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Arch Rock
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The Staircase 

YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ British: MS 4a

   
Type: Trad, 2 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.5 French: 4b Ewbanks: 13 UIAA: IV+ British: MS 4a [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 10,824
Submitted By: Dan Mottinger on Sep 10, 2001
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BETA PHOTO: Arch Rock and the route "The Staircase" as seen fr...

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Description 

This great moderate route goes up the prominent notches on the North side of Arch Rock.

Start the climb by finding the low angled dihedral below the notches. This first pitch is interesting, with actual moves and great protection. Hold up a nut and the crack will swallow it. Make a belay on the prominent ledge below the steeper, upper part of the climb. Take heart, the climb is easier than it looks. Enjoyable stemming, and crack climbing takes you up the obvious "steps". Above the steps, step left onto easier ground or follow the 5.8 OW section to the summit.


Protection 

Standard rack with a few large slings for belay anchors. Many nut placements abound.



Photos of The Staircase Slideshow Add Photo
Marc leading, Paul following.  Awesome beginner lead.
Marc leading, Paul following. Awesome beginner le...
Ellen Runnels photographer, Lance Bischoff climber and novices waiting their turn.
Ellen Runnels photographer, Lance Bischoff climber...
BETA PHOTO
The route features from ground level-Lance Bischoff photographer.
The route features from ground level-Lance Bischof...
Mike W. leading P2 and placing gear on "<em>The Staircase</em>".  No-hands belay photo by me.  ;-)
Mike W. leading P2 and placing gear on "The St...
Erik climbing up P1.
Erik climbing up P1.
Dave Wayne in the crux of the 5.8 variation the the second pitch.
Dave Wayne in the crux of the 5.8 variation the th...
Climbing over "the staircase."  The 5.8 finish is straight up and a little to the right.
Climbing over "the staircase." The 5.8 finish is ...
Midway up the first pitch.
Midway up the first pitch.
First pitch of The Staircase.
First pitch of The Staircase.
Beginning the overhang section of the second pitch of Staircase.
Beginning the overhang section of the second pitch...
Mike W. moving a little higher leading P2 on "<em>The Staircase</em>".
Mike W. moving a little higher leading P2 on "...
Victor on the second pitch.
Victor on the second pitch.
Nan leading Staircase, Dave with the belay.
Nan leading Staircase, Dave with the belay.
On the first pitch of The Staircase.
On the first pitch of The Staircase.
First pitch of The Staircase.
BETA PHOTO: First pitch of The Staircase.
Comments on The Staircase Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 30, 2013
By Edward Jenner
Oct 3, 2001

This climb really is worth doing. It's so easy to protect I think it's one of the best 'beginner' climbs in the canyon. For non-beginners the 2-3 move OW adds a bit of spice.

By Dave Chenault
Dec 2, 2001

The "5.8 offwidth" variation isn't much of either, and is highly recommended. One of the best beginner routes in the state. It makes trad leading as mindless as it gets. Remove large nut, throw in crack, repeat.

By Glenn Kraemer
Jun 14, 2002

I did this route on a Monday morning a few days ago and there were still three climbing parties on this rock. It was well worth the wait, but expect to wait regardless of when you go. This climb is no secret! I don't think I've ever been able to put so many nuts in a route before even though they're not needed.

By Lance Bischoff
Jul 16, 2002
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

I would just submit that "spicy" moves for beginners does not justify automatically retaining a 5.5 rating. Seems I recall that a climb is rated for the hardest moves, and others who have led this route agree there may be merit to a 5.6 (two moves or so) below the exit ramp near the top. The flared crack included in route topos at top is not a 5.5 - most parties exit left (before this crack)on a small babycrawl ledge to avoid the flare moves (5.8?), traversing to scramble rocks up to last belay.

By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 17, 2002

Personally, I thought this was an easy 5.5 to a 5.7 finish. The "5.8" wideness at the top is not nearly as hard as Vedauwoo 5.7 and slightly easier than the 5.8 cracks on the Turkey Perch for instance.

By Anonymous Coward
Dec 14, 2002

On the 5.8 part I put large pro deep in the OW and climbed just to the left of it on small flakes, felt like a 5.7.

By Dru Siley
May 5, 2003

Ran up the Staircase on Saturday 5-3-03 with my buds Jerry and Martha and had an excellent time. This was a great into for me to doing more than one pitch since this is a friendly moderate on great rock. Martha led the first pitch in fine form and Jerry cruised pitch two. The crux is at the start of the second pitch just prior to getting into the actual staircase portion of the climb and once you are into the staricase it is just fun climbing on a cool formation. Far exceeded my expectations and well worth the effort.

By Anonymous Coward
Aug 12, 2003

Don't be afraid to do the "5.8" variation to the end of the second pitch. It's one move of 5.8 (5.7?) into the crack, which protects well with a #3 Camalot, then easier climbing to the top. Highly recommended.

By Jim McGuire
Sep 17, 2003

What Jim Erickson said of the East Slab of the Dome goes double for this climb,"pure, unadulterated fun - ignore it at your own loss".

By Lance Bischoff
Oct 13, 2003
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

Clarification: the "crux" section is just above large alcove at top of first pitch (across traverse from top of 5.10 and 5.8 bolted routes/anchors) and just below the actual stairs on second pitch. There is a quite vertical section which if sequenced properly can yield 5.5 moves, otherwise it ends up being 5.6. The OW crack up higher (5.8) above stairs marks a left escape to a ledge and various solutions to the summit. There is yet another crack higher (but easier) that also could justify 5.6, but it is clear the majority votes to split no hairs --thus it remains 5.5. Fantastic route, either way! Enjoy! Oustanding for new lead practice, too!

By Anonymous Coward
Jul 4, 2004

Just a note: this climb is not backpack friendly. Narrow slots in a few places made me wish I'd left my pack on the ground.

By Larry Shaw
Sep 2, 2004
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c

Soloed this route today, fun easy jug haul.

By Michael J Yarros
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 4, 2005
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

Took Victor up his first rock climb ever today (Saturday 7-2-05). He loved it.

By Buff Johnson
Jan 20, 2006
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

Could be the best 5.5 in the Platte. Good belay stance for a party of three. If this is your first lead, be aware that on the second pitch right off of the belay is an area that you don't want to take a leader fall. It's a stem & smear problem, but if your head is not into it, you may want your partner to take the reins. A rescue here turned out to be a recovery.

I found, to avoid the rope drag issue, either commit to the short 5.8 OW (more like a .7- handcrack for me), or runout on easy terrain the traverse left, then right & up to a summit tree.

Descent by walkoff to the south.

By Michael J Yarros
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Sep 10, 2006
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

Climbed this route at least 10 times, and I fell on the 2nd pitch about 25 or 30 feet up from the belay. A Blue Alien caught my fall, it was very wet in the back part of the crack (I slipped out trying an arm bar). We started first thing in the morning, you might want to wait for it to dry out before trying this section. ;)

By Rick Blair
From: Denver
Jul 6, 2010
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

I had to back off and clean the hand/fist crack on P2 for the sake of a follower, it felt 5.7 to me. Wish I could have gone that way because the rope drag going left on the ledge was horrendous. For a new follower, just pitch it out and belay from the huge ledge and do a short 3rd pitch to the top. Great easy lead!

By David F.
Jun 20, 2011

For extra spice factor, the roof above the the first belay is phenomenal and protects easily with a pair of C3s. I did this variation a couple of weeks ago, you've just got to watch out for rope drag!

By Blazer
From: Salida, CO
Jul 7, 2011

Wanted to do the 5.8 finish but was concerned that my follower who was shorter (and new) would have a hard time with it. Would recommend going for it and bringing the #3 cam up as you go and then pulling it altogether when you are on safer ground (and letting them follow on easy terrain to the left of it). Watch for the rope getting stuck in the crack and recommend belaying on the ledge above the 5.8 crack as noted previously (finishing with a ~10 walk off on 5.2 ground w/no exposure) - communication with the belayer was super difficult due to noise of the river, wind, and ledges between.

By David Reuille
From: Denver, CO
Jul 11, 2012
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a

Truly fabulous route!

By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
Sep 30, 2013

I took my son up this perfect little route when he was about _ years old. We hiked down and then floated around in the river on inner tubes for a while. In just a few years, I'll be able to take my son's daughter up the route---what in the world happened to all those years!!!