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The Saigons 

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

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 180'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
Page Views: 6,217
Submitted By: jeremyadams on Feb 25, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (160)
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Near the top.


The Saigons, a concatenation of "Still in Saigon" and "Miss Saigon", is two interesting pitches of 5.8 face climbing. Mostly less-than-vertical, the Saigons challenge leaders to mantel and trust their feet (albeit over excellent gear).


On the left side of the Thin Air face, uphill from the face's namesake route. Rap with two ropes from the bolt anchors atop pitch one, or finish up pitch two before traversing the Airation ledge to the right. A trail through the woods leads to the road, 300 yards from the summit, or you may choose to climb one of the Airation Buttress routes.


Pitch one is well protected with bolts and fixed pins. It is not unreasonable to only place 2-3 pieces in its entire 130 feet.

Pitch two protects well before its bulge crux. Patient leaders will find clipping its post-crux bolt casual.

Photos of The Saigons Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Alex pulling the crux of the second pitch Miss Sai...
Alex pulling the crux of the second pitch Miss Sai...
Rock Climbing Photo: Second pitch
Second pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: AJ doing a little sport climbing on Cathedral Ledg...
AJ doing a little sport climbing on Cathedral Ledg...
Rock Climbing Photo: Alex following Miss Saigon...
Alex following Miss Saigon...
Rock Climbing Photo: Alex kendral high up on the saigons...
Alex kendral high up on the saigons...

Comments on The Saigons Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 14, 2017
By L. Hamilton
Aug 16, 2007

One 70m rope is enough to descend in two rappels. We were able to reach the ground (barely!) from the first belay. With a 60m, some downclimbing would be needed.
By eric larson
From: aurora, co
Jul 20, 2008

This was a great route.. this can be done on a single 60m... lowering off the first pitch requires you to swing to climber's left and reach a ledge at the end of your rope.. then a dirty, but easy/safe downclimb for about 10 feet lands you on the ground, uphill of the belay. Don't forget to knot your rope!
By john strand
From: southern colo
Mar 26, 2009

f/a strand/cody june '82 (Still In Saigon) second pitch Tom & Haydie Callaghan
By Chris Graham
From: Bartlett, NH
Aug 7, 2009
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Not really sure why this one only gets 2.5 stars? This is probably my favorite "after work" evening cruises up the Thin Air face. Fun moves, good rock, great protection and an exciting finish all make this a fun outing.
Jun 13, 2010

Great route! Led it this morning with Doobie as my second. used 8 quick draws and a .50 camalot on 1st pitch. #2 camalot and 5 quick draws on second pitch. The "bulge" was a solid 5.8 move in my head. I agree, it deserves more than 2.5 stars!
By hasan Adil
From: portland,me
Aug 27, 2011

The second pitch has pitons tucked in. It's easy to assume that theres nothing and run it out because the climbing is easy but you soon find yourself in no fall zone so keep eye out for them. The steep crux is easy to protected with a bd#2 before it. Small but good crimps to a bolt then a bomber a mantle to a beautiful belay ledge.
By Barrett Stetson
Aug 5, 2012

Was surprised that neither the old or new guidebook seems to mention the fact that you won't make it straight to the ground from P1 rings with a 60m. Anyone ever rap off the end of their rope there? Even with our 70m we had about 10' or so before ground (going straight down), so I went back up a bit and came down far left and could just hit the top of the dirt gully. Really fun face climbing though, P1 protects super-G at cruxes and P2 is still G, but if you fell from the crux before clipping the bolt it did seem like you might not be in for a totally clean fall (some slab below), but maybe not an ankle breaker either?
By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
Aug 9, 2012

At cathedral i never assume i can get back down with one rope unless told otherwise... i havent heard of anyone rapping off their ropes here but thats why i put knots in mine...

I normally lower my partners then rap with a single 60 meter rope (with knots in the end) and scramble/solo the last 20 feet or so to the ground... be careful though :)
By Tony Telesco
From: Newport, VT
Oct 31, 2012

Just climbed this last weekend and although it was quite good, I think it's worth noting that a couple spots up high on P1 get very interesting when wet. Inexperienced leaders or those for whom 5.8 is the limit would do best to save this climb for dry days with no seepage. Also worthy of note given all the rappel banter about this climb is that a single rap with 2 60m ropes gets you to the ground (just barely).
By Chris Graham
From: Bartlett, NH
May 30, 2014
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I feel the need to mention that the "Big Flush" (the Big dirty gully to the left of said climb) had a significant rock fall event this Spring when the ice was melting. Rock debris, boulders, and trees can be traced almost to the start of the climber's trail that leads to the Prow. Caution should be used at the Base of the Saigons as well as any rappels that drop you into the lower portion of the gully. Best to either use the 70M that just gets you down or bring two ropes. The other option is to do a double rappel off the Rapid Transit anchors. This option keeps one from rapping over other parties on the route and avoids the sketchy walkoff off on the slopey Airation sidewalk.
By Russ Keane
Jul 22, 2014

Great climb, but keep in mind Pitch 1 is essentially a sport route. It's so much easier than 8. I think this should be downgraded to 5.7. When you consider the caliber of 5.8 at Cathedral, this pitch is extraordinarily inconsistent with them.

The second pitch is short, but oh-so sweet. What a crankin' crux. For some reason that whole area of the wall reminds me of the Arrow/Limelight wall at the Gunks.
By Robert Hall
From: North Conway, NH
Oct 13, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Russ...The P1 rating I think is/was based mostly from the climb's pre-bolt days. I haven't done it in a couple-or-four years but the last time I did it I thought there were at least a couple of new bolts. First time I did it there were only 2 protection bolts, the one on the opening slab and the one on the 2nd pitch.
By Stephanie Angione
Aug 1, 2016

The consequences of a fall on the second pitch before the bolt are substantial. Yesterday, I took a big lead fall at the crux before the bolt and hit the slab below, breaking my foot. I protected with gear in the horizontal before the steep section, but unless I missed a gear placement, there was nothing else until the bolt above. As a new 5.8 leader I found the first pitch very enjoyable and well protected, so the fact that the crux of P2 is a no-fall zone was surprising. I found myself in cruxy terrain, above my last piece of gear, not able to downclimb with the bolt still out of reach above. Perhaps this is a bit height dependent, as I am 5'3", but I would not recommend anyone breaking into 5.8 to lead the second pitch. I also heard from one of the very generous folks who helped in my rescue, that there used to be a second bolt at the crux that has since been chopped. I'm curious if there is any truth to this, or if anyone has information about it. It was frustrating at the very least to think that I could have avoided such a long fall and kept myself off the foot-breaking slab if that section had an extra bolt. Lastly, thank you to everyone who pitched in to help me get down off the climb, those that carried me out, and those that stayed behind and cleaned my gear. All of you were fantastic and made a really scary and painful day a bit easier to bear.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Aug 1, 2016

Sorry to hear you decked. Are there still fixed pins on P2? I guess i'd be suprised if a bolt got chopped since this climb has been retro bolted several times over the years.
By Stephanie Angione
Aug 2, 2016

Thanks John. Yes, there are still pins on the easy slab before the steep part of P2 and there are some mixed in on P1.
By Robert Hall
From: North Conway, NH
Aug 14, 2017
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Sorry about your injury...hopefully by now you've had a complete recovery. I'm not sure (memory isn't what it was) but I thought there were either two bolts, or a pin & bolt, on the upper, steep 'headwall' of P2 last time I did it, maybe in 2014 or so. I kind of recall always racking two quick draws where I could "quickly draw" them.

If you look at the 2010 photo titled "Near the Top", there's a pin just below the climber's left elbow, probably down a bit near her waist or knees, but there.

Anybody else remember?

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