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Skyline Buttress
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Skyline Arete 

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

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 500', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
Season: late spring through autumn
Page Views: 9,788
Submitted By: Andrew Carson on Apr 4, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (51)
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Geoff Heath 'casting' the rope on a windy day, hig...


Skyline Arete is the longest route in the canyon. Sitting high above the river, the route offers fun climbing at a modest grade with sweeping views from comfortable belays. All in all, it's an enjoyable day on good rock.
There are many ways to break up the climb due to plentiful ledges, but basically parties follow the ridge crest, finding an interesting mix of climbing problems including chimneys, slim crests, face, and cracks, with many variations that offer harder climbing. One might choose to run out the rope if the party is experienced, and, alternatively, short pitches can be done to maintain communication and ease rope handling.
A single rope is adequate for completing the route.
Begin climbing on the north side of the initial buttress by ascending a chimney. Continue to a ledge where a rap station allows descent to the south, to the base of another chimney. Climb this enjoyable and somewhat odd feature, involving a narrow squeeze through a hole at the top, or for bigger people or those carrying a pack, climbing out and right. .
Continue up steps and reach a section of short towers which can be passed on the north. Beyond this section is a small notch, and from this point finish left into a strange chimney/corridor, as one alternative.
Scramble across some narrow rock and descend to the north where a faint trail leads to the notch behind the formation, or finish with a short step to the summit. Make an 80' rap to a big ledge. Join the trail back to the bottom.
Many interesting variations can be done so be creative and enjoy a fine outing.


A small selection of stoppers, a few cams to 3", and lots of runners should provide plenty of pro.

Photos of Skyline Arete Slideshow Add Photo
Nice belay ledges on this one!
Nice belay ledges on this one!
one of the upper steps of skyline
one of the upper steps of skyline
The initial chimney pitch.
The initial chimney pitch.
Top of pitch 5
Top of pitch 5
fun chimney- p2
fun chimney- p2

Comments on Skyline Arete Add Comment
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By joelhagan
From: Rapid City, SD
Jun 17, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Does anybody know the rating for the bolted face variation for pitch 2?
By Erik the Awful
From: Bozeman
Jun 17, 2009

I'm guessing it's the second pitch of Ithaca Connection, 5.9. I don't have a guide with me so I can't be 100%.
By joelhagan
From: Rapid City, SD
Jun 23, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

I found it in a guidebook and it is the second pitch of Ithaca Connection. Great pitch, good hands, and thoughtful feet with bolts exactly where you want them.
By Keenan Waeschle
From: Bozeman, MT
Apr 8, 2012

chimney pitch was cool, everything else was pretty mediocre. If I did it again I'd leave the rope at home.

EDIT: drove up the canyon today in between classes partnerless and soloed it twice. way more fun than with the rope, 2nd go took a leisurely 20 minutes. highly recommend going up it alone on a weekday, didn't see anyone.
By IJMayer
From: Bozeman, MT
Jun 2, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Southwest Montana Climber's Coalition and Montana Conservation Corps worked on the descent trail for the Arete this past weekend. When you top out the climb, walk east (uphill) until you get to another small cliff on your left (just past the eastern most part of the Skyline Buttress). From here, parties USED to turn right (south) and hug the skyline buttress and descend down an awful sandy scree path. INSTEAD, continue east for just 100 feet more and see a new trail on your right (south) that will take you down nice switchbacks all the way to where you went up the small rock step to access p1. Reward all the hard work and use the new descent trail!
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