Touchstone Wall, Cerberus Gendarme IV/V 5.10 C1 or 5.13b
Avg time to climb route: 1 day
Approach time: 5 minutes
Descent time: 3 hours
Number of pitches: N/A
Height of route: 900' route, 1000' total
OverviewFA: Ron Olevsky, solo, 1977. FFA: Mike Anderson and Rob Pizem, 2/06.
Touchstone is a beautiful and sunny route, great for the colder months of the year. The beautiful straight-in splitter attracts climbers of all abilities. Most of the route is 5.8-5.10 and there is lots of fun 5.8 up high.
Start on either the bolt ladder or the incipient crack behind the big pine tree at the base. The free route follows the original start up the incipient crack. If you begin on the bolt ladder, the first two pitches of the route go at C1 and then the route goes free at 5.11. Touchstone generally gets easier and the pitches go faster the higher you go.
This is a popular first big wall, but its not a good place to learn how to aid climb due to the crowds and congestion. Get your skills dialed on a practice cliff before this route.
Also, try to leave the haulbags in car and either do the whole route in a day or fix a pitch or two and blast to the top. Climbing without haulbags is faster, more fun, and wonít erode the darker layer of patina off the rock.
Itís fairly easy to rappel the route from any point, making this one of the least committing Zion big walls. That said, an experienced climber died on Pitch 3 in 2008. Never underestimate any adventure in Zion.
Rack: see topo.
Descent: Stay out of the gully in a rain storm as it might flood. From the striking summit of Cerberus Gendarme, traverse carefully north across a narrow ridge. Where the ridge ends, look for an anchor and rappel 80 feet to the notch behind the tower. From here the descent goes back south (toward your car).Scramble and rappel down the obvious gully from trees and bolted anchors (double rope rappels painful with a haul bag). About five rappels total from the notch get you to the
ground. The final steep wall requires two rappels,even with two 60 meter ropes on bolted anchors. Be careful not to rap off the end of your rope in the dark! From the base of the wall to the road is only a few minutes.
Climber Beta on Touchstone Wall
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