Iron Messiah, The Spearhead III/IV 5.10
Avg time to climb route: 3-5 hours
Approach time: 15 minutes
Descent time: 1.5 hours
Number of pitches: 6
Height of route: 1000'
OverviewFA: Ron Olevsky, solo, 1988. FFA: Darren Cope, Jeff Rickerl (Aluminum Messiah variation), 1988.
This is an excellent and popular route by Zion standards. People who normally donít enjoy chimney climbing seem to have a good time on this route. Iron Messiah was a proud solo effort by Ron Olevsky. Expect to find clean features due in part to the number of ascents this climb receives. Retreat is possible from every belay making this route less committing than some others of a comparable grade. Iron Messiah follows the prominent 700-foot left-facing corner system left of the major gully or cleft that cuts through the Spearhead formation just left (down canyon) of the summit. View Iron Messiah from the paved pullout on east side of the road, 200 yards up-canyon from the Zion lodge shuttle stop.
The first 300 feet of the route are comprised of a right-leaning, left-facing corner and ramp system. This section is often soloed. However, the exposure may cause some parties to opt to rope up. What is commonly considered the first real pitch of the route begins off a huge ledge and is a bolted 5.9 face just right of a right-facing corner. The next pitch climbs the double cracks in the left wall of the huge right-facing corner. On Pitch 3 the original route climbs up a crack to the left for a pitch and then pendulums into the chimney/corner, most parties climb the Aluminum Messiah variation. The Aluminum Messiah variation skips the pendulum. Youíll want to traverse right on a foot rail and climb a thin crack that leads you directly into the obvious left-facing corner that comprises the rest of the route. Most parties stop at the top of the main dihedral system. However, itís possible to climb to the summit of The Spearhead via some reportedly run-out 5.10 climbing.
Rack: see topo.
Descent: rap the route from bolted anchors. Keep your eyes open for an anchor out to the left of the route (this anchor is hard to see on the way up) about halfway down the upper corner system. Be aware of the many rope-pinching rappels and be careful pulling your ropes! Many parties have gotten their ropes stuck descending the middle portion of this route. However, if you choose the proper anchors to rap from, you shouldnít have any problems (see topo).
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