This is Randy Cerf and Michael Allison and I did the first ascent a generation ago. I have climbed dozens of first ascents in Zion and scores of other routes, most probably lost to the sands of time.
Another Roadside Attraction is my among my top three favorites. It deserves to be a Zion classic. And it is one I remember well.
It has a couple of things in common with virtually every good Zion route. Most of it is excellent crack climbing. But unlike many routes, as I recall, it is devoid of long chimneys of modest difficulty, grinding off widths, sections of direct aid, difficult descents.
BTW, it is not "mostly free" but all free even for us old timers.
As I recall, the climbing offered 9-10 pitches of relatively sustained difficulty (continuously 5.8-5.10) with at least one section that was particularly difficult. I understand that it is considered 5.11. We did not think we could climb 5.11 so we called it hard 5.10. As I recall, the crux was a dihedral with a very thin finger crack that could be climbed (at least by me) only with some challenging stemming (at least to us). For all but one section of one pitch, the rock was excellent. It is hard to find a long route in Zion without at least one questionable section. The section was pretty cool. It was vertical or slightly overhanging climbing on blocks that were solid enough.
I do not recall any monster run outs in any sections that were extremely difficult. Being somewhat of a chicken, I think I would have.
The last comment was impressed that we did the route without cams. While that may be true, it is not as impressive as it sounds. We old timers were pretty good at nut placements. We also "cheated" on the crux pitch. The crack there is so even that it was tough to place a nut. But on first ascents we always used to bring a hammer and a drill and a couple of half inch angles to pound into 3/8 inch holes to create belay or rappel anchors or to put in protection on long off widths where nothing else would work (usually after a long run out to get to a spot where we could drill) if needs be. OK, I will confess. In at least one spot on the crux pitch I used my hammer to knock mini hex nut into the crack to offer solid protection where none was otherwise available.
The hardest part of the Route was walking back through the tunnel without a headlamp after dark back to the car alone while Michael, the wimp, waited for me to return with the car. Bring a lamp.
BTW, in case you care, the other two old timer classic routes I most highly recommend are the Central Pillar of Spry (V 5.10-5.11) and Headache (II 5.9) which is even closer to the same parking spot as Another Roadside Attraction.
The Central Pillar is sustained and has every type of climbing from difficult face climbing (a rate treat in Zion) to a crack that starts thin and widens from finger to hand to fist to off width over 150 feet. It had one rather ballsy run out of 5.8-5.9 face climbing on chicken heads that Wes Krause led. I would not have been so hard to lead it the second time you climbed it, but Wes had no idea what he was getting into has he headed into the sky.
Headache has 2-3 pitches of absolutely perfect rock and zero approach. It has no real crux that I recall, but it is consistently cool. It is the only route in Zion that I climbed repeatedly for a relaxing good time. I even cut loose my legs and one arm and kicked out holding on to a monster bucket while screaming "help" to impress some Park Service big whig there to watch climbers for the first time.
I climbed this route on the 27th of sept 2010 with Dow Williams all free. This is quite a proud route to have been mostly free by the fa's without cams. Most of the climbing stays under 5.10 but the crux finger pitch is more like 5.11. Lots of runouts to be had. We walked the rim west and rapped from a tree to connect to u n u to the ground. 2 60 m ropes needed.
Photo: Bryan Bird
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