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(a) Picnic Lunch Wall
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Voyage of the Cowdog S 

Voyage of the Cowdog 

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

Type:  Sport, 3 pitches, 260'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 16 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Jon Bates FFA Jon and Heather Bates
Page Views: 13,662
Submitted By: JonBates on Feb 11, 2010

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Photo by Tyler Roemer

Seasonal Raptor Closure 2015 - Monument Area MORE INFO >>>


Pitch one starts at the top of the gully separating the table scraps wall from ship rock. Climb an easy slab that wanders right into a steepening water groove and exit onto the ridge through a shallow chimney (5.8). Pitch two consists of basically moving the belay 60' up the scenic ridge to the base of the final pitch (5.5). Pitch three is the money pitch that justifies the mediocre 1st and 2nd pitch. Climb the airy slab through several steep bulges to a crux high step with entire height of the Picnic lunch wall beneath you (5.8+).


This route is located between table scraps wall and ship rock at the top of the gully. Hike up past the shipwreck wall until a faint trail takes off right, under the table scraps wall and then switchbacks up the gully, please try to find this path as the hillside is fragile. Walk off(adventurous but easily done w/o rappeling) to the misery ridge trail or rap the route(difficult) with at least a 60m rope that will BARELY make it down to the base of the third pitch and barely make down to the ground on the first pitch(use knots at the end of the rope). Rapping down the shallow gulley climbers left seems to be the best on the second pitch.


Bolts, Helmet, Slings useful

Photos of Voyage of the Cowdog Slideshow Add Photo
 VOTCD. Photo  by tylerroemer.com
VOTCD. Photo by tylerroemer.com
Last pitch
Last pitch
The rope clearly marks the 3rd pitch of the route....
BETA PHOTO: The rope clearly marks the 3rd pitch of the route....
Pitch 2 and 3
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 2 and 3
Looking down half way up the third pitch
Looking down half way up the third pitch
Topping out on the last pitch!!
Topping out on the last pitch!!
looking down from a boulder you can free solo just...
looking down from a boulder you can free solo just...
Ever vigilante, the Tico the Cow Dog.
Ever vigilante, the Tico the Cow Dog.
repelling down on the first pitch, lots of rope dr...
repelling down on the first pitch, lots of rope dr...
Long distance shot of the last pitch
Long distance shot of the last pitch
Half way up the third pitch, fun exposure, safe ro...
Half way up the third pitch, fun exposure, safe ro...

Comments on Voyage of the Cowdog Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 4, 2015
By Tico
May 22, 2010

Spectacular last pitch, fun climbing with a great position.
By Honeymelon
From: Crestline Ca.
Jun 27, 2010
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c

Absolutely, Hands down the best finish to a two and a half pitch 5.9 sport route EVER!!! The exposure is incredible. Super Fun.
By BSwett
From: Bend, Or.
Sep 17, 2010

Whoever took the time to go buy bolts, haul a drill up there, find the line, clean it and put it up for us deserves my most sincere thanks. The position, the views, and the moves of this voyage are phenomenal. All three pitches are lots of fun. I was smiling for three days after I came down from it. That third pitch is as exciting and exposed as the famous 'Panic Point" on the monkey.
I was tempted to rappel all the way down from the anchors atop the 2nd pitch, but I think i would have knocked some huge rocks on top of myself. Instead me and my partner lowered/downclimb belayed each other to the 1st pitch anchors (from the ledge below the 3rd) and then rappeled down. Next time I'll try walking up and around.
By Richard Denker
From: Portland OR
Apr 11, 2011

This is a reasonable good climb. The start of the climb is at the very end of the walkable part of the gully between Table Scraps and the backside of Picnic Lunch Wall. The upper part of the first pitch appears to be skanky, but despite its appearance it was solid. The first pitch is just short of 35m long. The second pitch is harder then 5.2 (as reported in the guidebook) more like 5.4/5 and it is not on top of the ridge but on the right side, giving it really neat exposer. The third pitch is great. Though the high step near the end of the third pitch is considered the crux, I think the first pitch was harder.

Getting off it is a bit of an adventure. At the top are two sets of anchors. The best-located anchor to rap off has a bad bolt. The other does not have chains and the biners left on it pinches the rope so it can not be pulled (I know, I had to prusik up the rope, realizing that unless we leave more biners there was no way we felt conformable in rapping, besides rapping the second pitch would also have been problematic, considering it is a low angle ridge, so we walked off in our rock shoes). Note we had a 70m rope, so I was not concern in rappelling the first pitch, but it appears that it would be a close call with a 60m rope. The walk off has an easy but exposed move (bolt protected), an unprotected, but not exposed 8 down climb (or lower to a point where you drop the last few feet) and a long round about path to Aggro Gully.
By John Rudolph
May 16, 2011

  • ***The second rappel bolt is gone on the final pitch****

Today I pulled the bolt out with my hand. I removed it so no one would haphazardly clip it. Once replaced, a 60 meter rope barely makes it back to anchors. From there down climb the second pitch. A final rappel just makes it to the ground at the highest point - tie knots!
By JonBates
From: cody, wy
Jun 13, 2011

A brand-new bolt has been re-placed at the top of the third pitch.
By Steve Wolford
Oct 14, 2011

The right anchor bolt at the top of the third pitch is blown again, and needs replacing, as it is very loose in the hole and ready to go.
By Toby Butterfield
From: Portland, OR
Jan 16, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Thanks for putting this up, Jon. Really a great route with outrageous position considering the difficulty. I ran up this with a friend of mine at the end of a beautiful winter day, and it was just a blast. Definitely a memory I'll hold onto for a while!

The exposure on the third pitch is great. I would recommend folks be a bit careful on this route as it is fairly new and some of the rock is still loose; I kicked off a softball sized chunk on P3 and watched it free fall a few hundred feet and land perilously close to the trail.

As of yesterday (14 Jan 2012) I did not notice anything wrong with the rap bolts on top of P3, nor any of the other anchor bolts on the route. I did not use the "normal" bolts on top of P3 so I can't speak to their quality.
By Derrick Peppers
From: everywhere
Apr 5, 2012

Did this route two days ago. The left fat bolt moves. Not just the hanger but the bolt itself moved about a sixteenth of an inch in every direction. Great third pitch. worth the trudge up the first two pitches for sure.
By Nate Ball
From: Taipei, TW
May 1, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Wowzers is this an epic! First pitch is relatively clean, straightforward, and nothing short of awesome vertical 5.8. Second pitch is nicely protected, short, and 5-easy. Third pitch... well, it still needs some cleaning. A whopper-sized chunk came off in my hand, which had obviously been a primary hold, but was amongst a plethora of other big holds. This may have set the tone for the higher climbing, but my heart was in my throat as I pulled the final bulge. All hardware is solid... just hope the rock is too. The grade in the guidebook is inflated due to the exposure, in my opinion.

Just uphill from the top-out is a really nice picnic spot.

Now, the walk-off... well, it would have been nice if Watts' had mentioned that it included a bolt-aid pull over a hump 30 yards beyond the anchors, and a rappel from a single generously-placed nut and locker down to a ledge with a memorial plaque (someone tried to downclimb this and died?) and another hundred yards of meandering above sheer cliffs before joining the main hiker's trail. So now I'm mentioning it in case you think the "...or walk off" bit sounds casual enough to follow without consideration.
By JonBates
From: cody, wy
May 3, 2012

More concerning the walk-off: I haven't been back to smittys in quite awhile so I'm living vicariously through the internet and drawing off foggy memories but, the walk off can be done without rappelling. It is exposed almost all the way to the trail but the really sketchy areas can be belayed off of bolts (if they're still there). There is the obvious bolt on the boulder problem move to exit the perch at the top of the p-lunch wall and if you walk up and to the left after this move there is a bolt hidden above the slab which can be used to belay a second on the boulder problem and while they down climb the 4th class slab which should be down-climbed before traversing towards the trail. I'm pretty sure if you don't go down the slab you'll end up cliffed out above the memorial plaque. After the slab traverse by a tree and traverse the ledge that is level with the plaque and then 4th class to the right up a ramp to another slab that cuts back left towards the trail. I'm pretty sure this is how it goes, I'd hate to see someone get hurt up there.
By Marc Wasserman
Jul 2, 2012

Fantastic climb with a spectacular 3rd pitch! The rock is also way more solid than you would think just by looking at it, especially on the first pitch.

As of June 29th, the right bolt of the lower, beefier bolts (I assume intended to allow a 60m rap) was loose, with the bolt itself wiggling in the hole. Upper set of bolts were solid though, and someone left some pretty fresh-looking 7mm cord with a couple of quick links that could probably be used to rappel for the next few months. Could use actual rappel chains on top. That being said, we climbed with our packs and did the walk off.

A few notes on the walk off:

The bolt protecting the first boulder move out of the perch (great lunch spot) is still there and takes the sketchiness out of what would otherwise be a very precarious move (not hard, just exposed). We initially stayed high as we traversed after the boulder move only to run up against the 10' unprotected down climb. Instead of down climbing we backtracked and scrambled down an easy low-angle slab (fine without a belay although we would have used it if we'd known there was a bolt) and then traversed below the down climb and scrambled back up to where the plaque is located. From here we continued traversing, following a faint use-trail along the top of Picnic Lunch Wall. After the plaque we went high over another jut of rock and did a short scramble down the back side to a wide sandy area full of sagebrush. From here it was a short hike up to the Misery Ridge Trail following a much more distinct use trail. Overall the walk off was fine, but it really does merit more than Alan Watt's one sentence.

Final Note: If you do rap with a 60m rope, tie knots! We met another group as we started the walk off and they said the rope just barely reached the 2nd anchor station from the top.
By JonBates
From: cody, wy
Sep 12, 2012

The loose bolt on the 3rd pitch anchor has once again been replaced as of 9/10/12. The bolt was indeed loose and incredibly bent for a modern 1/2" x 6" anchor bolt. The bolt hole was blown out considerably too. I'm not sure if someone has been bungie jumping or slack-lining the P-lunch wall off it or what but there was some serious abuse given to that bolt. Anyways the anchor bolt has been relocated away from that area and on the other side of the still good and solid anchor bolt. Hopefully this ends the saga of the "loose bolt".
By Nate Ball
From: Taipei, TW
Aug 26, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

We climbed it yesterday before the wicked storm hit. The left bolt on both the 1st and 2nd pitch anchors are loose; hole is blown out a bit, and the bolts themselves wiggle a bit.

Lots of crispy rock up there still. The spice adds to the overall flavor.

Confirmed the slabby walk off, which is now marked by cairns.
By Holden
From: Eugene, OR
May 27, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Whether climbing this route on a busy or slow day, I recommend walking off. It is a bit exposed, but if you rappel down, you're guaranteed to shower the Picnic Lunch Wall with loose rock from your ropes. That aside, the rope drag is horrendous, especially if you try to do it in two rappels.
By Aaron Nash
Sep 2, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

As of SEP2014, all bolts were fine, all anchors had nice rap rings on them. The raps are fine and easier than the walk-off. Not sure how you'd "shower" PLW with rocks unless you really tried...

Bring two extra draws and link the first two pitches together to save on time. It'll go with a 60 and a bit of drag.

Great route. Thanks for putting it up.
By Tony Litke
From: La Crosse, Wisconsin
Mar 4, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

This was my go-to multi-pitch at Smith with newish climbers. I gave it a PG-13 rating just because I've seen rocks fall on two occasions (you might want a helmet if you're belaying the first pitch). Lots of exposure and a very memorable climb! Top-notch.
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