Fine Jade

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.65624°N / 109.36739°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: III 5.11a
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.11a (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 4
Additional Information Grade: III
Sign the Climber's Log


This stellar and hard route climbs the imposing, 400-foot southern prow of The Rectory Mesa in four to five pitches. The position is outstanding – offering constant views of the north face of Castleton Tower and the La Sal Mountains further back – and the climbing is sustained. Given that all belays are well bolted and you can rap the route with a single 60 meter rope, the commitment factor is low on this one. Don’t let this discourage you – the route feels plenty adventurous given the constant exposure and sometimes thin pro on hard sections (thinking for example about the 5.10+ face section directly below the finger crack crux on pitch 2).

Getting There

Follow approach directions on the main Rectory page. The standard trail deposits you right at the foot of the southern prow of the formation where the route begins. Scramble up the 20 foot block sitting at the base via class 3 staircase.

Route Description

Fine Jade
Fine Jade
Fine Jade
Fine Jade
Pitch 1: 5.10+, 140 feet. Things start off hard almost off the deck. Move up the thin hands crack for about 20 feet to reach the base of the 10 foot tall OW crack section. As a bonus, the 4 inch OW (#4 Camalot) overhangs slightly. At top of OW, throw right for a good hand jam (“good” if your hands are small, tight #2 Camalot) and pull out of the overhanging terrain (into a V-slot) via tight hand jams. More hands follow (vertical) and then some 5.10 finger cracks bring you to a well bolted stance (decent ledge). Supertopo will tell you to keep going but I was well spent at this point (even with abundant hanging through the OW cruxes). If you keep going, move up a slot and pull onto a lower angle face with a finger crack. Continue ~30-40 feet to a good ledge with more good bolts.

Pitch 2: 5.11a, 100 feet. Step right from belay and move up slabby face till it steepens. This section is weird and scary (and I had to shamelessly yard on gear) IMHO: face climbing with intermittent thin cracks for pro (small nuts and a blue Alien). 30 feet above the belay you arrive at the crux: a short bulge with a good finger crack through it (great pro). Good rest in a v-slot just above. Continue up finger to off-finger cracks above to reach a lower angle terrain that puts you on another good ledge and more beefy bolts.

Pitch 3: 5.9+, 80 feet. Move right and up from belay following 5.8-5.9 terrain diagonally. Rock quality is kind of poor here. In about 50 feet you arrive at a short 5.9 (or .9+) jam/lieback flake. Move up it and then cut back left (there’s a good bolt that I missed here) on easy but sandy ground to belay bolts on good ledge.

Pitch 4: 5.9, 80 feet. Move up on right side of belay for about 15 feet to reach a horizontal crack. Traverse this supposedly 5.7 crack leftward above belay for about 20 feet (5.7 my ass). Mantle up and turn the corner. If your drag is good, keep going. Move up the dihedral to just below the 10X10 foot flake. Traverse left under the flake (5.9) and then move up onto the flat summit slab. You need some big cams (#5 Friend??) for anchor but you can just butt belay here. Note that there’s a bolted face variation that takes off upward directly from the belay that is supposedly 5.11. There’s a bolted anchor at its top that you’ll be using for your first rappel. Ialewis notes: The 5.11 sport finish is a little soft for the grade, but is an excellent short pitch on surprisingly positive holds.

Explore the spacious summit – I found it pretty incredible!

Descent: As you top out on the Fine Jade’s standard finish, the first set of rap anchors is off to your right 40 feet away (SE corner of tower; you top out on SW corner). All rap anchors mentioned are equipped with rap chains or fat bolts. Single 60 meter rope will work; single 50 meter rope will NOT work. You can also supposedly do this descent via two double 60 meter raps. Here’s the single 60 meter scheme:

Rappel down to top of P3.
Rappel down to top of P2.
Rappel down to top of P1 – tie in knots – one 60 meter BARELY makes it.
Rappel down to intermediate station mentioned in P1 description above (short, ~40 feet).
Rappel down to the top of the class 3 block at base of route – again, this is pretty tight.

Essential Gear

If you’re strong and this is expected to be a cruise for you, bring double set of cams from finger-tip sized to #3 Camalot and single #3.5 and #4. A set of nuts, mostly small.
If you’re like us, we brought triples in #0.5 to #3 Camalots, one #3.5, two #4’s. Also triple Aliens from green to red (single blue Alien). A set of small to medium nuts.

External Links

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