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The Salathe Highway 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b R

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 75'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b R [details]
FA: Bill Coe, ground up, roped solo 9/26/09
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 1,878
Submitted By: adam winslow on Aug 23, 2010

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
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Distance shot of Ben Priestly and Scott Peterson o...


5.6d This was the original route to the top of the pinnacle and was believed to be 5.5d on the first ascent but was later upgraded after the second ascent. The ambiguity of the rating is to indicate that although it may be low on the Yosemite scale of rating climbs, on the testicular shrinkage scale it's off the chart or as the scale chart shows us: above your throat pressing on your eyeballs.

No bolts at all were used on this route although a single 1/2" diameter redirect bolt was later added near the belay bolts to facilitate belaying a second following on the 2nd pitch of Trench Warfare and to make the belay less of a clusterF#ig for a party of 3. An off route bolt can be seen on Bewitched as you gain the upper part of the route near Witches neck but is not clipped.

From the anchor, climb up the space made by the semi-detached sub-pinnacle trying not to push it off until you can squeeze through to the other side of the pinnacle. Then head straight up and slightly right on her neck following the path of least resistance to the top of her head. The original single rope rap off the slings in her hair bun (while holding your breath that the hair buns stays attached) was replaced later with a 2 bolt rap off the back into the notch.


The start of the route is at a notch with a large tree 270' off the ground towards the left side of the cliff. This location can be reached by climbing Trench Warfare or P1 of Lava Flow, then The Gingerbread Shortcut up to this notch where you will find a nice 2-bolt Fixe sport anchor and a redirect bolt. From the summit rappel another pair of Fixe anchors back to the notch and from there, 3 single rope rappels down the Trench Warfare anchors.


Slings, balls, small and medium nut, balls, small and medium cam, balls, #2 Camalot, balls, slings, balls.

Photos of The Salathe Highway Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Distance shot of Ben Priestly and Scott Peterson o...
Distance shot of Ben Priestly and Scott Peterson o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Can you see her face?
Can you see her face?
Rock Climbing Photo: Adam Winslow starting the business on the 2nd asce...
Adam Winslow starting the business on the 2nd asce...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bill Standing on top of The Witch after the FA of ...
Bill Standing on top of The Witch after the FA of ...

Comments on The Salathe Highway Add Comment
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By alpine glower
From: Soon to be Sweet Home, OR
Aug 23, 2010

Okay but so where the hell is this route? This might have possible been the route we climbed on the wall in the late 70's it was about 5.6/7 no harder. We however did'nt place bolts and were scarred shitless.
By Billcoe
Aug 24, 2012

Haha, ^^^funny stuff Tyler. You weren't even born then. LOL.

This route is most likely in the 5.5 -5.6 range. On the 3rd or 4th ascent, Ben Priestly noted that he cleaned out a shallow dirt filled crack that you can slot three bomber #2 Camalots in. It was recently pointed out that Tim Olsen listed this route as 5.7 X in the guidebook. That's very responsible and considerate as it would be the wrong place for an error by a beginner who might get sucked in by an otherwise easy sounding 5.5 rating. Furthermore, every other route out here has prolific protection bolts, this has none. Yet having climbed a few X rated routes, I can say with solid assurance that this isn't one. It just feels like it due to the exposure. This is a crazy fun lead, easy yet gripping and exhilarating climbing with solid knobs and good pro: and I'd like to encourage people to get on it. Take some long slings to tie off the many knobs, a few medium wired nuts, couple of smaller cams and the now obligatory #2 Camalot:-)

Have fun!
By Billcoe
Jun 6, 2016

Was up there this weekend and thought that several long over the shoulder slings and a #1 Red Camalot make it much easier on the panic button in your heart. I got a couple larger wired nuts in too that I thought were fine but my followers said they wouldn't want to fall on. Tim lists this as 5.7X in the NW Oregon Guidebook, however, it's marginally an R, if that. If accessing it via Lava Tube, I'd note that Lava Tube should be 5.8 not 5.7, it's long.
By das1405
From: Portland
Sep 26, 2016

So Bill, when you say long slings on the knobs are you using doubles (4') or something longer (6'?). really wanted to do this route but couldn't sac up and didn't have Beta about the pro. Next time for sure

you guys are sick!
By Billcoe
Sep 26, 2016

Hi Das: just regular over the shoulder slings would do the trick. I think they call them 60cm, or 22 inches commonly. In that picture of Adam Winslow above, you can see he has one looped over that pinnacle his foot is on. That's a key piece of pro. In fact, if anyone wanted to stuff a phat bolt (say a 1/2" x 7" long stainless fatty wedge anchor) in right there where you could clip it from the pinnacle have at it. Stepping off that feature would drop to "almost" casual from it's current "extreme anus tightening that will turn coal to diamonds" status. I can even supply the thing.

When I first wandered up there, I was thinking the route would go to his right where a cam might (or might not) have been lucky enough to be stuffed into those possible flakes without falling out, and there was a bit of consternation about that. I was happy to see I could get a piece in a bit above that pinnacle by staying to the left, once you are on the pinnacle eyeballing that bit of rock that is not visible from below it doesn't look quite so desperate.

Glad you had a nice time up there!

BTW, I didn't really see the 3 #2 camalot placements Ben says he cleaned out. I was out elsewhere with him this weekend, I could have asked him about that.

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