Bridge Mountain is part of the continuous formation that walls in Springdale and the Virgin River to the east. The formation starts out with on obvious sub peak of Bridge Mountain on the left which bleeds into the Tunnel Wall area further east. Then to the west, Bridge Mountain, G1 and the Watchman form the remainder of the massive wall over town. Bridge Mountain’s sub peak has its more popular routes which encompass the Confluence area (Crimson King, 5.11+) and a soon to be desert classic, Smash Mouth (5.11+). There is a very distinct hanging arch (Bridge Mountain Arch) which can be seen from town at just the right view point located between the sub peak and Bridge Mountain. Take Back the Rainbow (5.10) runs to the col between the sub peak and Bridge Mountain where one can get a close up view of this arch. Bryan Bird claims Bridge Mountain resembles the Grand Teton thus Joe French actually named one of his routes Sand Teton.
Park as you would for the Headache, Ashtar and/or the Confluence crag, at the last bend before the tunnel on the west end. Follow up the climber’s trail that heads west for the Confluence cragging area. Continue below the Confluence routes circumventing Bridge Mountain’s sub peak. Take Back the Rainbow is directly below the col of Bridge Mountain and its sub peak. The Smash Mouth splitter directly to the right of this col is impossible to miss and normally chalked up as it is becoming a Zion (free) classic.
Route Description (s)
6th Pitch, ACL Arete
Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the Wall(s)
The first pitch runs up an obvious right facing corner system to a ledge in a pod below a roof that forms the first crux pitch of the route. Pull the fairly tame roof into what appeared from below to be a wide crack. However, the sustained crack in this pitch is mostly fingers once you get in it. Ascend the steep flake crack system placing mostly finger sized pro to a very comfy ledge with a fixed belay (2011). The third pitch runs up a ramp corner system to the left and pulls what the guide book refers to as the “tongue”, a uniquely shaped rock feature. The next two pitches are mostly 4th/5th class hobbling back up and right to the base of a right facing corner/chimney The sixth pitch involves a short fun and physical 5.10 crux move off the deck to get into a chimney which leads to another short chimney. Climb this second chimney to get to the base of a long right leaning vegetated ramp. Follow it for a full pitch to a tree belay at the base of the last pitch which is somewhat of a vexing flaring chimney. As the guide book states “the final pitch has a left and right option, both of which have given subsequent parties fits.” I led the right option and what I believe Bryan meant to imply was that this chimney can be wet. It was quite wet in May making the start of it the crux of the entire climb. Once through the slippery vertical portion, the rest of it goes much dryer and represents a typical Zion flaring chimney that can protect with a few fours and/or a five and/or six inch piece. Dow
For me the first 5.11 short face with a ledge under it and the last meter or two at the top of the route (5.11+) were the cruxes of the climb. The true challenge is nailing the sequence one to two meters below the top of the route to maintain a clean run at Smash Mouth, and it is a bit tricky. That first 5.11 crack pitch is somewhat unnerving because of the ledge below and this section of the wall is also dirty/sandy. I advise moving the first belay up to that ledge as it is easy ground to there. The second pitch has the only fixed pro (outside of one bolt below the very top) and is the easiest pitch as it gets you started in the finger crack above. The third pitch requires mostly .3-.4 C4’s and C3’s with some 1” stuff at the top. The fourth pitch was my favorite of the day, giving you a few rest stances and a few small hand jams with intricate moves in between with the crux of the entire route at the end. Smash Mouth is extremely well protected with gear and has modern fixed belays/raps (2011). Only the last pitch belay was hanging. Dow
ACL Arête runs up the center of Bridge Mountain which is a massive peak (east) overlooking Springdale (west). Getting to it is a bit of a bushwhack, but the climbing itself is surprisingly clean. The route, including its many anchors, both belay and rappel, is heavily bolted by Zion standards. Only the first pitch offers a decent trad experience. Pitch four offers the crux moves (face-sport) of the route. Pitch five offers perhaps the most interesting move, pulling a short overhanging hand crack into a large pod (what the FAer’s refer to as the Arizona Hot Pocket). The worst rock on the route exists on the final two pitches which were a bit contrived, the ninth pitch could have easily just been tagged on to the eighth pitch and the final pitch did not add much to the line. They bolted the whole route such that you can rap it with a single 60m rope. Dow
Sand Teton-IV- 5.11-/A0/
""You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.""