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Vision Quest 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b PG13

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 450'
Original:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b PG13 [details]
FA: Ed Webster and Jeff Achey 9/84
Page Views: 12,207
Submitted By: Tony B on Apr 19, 2002

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RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek MORE INFO >>>


This long and sustained route is one of the longest, and perhaps finer hand-to-fist climbs in Indian Creek. The summit is awesome! The King Of Pain is a tower with a set of twin summits and is the tallest of all of the Bridger Jack towers, other than the Butte itself. It is easily twice the size of the Sparkling Touch, Thumbelina, or Sunflower towers, and almost 3 times the size of Easter Island.

Vision Quest climbs a majority of its length up or near the dihedral system that splits the two towers on the East side. Details are as follows:

P1: Around to the right of the base, on the north tower's east face side, you will see a .75-1.5" fingercrack in a right-facing dihedral. Climb this to its top, then move over to the left to the base of a big slot, and belay at the fixed station. (10c)

P2: From the previously mentioned belay, climb a pumpy hand-to-fist crack up for about 100' to another fixed anchor to belay. The overhanging section may be the physical crux of the route. (10d)

P3: From the fixed belay, start up again in another crack that is wide-hands to fists through a bulge for the technical crux of the route. (10d)

P4: Climb up through some big blocks to an area between where the two summits split, and up onto the face on the right (north summit). This pitch is the psychological crux of the route, and while it is 10a max, it is poorly protected with a few equalized cams in a sandy flare below your feet while summitting on sandy slopers. A fall would be ill-advised.

Descend by a set of fixed raps on double ropes on the east face north of the route- do not attempt to combine raps, and beware of stuck ropes as they are common on this route.


A good selection of cams, including at least one #4 camalot. Go heavy on the 1" and on the 2.5-3.5". A wide piece or two may be useful to provide peace of mind toward the top.

Photos of Vision Quest Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Last bulge on P3
Last bulge on P3
Rock Climbing Photo: The fun begins...  Pitch 2
The fun begins... Pitch 2
Rock Climbing Photo: Matt in the wideness
Matt in the wideness
Rock Climbing Photo: The cool Wife, great route!
The cool Wife, great route!
Rock Climbing Photo: Sean Watters enjoys the second belay
Sean Watters enjoys the second belay
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2 crux second slot.
Pitch 2 crux second slot.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 4 face after stemming between the towers.
Pitch 4 face after stemming between the towers.
Rock Climbing Photo: On the summit of KOP
On the summit of KOP
Rock Climbing Photo: From the inside looking out
From the inside looking out
Rock Climbing Photo: On top of the "Death Block"
On top of the "Death Block"
Rock Climbing Photo: Berto getting into the thick of things.
Berto getting into the thick of things.
Rock Climbing Photo: Vision Quest climbs the crack and corner system (s...
BETA PHOTO: Vision Quest climbs the crack and corner system (s...
Rock Climbing Photo: William following P1 of Vision Quest, just past th...
William following P1 of Vision Quest, just past th...

Comments on Vision Quest Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 31, 2016
By Joe Collins
Apr 20, 2002

One of the best tower routes in the desert, on par with Primrose, Fine Jade, N. Face Castleton, etc... I would argue that the OW at the top of pitch 2 is the psychological (and possibly technical) crux of the route. The only pro is a stopper behind a chockstone which is below your feet at the start of the grovelling. After a few insecure grovelly moves (left side in OW, right foot smearing on sandy slopeyness) you do get pro when the OW opens enough to chimney. Pitch 4, though you wouldn't want to fall, is 5.8...maybe 5.9.
By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Nov 2, 2002

The slot on pitch two doesn't have to be left side in. It's a pretty old-fashioned grovel either way. We brought one helmet, for whoever was underneath. On the rap from the notch, you need to angle slightly left (climber's left) as you rap to gain the lower rap station in the dihedral.
By Joe Gartner
Dec 4, 2002

A note about the "fixed anchors"...they're not very inspiring. The pitch one anchor consists of a drilled angle equalized with a knot tied in webbing used as a chock. The next anchor consists of one drilled angle. To supplement these anchors save some tcu's for the first anchor and some larger cams for the pitch two anchor (3.5 and 4 camalot). Great route. A little bit of everything.
By George Lowe
Apr 24, 2005

!!!!!Caution!!!!!Vision Quest on King of Pain Spire:The 6x2x2 meter block just left of the belay at the top of the first pitch rocks at least 5 cm if you lean or stem against the top.You must use the block to reach the first belay. It is likely to kill someone if it comes off. It could possibly take out the blocks below it as well. A pity, nice route!
By Anonymous Coward
Apr 26, 2005

P1 was probably the crux, some laybacking in a .75 camalot crack. P2 wasn't too bad until the very end, the OW part. I put in a gold camalot and purple camalot below the chockstone, then laybacked up until I could get my right side in, ala the picture of Jeff Achey in the guidebook. This seemed to work pretty good. P3 had an awkward bulge, there are good hand jams but they are in the back of this flaring wide crack. P4 was exciting but as long as nothing breaks you'll be fine.
By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From: Lander, WY
Oct 14, 2006

Keep in mind that the belay at the end of pitch two has only 1 angle... you need to have a #4 or #5 friend there to back it up. If you had a few extra 3.5 inch pieces you could skip this belay and go to the base of the face pitch, making it a 3 pitch climb and saving some time.
By Ben Kiessel
Oct 23, 2006

Bill and I climbed this a year or two ago and thought it was a stellar route. Bill lead pitch 2 and hucked a basket ball sized rock out of the bottom of the slot(I guess it was in his way?). I linked pitches 3 and 4, not to steal Bills lead but because I didn't see a fixed belay, and did not have gear for an anchor, oh who am i joking I wanted to steal Bills lead. This was an ok option, but the rope drag was not that great. When we did this route we expected a bunch of offwidth, but were pleasantly surprised to find a great route with minimal wide stuff.
By Bill Grasse
From: Carbondale, CO.
Feb 26, 2007

Jerk! Stealing my lead! (I'm talking to Ben K.) The Basketball sized block was the one seen below Jeff Achey in the picture in the Indian Creek guide. I grabbed it and it fell into my lap. So, It's now gone making the move a little harder? Anyway, it was a great route, or at least as good as it can be when someone steals your lead! Just joking Ben.

By Bob Rotert
Mar 20, 2007

Great route!!! As George Lowe mentions we also noticed the tower block on top of pitch one has some play. We combined the last 2 pitches in one also because no anchor showed when leading the 3rd pitch. We summited the south tower & found one crappy bolt at the top of the King of Pain South summit tower. Nothing you would want to rap from.

I would not recommend rapping down this route. It only has 1 fixed drilled angle at the top of pitch 1 & 2. Also I believe it has lots of potential for ropes getting stuck. A better way to descend is to cross over to the north summit of King of Pain. You will find nice anchors, 4 bolts, to rap from on the north end down to the notch between it & Bridger Jack Butte. Once in the notch move north again up to anchors at the base of BJ Butte. Once you are in the notch it is 2 more rappels to get you down without any danger of bad anchors or ropes getting stuck.

That is how we descended & I was very glad we found this option vs descending the route. Much better descent option.
By Ben Kiessel
Mar 21, 2007

how was climbing the south tower from the notch between the 2?
By sol
Apr 15, 2007

had a great time on the route in april '07.
here is a link to our TR:
P.S. the blocks at P1 did not move at all when we climbed the route, maybe they've shifted.
By andrew kulmatiski
From: logan, ut
Feb 20, 2008

Climbed this feb. '08. The block on top of p1 could/should be pushed off - it was a rockin'. There is also a really sketchy block about 40' up p2 that looks like it dropped recently (lots of fresh sand) and if it comes out all the way its likely to cut the rope and injure the belayer - some cleaning is needed. I thought p1 was 5.11 (by the way go lt of the first block and rt of the second), p2 was 5.10-, p3 5.11, and p4 5.8 r/x. spectacular moves at the end of p2 and p4.
By Mitch Musci
From: Estes Park, CO
Apr 26, 2008

Question about pitch 4: we climbed THROUGH a tight squeeze that separates the two summits, then climbed toward the north summit from the backside. The climbing seemed reasonable though ill-protected and worked out just fine, but I am still unsure if this is the actual route. Does this sound right or do you head up BEFORE squeezing between the two summits (I remember I had to take gear off my harness and hand it to my partner before I could fit through the squeeze)
By drewford
From: Wasatch Back, UT
Apr 2, 2009

As the IC guidebook says - BURLY
By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Apr 26, 2009
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13

Pitch 1 felt 5.11- to me....every other pitch the rating seemed right on. I didn't think the 4th pitch was all that runout.
Also as stated can link pitch 3 and 4 with a 60M. However you need a couple of cams in the .75 camalot range, at least. I ended up pulling up the tagg line and using it as a very long cordelette to the rap anchor.
Also I went right side in on pitch worked well.

I reread the comments above and wanted to add another note about pitch 1. i didn't think the crux was in the section where the crack becomes .75 cam size.
The first 20-25ft where considerably yellow alien and then red....that's where I thought the crux was.
By chosspector
From: San Juans, CO
Oct 8, 2009

King of Pain can be rappelled with one 70M rope.
By Mike
From: Phoenix
Nov 5, 2009
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

What a stellar route! Airy moves, wild position, incredible views, and cracks from fingers thru chimney. I struggled the most with the OW moves shortly before the end of P2.

We rapped the route with a single 72 meter rope, and just barely made it on the first rap.
By markguycan
From: flagstaff, AZ
Nov 6, 2010
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13

Wild and Strenuous. P2 OW was the crux. our gear was reasonable: 1ea 0.4-1", 2ea 0.75-#1camalot, 3ea #2-#4 (1 #3.5), 1 #5new size. plus a few nuts and at least 6 slings. We had two ropes but agree that 1 70M would have worked.
By Matthew Johnson
From: Mounds View, MN
Apr 7, 2011

Just climbed this in Mar '11 and the block on top of p1 is still moving. However someone has clearly marked "death block" at the base on a stone for a reminder. Also, if you don't want to link p3 and p4 there are plenty of chock stones in the back crack of the alcove that can be girth hitched since a fixed anchor isn't present.
By Tommey-James
From: Boulder,Colorado
Jul 26, 2011
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13

I thought that pulling the bulge on the 3rd pitch was the physcial crux. I laid back the OW and physcially it was not too bad at all but it is very commiting, doing it true off width style would be very tuff
By Alexander Nees
From: Grand Junction, CO
May 31, 2012
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

This is a great climb... but unfortunately I can't recommend it to anyone. There are simply too many loose, dangerous blocks on this route, most of which also threaten the belayer. I really enjoyed it, and it has a lot of good interesting climbing, but it felt too much like russian roulette. I won't do it again.

As of late May 2012, the deathblock tally is as follows:
(A) The refrigerator-sized rocker block at the top of Pitch 1, which is actually the most solid of the collection. It sounds hollow and is definitely detached, but didn't actually move when touched.
(B) A microwave-sized block in the awkward squeeze about 10 feet above the belay on Pitch 3 (before you reach the crux bulges). This one rotated 270 degrees when my follower touched it, and is definitely ready to go at the slightest provocation. There are other smaller loose blocks in this section as well.
(C) There is an oven-sized block at the top of Pitch 3 (the optional belay at the notch between the North and South summits). This one has "No belay" scratched into it, since it's tempting to wrap it with cord and set up your belay there. It's loose and hollow, and sand trickles out when it is pulled on.
(D) There is a large loose flake on Pitch 4, where you pull out of the weird stem between the towers and commit to the face on the North summit. It expands when pulled on, and is directly above your belayer. Kitchen tabletop-sized, to continue the metaphor?

Summary: This climb has blocks the size of a fridge, oven, microwave, and tabletop, plus an assortment of smaller appliance-sized chunks. You could fully outfit your newly remodeled kitchen on this climb!... and then use those fancy appliances to kill your belayer. Blocks threaten the belayer at the base, at the top of pitch 2, and at the top of pitch 3.

I've never said this about a route before, but Vision Quest really needs someone to climb it, trundle all the loose stuff, and fix the anchors (bolted anchors, not single drilled pins).

For those who choose to do this route anyway... a single 70m rope works well for the descent. Rap #1: knot your ends, then rap into the notch between King of Pain and Bridger Jack Butte. You'll have to unclip from the rope and walk over to the anchor, but it's on a mellow ledge. A 60m will NOT work... but there is an intermediate rap station that could be used. The bolts look okay, but bring some fresh webbing for the anchor. Rap #2 & #3: Straightforward ~100 foot rappels to good bolted stations. With a 60m, Rap #2 would be VERY close, and I don't guarantee that it would reach. Knot your ends for sure.
By Eric Whitbeck
Oct 10, 2012

Awesome route. I remember sitting at the base after finishing and watching two really tough guys in the midst of an attempt to climb all the summits at the Jacks in one day. The leader pulled open a massive jar of ravioli and just shoveled it down then cast off the layback on pitch one. His partner put him on belay on the trail rope accidentally. The leader got up into the crux, I noticed the error, and told the belayer. He yelled to the leader and told him what was up. Without pause, he just laughed and said "well how about putting me on belay then." He finished the pitch, they finished the route and I saw their headlamps hours later as they reached the final summit.
By ben jammin
From: Moab, UT
Oct 17, 2012


Take a lookie.

Vision Quest anchor forum

It doesn't matter to me who does it, I just hope they stick with the consensus of minimal bolting.
By Kevin DB
Dec 21, 2012
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13

Yeah, that is a rad climb. I thought the chimney was the crux, definitely the whole thing is a little burlier 5.10 then you normally find at the creek. The top pitch is fine, just keep your head together and don't fall and it's pretty solid and very enjoyable climbing. Fun fun fun.
By Hank Caylor
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Jun 1, 2014

This route now has either two bolts at each belay or a bolt and I left the existing pin. So there's 2 good anchors at each belay and yes, you can bring more gear and try to improve the anchors further, either way. There's no rings on this route as we all know the rappels are on the other side of the summit.. Crazy blocks seem to be all gone now, done, have fun folks. Fucking BURLY for a 10+!

The rappel is already in good shape, take a little webbing and improve on the old tat factor.
By Lyle Harte
From: Denver
Oct 31, 2016

Just in case anyone is curious, the slung chockstone at the base of the second pod on pitch 2 is good for a 25 footer. Not tested by choice.

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