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Perla's Ridge and Environs
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Perla's Ridge 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c R

Type:  Trad, 11 pitches, 1800', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Ron Perla, Chuck Satterfield, 1964
Season: Summer
Page Views: 2,582
Submitted By: kBobby on Jul 6, 2006

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BETA PHOTO: Red line shows final part of approach. Blue circle...


AKA: Satyr Ridge, the Ruckman guide says this is 1800 feet, but really, from car to summit it is well over 3000.

Typical alpine granite (good to crappy) with a (relatively) easy approach. Lots of hiking, though.

Although there are lots of easy sections that you could either simul or solo, the technical sections appear often enough that it probably isn't worth it. We seemed to find a 40m 5.8 pitch just about every 50m or so (alternates 5.easy, 5.8, ...). These were almost always very exposed.

The (small amount of) beta that I heard before we did this climb was, "it is loose and scary, and I won't ever do it again." We didn't find it all that bad. We didn't complete the route, however; we were stormed off at about 700 feet from the summit (long descent involving many rappels).


Park just up-canyon from the LDS vaults. There is a bouldering area here, but I don't remember the name. Look for the talus field coming off the ridge, this is your goal.

Hike down past the boulders to the LCC trail. Walk up canyon to the bridge and cross the river. A small trail enters the woods here (toward more bouldering). Follow this trail until it begins descending a lot. Leave the trail and bushwhack WSW until you get to the talus field. Follow the talus up and into the gully.

You will eventually get to some immaculate white slabs on your left (after a couple of bouldery moves). Further up the gully, it splits into two gullies. The right one is sandy and loose, the left is solid, but requires technical climbing (5.8+ R).

Above each of these there is a grassy quasi-meadow below a headwall. It looked like several lines on the headwall would go at around 5.7 or 5.8. We opted to hike game trails in the trees to the left to bypass the headwall.

Above the headwall are a series of ledges on the left side of the huge slabs. Follow these up along the path of least resistance, heading left when possible and aesthetic.

If you can find the "Endless Dihedral" pitch and the 5.8 o.w. right on the ridge, I highly recommend both of them (see topo)

Descent: Either south into Bell's Canyon, or two drainages east back into LCC. You can scope the second descent option from the road just above the gate buttress parking area.


Standard rack. We didn't bring anything bigger than a #2 (gold) Camalot, but there were a couple of places where a #3 would have been useful.

Photos of Perla's Ridge Slideshow Add Photo
Perla's Ridge is well upcanyon of all of the Bell ...
BETA PHOTO: Perla's Ridge is well upcanyon of all of the Bell ...
A shot of me in the same spot...  It's a good spot...
A shot of me in the same spot... It's a good spot...
The headwall...  Climb some low angle (low 5th) to...
The headwall... Climb some low angle (low 5th) to...
The 6th pitch crux ("off-width") from ab...
BETA PHOTO: The 6th pitch crux ("off-width") from ab...
A shot from fairly high above the road.   And we h...
A shot from fairly high above the road. And we h...
The crux section of the endless dihedral. Picture ...
BETA PHOTO: The crux section of the endless dihedral. Picture ...
The "Endless Dihedral" corner goes for a...
The "Endless Dihedral" corner goes for a...
Pitch 9, you can either go left or right below the...
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 9, you can either go left or right below the...
Leading the dihedral.
Leading the dihedral.
On the right is the headwall. On the left is the s...
BETA PHOTO: On the right is the headwall. On the left is the s...
The original topo
BETA PHOTO: The original topo
Pitch 6 crux (the "5.8 offwidth") from b...
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 6 crux (the "5.8 offwidth") from b...
Above the first pitch and almost even with The Thu...
Above the first pitch and almost even with The Thu...
The 7th pitch 5.7R slab, from there the climber go...
BETA PHOTO: The 7th pitch 5.7R slab, from there the climber go...
Bobby above the first pitch.
Bobby above the first pitch.
This is the back of Perrla's Ridge as taken from w...
BETA PHOTO: This is the back of Perrla's Ridge as taken from w...
The 5.8R chimney in the gully, i.e. the left optio...
BETA PHOTO: The 5.8R chimney in the gully, i.e. the left optio...
The loose gully option in the gully, i.e the right...
BETA PHOTO: The loose gully option in the gully, i.e the right...

Comments on Perla's Ridge Add Comment
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By Rob C.
From: Freeport, ME
Jul 9, 2006

Wow! Bobby nice topo. I'd like to add on the last pitch, the handcrack to gain those traversing ledges is probably somewhere between 5.8+ to 5.9+. It felt harder than any of the moves on Satan's Corner (and very exposed). Will try to get pictures up next Tues, Weds...
By Craig Martin
From: Park City
Jul 12, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R

Thanks for the Topo! We climbed the Satyr Ridge on July 11th, and found the Topo to be pretty handy. Where your Topo ends there are 3 or 4 more pitches to get to an unroping spot and 300 to 400 feet of 3rd class to the summit. The remaining 3 pitches go at; easy 5th, 5.6 thru a nice roof, easy 5th. Never found the "Endless Dihedral" mentioned in your Topo. I may have been closer to the ridge at this point. I found an unprotected chimney (easily laybacked the edge at 5.6 or so) followed by a 5.7 OW to end the pitch at the blocks to the left of the belay indicated in the Topo directly under the 5.8 OW. This is the money pitch, probably only 5.7 but fun. The last pitch on the Topo is also very good, I would call it 5.9-, and a #3 camalot works very well here. We descended Coalpit #4, with Two single rope raps from trees towards Bells Canyon and a short hike over to the top of the couloir. Found water halfway down Coalpit#4, coming directly out of the western slope, with a nice pour over to fill bottles from. Very needed after a 12 hour day. Thanks again for the beta, it was my third time up Perla's, never touched the same ground twice, bit this was the best trip so far.
By BobGray
From: Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug 3, 2009

I just replaced a couple of the old rappel slings for the lower pitches, and added a new rappel station near the bottom of the head wall lower. My suggestion is to bring (2) 60m ropes when exploring this area as my 70m didn't quite reach all the stations when rapping and we had to down climb several times.
By PeterSLenz
From: Salt Lake City
Jul 2, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R

Mark Shah and I climbed the Satyr Ridge on 6/30/2010. We took about 15 hours car to car.

This climb has it all! A long, but pleasant approach, many possible variations, generally excellent rock, varied climbing from friction slabs to overhangs and cracks (even a short off width), wild exposure, and a magnificent summit with great views into Bell's canyon and Thunder basin. Bring water; there was none until we were in the descent gully. Absolutely three stars, in my estimation.

One full length rappel (or two half length... the anchors are there) from just below the summit on the South side begins the arduous descent. Somehow, despite our attempts at careful route finding we ended up descending a very nasty loose gully, which spit us out just across the creek from the Black Peeler area. I think the descent took nearly as long as the ascent. The good part: there was water in it. The bad part: it was incredibly loose, and there was water in it. Try to do better than we did, finding the best descent gully!

This climb has a character similar to a Teton rock climb. While not quite in the same quality league as Irene's Arete, it is an excellent adventure, marred only by an ugly descent...just like Irene's. Highly recommended!
By James Garrett
Jul 3, 2010

Hi Pete...way to get after it. I think I have done this route, albeit many years ago and I know it was somewhere on "Perla's Ridge"...but the Alpenheimers leaves me somewhat confused. I, too, thought the descent was horrendous, hence, I have never been back. Do you think that a descent into Bells would be a better way to go? And do you know where you were in Bells (in relation to the towers) when you reached the top?.... I am OOT at the moment, but hopefully, we can get out sometime soon! Kind of a bit more complex than Irene's.
By PeterSLenz
From: Salt Lake City
Jul 6, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R

With regard to James' question about descending into Bell's: 1) I have no idea which is the better way to go. Mark Shah commented that Bell's could not possibly be any worse than our descent route. I (like Vonnegut) feel that things can always be worse. 2) The summit of Perla's is much higher, and farther "up canyon," than the Bell Towers. I remember looking at them, and thinking they looked pretty small, and far away.

By the way, the Gate Buttress and the Black Peeler look positively minuscule from high on Perla's!
By PeterSLenz
From: Salt Lake City
Jul 18, 2010
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R

If TP descended into Bell's and came out between the East and Middle Bell, then I stand corrected. I thought I was looking way down canyon at the towers, but did not study the situation carefully. Bell's may very well be the best descent route. Ours was quite unpleasant.
By Mark D Evans
From: Sandy, UT
Jul 25, 2011

It took us about 45 minutes to do the steep (straight down) bushwhack from the summit to the trail in Bells. We were definitely higher in the canyon than the East Bell Tower, possibly in the Waterfall Dome(s) Area? From there, the trail back wasn't that bad.

I have only done this descent, but I would recommend it after hearing stories of other descents. Yes, you have 45 minutes of kinda heinous bushwhacking, but overall, I think its a good way to go. Did this yesterday, car to car in 13hrs.
By Jim D
Aug 24, 2015

I see mention of a topo, but don't see one. Anyone know where it is?

NM, found it. It's here:
By Jim D
Aug 27, 2015

If you wish to preserve this as an "adventure climb," don't read the rest of this comment. We used nothing but the comments on this page and the topo that ends 2/3rds of the way up and that was enough for us to never actually get lost. I'm going to provide a little more info for those who want it while it is still fresh in my mind.

We were 9 hours, car to car, 1:45 until we were racked up and climbing, 3:45 climbing, 30 minutes hiking through the forest and climbing the summit cone (6 hours car to summit). 15 minutes on the summit, then 45 minutes down to the Bell's Canyon trail and 2 hours down the trail to the trailhead.

We never placed more than 5 pieces on a pitch (the "endless dihedral" pitch) with 3-4 on the other crux pitches (when available.) Recommended gear:

1 set of cams from a # 2 TCU through # 3 Camalot (placed once at the crux on pitch 8.) Maybe an extra #2 and # 3 TCU for the endless dihedral pitch. We placed no nuts. Most belays were a cordilette around a tree or boulder. Bring at least 3 single length runners and a few quickdraws to extend the slings on the cams. We used a 50 m rope and it reached all pitches. We took a spare 50m, 8mm rope in case we had to bail, but obviously didn't use it. The cruxes are generally short (with the exception of the endless dihedral, where the crux section is about 25m.) If you can climb LCC 5.8 trade routes like Pentapitch, Hornet's Rest, and Satan's Corner you're not going to have any trouble doing the climbing on this route.

A few tips you may or may not find useful:

1) When you start bushwhacking on the approach to the gully, aim more West than South. The best part of the "pleasant" approach is the talus/small boulders in the gully.

2) The first "crux" in the gully is a 5.8 mantle. This can be skipped by climbing looser, but much easier rock 30 feet to the right. There are two other areas in the gully that are probably 4th class.

3) When you get to the "split" in the gully, just go right. There is plenty of climbing above. You don't need more pitches. Go up about a rope length, then across to the left on a decent ledge system that looks like the first decent ledge system that will traverse back left above the 5.8R chimney/slab. This section goes very quickly and is easy.

4) You will then be on talus again for a little while before getting to the "grassy slabs." These aren't actually slabs. This is steep dirt with a lot of vegetation. Very unpleasant. This part of the approach is the easiest place to get lost. In fact, we weren't sure we were on route until we were halfway up the third pitch. We just took the perspective of "If I were the first ascensionist, where would I go?" If you do that, you'll probably stay on route. But the key is to go all the way to the top of the steep, vegetated dirt until you can look off the left side of Perla's Ridge. At this point, the rock directly above you will be on the left side of the ridge. You basically never climb on the left side of the ridge, so pick the highest ledge system that traverses back out onto the Right side of the ridge. This will be underneath a steep wall labeled "dihedral" on the topo. Traverse out on ledges until they end on a 2 foot wide dirt ledge with a tree or two on it. The first pitch is the vegetated crack above you, then traverses right around the corner. This section is the most difficult routefinding anywhere on the approach, climb, or descent.

5) We counted 10 pitches plus about two rope lengths of simulclimbing. If comfortable, you can just fourth class that. Above the rock, you have several hundred feet of steep dirt in a forest. Then the summit has a cone of rock on it 2-300 feet high. The easiest way up is to skirt the bottom of the cone rightward (SW) until you hit the shoulder, then scramble up 4th class (perhaps very easy fifth) to the summit.

6) If you descend into Bell's (and I think that despite the extra 2 mile walk that it is worth it) I suggest you go directly South from the summit. There will be a little bit of easy downclimbing then the downclimbing will get sketchier and sketchier. We did two 70 foot rappels off trees (but if I did it again, I'd do three rappels as we did some very sketchy downclimbing before the first rappel we did.) That put us in the forest. We found some surprisingly nice game trails down through the "vertical bushwhacking" that really made this section much more pleasant than expected. This was 45 minutes to the Bell's Canyon trail counting the downclimbing, two rappels, "vertical" bushwhacking, and game trails. This section would not be fun in the dark, but if you keep moving down, you'll eventually hit the creek, and the great trail is less than 200 feet on the far side of the creek. Be sure to spot a car at one of the Bell's Canyon trailheads.

Our pitches were thus:

1) 50m - 5.6
2) 40m - 5.4R At the end of this pitch is a ledge system that crosses 400 feet across the entire face to the gully on the right. This is basically the base of the upper face. However, the 3rd pitch basically goes straight up from where you first hit this ledge system.
3) 35m/50m - 5.7 (10 feet) (35M if you belay on the big ledge at the top of the 5.7 offwidth, 50m if you belay at the actual base of the endless dihedral.)
4) 40m/50m - 5.7 (solid 25m of 5.7, probably the crux of the route. Similar to Perhaps)
5) 45m - 5.4 Belay at the blocks below the "5.8 offwidth" instead of the ledge down and to the right.
6) 40m - 5.7 Pull a little overhang, do 8 feet of "5.8 offwidth," followed by 20 feet in a fun little chimney. It all protects very well with standard gear.
7) 40m - 5.7R or 5.4 - Two choices here. Go 40 feet straight up the slab on nubbins, put a piece in the crack, and then do another 30 feet of some awesome but unprotectable slab climbing right on the edge of the buttress. Or, if you're feeling wussy, work your way up right to a crack/groove/trees.
8) 40m - 5.7 Some people feel this is the crux pitch, but the difficult section is only about 15 feet long, protects extremely well with a # 3 camalot, and consists mostly of bomber hand jams. The "runout" section above is a far smaller deal than the R section on pitch 7.
9) 40m - 5.7 or 5.4 These next two pitches offer two options like pitch 7. You either wuss out and move right to the 5.easy stuff or you stay right on the arete. In this case, the protection is very good and the climbing is spectacular right on the edge. Don't miss the "flaky flake" just before the nice belay ledge.
10) 40m - 5.7 or 5.6 You can go right or left around the big roof at the beginning of the pitch. Even if you go right, you can still cut back left above it and have some fun on the arete.
11+) Simulclimb until you're comfortable unroping. You'll be on dirt in about 400 feet.

I'll try to post some pictures and maybe even make a topo.
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