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Middle Bell Tower
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L to R R to L Alpha
Arm and Hammer T 
Butcher Knife T 
Cymbals Of The Sun T 
Dire Direct T,S 
Ellsworth-McQuarrie Route T 
Lowe Variation T 
Regge Pole T 
Winged Warrior T 

Butcher Knife 

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

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Les Ellison and Rick Wyatt, 1982
Season: Spring through Fall
Page Views: 2,765
Submitted By: ldsclimber on Nov 23, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (6)
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The hand crack/flake after the slab traverse

Private Property now at the entrance to Bells Canyon. MORE INFO >>>


P1 Climb same 5.7 start as A&H
P2 Do the traverse to the crescent ledge
P3 Head right and down climb a bit to make upward progress passed two bolts. Then head right to a right facing corner and up to a third bolt. Make some dicey slab moves and up to the anchors.
P4 Long pitch with a lot of rope drag so use slings. Traverse 30' left to a ledge where a crack splits the face and turns right under a roof. Follow the crack to a belay station and head for the wild roof split by a finger crack. Pull the roof and head to a bolt and pull the second roof. Follow the crack up to a left angling crack and on to the top anchors.


3 60m rappels to reach your packs. 1st rap strait down to the top of the Zion Curtain. Then angle right to the top of the 1st P and last on to the ground.


Green BD TCU to #3
Doubles in everything.
Lots of long slings
six QDs for the few bolts on each pitch

Photos of Butcher Knife Slideshow Add Photo
Original hand drawn topo of Butcher Knife from Les...
Original hand drawn topo of Butcher Knife from Les...

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By ldsclimber
From: Queen Creek AZ
Dec 15, 2008

We did Butcher Knife late in Nov 2008. There was snow all around and a blue 45 degree sky. We did the route with two parties and with both leaders climbing at the same time. I'd never done anything like that before. It did make for a good times though and probably more heckling than climbing. I do think it caused me to get a bit off route on the third pitch.

After passing two manky 1/4" bolts on 5.9+ slab my head was not doing so well. I kept heading strait up to a little roof where I sunk a #1 BD and a yellow Metolius. I pulled the roof after being assured that that I was going the right way, climbing to where, I had no idea. I told Jared (the other leader)to hang back till I was good.

Each move I made got me further and further into the blank wall. Not being able to repeat the dicey slab moves, I had to keep moving up. After a bit I saw a bolt 15 feet to my right. I knew I was off route, and I was looking at a 50'er. As the lyrics of Don McLean's American Pie raced through my mind, all I could think was "PLEASE GOD! Don't let me fall! but, if I do, it couldn't be a better place, It was beautiful out and I had two of my best friends there to watch". I was all in.

Once I hit a seem, and as soon as I felt my right ring finger sink to my first knuckle, I quickly moved my finger and slammed in a green BD C3. I sprinted to the belay hooting and hollering all the way, thankful that I was able to keep my head and that didn't fall.

I watched as Jared, the other leader follow where I had just been. Right before the green C3, his foot slipped which caused him to grab my rope and let out a few explicits. He had not clipped in yet. Upon reaching the belay he said that I had just cauterized my mangina.WHOOT!! WOOT!! I'd been waiting for those words for years.

After finishing the forth pitch, we rapped to the starting anchors of the Zion Curtain and blitzed that as well. We all got down just before dark. I wouldn't do it any other way, It was an awesome day, two classics on a short sunny winter day. Next time I will just stay on route.
By bsmoot
Dec 15, 2008

If you choose to free the first tension traverse of Arm & Hammer, then you'll need to climb 11c to get to Butcher Knife.

Thanks for the write up!

Edit: Pitch 4 is usually done in 2 pitches. This route offers sustained and varied climbing...a forgotten classic.
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 28, 2010
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R

This is the hardmans 5.10d slab. Do all the fin and thumb routes then hike up here for more of an alpine feel to mixed climbing with a nice run out 5.10d slab crux.
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 8, 2011
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R

Went up yesterday and did this and other routes. Last visit to Butcher knife was 1986 when it was in better shape. Unfortunately this wonderful route has significant gear deterioration - ancient bolts and no piton left. Great climbing but forgotten and probably a bit dangerous now until it gets fixed.
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