REI Community
(g) Morning Glory Wall
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
5 Gallon Buckets S 
Anonymity S 
Cat Scan S 
Churning in the Ozone S 
Churning In The Sky S 
Churning in the Wake S 
Cool Ranch Flavor S 
Cool Ranch Flavor Extension  S 
Da Kine Corner S 
Dandy Line S 
Doritos S 
Energy Crisis S 
Exile On Main Street S 
Fun Churning Buttress Linkups S 
Gumby S 
Kings of Rap S 
Light on the Path S 
Lion Zion S 
Lion's Chair T 
Lion's Jaw T 
Magic Light S 
Magic Light Start S 
Main Line S 
Morning Sky S 
Nacho Cheese S 
Nine Gallon Buckets S 
Outsiders, The S 
Overboard S 
Oxygen S 
Ozone Hole S 
Sign of the Times S 
Sketch Pad S 
Taco Chips S 
Tammy Baker's Face S 
Vicious Fish S 
Waste Case S 
Zebra Direct S 
Zebra Seam S 
Zion T 

Vicious Fish 

YDS: 5.13d French: 8b Ewbanks: 31 UIAA: X ZA: 32 British: E8 7a

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 100'
Original:  YDS: 5.13d French: 8b Ewbanks: 31 UIAA: X ZA: 32 British: E8 7a [details]
FA: Alan Watts 3/88
Season: Winter
Page Views: 3,812
Submitted By: Monomaniac on Nov 27, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [4 people like this page.]
Cranking through the lower crux on Vicious Fish

Seasonal Raptor Closure MORE INFO >>>


This is the ultimate prize on the Churning Buttress. Each winter hardmen flock to this site in search of 'good' (read: frigid) conditions for the redpoint. This is another great example of a route without holds. Sure, there are holds in spots, but in the business, you're basically slapping and sloping on pitiful ripples.

The route begins a few meters right of Churning, atop a flat boulder. Careful not to bump your head while surmounting the V0 boulder problem to reach the opening holds. The six easiest moves on the route are those leading up to the 3rd bolt. From here a good, but somewhat unnecessary rest gives you a chance to recoup for what is likely the most difficult bit of climbing. A tremendous amount of finger strength, skin, and a knob that one local compared to a medieval-mace, will be required to reach the excellent jugs right of the 5th bolt. The 4th bolt can be a bit tricky to clip if you're short. I recommend practicing the clipping stance on TR, as a blown clip here would certainly send you to the hospital.

Shake what you can at the 5th bolt. The next crux is downright heinous without the proper beta. Ask a local if you prefer, or spend 3 days trading finger skin and motivation for 'a sense of accomplishment' like I did. After clipping the 6th bolt, the climbing is relatively casual, but still very technical with big moves, ending with large jugs and a dubious rest at the Churning anchor. Again, rest the best you can...

Traverse right to the hanging arete. The traverse is rather technical, very pumpy, and culminates in some desparate slaps up the arete to an excellent jug at the 9th bolt. You should plan to hang out here for a while, as it will be a mad dash to the anchor from here.

The next 30 feet are widely regarded as the actual crux of the route. This section is doubtless the redpoint crux, but I felt the moves at the 4th bolt were much more difficult. I won't give anything away, but it would be useful to have at least a master's degree in arete technique. I would argue the entire upper arete, from the Churning anchor to the Fish chains is about 12d. Its probably less powerful than Split Image (12c/d), but a bit longer and more involved technically.


This is located immediately right of Churning, on the far right end of the Morning Glory Wall. It is easily identified as the first route left of the Kings of Rap roof on the Churning Buttress.



Photos of Vicious Fish Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: upper arete
upper arete

Comments on Vicious Fish Add Comment
Show which comments
By Peter Franzen
General Admin
From: Phoenix, AZ
Nov 27, 2006

What an outstanding description of this route! Crux after crux after crux... it may be a few more years before I attempt this one.
By Ryan Palo
From: Bend, oregon
Nov 30, 2010
rating: 5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a

I'd really like to stop falling off of the top :(
By Alex Baker
Oct 18, 2011

I just want to point out that the fish is well bolted, and botching the 4th clip would certainly not land you in the hospital. In fact, the third bolt is maybe 4 feet (max) below the fourth. Maybe it's been retro-bolted? I'm not sure. Anyway, don't avoid this one for safety's sake!
By JamesLucas Lucas
Feb 3, 2012

Not only has Alex Baker (the Billy Ray Cyrus look alike) sent this route but so did the 12 year old Drew Ruana. You know what that means-- Downrate it! It's probably more like "technical" 12c
By another Chad
Feb 23, 2013

This is by far the best route description I've read on Mountain Project.

By Andrew Hunzicker
May 15, 2013

Probably the best line I have ever done, and I fell off the top as well as many times (6 in a row, but who's counting). Great route description and here is my take on why this route is so great:

one of the most spectacular and historic lines, at one of the best climbing areas in US. Every type of climbing imaginable: crimps, big moves between big holds, slaps, arete climbing, hard bouldering, power endurance, scary runout, heartbreaker crux at the top, several big rests, and great exposure. Falling at the top means about a 30 footer straight down the knife edge arete. The entire time you climb this route on redpoint go, the final crux is in the back of your mind, and the doubts. I did the final crux 5 different ways, and I could do it without falling on TR, but on lead it was always different. Have never fallen past the last bolt on the way to anchors so many times, and the crux for me was overcoming my personal doubts.
By skinny legs and all
From: Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Feb 7, 2014

From what I have read about 12 year old Drew Ruana on this route, he was fully committed and whipping from the upper crux. I think his ascent is incredible, Drew must be a tough young man.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About