In November 1997 I climb a new route off the original line on the Pulpit. Climb the bolt ladder to the first belay ledge 5.5. from here is the crux to the main crack past a bolt. Follow the crack and bolts aid or free halfway up and than traverse a long crack across the Pulpit to a belay ledge at the end of the traverse belay your partner across the traverse some rope drag. Climb a 5.9 crack or aid to the top. The traverse takes many large nut, and a set of Tricams cams which works well across the traverse. Rap from the bolts on top down the original route. Thompson traverse 5.9 C2 .
This route really disappointed me. I cannot imagine why Fred didn't just do the awesome crack on the north side. It is A1 and consistent with the sizes of pitons then available.
Instead this route uses too many bolts and climbs a far less aesthetic piece of the rock.
I imagine that it was done as an experiment to see how bolts worked in the soft rock before doing the Throne, but the north crack would have been a far better choice.
Sure, it's easy to play monday morning quarterback, but in this case not such a hard call.
In any case, going to Zion and only climbing a dinky rock like the Pulpit is like kissing your sister.
The initial bolt ladder is somewhat nervous, but the worst that would happen is a broken ankle. The slab above is fairly fun. Bring a few wide (5 c4) if you don't want to pull a 5.7 offwidth move at the end of the second pitch. One sixty gets you down in one rap, but be sure to aim for high ground.
Also, it might be smart to bring some webbing or chain for the anchor, the stuff we used was getting pretty bad.
Very fun, definitely worth wading across the river for.
Photo: Bryan Bird
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