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Weird Water 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 140'
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Mike Engle-1985 Ground Up
Page Views: 7,498
Submitted By: Anonymous Coward on May 15, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (66)
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Brenda on Weird Water

Check NPS for Closures


A great, long climb. Incredible moves, incredible position. This route summits the main rock in the Marker formation. Gets my vote for the best 5.7 in Rushmore!

Finding this route the first time around can be a bit of a chore... Follow directions to the route 'Star Dancer'. As you're looking at the rock, scramble up to the right, passing the first gully on the left, into a small opening / grassy area, and continue to the next gully on the left. At the top of this gully are some large blocks / chockstones.

After surmounting the blocks, continue on to the right until just past the chimney on left (the Gilson Chimney). The various starts for Weird Water begin here. The variations on the start range from 5.2 (traversing up and right to the main line - 2 bolts) to 5.10 (direct start with a couple bolts). The line I'll describe is the trad start and keeps the entire route at 5.7.

After scoping out the direct start, look to the finger-type crack a couple feet to the right. Climb the crack, protecting to your comfort level (stoppers work well). The crack ends at a small shelf after about 25'. I found a nice placement for a 1" cam at the back of the small shelf.

From the shelf, pick out the biggest crystals and move left and up to the first bolt. I found these moves to be a bit nervy. From that point on, continue from bolt to bolt, being careful to follow the bolt line as it moves to the right (direct up the water streak is 'Weird Dripper'). If you pick a direct line between each bolt you can make this climb much more difficult.

After finally reaching the top you'll find a small summit and a two bolt anchor. Enjoy the views, tie your ropes together, and rap down.


A ton of draws (maybe 15 bolts?), plus a couple stoppers and/or small cams for the crack start. Something for the 2 bolt anchor on top.

2 ropes!!

Photos of Weird Water Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Shauna Gunnels following the nicely exposed "...
Shauna Gunnels following the nicely exposed "...
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: Tom Dickey on top of Weird Water.
Tom Dickey on top of Weird Water.
Rock Climbing Photo: following the bolted start to weird water.  amazin...
following the bolted start to weird water. amazin...
Rock Climbing Photo: Oregon's own Greg Coulter clipping his first Rushm...
Oregon's own Greg Coulter clipping his first Rushm...
Rock Climbing Photo: start of ww
BETA PHOTO: start of ww
Rock Climbing Photo: The exposed nature of the route is great
The exposed nature of the route is great
Rock Climbing Photo: Here is one of many reasons to climb this wonderfu...
Here is one of many reasons to climb this wonderfu...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is a shot of Angie nearing the top of Weird W...
This is a shot of Angie nearing the top of Weird W...

Comments on Weird Water Add Comment
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By Andrew Gram
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 2, 2002
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This is the second best 5.7 at Rushmore behind Gossamer. The 5.10 direct start is the best way to go. The 5.2 start is easy, but you shouldn't protect it to avoid heinous rope drag, so be careful clipping the first bolt. Great climb.
By Paul Huebner
From: Portage, WI
Jul 8, 2003
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I led this route on 07/06/03 and I would tell all 5.7 leaders to beware that one false move and you'll find yourself on 5.9 - 5.10. It's a big face and the bolts are hard to see since they zigzag up the route. Also, I've led Stardancer twice and many other 5.8s and 5.7s in the Needles, including Old #8, Bolts for Bob, Bolts for Bert, Solitaire, Aging Gracefully, Goatskin, Toe Boit, and all of the versions of Waves including the original and a new 5.9 called Bob's Bolts and Anchors? on toprope and Wierd Water is harder than any of them.

  • **

See above comment.
By wayniak
Jul 24, 2005
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Fun climbing w/exposure. Appropriate route finding will keep this climb as rated; however, the potential to make this harder than needed is very easy to do. You are sure to inadvertently find your way into counltess family photo albums as this climb is highly visible to traffic on the highway who are not shy about stopping, shouting, and waving-trying to get your attention while snapping photos.
By Cameron Luth
Feb 22, 2006

I think this is the best 5.7 at rushmore. I myself like the 5.2 start and do it more often than the 5.7 because it is a leisurely climb and has an awesome veiw. Its is most definitely worth the effort.

  • **
By Gary Schmidt
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 5, 2011

First of all thx for the great beta for directions above. Worked out well and don't think I would ever have found the climb without them.

A great route but not your average "5.7" climb. When you combine the necessity of picking out the best line and also the fact that you might not be used to waging how much skin you might be willing to lose if you miss while standing on that slippery crystal this climb can easily become a bit of an adventure. I too have led 5.8 and 9's (and a pretty solid 5.10 a/b leader) in the area that felt easier and safer. That said it is a great route so go for it. Just don't expect a walk up and be solid at the grade. (by the way it is about 25 ft from the last bolt to the anchor and the climbing could still easily go at 5.6 in some areas). Bring a red and yellow camalot and a few smaller nuts or aliens for the beginning crack depending on how much protection you like. Note that is quite a way from where the crack ends to the first bolt so make that last piece a good one!
By DreadsNropes
From: sd
Nov 5, 2012

was up there the other day with a couple friends. having a few ppl there i decided to move on to another. could someone take me up for my first time. i think i just over-thought it all
By Jesse Washburn
Dec 2, 2012

Best 5.7 at Rushmore in my book; between the exposure and views, it can't be beat. I think the 5.7 rating is very appropriate and had no trouble with the route finding. I guess there could be some confusion with the bolts going directly up the water mark (5.10 - called ?big dripper?) - but stay about 1 yard right of that and the route is a straight forward 5.7 with great exposure. Absolutely love this climb!
By APasquel
Mar 18, 2014

Did this back in September of 2013...I agree with all of you. Best 5.7 at Rushmore and possibly one of the best 5.7s in the country. Has it all...

It's's's's on South/Southwest facing wall...solid rock...and a summit to finish on.

Need two ropes to rap down...
By Iowaclimber... oh the irony
Mar 10, 2015

Awesome route!! Heres my take: Second best 5.7 behind Gossamer if you want 'unique' climb or picture :)!! Best if you just want an awesome climb!!

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