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E Crags (DBC Canyon)
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The Road to Mecca 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 1000', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ ZA: 11 British: MS 4a [details]
FA: John Glime, Paul Ross (Alt Leads) Sept 29, 2007
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 5,738
Submitted By: USBRIT Ross on Oct 1, 2007

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First pitch


The climb was named The Road to Mecca as the route is very holy!. Starts about the same level as the start to Death by Chocolate but at the bottom of the slot canyon at the top pool.Those parties that have enjoyed the climb "1000'of Fun" will find this easy mountaineering type climb has a similar atmosphere and great views from its summit.
(P1.Follow the slanting brown dyke on the right of the pool towards the holes.Double anchors.200'5.5.
(P2. Up to the right and gain the long road of holes,follow to double anchors. 200' 5.3.
(P3. Continue the holy way to double anchors. 200'5.3.
(P4. Continue the pilgrimage to double anchors.200'5.3.Straight very holey slab, cross the big crack and up to an ledge/alcove just below the summit.200'5.0. Scramble 60' to summit and register in cairn.

Descent...It is advisable to down climb the very easy last pitch as pulling ropes down this very rough slab would be difficult. From the anchors top of pitch 4 rap the route.


One goes up the same slot canyon as for "Death by Chocolate"If the lower pools have water (sometimes about waist deep)and one has a fear of water there is an alternative via the one pitch "Aquaphobia" 5.4/5.It also brings one past the awkward little groove.If dry the canyon approach is the easiest to find.Alternative:- At the very entrance of the slot canyon on the north side scramble up the narrow bush filled gully .continue and look out for a ramp leading back left then right and down climb an easy crack for 15 feet, then continue up the terrace to find double rap anchors.100' rap back into the canyon and easy walk to the climbs: the climb back out up the rappel line,this is "Aquaphobia" 5.4/5!


Take a small rack and slings, mainly for the first pitch or when ever. Two 60m ropes.

Photos of The Road to Mecca Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The summit as seen from the backside of the reef. ...
The summit as seen from the backside of the reef. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up the last pitch.
Looking up the last pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down pitch 3
Looking down pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: John topping out pitch 5
John topping out pitch 5
Rock Climbing Photo:  Showing route...Climber top of P1 .
BETA PHOTO: Showing route...Climber top of P1 .
Rock Climbing Photo: John following pitch 4
John following pitch 4
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking across the canyon to the slim ramps of the...
Looking across the canyon to the slim ramps of the...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up pitch 3
Looking up pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Paul Pitch 2
Paul Pitch 2
Rock Climbing Photo: John on first pitch.
John on first pitch.

Comments on The Road to Mecca Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 20, 2017
By EdwardWalker
From: western, colorado
Nov 9, 2007

Paul and etc. We were excited to do this route on Monday because it looks great and is right in our grade, but we got lost and couldn't find the slot to climb up. I'm sure we saw it, but i guess i wasn't sure which one it was. Could it be possible to take/post a pic of the slot that leads to the bottom of the route? Infact, you guys/gals did such a nice job in this area, putting in all the routes would it be possible to post an over view map and comman paths to hike, so we don't beat up the area and can find all of these kickass pitches. just a thought. Ned Walker
From: Keswick Cumbria.UK
Nov 9, 2007

Hi. It is difficult to find things as it is a big complex area. I think if you study Death By Choc and Day of Atonement you will see there is only one slot canyn that goes below this formation and of course Road to Mecca. You might find the 4th class slot approach more difficult that the Mecca route??It has a bit of a struggle up a V groove ,that is fun with a pack on your back . Everything out there both the approaches and the routes can involve a lot of adventure. We learn't the hard way it does takes time.....
By EdwardWalker
From: western, colorado
Mar 11, 2008

Well we have entered that crazy time in colorado were the mud seems to be around every corner; so it sounds like we will be returning to the eastern swell this weeked, Hope the weather holds and to see you all there.Ned
By John Peterson
Dec 22, 2009

I've been looking around the reef trying to find a "Third Flatiron" to take beginners on and this is the closest I've seen so far. Here's why this is a great outing to introduce someone to climbing:
  • The climbing is easy - mostly low 5th with just a few 5.4 spots on the first pitch. Anyone could do it with a toprope. And you wouldn't be uncomfortable being belayed by someone that doesn't have much experience.
  • Decent pro for the leader.
  • Could easily be climbed without rock shoes.
  • The exposure isn't intimidating.
  • Not too long or short - 4 pitches is a perfect length.
  • Great summit and views.
  • No traverses or funky situations.
  • No seriously uncomfortable belays.
  • Easy descent.
We did this a little differently - we started at the ledge just above the handline instead of at the pool. I don't think this changes the route much - it was easy to traverse over - but it made for a nice relaxing place to start and avoided worries about getting the rope wet in the pool.

At the unroping spot, you can work right and a little down around the corner to get to the plateau behind the reef. This isn't hard and would be an easy way to get down if you have a large party or people that would be uncomfortable on the raps. It looked like an easy hike down to Little Spotted Wolf, making a nice round trip. You could probably walk back down to the start of the route but we didn't try - the only obstacle appears to be a small chockstone.

The only downside to bringing beginners is the approach through the slot canyon. I'm guessing that getting out the rope or the rappel in on the right would get beginners through.

As far as pro, all we used were camalots. Probably 1 each .5 - 3 and maybe an extra gold. There's a bolt on the first pitch at the hardest part.
By VirginiaS
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 31, 2017

I left a pair of women's Muiras at the base of Road to Mecca last week. If they haven't been washed away into oblivion and you happen upon them, please send me a message!
By Owen Witesman
From: Springville, UT
Apr 6, 2017
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

Other than one bolt at the crux, this is four and half pitches of 5.0 soloing with a rope on. We placed cams in the eponymous holes, but they were mostly wishful thinking and likely would have blown if the leader tripped over his shoe laces and started rolling. The best safety feature of the route was probably the pothole full of water below the first pitch.

The anchor for P1 isn't visible from the crux, and the bolt had a locker on it as if someone had bailed from there. Just keep going, trending left, and the anchor will become apparent.

Fun outing with great views, but if I went again I'd bring a hand drill and add three or four bolts per pitch, with a note attached encouraging purists not to clip them. Flame away, USBRIT.

Each pitch is a 60m rope stretcher.

We replaced the tat on raps 2-4 (4/2017). Rap 1 could use it too, and our cord and webbing won't last long in that sun and heat, so bring some material and know how to use it.

On the last rap, go skier's right to the next step up to avoid shenanigans down at the pothole.

On the approach, when you hit the second scramble, up and over left rather than toward the chockstone is easier. You may find webbing slung around boulders to aid reversing the approach--be wary of others' ideas about what boulders are anchor worthy.
From: Keswick Cumbria.UK
Apr 6, 2017

Glad you made it and avoided tripping on your shoe laces . A few tips will find if you hand drill on that rock its likely the bolts will at least spin . This climb and 1000'of fun are perhaps the easiest two climbs on the Reef. If you find these taxing please do not attempt any other climbs on the reef that have a higher grade will be drilling for the rest of your life.I was over seventy when I put up most of these climbs so I understand you are a bit too young to deal with a bit of risk... I am not going to "flame away" just suggest if your going to make all these climbs really safe buy a Bosch.Cheers.
By Owen Witesman
From: Springville, UT
Apr 10, 2017
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

Thanks for the tip about bolting in this rock, USBRIT. I would think people should also avoid bolting really down low on this route where water erosion would be an issue (not to mention unnecessary). And truly, a very small number of bolts would make a huge difference. We didn't find the route taxing, and we are all plenty old enough to make our own decisions about risk. I think people who intend to come here just need to understand that the bolting ethic you have applied is unique given the poor quality of other protection options. X ratings should be applied without regard to difficulty, addressing only consequence. There are plenty of places along this route where a fall, however unlikely, would result in serious injury or death. Hundreds of feet of tumbling is always extremely dangerous. And as I understand it, this is among the better protected routes of its kind in the area. There's sport bolting and then there's traditional bolting, and then there's this, which is something else entirely.

Thanks for your exploration and the rap anchors! The view from the top is awesome.
By James Garrett
Apr 10, 2017

And use glue in Wave bolts or equivalent going forward would be a lot better for climbers wanting to repeat these routes.
From: Keswick Cumbria.UK
Apr 10, 2017

Well Owen glad you survived this death route . I note John Peterson had a very different experince than yourself and found it fun and good for beginners . So I must conclude this type of climbing is just not your cup of tea..and once again advise you to not try any other climbs in this area.. Cheers
From: Keswick Cumbria.UK
Apr 10, 2017

James have you started using glue? .. never noticed in the past..If you remember these are not one pitch
sport routes where you can rap down from the top with your pot of glue . They are multi pitch climbs that are done on sight placing pro/bolts on the lead many times one handed ...your pot of glue might give us some very sticky situations. Cheers Paul
By apross
Apr 10, 2017

Owen, all that you have mentioned has been said many times about this area. The description on the home page should have given you a good idea on what to expect. The last sentence says it all really.
"The Reef is a magical area but the climbing is not for everyone and perhaps that's a good thing"

I still chuckle when I hear complaints on how these routes were put up with the run outs and dodgy rock etc etc. There is plenty more to do down there and you can put them up in what ever style you like. But these days it seems people can't be bothered and just repeat stuff and then post about how they would have done it first.

As a good friend of mine likes to say when people moan about his new routes "It sucks to be second"
So true.

By Sam Cannon
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 20, 2017

You can indeed walk off if you want to climb without having to haul up ropes for the rappel (if you're soloing, for example). From the summit head skiers left and down until you can access a drain that easily takes you up to the saddle behind and below the summit. I scrambled down the DBC gulley which involved one mandatory section of exposed scrambling that took me a minute to figure out. This takes you to the side of p1 where you will find a bolt and a fixed line to help you get to a shoulder where you can easily scramble back down to the base.

Thanks boys! Great route, awesome area, fun climbing beautiful summit.

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