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YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 100'
Original:  YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Stuart Ruckman, Gary Olsen, 1988
Page Views: 791
Submitted By: Boissal on Sep 19, 2011

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (6)
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El crux. Now hang in there for another 10 or so c...

  • Park your car off of the main canyon road
  • Park your car off of the main canyon road.
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  • Description 

    Lemme get this out of the way: holy SHIT that thing is rad!!

    Virga takes a stunning line straight up the underbelly of Tower 3, launching you into a relentless pitch of super sustained and technical climbing on a dead vertical to slightly overhanging wall. Although the crux comes early and there's a decent rest after you've dispatched the first third, expect no mercy through the stacked boulder problems that guard the anchors.

    Start in a featureless shallow dihedral and make your way to the 2nd bolt where good pockets appear. The route veers hard right into sculpted holes below the crux bulge, a technical boulder problem with long moves and a poor clipping hold (think pinch). Make the clip, boulder your way to the 5th bolt and take a rest, it will be your last chance.
    From there, launch up and left into a faint dihedral system, the main theme being a couple of tough moves on poor feet and weird sidepulls to an OK hold you clip from. Repeat, repeat, repeat until a grey band of blocky holds appear along with the first loose rock of the route. Don't tunnel vision and notice the bolt a ways to your left. The holds get better at that point but exploding footholds will keep your attention.
    If the pump hasn't dropped you by then the last steep awkward moves to clip the anchors certainly will.


    Virga is tucked a ways up the Gully of Eternal Peril (gulp) on the west side of Tower 3. Walk toward Main Hellgate, around the imposing prow of Tower 3 and scramble up a narrow gully (4th class, secure) for about 100' to a small alcove blocked by a huge dead stump. A #1 or #2 cam could go in a pocket to anchor the belayer.


    14 bolts, alternating scary rusty SMC hangers and bomber looking Kongs to a glue-in + bolt anchor. The tat on the anchor was fresh and equalized, lowering is OK (60m rope, a few feet to spare).

    Back clean the 1st draw, clip bolt 2, 3 and 4 with long runners and bolts 9, 11 and 12 with long draws if you don't want the rope to make a series of Zs and pull your ass off the top.

    HELMETS! The Gully of Eternal Peril behaved like a moody hag during the hour we were in there and pitched a fair amount of choss at us.

    Photos of Virga Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Finishing Virga. The start is below the shaded roo...
    Finishing Virga. The start is below the shaded roo...

    Comments on Virga Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By John Steiger
    Aug 17, 2012
    rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a

    We found this to be a little more loose than the average Hellgate tower route, and a bit dirty to start, but as Boissal’s description indicates, this is a great adventure. Slings on the anchors are getting stiff as of 8/5/12; a round or two of adult beverages on me for whoever takes the effort to install chains.
    By tenesmus
    Jul 12, 2013

    Obviously the photo shows Virga on the Northwest side of the tower. I was looking around for it and couldn't really see the start. I assume you have to step up into that gully between tower 3 and the start of the main wall? But when I scrambled around in there I didn't see much but time bombs and deathblocks.
    By Boissal
    From: Small Lake, UT
    Jul 12, 2013

    You were in the right spot, just not far enough. Keep scrambling up the narrow gully between Tower 3 and the main wall. It's narrow, steepish and 4th class, maybe up to 5.2. Keep going until you reach a flatish spot blocked by a wedged dead stump (impassable). You should see the first couple of bolts heading up and right.
    By grk10vq
    Jul 12, 2013

    bring a compass you giant, orange dong.
    By bheller
    From: SL UT
    Sep 8, 2016
    rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a

    Great route and great write up! Spot on Boissal. Techy thin sustained (and clean!) alpine limestone (marble). Balancy and weavy with hidden holds. 11D...Why? Because it's harder and certainly more involved than Medussa (perhaps a soft 11c), and its also harder than Shelter From The Storm's first pitch... 11d.

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