOT have a long approach! Enjoy yourself clipping bolts at the Slips or Challenge Buttress.
By Erik Gillis
Dec 25, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

This was an awsome route and should not be missed by the 5-9 leader. The 5-9 beginning is really fun and can acutally be protected really well with a blue metolis. The rest of the route has bomber pro. I did not go under the roof but it looked fun, going right is also really cool. The apporach is really not that long.
By Shaun Greene
Oct 22, 2007

The Second pitch right side variation is a very worthwile climb with some really cool moves and great protection. Definately do this second pitch. Features really cool dihedral climbing with a variety of techniques used. Rock is very good on the right side.
By Boissal
From: Small Lake, UT
Jun 24, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The direct 5.9 start takes small nuts placed from good stances and is really safe. There's a fixed tricam on the left 5.8 start, it looks pretty old and manky now. Higher up large nuts and a couple of .5 and .75 will keep thing safe. #1 and #2 protect the top and the traverse to the right anchor for your second.
It's up there with Sasquatch as a contender for best moderate finger crack in Little, although the coffin is a bit wider with the occasional hand jam thrown in for good measure.

Also, to balance Andrew's comments, the 2nd pitch is highly recommended. The trees are gone, the rock isn't any worse than anywhere else in LCC and the climbing is engaging but less continuous than P1. Take smaller gear, nothing bigger than a .5.
By Jhernand
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 9, 2009

Tri cam has been removed
By Miller
From: Salt Lake
Aug 12, 2009

traversing left is by far more enjoyable than going right, the undercling adds a lot to the route, but use a low profile beener if your going to use the first piton on the roof as a piece of pro.

also, does any one know a guy named steve who first climbed this route in the 70's, and was making his own friends back then, tell him I found one of his alpine draws??
By Derek Newman
From: Holladay, UT
Sep 13, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

It was pouring rain when we started. My friend and I are beginning on trad routes so we are very scared when it comes to climbs like these. We found out our car got robbed after we finished. And, despite all of these setbacks, I still had loads of fun. This climb is so beautiful.
By Finn the Human
From: The Land of Ooo
Sep 13, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

As Derek said, pretty new to trad. Got a handful of trad climbs under our belts, but MAN when that rain came whipping down, and my only option was to keep going up or leave 6 pieces on the wall... Not my idea of a good time.

That aside, it was great watching Derek climb before the rain started, and I can appreciate the appeal of the climb. Just don't do it in the rain!
By Barry52
Dec 9, 2009

This was the site of my first lead fall. It was a 20 footer, at the crux. I had to change my Depends after that. I love this route!! Awesome finger crack! Awesome finish--one hell of a layback!
By zoso
Dec 9, 2009

What layback?
By Tyler King
From: Salt Lake, UT
Feb 22, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The layback on the main beta photo duh! ;)
By zoso
Feb 23, 2010

You call that a layback? Learn how to jam gumby.
By Tyler King
From: Salt Lake, UT
Apr 13, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

By Brian G
Aug 2, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Fantastic route! I agree with Boissal that you can get a really good small stopper at a good stance on the lower 5.9 section along with a blue alien for good measure. That pin is accient and probably wouldn't hold a fall so why bother with the traverse in? Just go straight up it...and I'm not sure it's 5.9, probably more like 5.8.

I didn't place anything bigger than a .5
By steven sadler
From: SLC, UT
Mar 6, 2011

I didn't think the first part was run out at all. i got .5 camalot, if i remember right, in there at the beggining. Make sure to protect the second on the traverse. The girl I was with got way sketched out and took a pretty big pendulum.
By Jaren
From: NC
Nov 4, 2011

I am definitely not a crack climber and find any opportunity possible to layback but even I know to stay in this crack.
By Andrewprime1 Arredondo
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 10, 2012

Climbed this route today with my buddy. Gotta say, it was totally awesome. Did the link up from Crescent Crack, which I highly recomend for a day of fun trad climbing. I climbed off to the anchors on the right because I ran mostly out of gear, but next time I would like to go up and around the big roof and top out and go check out Bang Bang Fire Cracker on The Sail Wall.

Spring climbing is here! Just stick to the sunny walls.
By Alex Quitiquit
From: Salt Lake City
Mar 11, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Bottom seemed a little funky to protect, bring a tcu or two and small nuts. The Splitter will make your day...
By Travis Haussener
Oct 29, 2012

Fantastic!! The start is a little heady for people breaking into the grade or maybe it's just the fall potential. I blew a piece about 20 feet up and ended up falling on a 0 TCU (holding thankfully). Some helpful beta: I thought the lower portion of the finger crack protected way better with nuts it wasn't until halfway up where I was into cam territory. Also if you are a noob like me, bring lots of .5's. I couldn't really find many places to place a .75 until the top. Now go out and do it.
By Josh Allred
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 1, 2014

The climbing is safer and more straight forward to go up the crack rather than traverse in. You can get a small nut (dmm silver peenut) in below the pin, equalize with it if you want (rope drag didnt feel like an issue), then down climb a move to start the crack. There is a great open hand jam to work your feet up high where you can place a bomber gold dmm offset nut up high to the right of pin scars. Put on your man pants make a couple moves until you can place another nut (green bd nut) behind a small jug. Dont waste your time like I did trying to to get a tipped out cam in. Unless you have offset cams I wouldn't bother.

Took a standard rack of Friends with 2 extra .5 C4s, DMM Peenuts, DMM Offsets and set of BD nuts. One of the best 5.9s in the Wasatch.
By Ball
From: Oakridge, OR
Oct 23, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I did the "5.9" start. Maybe easy for small fingers?
By Charlie Hartman
Jul 28, 2016

Left a pair of sunglasses up here 7/23 or 7/24. Let me know if you found them. 5742749160
By gradymellin
Jun 1, 2017
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Bring ALL of the cams you can in .4 to .75 and save a .5 and a .75 for the last bit! I took a standard rack from .3 to 3 with doubles in .5 and .75 and used those two sizes up pretty early and was forced to run out 2 sections about 20 feet with a single 2 placement in between them it was pretty scary! If I had the option I would bring a full rack of only .5's and feel perfectly comfortable! Without a doubt one of the best climbs of any grade in the canyon!!
By zoso
Jun 1, 2017

Ever hear of nuts?
By Tofu Brain
From: Denver
Jun 2, 2017

Zoso, be nice, gradymellin is still waiting for them to drop, undescended testicles is no laughing matter.

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