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Cathedral Buttress
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Aerial Boundaries T 
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Escape from Death T 
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Snaz, The T 
Sunshine Daydream T 

Caveat Emptor 

YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 8 pitches, 1000', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10b/c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: various
Page Views: 5,825
Submitted By: david goldstein on Jul 22, 2006

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Joe Terravecchia on 3rd pitch. 1994

Description 

The middle of this route contains several quality pitches, but I feel that it does not deserve its super-classic status because:

1. The approach pitch and exit pitches are nothing to write home about.
2. It doesn't go near the top of even Cathedral Buttress, let alone a summit.
3. It's currently rigged for rapping after the good climbing, making it less fitting for an area of fine summits and creating a potential for big clusterfucks as descending parties collide with ascenders
4. IMMO, at least, cragging in this area of estimable summits is like sport climbing in Yosemite -- it may be enjoyable but it's probably not what you came for and you might later regret not having done something more mega.

After doing this route relying exclusively on Rossiter's description, we concluded we would have been better off with Ortenburger's. We found a wide variation of difficulty among the hard pitches though both guides give all of them about the same rating.

The route:

P1: A long pitch. Up slab a few feet, traverse right about 15', up an easy left-leaning, left-facing corner (~5.5) for about 20', then angle up 4th class slabs to a slippery, hard to protect step (~5.5) and a small tree. Traverse left about 20' into an alcove/chimney. Belay a few feet up the chimney, about 5' below a fixed pin in pegmatite. 5.5, 200'.

P2. Clipped the FP, clip a fixed blue Alien (or replace it if it's gone), awkwardly hand traverse right (10-) for about 5', then step up. Try to place a piece at the end of the HT as there is no more pro for a while. Face climb straight up on protectionless rock (~5.7, unprotected, ledge fall potential) for about 15' until you can get a couple of good pieces in a horizontal. Harder, crimpy face climbing (~5.9) about this leads gear to a long, right-leaning, right-facing corner. Follow the corner for a while until heading right across slabby face, aiming for a ledge by a pillar with a rap anchor A spicey, engaging pitch. 10-, ~130'.

P3: Up a nice crack which widens from fingers to hands for about 50' until the crack ends at a roof. Traverse right under the roof, then jam up and over (10-). Continue up more easily for ~50' until a small ledge with a couple of fixed pins. Try not use your wider pieces at the beginning of this pitch as they are needed for the section of the crack below the roof and in the roof itself. It would also be nice, but not essential to have a #3 Camalot sized piece at the belay. The best pitch of the climb. 10-, 100'.

4. Up slab (~5.7) for about 30' to ledge under a roof, trav R around roof (easy), then up easy R facing corner (1 tricky move) for ~ 40' to alcove at base of crack which leans L then doglegs R. 5.9-, ~100'

5. Up crack to dogleg (easy) then work right in awkward handcrack with crux pulling roof (5.10), then up for a long ways on easy ground to a good ledge with a four piece equalized rap anchor. 5.10, ~100'.

6. Trav L about 10' (easy, no pro) then diagonal up R to 2 # 2 Friend placements and a fixed nut. Face climb up and R from nut (5.10) to vertical crack w/ perfect 1.5 Friend placement and a scary clip. Straight up on easier ground about 20' to a bulge w/ minimal pro. (Easier to get around bulge by trav R ~8', up 10' then back L (ropedrag potential) into corner crack system.) Get good gear to left of corner (yellow or red Alien, FP) then up 5.8 with no pro. Continue up corner crack until ledge with rap anchor 10' above it. 5.10, ~120'.

If your only concern is quality climbing and not "finishing the route", and there are no parties below you on The Snaz, you should be able to rap from here with double ropes. Note: We did not rap. We were told, and it seemed a logical assumption, that a complete set of rap stations exist, but some of the rap stations would be on The Snaz and we did not personally observe them.

If you chose to keep going:

P7: Up corner mostly easy w/ one hardish move to big ledge with tree. 5.7 ~150'

From here, keep angling left and up for a few hundred feet of progressively easier climbing. At some point you may wish to unrope. Eventually you'll encounter a large ledge system with many big trees below the upper Cathedral Buttress headwall. Once on this ledge, head left (west) and down, eventually encountering a rough climber's trail which takes you back to the Death Canyon trail in about a half an hour. The descent trail would be straightforward to follow in the dark, but finding it allegedly is not.



Location 

The start is the same as the Snaz. The easy-to-follow climber's trail takes you right there.


Protection 

We took a broad range of gear, from RPs to #4 Camalot. Didn't place the RPs, didn't need the #4, didn't place a cam smaller than a green Alien (though the start of P2 was protected by a fixed blue Alien.) We had double of cams from thin fingers to #3 Camalot which was excessive in the smaller sizes and barely adequate in the larger. Next time I'd thin out some of the smaller stuff and probably replace the #4 Camalot with another hand sized piece.



Photos of Caveat Emptor Slideshow Add Photo
Rob Springer towards the end of P2.
Rob Springer towards the end of P2.
P6. W/out MP beta, the leader sacks up and wonders if this is really where it goes.
P6. W/out MP beta, the leader sacks up and wonders...
The start of P3.
The start of P3.
Comments on Caveat Emptor Add Comment
Show which comments
By Nick Stayner
From: The Magic City
Jul 23, 2006
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

David, your description is good, but I have a few additions as some things appear to be a bit misleading.

Approach: If walking off, leave packs in a tree JUST BEFORE leaving the main Death Canyon trail. The walkoff takes you back to the main Death Canyon trail, not to the base of the route.

p1- When you belay it, it's slightly over 200'. The second has always wound up simulclimbing up to slightly above the tree (~25 ft.) Also, there are great TCU placements that protect the "slippery step". There's a great finger-sized crack in the right side of the corner.
p2- An alternate start, 5.10, continues up the chimney to the obvious undercling. It's a bit cruxy stepping from the chimney into the undercling. The undercling meets up with the aforementioned corner after a ways.
p3- A #4 Camalot is nice if you don't want to run out the section from the pins to the belay alcove.
p4- It's not 5.9 if you head straight up after 35'. More like easy 5.7. There is a fun .10- fist crack that takes off just after pulling around the corner. They end at the same place.
P5- Continuing straight up instead of heading left at the roof makes this pitch solid 5.10 and also ends at an OK fixed anchor. Easy to get back for the 6th pitch- just head up about 7' and traverse on good edges.
P6- Sounds like you guys missed the second, good fixed pin in the "5.8 runout" section. This recent addition makes the section a lot more reasonable.

Descent:
Rappel- All raps are double rope, 60m. Fixed anchors are as follows: First rappel from the top of the 6th pitch. Second rappel from the top of the 5th, but diagonal to the climber's right into the Snaz corner, at the same level as the top of the 4th pitch of Caveat. Three more double rope rappels take you to the tree at the top of Caveat/Snaz's shared approach pitch, where a single rope rap will put you on terra firma. As of July '06, all hardware/slings were sound.

Walkoff- at the top of the fourth class slabs, look left for prominent cairns. Aim for the higher one. While following a faint trail, try to stay as close to the cliff as possible. Don't descend too early. This results in multiple rappels to access the descent gully/talus field. Staying under the cliff takes you to a 3rd class chimney downclimb, which leads to the talus at the base of the western side of Cathedral Buttress.

Also, isn't the route more like a IV if taken to the top?

By Nick Stayner
From: The Magic City
Jul 23, 2006
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

And a brief response to your reasons why Caveat is decidedly NOT uber-classic. I understand your point of view, written as a visiting climber interested in summits. However, when you live here, Death Canyon is pretty much as close to trad cragging as we get! So I'd say it deserves a Teton 4 stars, for what it's worth. Caveat is also the benchmark 5.10 for the Park.

By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 19, 2006

I got rained off after pitch 3 or 4, but it sounds like I did the best part. I thought this route was similar in quality to the Snaz, but more difficult. Classic!

By long hair
May 14, 2007

Caveat offers steep and sustained crack climbing with mind sucking exposure. If the Snaz can be rated 5.10- then the pitches on Caveat should inspire a more logical overall rating of 5.10c. P3 when climbed to its apex, a comfortable ledge below a steep band of dark rock, avoids the unpleasant stance belay, yet requires good use of runners at the roof and a larger rack 150'. The crack above the roof eats up gear in the 3"-2" range and a few small pieces can also be found if the big stuff is gone though not many. P5 the infamous overhanging crack has deterred many a Teton climber with it's steep and strenuous jams, if you succeed, stay on your game because you will find another crux on this pitch. Combing other pitches on nearby routes of the snaz, sunshine daydream {not equiped for rappel}, and the snazett, can combine for big vertical. This area can get busy so consider other climbers when making rappels.

By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Jun 17, 2007
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Probably the best pure crack climbing in the Tetons.

If The Snaz is 10a, and Aerial Boundaries is 10b, then I'd call the crux pitch on Caveats 10c'ish.

My partner and I brought the following gear, and thought it worked out perfectly. This is definitely a conservative rack, but there are long stretches of big-hands, and we appreciated having the extra hand/big-hand pieces. We went all the way to the alcove on P3, making for a LONG pitch in the 2-4" sizes. Additionally, the anchor at the base of this pitch requires hand-size gear.

  • One set of thin cams through red alien
  • Double BDs #0.5 and #0.75
  • Triple BDs #1 and #2
  • Double BD# #3
  • BD #3.5
  • BD #4
  • One set of nuts, including thin
  • A couple larger hexes (convenient for the anchors)

We placed the #4 and #3.5 camalot at least twice each, so I definitely wouldn't leave those behind next time.

We didn't climb the final pitch (though we intend to go back)... but I suspect that wouldn't change the gear requirements at all.

Rappel descent via the Snaz:

(We didn't climb the last pitch, but apparently it is a straightforward double-rope rap to the fixed anchor above the crux pitch).

From the top of the crux overhanging hand crack pitch, we were able to rappel (angling to the Snaz) in 3 rappels with twin 70ms. With 60m ropes it would be at least 4, and probably 5 rappels. The first anchor you hit on the Snaz is *very* hidden, and we only knew where it was from climbing that route previously. To find that anchor, rappel straight down to the ledge at the base of the overhanging hand crack pitch. Walk right about 40 feet on a sloping ledge to hit the Snaz, and then continue rappelling (awkwardly because of the angle) about 30-40 feet of the Snaz. The anchor is tucked into an alcove of dark rock. With 70m ropes, we skipped the next anchor on the Snaz and just barely made the next anchor (60ms would definitely NOT make it). We then rappelled to the ground. With 60m ropes I think you'd need to stop at a small tree about 40 feet above the ground (it has slings and rings).

By jeff newsom
May 24, 2008

A sandbag at .10-..........my two cents. ---JN

By Adam D
From: Los Osos, CA
Jan 31, 2009

the Snaz is good, but I thought the climbing on Caveat was much more enjoyable. Even without a sweet summit it's still one of my favorites in the Tetons. As described here...p5 is definitely the toughest of the cruxes.

By awesomejacksonhole
From: Laramie, WY
Nov 3, 2009

Caveat is 10a. If you don't do a lot of crack climbing or aren't very good at it you might think it is more like 10+ like some people here. The Snaz is definitely not harder than 5.9 and Caveat is 10-.

By Jim Donini
Jun 3, 2012

Folks, this old habit of referring to Caveat Emptor as 10- and the Snaz as 10a has got to end- the Guide Book is WRONG. Caveat is 10b/c and the Snaz is 5.9 no ifs, ands or buts.

By Nick Stayner
From: The Magic City
Sep 12, 2012
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Pretty funny that the guy calling Caveat 10a thinks the crux is the crack pitch.... wonder if he lead any of the pitches when he did it. I think Donini's spot on FWIW.