3rd Pitch- 40m- 5.9
Lap Dance is an exceptional free climb on one of my favorite free climbing walls in Zion National Park
, Tunnel Wall
. Bryan Bird put in Lap Dance as a completed route to near the top of Tunnel Wall even though the first pitch (sustained 5.11) had been cragged for many years. Thus, the last pitch is a lot dirtier than the first pitch
, but does continue to offer some stellar stemming and crack climbing for the grade (5.10). We divided the route up into four pitches, although it can go at three. The top of the middle pitch or pitch three if dividing it, passes the only fixed pro on the route, a single bolt protecting a finger rail moving out below a large roof to the arête. Three belays and raps are fixed (2010) and comprised of comfortable ledges. The name revolves around a dance the FAers had with a large block atop the route. I led that pitch and don’t recall anything too precarious. The rap stations are set for double ropes and were in good shape as of 2010.
1st Pitch- 55m- 5.11
The first pitch of Lap Dance is a coveted Indian Creek style hand and finger crack that constantly runs over small ledges
. Therefore, one should be competent at the grade (5.11) to lead that pitch. The second pitch is a short run up a pleasant, but a bit sandy, hand crack to a comfortable ledge to make a gear belay. Splitting the middle pitch (via the topo) up allows better sight and communication making for a more pleasant climb. The third pitch runs up the corner to below the roof, then traverses out right on a hidden
, but nice, finger rail, past a bolt to the arête and continues up a crack to a large bushy and treed ledge. The final pitch starts with a bit of bushwhacking, up through a fun roof, and then settles into a long corner crack that steepens as it gets higher. This last pitch is a long pitch that finishes up and to the left on a large ledge with a fixed belay.
Take the Zion Park road up towards the tunnel. Park on the right side at a shaded pullout on the 2nd to last switchback (vehicle facing east).
Walk east up to the switchback retaining wall and pick up a trail on the south end of that wall. Follow the trail across a wash and stay with it as it circumvents east around the tunnel wall above about 50yds below it. Stay with the beaten path until you are below the buttress of a dark varnished tower. Lap Dance is on the right, POW Right in the Rat is on the left.
Route Description550’+/-, 4 Pitches, 5.11
1st Pitch- 55m- 5.11/
This is the crux pitch
of Lap Dance. The first pitch is a full on sustained hand and finger crack that runs over several bulges and small ledges.
Therefore, the leader should be competent at the grade in order to avoid the decking opportunities. The crux section of this pitch is located at the clean wall more than half way up the pitch. Some lay backing is required as well as this section is a bit burly to protect off of the small ledge below.
It eases up the corner crack towards the end on a comfortable ledge with a fixed rap.
2nd Pitch- 20m- 5.9/
We chose to divide this 60m middle section up via a ledge in order to give each leader two pitches. Climb the easy, but dirty, hand crack up to a ledge on the left. Set up a gear belay in the crack below the large roof above.
3rd Pitch- 40m- 5.9/
Run up the easy crack to just below the roof. Follow a hidden finger rail out right
, clipping a bolt (2010) as you take the arête. This whole sequence of moves is easier than it looks from below.
Move into the crack above for pleasant climbing up to a large bushy and treed ledge.
4th Pitch- 60m- 5.10/
Bushwhack your way to the base of the wall. Start in the right crack and move back to the left crack taking a messy roof above which lands you into a tall corner crack.
Follow the dirty, but fun, hand and finger crack, stemming and jamming until it peters out among loose rock. Head up and left to a fixed belay over a ledge.
It takes three double rope (60m)
raps to reach the ground. Rap from the fixed station at the top of the last pitch back to the large ledge atop the third pitch. Rap from trees here back to the top of the first pitch. Rap to ground.
Double 60m ropes. Mostly draws with a few slings. Double .4” to 3”, with extra 1’s and 2’s.
This is a north facing route and could be plenty cool in mid to late May, dress appropriately. Brian’s guide book, “Zion Climbing, Free and Clean” has a small topo.
- The Many Free Routes in Zion National Park
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