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Brogan Spire
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Cave Route 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b X

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 250'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Ted Davis and Jon Marshall 1963
Page Views: 2,837
Submitted By: Bryson Slothower on Apr 5, 2006

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Description 

Smith's version of Stolen Chimney on Ancient Art.
Easy climbing to an airy summit makes for a worthy mini adventure.

Pitch 1: What used to be a 5.6 solo has now been bolted. Climb a short steep section to a slab above and end at a bolted anchor or continue to the tunnel.

Pitch 2: Continue up to a tunnel through the formation, climb through the tunnel and turn right. Follow a run out groove (couple of bolts) to the shoulder above and belay at a bolted anchor. 5.3-5.6

Pitch 3: The goods. Climb easy rock to the summit spire and enjoy the view. 5.4

Descent: Rap the route with two ropes

Location 

start in an alcove on the East side of the formation. there are three short and overhanging sport climbs just left of the start of this route.

Approach by hiking past Koala Rock to a chimney between Brogan Spire's south end and Mini Half Dome (5.0) then turn up hill and hike along the base of the formation and pass through a tunnel where a large block leans against the face. The alcove is just above there.

Protection 

small rack and draws


Photos of Cave Route Slideshow Add Photo
Matt starting up the steep, but juggy, 5.6 first pitch of the Cave Route. This has 3 bolts. Deep, sandy jugs take you 30 feet up the start to the flat platform before the cave.
BETA PHOTO: Matt starting up the steep, but juggy, 5.6 first p...
Rappelling down the way indicated in the guidebook can be a bit dicey--you wind up traversing along a long ledge that can be extremely windy, as you can see! It's a big ledge, but exposed, and if you happen to get blown off or fall off while rap-walking backwards towards the P2 anchors, you're in for a big swing...
BETA PHOTO: Rappelling down the way indicated in the guidebook...
Big Wave Dave following the final moves that finish at the summit of Brogan Spire.  (The "cave" is the small dark area below Big Wave.  The original 2nd pitch gully can be seen as the left-facing corner in the shade behind Big Wave.)
BETA PHOTO: Big Wave Dave following the final moves that finis...
Carrie following the bolted face pitch (#2) with Mark waiting his turn just outside of the western opening of the cave.
BETA PHOTO: Carrie following the bolted face pitch (#2) with M...
Red is pitch #1 route to The Cave...The green "X" is where I remember the anchors were at the top of pitch #1
BETA PHOTO: Red is pitch #1 route to The Cave...The green &quo...
The "cave" on the Cave Route.
The "cave" on the Cave Route.
Big Wave Dave in the cave on the Cave Route.
Big Wave Dave in the cave on the Cave Route.
Carrie rapping from the summit of Brogan Spire with Mark waiting at the optional 2nd pitch belay (anchor requires gear).  Further below a climber is exiting the western opening of the cave while another group of climbers are near the first pitch anchors (2 bolts).
BETA PHOTO: Carrie rapping from the summit of Brogan Spire wit...
summit of Brogan
summit of Brogan
Jon following up the end of the 5.4 - 5.5-ish loose & run-out, but fun, corner groove for pitch 2 of the Cave Route. Photo take from belay bolt anchors on the shoulder - a nice, airy belay ledge.
BETA PHOTO: Jon following up the end of the 5.4 - 5.5-ish loos...
P2 on bolts to climbers left of the dirty/sandy corner. Use slings unless you like rope drag.
BETA PHOTO: P2 on bolts to climbers left of the dirty/sandy co...

Comments on Cave Route Add Comment
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By bryans
Jun 19, 2006

This route is usually done in two pitches. from the cave, follow the obvious boltline to the summit in one pitch (rather than climbing up the manky and poorly protected corner to an intermediate belay). good date climb.
By corvegas
From: the depths of oregon
Feb 6, 2007

More like 5.6R definatly not X any more. Fully bolted to the final 5.4 summit moves.
By mebbing
From: Bend, Oregon
Jun 17, 2008

I chose to lead "up the manky and poorly protected corner to an intermediate belay." The excellent perch up on that shoulder is indeed a fantastic place to spend some time, but I do believe if I climb this again, I will just follow the bolt line that is obivous from the cave... The "run-out groove" corner we climbed was fun, but was mostly loose, and other than 2 bolts, is pretty run-out. (the loose, sandy crack might take a #1 or #.75 cam, but I wouldn't want to fall on it!)

We did a double-rope rap from summit down east. After we all rapped, upon pulling the rope the knot between our two ropes got stuck on the little ledge just a foot or two in front of the big rap anchor up top. Took us a little while, but after pulling both rope ends far right the knot popped over the edge and we were able to pull the ropes down. I only mention because it turns out the same thing happened to the only other group that climbed it the same day as us.
By JohnK
From: Bend, Oregon
Jun 29, 2008

An alternate descent from the Brogan Spire summit with one rope:
Rap from the summit anchors towards the ridge where there are two anchor bolts at the top of the original 2nd pitch gully. This requires a bit of "walking" while "on rappel" east along the ridge to the anchors. Then rap from these anchors to the cave. Walk from the cave to the first pitch anchors (two bolts) and make the short rap back to your packs.
By DeepSeaPrawn
Sep 13, 2014

Heads up if you follow the route as described in Watts. The "fun ramp" to the right of the loose groove is indeed quite fun, but noticeably runout and requiring a very short but super-sketchy, poorly-protected traverse/downclimb at the end of the second pitch (unless I'm missing something...). The MP info here seems to imply that "The Cave Route" is either the groove or the bolted face, not the slab/ramp, but Watts describes it as following the ramp which starts on top of the cave. Sounds like there are several variations. And/or my guidebook reading comprehension skills need updating.

So. If you follow Watts, then in my opinion pitch 1 (the really short one) is 5.6/5.7 PG13, pitch 2 is 5.4 R/X, and I don't know for pitch 3 because we bailed under darkness (but it looked spooky). On the second pitch, on the slab, don't fall; and if you do, try to skid down the slab rather than fall off of it.

If you do what is suggested here at MP, i.e. either the loose groove or the bolted face, you will likely have better luck. Definitely some fun adventures to be had in the vicinity of the cave... Still 3 stars, but somewhat sketch.

FYI the nearby Living Blindly is quite fun and exposed, and far better protected. It shares the first pitch, the one leading to the cave. Tops out on the Tail rather than Brogan Spire.