One of the warmest spots to climb in all of Zion National Park is the south face of the Right Mary. The Three Marys are located above the town of Springdale to the right of West Temple. The steep approach up the loose sandy hill side provides a nice warm up during cold winter days. The approach for the south face is easily accessed from the Tanner Amphitheatre’s parking lot thus the name of one of its better routes, Theatre Goddess, 5.10 (2009).
Right Mary's most common route however is a take on the peaks name itself, Immaculate Conception, 5.10 (2005). I do consider Theatre Goddess the better climb. It is only two years old as of this writing, thus few if any folks have gotten on it yet. Theatre Goddess offers three interesting 5.10 pitches, one of which is a full 200’. Immaculate offers two decent pitches and one of those is on suspect rock. The pro and rock on Theatre Goddess is relatively solid and if it got climbed a few more times (we might have been the 2nd ascent) it would get cleaned up fairly quickly.
Although no other routes are published on Right Mary as of 2011, some of the spiltters on the lower face, particularly a wide one just to the left of the start for Theatre Goddess, will no doubt offer up some stellar future climbs.
Drive down the paved road (Lion Avenue) toward the Dixie State College Tanner Amphitheater. Park before the gate and hike in along the road to the amphitheater itself. Right before the amphitheater locate a climbers trail on the right that drops down into a wash and then aims for the obvious break in the steep lower cliff band above and slightly to the west. The trail is rarely used and can be faint, but there are a few cairns along the way (2011). Once through the cliff band, make straight for the base of Right Mary. Theatre Goddess starts way off left from the huge corner/dihedral (topo included) and angles back right until at the end of the second pitch, you are in the dihedral that you then simply follow to the top right shoulder of Right Mary. Immaculate Conception starts further left, left center of the south face, following a nice hand crack for its first pitch. It eventually tops out just to the left of the summit.
Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the South Face
The first pitch is by far the classic of the route, a continuous hand/finger crack in good rock with face features abound. The fourth pitch is no doubt the crux of the route due to the nature of the rock and the few intermittent cracks that connect through it. The third pitch is a pleasant off width to hand crack. We placed little gear on the second and fifth pitches and none on the last pitch despite Bryan’s topo showing all those pitches at 5.9. Most of that terrain felt more like 5th class. Dow
The first pitch is an easy pitch (relative to the grade given the route) that starts way left of the main corner/dihedral that makes up the majority of Theatre Goddess. The second pitch follows a good crack system straight up into and stemming through a large roof in the lower dihedral. The third pitch offers three separate climbing disciplines in 200’ of climbing. It starts off with a fun hand crack for about 30’+/-. Then a full on chimney experience with great rock and a tight squeeze through the top. The FAer’s might have belayed a pitch here. I chose to continue up and through a fun finger/hand crack pulling the next roof above to a comfortable belay ledge. The fourth pitch involved a fun 50’ section of off-width in stellar rock. Once in the off-width I faced left the whole way and found it fun and challenging climbing. We scrambled the rest of the route to the upper right shoulder of Right Mary where we put away the rope and changed out shoes. From the shoulder, you can scramble all the way down into the descent gully without rapping if you carefully pick your way through the brush, cactus and loose sand. Dow
Oscar’s Café, the only place for climbers to truly fill their appetite (free range chicken, beef and Hank’s Tanker) and meet one of the finer climbers and individuals I know on the face of the earth, Zach Lee, someone who has established many of his own local FA’s in the area.
Zion National Park trail conditions or closures, wildlife notices/closures, weather conditions, camping permits, canyon water levels, etc.
""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.""