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Thumbs Up 

YDS: 5.12- French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 400'
Original:  YDS: 5.12- French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Kirk, Frye, Till 2013.
Season: Winter
Page Views: 412
Submitted By: Zach Harrison on Jan 16, 2016

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Thumbs Up is a split personality line that offers with classic but varied climbing. The line was first eyed by Nick Gillespie and Cullen Kirk but Nick tragically died in an avalanche before getting to start the climb. The formation is named Gillespie Butte in his honor. Kirk, along with Eric Frye and Steve Till, did the FA of the formation via the original route. While the original route was quality, the real allure was the summit headwall, which yielded a hard pitch in an amazing position. This variation adds a number grade and a few stars.

Pitch 1 Boulder past the roof to the nice corner. Eventually step left to the ramp and start clipping bolts. Launch into the steep dihedral above, extending the last bolt to prevent cross loading the rope end biner! Eventually pass a 2 bolt anchor at 90 feet, continue over the wild roof clip the directional bolt and move left to 2 bolt belay at a sloping stance. Wild and rad. 5.11++? 130 ft.

Pitch 2 Move left and, levitate up the corner with bolts. Continue with hands and fists past your mandatory OW squirm into a finger crack. Pass a bolt way out left (This is where the original route breaks off, clip 2nd rope to it for raps on the way down) on the face to a mini triangle roof. Load it up with small gear and punch to the sloping ledge. Traverse right to 2 bolt anchor in funky spot. 5.11+? 70 feet.

Pitch 3 Lurch off the belay on jugs up to a bolt. Funky moves lead up the finger crack with cool holds. When the crack seams out, fire up the turbos start clipping bolts and link increasing hard and funky moves through the leaning feature to the belay on the nice ledge. Beautiful, sustained and airy. 5.12-? 75 feet.

!!Rap from here if you hate choss!! But you should love choss.

Pitch 4 Squirm up the dirty OW above, but save a #4 for the belay at a “tree”. Scrappy. 5.9 50 feet.

Pitch 5 Go right into the gulley and cruise with occasional gear to walking terrain, don’t fall. Belay off huge broken blocks to continue to the summit of Gillespie Butte or walk left below the overhang to a rap station on the lip of the shelf. Funky climbing terrain but worth it for the view. 5.6R 60 feet.

You can also climb the original version of Thumbs Up as done by the FA team by:
Original Pitch 2 Clip bolt on left and traverse left to rap station belay. 5.11 50 feet.

Original Pitch 3 Go up the crack and move left past blocks on ledge. Gain right leaning OW and climb to a bolt and belay with wide gear back up. 5.9 50 feet.

Original Pitch 4 Continue up the OW to a thankfully short lived slot belay at belay ledge. Same as top of pitch 3 of new version. Can TR pitch 3 from here from rap station if you are a corndog. 5.10+ 40 feet. BD #5,6 needed. Continue up to summit via path of least resistance as above.

Rap with one 70m from lip of shelf left of 5 to top of pitch 3.
Rap with one 70m to rap station left of pitch 2. Pick up your second rope from the bolt to the right of the rap station.
Rap with 2 ropes to ground.


Approach as for Firecat Spire/Fisher King in Margs Draw. 3 Minutes after leaving the main Margs draw drainage break right out of the subdrainage at a car sized boulder in the wash and work over to slickrock with Ocotillo. Angle up and right on slickrock then traverse upper slickrock ledge right into a talus field. Go straight up to the limestone band and go right to the base of the route. Start 150’ East of Gunshy at end of ledge. Belay takes small gear at base of left facing corner! There is another route, about 50’ West of Thumbs Up that has 2 bolts at the start. Check the Gunshy wall picture, its on the right end.


1X C3#00-C4#4 2X C4#.2-#.5. Bring at least 7 Runners and 6 quickdraws! And your tech slab A game.
Add a BD #5,6 if doing the original finish.
2 ropes for raps.

Photos of Thumbs Up Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Do or do not do, there is no try...
Do or do not do, there is no try...
Rock Climbing Photo: Thumbs Up from below. Starts in the long shaded di...
Thumbs Up from below. Starts in the long shaded di...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff Snyder getting into the business on the 1st p...
Jeff Snyder getting into the business on the 1st p...
Rock Climbing Photo: Entering the crux of the 3rd pitch. Awesome and co...
Entering the crux of the 3rd pitch. Awesome and co...
Rock Climbing Photo: The fun roof at the top of the first pitch
The fun roof at the top of the first pitch

Comments on Thumbs Up Add Comment
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By J. Snyder
From: Flagstaff, Arizona
Jan 16, 2016

Bad ass fun in the sun!!! Sorta like vertical cragging. 1st pitch will make you feel like a hero when you stick 'the move' and the crux pitch is one of the sexiest; dolled up with Sedona stripes, and tenuous tricks. One of my favs from Winter 2015.

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