Carbuncle Buttress, 5.7-5.11

Carbuncle Buttress, 5.7-5.11

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 37.25093°N / 112.95658°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
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Riddler s Delight, 5.10XRiddler's Delight, 5.10X

The Carbuncle Buttress climbing area is marked by an obvious tower with a huge roof on top known as the “Diving Board” located directly behind the Zion National Park lodge. Made to be Broken (5.10+), a five pitch sport climb put in by Joe French in 2003, is becoming the most popular route on Carbuncle. Old plane wreckage actually serves as a landmark in the center of this area. Behind Carbuncle Buttress is a large wall with two recently established longer routes; Riddler’s Delight (5.10X) and Risk Management (5.10+ A0).
Riddler s Delight, 5.10X

Take the bus or if off season, you can drive to the Zion Lodge parking lot. Walk west in front of the lodge to the near back corner of the separate lodge building. Locate a trail here that meanders up to the base of the before mentioned tower above that has a huge roof on top known as the diving board which is impossible to miss. It looks like an Olympic sized diving board. Besides Made to be Broken, the rest of the routes are right of the tower. Riddler’s Delight can be reached by turning right after you have made it through a rock band (5 minutes from when you left the buildings), and locate a water pipe. Follow it west until you are below a larger wall separated from Carbuncle by a significant gully. Ascend a wash up to the base of the gully and turn right to ascend to the base of a chock stone filled chimney which is the first direct and original pitch for Riddler’s Delight. On approach you can see two hand sized splitters above the chimney section which make up the 2nd pitch by the original line.

Route Description(s)

Made to be Broken, 5.10c
Riddler s Delight, 5.10X
Riddler s Delight, 5.10X

Route Listed Left to Right, East to West

  • Made to Be Broken- 5 Pitches- 5.10+/
  • In typical Joe French fashion, the bolts are a tad spaced out which really only affects your headspace a bit at the start as the wall is fairly steep and there are not many ledges. Made to be Broken is much cleaner than comparable length north facing trad routes, i.e. Holly Roller and Shark Tooth Freighter on Mount Spry. Even though the moss was not worn off, I suspect Made to be Broken sees some traffic as the holds were solid by Zion sandstone face standards and friction on the slab not so sandy. The crux of the route involves the slab moves at the start of the 2nd pitch as well as the finish to the 1st pitch which is stout as you attempt to grapple with several sloper type holds. The 3rd and 4th pitches both pull over steep terrain on nice varnished jugs. The 5th pitch is the shorter, least desirable pitch of the five, but does take you to the top of the tower. The route is set up to rap with a single rope via the climbing stations. Dow

  • Just Another Jam- 5.7+/

  • Handy- 5.8/

  • Handy Man, Man- 5.10-/

  • Dead End- 5.7/

  • Lizardosis- 5.9/

  • Carols Crack- 5.7/

  • Riddler’s Delight- 6 Pitches- 5.10X/
  • Riddler’s Delight’s last two pitches are for sure to be avoided until properly cleaned. Being so close to the Zion lodge and employee housing, I for one would not volunteer to do the job. This should be a coordinated effort with the park to avoid any trouble in my opinion. As I alluded to earlier, I thought the first pitch was stellar. Quite a bit is made about the “scary chock stones”, but I have been around much worse. I led this pitch and did not feel uncomfortable easily maneuvering around those blocks/chock stones. The great climbing on this pitch is deep in the chimney above the hazards, stemming up three walls to a capped roof and making an aesthetic move to turn same. This was Disney World climbing at its best, just one fun ride. The second pitch centers around a real nice 5.9 hand crack. The third pitch is the crux (5.10+) of the route, a thin traverse left under an arching corner with a bit of blank feet. The fourth pitch was supposed to be 5.10 according to Bryan’s published topo, but I never felt the 5.10 in it. It does run over a few decking ledges and makes a run out, rope drag, traverse out left to the base of the next pitch (the straight up and down corner). I highly recommend you avoid the final two pitches until such time that they have been cleaned of some massive stacked blocks at the top of what was our 5th (6th or 7th according to others) pitch. At present, you are forced to climb these stacked blocks (RX) on lead to reach the bolted belay, fixed rappel. We climbed them and rigged the rappel such that our ropes were not interfering with the blocks, but I cannot recommend you climb them. All the belays are quite comfortable ledges on this climb. Dow

  • Risk Management- 5.10+ A0/

  • Lodge Tower- 5.5/

External Links

  • Zion National Park
    trail conditions or closures, wildlife notices/closures, weather conditions, camping permits, canyon water levels, etc.
  • Super Topo No one does a better job at organizing topos and beta than Chris.
  • DowClimbing.Com

  • Children


    Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.