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South Summit Wall
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Center Thumb 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 400', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: 1970, Lowe brothers
Page Views: 8,560
Submitted By: Vince Romney on Sep 1, 2004

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (61)
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BETA PHOTO: Center Thumb From Lone Peak 4-11-05


This route ascends the crack system that travels roughly right up the middle of the rectangular formation that extends out from the south summit. This "thumb" formation was first ascended in 1959, via both sides of the formation. It wasn't until the Lowes showed up in 1970 that someone took a crack at the middle.

Begin on the left side of a large blocky formation at the base of the "thumb" and ascend via a series of cracks to a belay at a piton (use small cams to back up the belay). Optionally, you can combine pitch 1 and 2 with a 60m rope.

Continue up via this crack series to a shelf that extends nearly all the way across the formation and set up a trad belay (use your cordelette!).

From this shelf, work up the cracks to the obvious middle crack, and belay at the next obvious shelf.

From here, follow the cracks to where they exit to the left of the face. Now, suck it up and face the exposure! This is an awesome, exposed crack that moves up the overhanging left face of the formation to the top. Move fast, and use some runners on your pro to avoid drag if you climbed the right crack on the previous face. Belay at the two-bolt belay at the top of the formation.

From here, descend down to the ledge that connects north to the flake system, and climb the long pitch up these flakes and cracks to the summit.

This is definitely the best route on the "thumb" formation, but the fourth pitch (third if you combine 1 and 2) demands a lot of the leader, so be ready to commit to it.


Everthing from #4 Camalot to small nuts. Having a lot of mid-sized cams was very handy.

Photos of Center Thumb Slideshow Add Photo
center thumb
center thumb
Jason Foote sending on the Thumb
Jason Foote sending on the Thumb
The crux pitch of Center Thumb 9-.
The crux pitch of Center Thumb 9-.
my borther climbing the 4th pitch a little bit bel...
my borther climbing the 4th pitch a little bit bel...
Center Thumb 5.9, on the south summit of Lone Peak
BETA PHOTO: Center Thumb 5.9, on the south summit of Lone Peak
the Foote's on pt 2 center thumb
the Foote's on pt 2 center thumb
The awesome crux pitch. Mooner climbing.
The awesome crux pitch. Mooner climbing.
A party of three climbing Center Thumb. The leader...
A party of three climbing Center Thumb. The leader...
Center Thumb
Center Thumb
The worst topo ever
BETA PHOTO: The worst topo ever
A decent profile shot of the Thumb formation on th...
A decent profile shot of the Thumb formation on th...

Comments on Center Thumb Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 28, 2015
By Anonymous Coward
Jul 16, 2005

super fun route. The last pitch has some massive loose blocks as big as people. Careful descending the gully if there is still snow.
By Matt Chan
From: Boulder
Jul 24, 2006
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

Great route that is very continuous from start to end. First pitch belay is at a pin midway up the 'Y' crack feature in the center of the thumb (5.7+). Pitch 2 belays at a nice ledge and belay perch about 120' (5.8). Pitch 3 also belays at a large ledge at ~100' or continue up to the left side of the thumb, just below the crux (5.8). If you do it this way, P3 is long (180'+), but allows you to talk to your belayer during the crux. The belay stance for this option is a small perch with a horn at the start of the handcrack. After the crux (5.9), there is a bolt at the top of the thumb (didn't see a second). Then traverse left to a lieback crack that you can take to the top of the South Summit Wall (5.6). Walk up and over towards the descent for the ? Wall (rap Pete's). The 5.9(?) variation to the final pitch looked like great fingers.
By Stan Pitcher
From: SLC, UT
Aug 18, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

With a 60m rope you can do it in 4 pitches. We did two full rope pitches to get to a nice ledge below the crux pitch. This climb eats nuts and only a single set of cams (to 3 camalot) is necessary. The final pitch has poor rock quality compared to the stellar rock on the other pitches so beware of its 5.7 rating. What is this 5.9 last pitch variation?
By notmyname
From: Stony Brook, NY
Aug 4, 2009

Great Route!
Linking pitches is a bit hard with rope-drag. I thought the 1st pitch was the crux - moving left out of the big crack gets a bit thin on the gear. 5.7 climbing with 5.9 gear. My favorite is the pitch before the 5.9 handcrack. Beautiful climbing on knobs with a bomber crack for gear!!!
By Greg G
From: SLC, UT
Jul 12, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Don't be scared away by the 4th pitch. It is a soft 5.9+ if you compare it to gordon's hangover or after the fall.
By Sam Grenlie
From: LCC, Utah
Jul 19, 2010

The 5th pitch is a little confusing. After traversing the small ledge to the obvious, left-leaning 5.7 layback you will be tempted to continue up and left getting sucked into a chimney system. Don't do that. Instead, at the top of the 5.7 layback take a step out and RIGHT to nice patina and cracks OR continue straight up flakes and cracks to the summit.

The 5.9 variation is the 'Coors Variation' and it goes directly up to the South Summit from the top of the thumb formation - instead of traversing the shelf into the 5.7 layback. Although both routes almost converge near the top out.
By Courtney Pace
Mar 3, 2012

Ill second Greg G's comment. Dont be scared away by the crux pitch. If you are comfortable doing a tight #3 camalot jam then you will cruise it. I found the first pitch to be harder. Route finding proved to be an issue on this route even with the description in hand.
By Eric and Lucie
From: Boulder, CO
Jul 5, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I too found p1 to require more care than the p4 crux, which is a splitter jam crack.
Great route.
On p5, we traversed the small ledge to the obvious flakes, climbed those for a while, then stepped right into a gorgeous splitter crack and followed that straight up to the top. Really fun pitch, I thought.
By greg t
From: Chevy, Silverado
Jun 21, 2013

You can link the 1st 2 pitches with a 70m. Super fun route
By Sam Cannon
From: Holladay, Utah
Aug 5, 2013
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

We linked pitches 2 and 3 accidentally, but it worked really well (60 meter rope).

Anyone who gives this route less than 4 stars but gives Triple O's 4 is high. This route is consistently amazing with one of the most aesthetic crux pitches anywhere. Super classic.
By Jeff OC
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 7, 2014

Great route. Interesting all the way. Takes great pro. Super fun. Liked it as much as Triple Overhangs and the Lowe Route. Linked pitches one and two with a 70m rope. Accidentally traversed over left too early above our pitch 1 (pitches 1 and 2 combined) and had an exciting dirty face climb on the leftface leading up to the top of the thumb. On another note, lost a Black Diamond size 0 C3 (green with possibly yellow tape on the stem or trigger loop) on the thin part of pitch 1. I would be super grateful if someone were able to retrieve it (jeffioconnell@hotmail.com).
By greg t
From: Chevy, Silverado
Jul 19, 2014

Gave the green C3 a mediocre removal attempt with no such luck. Its stuck real nice. It would take some advanced shenanigans to get out. Good luck.
By Kyle Blase
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 28, 2015

Can be done in 3 long pitches with a 70 m rope. 2 pitches to the top of the thumb. With a 60, we were about 25 feet short when linking the first two pitches and 10 feet short linking pitches 3 and 4.
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