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Wheat Chex 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b PG13

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 650', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b PG13 [details]
Page Views: 1,961
Submitted By: Likeasummerthursday on Sep 1, 2014

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Josie McKee soloing high on Wheat Chex

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 >>>


Adventure, runout, friction climbing on petrified sand dune! Much of the climbing consists of wild run outs above questionable pro on generally good but sandy, soft rock. A lot of fragile organic material grows out of the crack.

This route follows the long, mostly flaring crack that starts wide at the base and tightens as it continues to within about 60 feet of the summit. It is obvious as there are no other cracks that continue this high. Approach from three-car pullout is 90 seconds.

The crux of this route is deciding where to belay. One could stop anywhere to belay and a long rope is unnecessary but will give the most options. Be attentive to how much rope you have out and look out for shrub anchors. This is how we did it with almost no beta:

P1: ~140 feet to a decent shrub right of the crack. Flaring wide crack that takes medium to beigger gear.

P2: ~220 feet to a better small, obvious tree with a single, good bolt next to it-- the best belay on the route. Wide cracks narrows as you climb higher. The rock on this pitch is some of the best on the route. About 150 feet up you'll pass a good 2-bolt rap anchor on the left that is easy to see from the belay looking down but easy to pass.

P3: ~220 feet to a really small shrub growing out of the crack. 'Good pro' the whole way slinging small shrubbery. Some of both the lowest and highest angle slab on the route with perhaps the worst option for belays.

P4: ~100 feet to the top. This may be the hardest hardest pitch, namely because the crack ends and the rock worsens. We went up and left about 11 o'clock when the crack ends, traversing left on decent holds on very flaky rock. Continue to belay off a big tree. Easy to pull/kick off a lot of rock here.

Descent is very straightforward. Follow the hikers trail climbers' left and south for about 15 minutes. When the trail meets the much denser forest, descend left into the gully and follow the trail along the base of the miuntain back to the road. ~45 minutes.

This route is great friction climbing with awesome views. Low angle adventure climbing. The protection is not particularly inspiring given the softness of the rock, but it's probably not as bad as it first feels. Above all, be mindful of belay options and pulling off rock while slinging shrubbery and protection where the crack flares the least.

Doubles from C4 .5-4. Offset nuts and a dozen slings.


Park in the 3-car pullout directly below the route. Approach is 2 minutes. The route folllows the single longest continuous crack that leads almost all the way to the summit. The whole route is totally visible from the base/road. Descent: Follow the hikers' trail south from the top along the east side until you encounter the thicker woods. Then descend into the gully to the left, following the hikers' trail along the base of the mountain and slabs back to the base of the route.


Double C4 .5-4, Offset Nuts, 15+ Slings

Photos of Wheat Chex Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Checkerboard Mesa's Wheat Chex. Follow the most co...
Checkerboard Mesa's Wheat Chex. Follow the most co...
Rock Climbing Photo: Checkerboard Mesa with approximate location of bol...
BETA PHOTO: Checkerboard Mesa with approximate location of bol...
Rock Climbing Photo: Heidi eating up  Wheat Chex (tastes sandy yet sati...
Heidi eating up Wheat Chex (tastes sandy yet sati...
Rock Climbing Photo: Base of route.
Base of route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting up the crack.
Starting up the crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: Follow the long crack!
Follow the long crack!

Comments on Wheat Chex Add Comment
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By Stan Pitcher
From: SLC, UT
Apr 13, 2015

Can't believe people solo this route! I backed off very low on the route after slipping twice on the very sandy low angle slab.
By Darin Berdinka
May 23, 2016

Found it sandy and slippery. Pretty darn heads up for 5.7! But a lot of fun. Finding bomber anchors was not an issue and the gear is typically pretty good with some runouts.

The view from the topout (well maybe a little west of the topout) is one of the best I've seen in Zion. Just amazing. That alone is worth doing the route for.
By john harrison
Mar 20, 2017
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

Solid and reasonably well protected on the lower pitches. Two bolt anchors have been placed at short intervals that seem as though they'd permit single rope ascent and descent. We climbing straight up to a sandy ledge with a tree practically falling out of it. A shallow two cam and stopper anchor for the last pitch up and to the left. (going right will take you up into a left facing orange dihedral w uncertain stability/pro.) Walk off to the left and down a canyon to the car.
Great climb if you bring a GENTLE brush for loose sand on the crack. Because of the last pitch, I would not care do the route to the top in future. Perhaps if we'd gone left earlier.....hmmm......

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