South Face, Kangaroo Temple III 5.8


Washington Pass, Washington, USA

  • Currently 1.0/5
Avg time to climb route: 3-5 hours
Approach time: 2.5-4 hours
Descent time: 2.5-4 hours
Number of pitches: 7
Height of route: 800'
Kangaroo Temple is a striking peak that can be seen from most of the summits in the Liberty Bell group and the surrounding area. This fang of granite appears just over Kangaroo Pass in the next valley southeast of the Liberty Bell group. It’s a feature that just begs to be climbed and that is likely the reason most climbers make the journey over Kangaroo Pass. The approach is longer than many in the area and does have some off trail travel, but overall it isn’t as much effort as hiking into the Wine Spires.
The South Face has some runout climbing and a fair bit of loose rock. The route finding is challenging, you can’t pull through all the cruxes on gear, and there are some cruxes where you shouldn’t fall, making this route only suitable for climbers solid at the grade.
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Route History
South Face was first climbed by Bill and Steve Marts and Don McPherson in the summer of 1965. This ascent, which took nearly three days to complete, used a lot direct aid and over 50 pitons. The Marts brothers and McPherson were unaware that a route had gone up on the same South Face of Kangaroo Temple the year before. The 1965 route even followed nearly all the same features on the lower half until what is now the top of Pitch 5. Here the 1964 team traversed, possibly through a “window” in this feature, and made a leftward tension traverses to another chimney system and climbed that to the top.

The long hike and sub-standard rock means crowds are unlikely on the South Face of Kangaroo Temple, even on a busy weekend.
Pitch 1 at 5.6 R is long and a little runout, though the hardest sections, at 5.8, have better protection. The chimneys on Pitches 2 and 3 are also a little runout on sub-par, grainy rock. The belays can be exposed to rock fall, so be careful where you put them. Pitch 4 is actually one of the better pitches of the route and ends on a large ledge. From here, the route finding gets a little devious and the rock switches more often from good to bad. Pitches 5 and 6 are the cruxes of the route. Pitch 5 is funky and can be dangerous for the second if you don’t protect them enough. This creates bad rope drag for the leader, so you’ll have to balance these needs. The second crux pitch is as awkward as it is hard, and the most difficult section has its fair share of limited, funky pro. You cannot pull through all the crux sections on either of these pitches on gear.
Next, the route ascends a V-slot where it mellows out dramatically. At the top of Pitch 7, there is more difficult route finding.
Going all the way back to the base is kind of a pain, and it is advisable to take all your gear up and over with you. Some climbers will leave their trekking poles at Kangaroo Pass and pick them up on the way out.

Retreat Storm
Kangaroo Temple’s South Face has one of the longer seasons in this book and is warm and climbable late into the fall. It also dries quickly after a storm. There are a handful of fixed anchors and a few trees to rappel from. Retreat means leaving gear; having two ropes means leaving less gear.
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Source: SuperTopo Guidebook Staff
Kangaroo Temple - South Face III 5.8 - Washington Pass, Washington, USA. Click to Enlarge
Ian Nicholson leading Pitch 1 on the South Face of Kangaroo Temple.
Photo: Rebecca Schroeder
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