Cave Crack 5.7+

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.27350°N / 112.94535°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Less than two hours
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.7 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 1
Sign the Climber's Log


This route is on Cerberus Wall and right across the shuttle bus stop at Big Bend in Zion National Park. Cross the road and take the trail with a climber sign on it up to the wall and turn left until the base of the route. This route is just to the left of Squeeze Play. The route gets into shade in the afternoon. It is called the cave route because there is a cave or large opening behind the rocks on top of the route. This actually makes it accessible to scramble up ledges to the left of the route and hike through the cave to reach the anchors and set up a top-rope. The climb has been noted to be "The hardest 5.7 you will ever do" so if 5.7 is your lead limit...maybe reconsider.

Cave Crack
Diagram showing the crack and the bolted anchors at the top

Route Description

This route is probably the most popular route with people first time in the park to get a taste of the climbing. It is definitely a nice moderate route but not to be underestimated because it starts pretty wide without jams, have your #4 and #5 camalot ready. The size varies quite a bit and there are bulges which can be overcome using plenty good footholds. The top part becomes quite thin but I think the footholds keep the rate low. There are chain anchors on the top. One can use this as a top rope to play on the face to the right.

One good way I found to climb up the off-width section in the beginning was to use the piller back and to the left to stem on. This helps if you are unable to jab your fist well. Once halfway up the climb there is a nice ledge to rest on. The upper part is a nice dihedral crack with great hand-jams. An alternate start that avoids the off-width part is using the thin flakes and finger cracks just right of the route. Reach the same halfway ledge by cutting left once above the flakes. A few small flexible master cams work well protecting this section.

Cave Route, 5.7
Climbing the Cave Crack

Cave Crack
Jacob on the 5.7+ Cave Crack

Cave Crack
Jacob leading the Cave Crack with the alternate start to the right

Essential Gear

Definitely have a #4 camalot for the start of the route, you should even use a #5 but be careful not to over-cam it. For the rest of the route singles of red and yellow aliens and single set of camalots from #0.5 to 3 should be sufficient. A single 60m rope will be long enough. If you choose to avoid the first wide section and do the thin cracks to the right of the crack bring some flexible small stuff.

Cave Crack
Tall view of the route