The Great Beyond is a classic Zion 5.10 full length extension (to the top of the Weeping Rock wall) of one of the few easy trad routes in Zion National Park, Weeping Rock Chimney (5.7). Weeping Rock Chimney is a two pitch route known to be perhaps the coolest (temperature wise) route one can get on during the hot summer months because both of its pitches are deeply recessed into a west facing chimney. Weeping Rock Chimney was also referred to in the old Zion guide book as “one of the best in the canyon for its grade”. The Great Beyond route was established by Jim Beyer in 1979 and few if any have repeated the original route in full and in fact the only person I know who has led the final crux pitch, involving a difficult short off width section, is Zach Lee. Zach this variation (avoiding the “scary no pro traverse” as outlined in Bryan Bird’s guidebook, 2009) to make this a more amiable route to Zion free route baggers like myself. Directly to the left is Ion Shadows, a classic 5.11b free route put up by Conrad Anker and Brad Quinn.
The Great Beyond is mostly a pure trad line sprinkled with a few pieces of fixed pro. Most of the belay stations via ascent are made with gear but you can rap the route with doubles (60m) from trees and a few fixed stations. The first two pitches (5.7) are essentially the Weeping Rock Chimney route, and can be combined with a 70m rope. The third pitch is a non-sustained pitch with a 5.8 move or two. The fourth pitch is best begun by moving the belay right along a significant ledge (French Lee Variation). It is a decent 5.8 pitch that follows a hand crack corner (left facing) through a small roof pull to another comfortable ledge and gear belay. The fifth pitch is a 5.6-8 pitch up through a few bolts on a varnished face and then left up an easy corner to a fixed station on a ledge. The sixth pitch (5.9-10) is the classic pitch of the route. Follow a bolted traverse at the grade up and left into an exposed steep off width/hand crack (back to the original line). This pitch is fairly long and will eat triple .75”-1” if you brought them. It was difficult for me to get all warm and fuzzy about some of the delicate varnished holds or even the pro on this pitch due to the composite of the sandstone despite how aesthetic the line was. The seventh pitch (5.9) was fairly uneventful and a bit brushy but sets you up right below the crux move of the route, the short but difficult off-width move (5.10) through a small squeeze to the left of a large roof to the top of the wall.
Drive or take the park shuttle to the Weeping Wall parking area in Zion Canyon. Walk up canyon via the road and the Weeping Rock Chimney will become obvious on the wall to the right. The chimney is obvious as well as the two stations to the left that belong to Ion Shadows. There is no trail up the hill, but one of two minor washes get you past the cacti to the base of the wall.
Route Description800’+/-, 8 Pitches, 5.10
1st/2nd Pitches- 65m- 5.7/ I combined these pitches with a 70m rope. The first pitch angles up right via a ramp. A perfect seam on the left allows plenty of placement that takes you past a tree on the right and then the ramp gives up two seams on either side as it ascends deeper into the chimney and to the webbing/bolt anchor on the right wall above a very comfortable belay station. The second pitch is classic chimney climbing and is much steeper than the first pitch as you basically stem up the deep chimney, moving out when it gets too narrow. Focus on either wall’s features versus the many loose blocks stuffing the interior of the chimney. There is a seam or two on the left wall you can protect into. Continue stemming until the walls widen too much to do so. Then move left into a finger crack and follow it up onto a comfortable ledge with fixed belay (2010).
3rd Pitch- 30m- 5.8/ Continue up the right side, careful not to pull on the loose stuff. Pass a bolt on the right wall and keep ascending right to a broad ledge. You might make one or two moves at the grade, but for the most part this is a cruiser pitch.
Move the belay right about 50’ to the other side of a short easy chimney.
4rd Pitch- 30m- 5.8/ Climb up the easy (5.6) right side of the short chimney and move left along the ledge to below the obvious finger/hand corner. Climb this fun corner (5.8) through a small roof problem towards the top and do a fixed belay in a left facing corner at the other side of the ledge with one piece of medium gear and the 6” if you brought it (the bushes below will be your double rope rap back to inside the chimney).
5th Pitch- 30m- 5.6R/ I don’t concur with the guidebook’s R rating but did feel the climbing is more 5.7 or 5.8. Make a few moves at the grade up the corner to the right and then follow several bolts traversing somewhat delicate varnish edges back left into the right facing corner above. Stay low versus high to make this transition into the corner easier. Place gear at will and climb the easy corner to a ledge with a fixed belay/rap.
6th Pitch- 35m- 5.10/ This is the classic and most sustained pitch of the route. Follow the bolt line on a traverse up and left into the steep hand crack. The face traverse moves are via delicate varnish on sugary sandstone at the grade. Once in the crack place your .75”-2” at will if you have them. I had doubles and would rather have had triples .75”-1”. The red sandstone (not varnished) walls of the crack did not make me feel warm and fuzzy about my pro. I also had a hard time trusting any of the holds on either side (think Moab Tower climbing). Jam and maneuver your way up the crack which widens as the angle eases towards the top and onto a large ledge. Make a gear belay with a 3”, 4” and/or .5” on the right at the base of the next obvious pitch.
7th Pitch- 30m- 5.9/ Run up the obvious left facing corner/ramp. The crux comes at a double crack system topped with a bunch of brush. Stem up this section moving through the trees and build a gear belay with medium gear right below the final off width squeeze on a chock stone ledge.
8th Pitch- 20m- 5.10/ Getting through the squeeze off- width slot is the crux of the climb. It pays to be small waisted for this pitch. Start out facing the main wall. The trick is timing the 180 degree turn counter clockwise facing out. The sandstone is sugary with not much help in the way of friction. You can protect the move with a 5”-6” piece. Once you achieve a meter or so of squirming above this slot, the climbing eases up to the top of the route. Belay off of the large tree on top of the Cerberus Gendarme wall.
DescentDo a double rope rap from the large tree back to the base of the 7th pitch. If you used 70m ropes, you can stay on rappel and make the exposed walk skiers left to the fixed rap station out on the main wall. Make a double rope rap down to either the fixed rap ring station at the base of the 6th pitch or with 70m ropes (and probably 60m’s too) reach the bushy ledge at the base of the 5th pitch. Make a double rope Rap off of the bushes/trees to the top of the 2nd pitch in the chimney. Make one more double rope rap to the ground (or close to it with 60’s).
- The Many Free Routes in Zion National Park
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