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Vernal Equinox 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b R

Type:  Trad, 9 pitches, 1030', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b R [details]
FA:  Ron Olevsky and company
Page Views: 1,973
Submitted By: Orphaned on Oct 8, 2001

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BETA PHOTO: Top of Pitch 2.

Seasonal Raptor Closures ***** RAIN AND WET ROCK ***** The sandstone in Zion is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Holds rip off and climbs have been and will continue to be permanently damaged due to climbers not respecting this phenomenon. After a heavy storm the rock will remain wet, sometimes for several days. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB IN ZION during or after rain. A good rule of thumb is that if the ground near your climb is at all damp (and not powdery dry sand), then do not climb. There are many alternatives (limestone, granite, basalt, and plastic) nearby. Seasonal Raptor Closures MORE INFO >>>


This route ascends the left flank of the Leaning Wall. If you want pure adventure when you come to Zion, hop on this line. I found this route to provide more adventure than many aid routes in the area.

With runouts plentiful, and plenty of wideness, I recommend this route for pure excitement. I'm not saying that this route is so hard you need to train for it, but I will say that this route will separate the men from the boys. Leave energy for the ending overhanging v-slot.

Easily done in a day by a quick party.

More involved than the Northwest Buttress of Angel's Landing, and sure as hell harder than its trade neighbor Spaceshot.



Full free desert rack. One #2 Angle or possibly a #3 angle. For god's sake, leave it if you use it!

Photos of Vernal Equinox Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of the route
BETA PHOTO: Start of the route

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 30, 2014
By Ben Kiessel
Mar 22, 2004

did this climb last weekend and it was not that bad. if it got more traffic it would be alot better. did not bring a angle and did not see where i was suppose to want one. unless it was to double up some of those single piton belays.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Mar 29, 2004

It's been a long time since I was on this, but I seem to recall the experience being less than classic for sure and a lousy route to solo aid at best.
By Whit Richardson
Apr 25, 2004

Just did this route and it was quite adventuresome. The crux on pitch 6 is protected by a small hex with old tattered perlon pounded into a hole. This may be the hole Troy was referring to for the angle? This section would really benifit from a more solid anchor than what is there. We pulled on the piece to get through but it was still a bit scary, the move felt harder than 5.10 and falling on the old perlon was not very comforting because if I remember right you would hit a ledge in a 25-30 foot fall if the hex pulled or perlon broke.
By amanda
Oct 28, 2004

Some of it, well, a whole lot of it is just awkward. We did the Headache route at the tunnel crags the next day and that's way better for sure. I guess Vernal's just more continuous free climbing that the weekend warrior can handle. That's about all it's got going for it. But it was kinda cool that we did Vernal Equinox on the Vernal Equinox.
By Michael Schneiter
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Apr 6, 2005

Did Equinox about a week ago. It's definitely an adventure route and you should be fond of chimneys. Thought I would post some info about what we found because it doesn't seem to get done very often.

The fixed hex on the crux pitch is definitely hammered in good. The cord on it is very bleached and is ratty. I didn't feel comfortable clipping it, let alone falling on it (which might have been influenced by my experience with a fixed sling breaking last summer on El Cap). I tried to get the hex out, but to no avail. It would have been nice to get it out and put something else in its place due to the runout and relative difficulty of that section. Instead, I climbed to the right of the hex and placed a couple okay pieces to the right. I climbed to the right of that section so I wouldn't have a bad swing in case of a fall. The climbing in that section is brittle and probably just as hard as the standard way but at least I wasn't clipping that nasty cord.

Also, we missed the pin on top of the 2nd pitch (5.8 chimney) that was indicated on our topo. Also, we missed the pin that was supposed to the be on the crux pitch's intermediate belay (at least according to our topo). I don't know if these pins are gone or we just overlooked them. Finally, the pin at the top of the crux pitch is looking kind of bad. A large dinner plate of rock had broken off in the direction of pull at that belay, thereby exposing about half the pin. Couldn't girth hitch because the rock is intact above the pin. There is no easy way to back it up so we linked the crux pitch with the next pitch for one long, rope drag pitch.
By Anonymous Coward
Dec 9, 2005

Hi Folks,

On the first ascent, this route had substantial aid.

We did the free ascent on-sight, no fixed ropes, no topo, no nothing, only about a week after the F.A.

Normally, I am opposed to re-naming routes when they go free, but given that this is an Olevsky route I will point out that the appropriate name as a free climb is 'Babes In The Sandbox'.

have funDave Jones
By Ben Kiessel
Nov 16, 2006

What does it being a Olevsky route have to do with anything? Nice job on the FFA, but everyone knows it as Vernal Equinox, and in my opinion that is what it should stay as.
By Nate Brown
From: Wilson, Wy
Jul 10, 2009

I love this route and have done it a few times. Thanks Troy for submitting it. I like your description. Thanks Dave for chiming in. I am kinda late to the party, it's my style I guess...
By Cody Daddy
Aug 22, 2010

August 19, 2010. We climbed this route and got the hex out. It now takes a red metolius TCU.
By bheller
From: SL UT
Sep 5, 2010

Sounds like Utahnics... "We climbed this thing and then got the hex out"


"You tell em' Smoots comin', and all hex coming with him"

By Cody Daddy
Sep 19, 2010

The climbing was pretty easy--we got the hex out of there by three o clock.
By Jay 1975
From: Bonedale,CO
Apr 23, 2011

the crux just simply needs a bolt. we just bailed because if you fall where the .10 crux is and pop the only sketchy tcu placement you get, you will deck! i just decided it wasn't worth it. probably only 5.10 moves, but on sandy sloping ledges! a finger butt crack with dirt and lichen in it.
By BSU_Zac
Mar 30, 2014
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13

This route is definitely adventurous. Brought 1 each green c3 - grey alien, 2 each .5BD-4BD, 1 each #5 & #6 but the 5 probably could have been left at home. Bring plenty of slings to extend placements because rope drag can be a bit of a nightmare because of the wandering nature of the route. We either linked 3&4 or 4&5 with 70m because p6 snuck up on us. We didn't have a red TCU but a red tricam fit perfectly in the little shallow hex pod and it held my fall keeping me off the ledge. More desert climbers really need to learn the ways of the tricam. Chimneys, off-widths, cracks, thin plates, loose rock, vegeneering, runouts, and a tied off angle; what more could you ask for in zion?

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