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Theater of Shadows 

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

Type:  Sport, 4 pitches, 500'
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Pogue, Cunningham, Goodwin '99
Page Views: 54,431
Submitted By: Peter Gram on May 22, 2005

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On the summit casting shadows.


This route is on the formation just left of Steinfell's Dome when viewed from the parking area. It climbs the spine facing the road in 4 pitches. Find the trail that leads towards Steinfell's, and traverse leftwards on trail to reach this subsidiary formation (called Jackson's Thumb).

The climbing is fun, low angled, and very well protected. If you are a little low on quickdraws, there are some spots where you can unclip a bolt at your knees after reaching for the next clip. The view of the City from the top is great.

One rope is all that is necessary, and the descent is very easy. Two one-rope raps (we had a 60m, not sure if a shorter rope would work?) from fixed stations get you to a major gully. From here, an easy trail returns you to the base.


Lots and lots of bolts. I think there may be up to 18 bolts per pitch.

Photos of Theater of Shadows Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Theater of shadows, Jackson's Thumb
Theater of shadows, Jackson's Thumb
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the top.  The rappel station from the to...
View from the top. The rappel station from the to...
Rock Climbing Photo: Michelle on Theater of Shadows.
Michelle on Theater of Shadows.
Rock Climbing Photo: Genevieve on top of Jackson's Thumb
Genevieve on top of Jackson's Thumb
Rock Climbing Photo: Here is the view from a distance.
BETA PHOTO: Here is the view from a distance.
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the third belay station (counting the gr...
BETA PHOTO: View from the third belay station (counting the gr...
Rock Climbing Photo: Easy climb, nice rappel.
Easy climb, nice rappel.
Rock Climbing Photo: Great exposure
Great exposure
Rock Climbing Photo: Eric Henyon Top of Theater of Shadows
Eric Henyon Top of Theater of Shadows
Rock Climbing Photo: what a blast, this is from the top looking  across...
what a blast, this is from the top looking across...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sheri starting up pitch one on Theatre of Shadows!
Sheri starting up pitch one on Theatre of Shadows!
Rock Climbing Photo: Sheri following the final pitch 4 to the top!!
Sheri following the final pitch 4 to the top!!
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the bottom.  Here you can see how closel...
BETA PHOTO: View from the bottom. Here you can see how closel...
Rock Climbing Photo: Near the end of the first rappel from the summit.
Near the end of the first rappel from the summit.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the 5.6 slab on Theatre of Shadows. T...
BETA PHOTO: Looking down the 5.6 slab on Theatre of Shadows. T...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jackson's Thumb, home of Theater of Shadows.
BETA PHOTO: Jackson's Thumb, home of Theater of Shadows.
Rock Climbing Photo: The rap is indeed free hanging for a while, and ve...
The rap is indeed free hanging for a while, and ve...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up the start of P3 of Theatre of Shadows
BETA PHOTO: Looking up the start of P3 of Theatre of Shadows
Rock Climbing Photo: Atop Theater of Shadows
Atop Theater of Shadows
Rock Climbing Photo: starting up the slab
starting up the slab
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up P1 of Theater of Shadows
BETA PHOTO: Looking up P1 of Theater of Shadows
Rock Climbing Photo: Nice view.
Nice view.
Rock Climbing Photo: Paige leading first pitch.
Paige leading first pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Belaying from the first belay station.
Belaying from the first belay station.

Show All 44 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 11, 2017
By Jake Richens
From: Sl, ut
Aug 2, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

What a climb!! 4 pitches of easy slab climbing that you could pull your grandma up, actually she'd probably have a harder time with the approach than with the climb itself. Blaze up past many bolts (16 on one pitch), around the monster roof and rap into the canyon to the south, from there walk down to the beginning. great views of the whole city.
By Jason Billings
From: Draper, UT
Sep 27, 2005
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

A single 60M rap puts you in the gully between the thumb and the dome. I 50M rope and your're coming up short. I didn't see any additonal achors on the rap to do the second rap talked abou t in the description.
By kpinwalla2
May 27, 2006

The description for this route reads like it was written by some elitist #$%@&. Only the first two bolts are visible from the ground so you can't find it by looking for a "sea of bolts". I bolted the route for climbers who climb at that level. Why is it OK that a 5.12 can have bolts 5 feet apart and a 5.4 slab, where you're more likely to get banged up if you fall, usually has 50 foot spacings? Lots of beginning climbers have enjoyed their first lead or their first multi-pitch lead on this route. I suggest that rather being negative and elitist about a really fun route, that you recommend it to folks that will enjoy it. The fact that it has 17 bolts on one pitch IS useful information, (by the way that's about one bolt every 10 feet) but it doesn't have to be communicated in such a negative way. Describe the route for what it is without being negative - like this: "a long, low-angled, well-protected romp up a large pinnacle with a spectacular summit and great views - suitable for climbers off all abilities. - Now.... wasn't that easy?
By Larry Earley
From: Los Alamos, NM
Jun 8, 2006

Very nice climb and views at top are best in the city. The rap is way cool too. My partner and I have combined 50 years climbing experience. We both enjoyed it a lot. We were first on rock that day and when we got back to start there were two parties on and one more ready to start. It should be popular. Thanks for the bolts.
By Larry Earley
From: Los Alamos, NM
Jun 8, 2006

Just wanted to add that we climbed Honeymoon in Almo (11a) the day before at Castle Rocks. My partner and I actually liked both the desperately thin 11a and the fun 7. Try to enjoy the climbing and put that ego away. Theatre of Shadows is just like Snake Dike with bolts.
By Matt Richardson
From: Longmont, CO
Jun 19, 2006
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Sure there are a lot of bolts, but like kipinwalla2 indicated, the pitches are long also. For one pitch, my wife had to untie the rope from her belay so that I could reach the next set of anchors (and that was with a 60m rope). Personally, no matter how secure the climbing is, when I am just out to have fun I don't want to slide 30' down a slab. Great climb to blaze up (I can't remember how fast we got up it, but I felt like we were on a relay as we handed off the belay from one pitch to the next). Excellent job putting up this route!
By 46and2
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jul 17, 2006
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Great route out for a mellow long cruiser. Our 60m rope made it to each anchor but it was close on the first two pitches. Lots of bolts but who cares, great route nonetheless! Approach is the crux and pitch 3 is where the love is at!! :)
By madsjim
Jul 25, 2006

This route is awesome, the length and exposure is perfect for those not used to multi pitch routes, the route is easy but is nothing to be sneezed at, a lot of the route involves friction foot holds and crimpy hand holds. I loved the second pitch, and the third has a cool overlapping part that you can undercling(and if you tap the rock it sounds hollow!) I feel that rappelling descriptions are confusing on this page. We took 2 sixty meter ropes and made 1 rap from the top all the way to the bottom of the gully with both ropes tied together, when in doubt take the second rope! Even though it isn't hard and the angle is slightly off vertically this route is a great accomplishment for those who climb at 5.7 levels
By cassandra
From: Twin Falls Id
Aug 5, 2006
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

For this being my third climb at the city of rock it was a great experience for learning the little thing that matter. My partner and I had a new CO-pilot to the group and it work at well, but the anchors are a two man spot. The exposure was good for one man in the group. I recommend this climb for anyone who want to get a feel for working with your equipment under no stress and strain.
By Jake Cowden
From: Hagerman, Id
Aug 7, 2006
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Climbed this route mid week, our group a three man rope team was the third group to climb this beautiful route that day as a prep route for Exum Ridge, Grand Teton. Found the Route to very pleasing with great protection (this is a beginner multi route) 60m rope will get it done. Third pitch is the fun one. This is a great confidence building route for beginners and what a view.
By Jared Hargrave
From: Salt Lake City, UT.
Aug 16, 2006

I'd say only the first pitch is a 5.7. The rest of the route felt like a 5.4-5.6. My partner did his first lead climb ever on the first pitch, so it's a great place to take beginners. Fun rappel down!
By James Schroeder
From: Sauk County, WI
Oct 1, 2006
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This route is just a joy to climb. If you're unhappy with the frequency of the bolts; skip some. I personally found this a beautiful, stress-free route, in an absolutely perfect location. The fact that it is 5.7 and well bolted makes it all the better, because it is accessible to just about everyone, and everyone should experience a route like this. In other words I don't care who you are, you'll enjoy this one.
By Greg Barnes
Dec 21, 2006
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

Super fun and mellow, I didn't bother clipping most bolts, but to each his own. This route is a great one to bring a new climber up.

The one thing I wanted to comment on is that, compared to similar routes in California, this route felt around 5.4 or 5.5 first pitch, 4th class second pitch, 5.0 to 5.2 third pitch. I don't care much about the rating, just wanted to warn people to watch out when climbing similar climbs elsewhere - since they won't have anywhere near as many bolts.
By sqwirll
From: Las Vegas
May 29, 2007

A 70M rope will get you off in one rappel. Otherwise, there is a second set of chains to do two single rope rappels.
By John Bradford
From: Yellowstone National Park
May 13, 2008

The 3rd pitch is a full 60 meters to the large ledge just below the summit pitch. This may be a better belay that the lower one, if you want to take a bit of gear. The rap anchors are ten feet to the right of the top belay.
By Stymingersfink
Jun 14, 2008
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

a fine, fine route, with the best views in the City. I would recommend hitting this gem up in the late afternoon, such that you will be able to appreciate the route's namesake. Sitting on the summit, my partner and I became the ears of a bear! :)

Be sure to bring a beer or two for the summit, hang out and enjoy the view. We solo'd past a party who was kind enough to let us by, when they arrived we joined ropes and did a single rap to the gully.

The bolts, though plentiful, are well camo'd, so not such an eyesore as new shiny hangers might have been. This would be a great route for someone's first multi-pitch lead, or something to take a confident beginner up. The anchors are at good comfortable locations, never so far from one another that you can't be in voice contact with your second.

I gave it 4*'s, I'll climb it again sometime for certain!
By Xover
May 31, 2009

Did this two days ago. With a 70m, you can do this thing in two pitches and one rap. Combine P1&2 (about 270') with about 40-50' of simul-climbing and then combine P3&4 (about 220') with no simul-climbing required. The exposure after the opening traverse of P3 is rad!!! Then look for chains toward the gulley and down about 10' and do a one rope airy, rad rap back to the ground and walk back to your packs in about 10 minutes. Doing this and not even trying to climb super fast we were able to go pack to pack in about an hour and 45 minutes.

Honestly, I enjoyed this more than Steinfells. Just my $0.02.
By The Manly Nurse
Sep 14, 2009

Four stars because this is fun climb and perfect for first leaders on a multipitch and for first timers following on a multipitch (plus a free hanging rappel)! The "free" portion of the rap is about 30-40 ft. I've done this a couple times and I like to take two 60 mm ropes for the rappel. The third pitch is great fun with a little more exposure! Use all the bolts or just a few...either way the rock is fun. Life is good!
By jeffozozo
From: santa clara, utah
Oct 16, 2009

From the parking spot to the top of the climb, and back to the parking spot it took us about 4 hours--we took it pretty easy though. There is a strenuous hike to the bottom of this climb.

I wish I would have brought my approach shoes to the top, because when we rappelled down, there is a bit of a hike back around the corner to the start where our other gear was.

The route is not hard, but if you've never done a multi-pitch route, this is a great place to do it. It is really quite satisfying to get to the top. The rappel is quite invigorating too, as there is a long section of 'free' rappelling away from the face.
By blue ribbon
From: Indian Creek, UT
May 17, 2011

more intresting when done on gear
From: Alpine, Utah and Almo, Idaho
Jun 4, 2011

Just a tip on the rappel for Theater of Shadows. You can get away with using a 150 rope or shorter (less than a 75' rap) and then just walk straight off into the gully (north). This makes the climb possible for a light solo with a thin short cord.
By Matt Schroer
From: Logan, Utah
Aug 25, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Great climb for any climber of any ability. The views of the city are stupidly awesome from the start of the route to finish (so satisfying on the top, though). Pitch 2 is by far the best and it was my climbing partner's first ever lead. Lucky bastard. Pitch 3 is airy right out of the traverse! Great route, looking forward to doing Sinocranium in 2 or 3 weeks. PS, we brought 20 draws between the two of us, and I think the most we used per pitch was 16.
By wayniak
Sep 21, 2011
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Fun climb. Best appreciated in late afternoon. One 70m rappel will land you in the gully.
By Aphoris
May 28, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Just did this on 5/22/12 and 1 60m rope is more than adequate to get you to the top and down.
By rging
From: Salt Lake City, Ut
Jun 18, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

There is no way you can give this climb 3 stars at a 5.7 rating. At 5.5 maybe. Other than the first 20 feet this climb barely goes 5.5. Great views and fun rap but that's about it. This rating is the furthest off of any mountain project listed climb I have ever done.
By James
From: Lakewood, CO
Jul 2, 2012
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

Pitch 1 - 5.4 or 5.5, 150 feet and 15 bolts
Pitch 2 - 5.2 or 5.3, 175 feet and 15 bolts
Pitch 3 - 5.3 or 5.4, 75 feet and 11 bolts
Pitch 4 - 5.2 or 5.3, 150 feet and 9 bolts

These are estimates for the climb from our group. Fun climb, many many bolts have spinning hangers.

If you do not like friction, do not despair foot holds and hand holds the entire route. A great first multi-pitch lead.
By zoso
Jul 2, 2012

I dunno how you can tell the difference between 5.0 and 5.4, but maybe that's just me.
By Locker
From: Yucca Valley, CA
Jul 5, 2012

Lead the entire route last week and felt it to be in the 5.3/5.4? range...

Regardless of how easy it was, still one hell of a fun climb and worth the hike out...

Greg calls the second(?) pitch 4th class...

I disagree with that! It's at least 5.0-

By cyrus
From: Menifee, CA
Aug 2, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Really fun route. About midway into the first pitch, if you follow the bolt line, you will run into a section with 2-3 (depending on your height) 5.6 moves, the rest is just incredibly fun climbing in the easy range. I can never tell the difference between 5.0 - 5.4 The moves up and around the roof are really fun, great exposure but solid holds hands and feet. Did I mention really fun?
On the hike down the gully, toward the end, tend to your right around a tree and down some slab and it will drop you right back where you started. If you follow the main trail to the left, you'll have to do some hiking back up the hill.
The approach hike was longer and steeper than I was expecting, not horrible, just more than I was expecting. Had me breathing hard, and required a few rest breaks.
I'll say it again, really fun climb. All you 5.12 climbers will probably be a little bored, but for us mortals, it doesn't get much more enjoyable than this climb.
By Jim D
Sep 24, 2012

A 5.2 route for the 4th class leader. You cannot get lost as the bolts are at times 3 feet apart. I think we were about 2 1/2-3 hours car to car, and most of that was approach and descent.

I'm not sure what people are talking about with a free-hanging rappel. I rappeled from chains 10 feet right of the final belay and I recall two very straight forward single rope rappels. Don't rap from the final belay chains, at least off to the right, as the rope won't pull.
By Michael Creel
Aug 4, 2013
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Very nice route, but very very easy.
By Dr. Long Arm
Oct 19, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

VERY fun climb. Easy and well protected. The first time I climbed it we had to wait in line for 1.5 hrs behind several parties and the wind was whipping (30mph+) so it made things a little more interesting. During the shutdown we had it all to ourselves and climbed it in 40 minutes, clipping only about a quarter of the bolts. Great climb for new leaders or your first multi-pitch. A 70m rope will put you on the ground with one rappel. If you're using a 60m, look for the second set of chains just up and to the right of where you land off the 60m. I thought this was a more enjoyable and sustained climb than the neighboring Sinocranium,
By Gregory Thompson
From: Gilbert, AZ
May 3, 2014
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

My first multi-pitch climb, great for people all levels (maybe boring for advanced climbers) - tons of fun. Went May 3rd, awesome weather!

The approach was a bit of a hike, I think I used more energy hiking up to the climb than the actual climb itself. Lots of bolts, super safe. The first pitch had the hardest moves, only part where it was 5.7. We had 14 quick draws but there were more bolts per pitch, we ended up skipping some and reaching back and unclipping from the next one when they were super close. We had a 70 m rope and were able to climb the 3rd and 4th pitch together with about a meter of rope left and still had 5 quick draws left over (not bolting bolting in each time). 2 rappels, the first one has a free rappel. You have to hike down the hill between the two giant rocks and it kills your toes. I would carry a pair of shoes if I did it again.
Jun 12, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

My wife and I climbed this route on our first day at the city of rocks. It was the highlight of our trip. Thanks for the route, Kevin. It is an absolute must do.
By Lyn34 Larsenhosen
Jun 13, 2014

The third pitch left side belay anchor has a spinning hanger. Don't know who is in charge of fixed gear upkeep there but thought it would be important to pass the info on.
By Jake Douglas
Oct 12, 2014

Most of the route felt more like scrambling, with only a few moves at the beginning that could conceivably be 5.7. That said, it's a very fun outing and we enjoyed it a lot.

The rappel is not commensurate with the climbing difficulty though and might be a little intimidating. The rap anchor is the one on the climbers right as you arrive at the summit. I clipped a draw to the other one and went straight there so we would be ready to setup the rap right away. It looks like a long way but a 70 reaches the gully just fine. If you have a shorter rope, there are chains on a ledge below the drop off from the summit. You cannot see them from the summit but you will end up at them just fine as you touch down on the ledge.
By Ball
From: Oakridge, OR
Jun 2, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Just soloed this (trailed a rope for rap). Seemed a tad contrived but that's usual for clip-ups. Mostly 5.3 with maybe a one-move 5.6 which would probably feel 5.4 if I had been clipped in.

A great way to avoid the sun if you start early.
By SThal
From: Logan, UT
Jun 7, 2015

If you rappel from the chains near the summit that are maybe 20 feet climbers right of and slightly below the final anchor chains, a single 60 m will get you down if you stay right as you descend.
By Andrew Mayer
From: Driggs, ID
Jun 29, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

This route makes for a nice simul-climb. Can give the leader a real belay through the pitch one 5.6 crux (readily apparent from the ground) and then have the second start climbing. The overwhelming majority of this route is 5.3 or easier. Route gets nice morning shade.
By Meghan Webking
Jul 7, 2015

Fantastic climb for a beginner multi-pitch leader!! Great views of the City, and a fun rap off the top. We had a 70m rope and made it off the top chains to the ground in the gully. The third and fourth pitches were my favorite. Holds the shade in the morning for a nice, cool climb on a hot day in the City.
By Wic
From: Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Jan 20, 2016

This is a great, must-do climb for climbers of any skill level. For the more experienced climber, it's a great warm-up climb to get the blood pumping without pumping out your arms. Very relaxing, stress-free climb with lots of bolts so it never gets run out. If you are a beginner, this is the best multi-pitch climb you can start on. This route features tons of bolts so you are never run out and you can concentrate on rope management for your first (or among the first) multi-pitch climb. The views are breathtaking and there is nothing in the world like putting serious distance between yourself and the ground. I LOVED this climb. When I climbed it, it was my first multi-pitch. I cannot recommend this enough for your first multi-pitch. You still get the exhilaration from your altitude, while never worrying about how far you've climbed past your last protection because it is generously bolted. My wife and I did not know about the rappel off the side to the gully between Jackson's Thumb and Steinfell's Dome so we ended up rapping down the way we came up, and unfortunately had to leave two draws on the rock. So, whoever got to keep our little gifts we left behind, you're welcome. The approach is pretty steep, so just take your time and consider having lunch at the base of the climb. BRING WATER up with you - for first-timers, this climb will end up taking a long time, and you will get thirsty. More experienced climbers can pound this climb out fast, but this being our first multi-pitch took us a while to get up and down. Watch the weather too! Clouds can roll in across the valley very quickly! We got caught in a hail storm at the very top and froze our butts off. When we started, the weather was wonderful and the sky was blue. Despite the bad weather we encountered, my wife and I still talk about how fun and beautiful this climb was and definitely plan on returning. We climbed this in August, 2013; I post my comments now because there are some really negative comments about this climb and I don't understand why. It was tons of fun. No, it is not a technical climb, but since when does a climb have to be technical to make it fun? I just love climbing, and this was a GREAT climb!
By Finn the Human
From: The Land of Ooo
May 16, 2016
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a

Fun and easy. Gets thin for like 3 moves on P1, and then the rest is essentially just scrambling (esp. P4).
By Joven
Jul 10, 2016

Made a lap up at the end of June. Theater is definitely an excellent introduction to multi pitch climbing and a confidence booster for first time leaders. We were able to descend to the gully with one double-roped rappel with 60s.
By MasterBeta
Aug 13, 2016

Nice climb. We got to the base in 12 mins from the parking lot. Took us an hour to climb and half an hour to get back. Probably skipped around 10 bolts but that definetly didn't take away from the fun slabby nubbin climbing! Just ignore the frozen bodies of Hall and Fischer on p3.
By Eric and Lucie
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 11, 2016

I don't understand why the focus of most comments here is the NUMBER of bolts. Sure, there are many of them, perhaps too many, but what really caught my attention is that probably 25% of those bolts are within easy reach of perfectly textbook, straightforward natural placements (mostly medium sized cams). That is hard to swallow.
By Chandler Harr
May 30, 2017

My wife and I just did this yesterday. It was our first multi-pitch, which was perfect. Due to a limited amount of draws at our disposal (10), we easily skipped more than half of the bolts comfortably, with the exception some bolts on the exposed section of p3. We used a 70m rope to make the rap off the back in one go. If you have any less than that, I recommend doing it in two raps.

Great route, awesome views, definitely a great starter.
By Matt Wenger
From: Bozeman
Jul 11, 2017

I think I felt around 2-3 moves in 400' that were 5.6. The rest was probably 5.4. You can almost literally just slab hike up most of this thing. After a while, I wasn't even looking where my feet were going. Super easy, but really fun, with a really cool rappel!

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