Octopussy (WI6, M8)

Page Type Page Type: Route
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Winter
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 2
Sign the Climber's Log


I felt obligated to add this route to the database as it was the route that really started the modern mixed climbing era. Octopussy, when put up in 1994, was the start of the classification of "M8." At the time it was believed to be the hardest that was put up. It took Lowe a couple trips before finally getting up it which included a couple figure fours. What vision! Though the route does not get climbed often, it still awaits those with a sense of adventure and perhaps a little insanity along with a good mind.

Octopussy (WI6, M8)On lead of Octopussy in kind of lean conditions

The climbing is simply wild and not your ordinary "all bolt" route. Though most of it's fixed, it has the "trad" sense to it. The rock is simply just crap leaving you wondering how much weight the old original pins will old.

The Seventh Tentacle is usually the route used to approach Octopussy. You could either belay at the bolts for the top of The Seventh Tentacle or traverse left for a few feet to another set of bolts for Reptile. A traverse left at M4ish is made with some interesting gear and potential for some interesting falls before you're behind the curtain. Of course, if you fall on the traverse, you should rethink about doing the climb.

The RouteThe Route with Ocotpussy hanging on the upper left

Inspect the curtain, perhaps rap down before you get on it to make sure it's safe to climb on as sometimes the fracture line cannot be seen until you're face to face with it. If the curtain is really well formed, you can stem accross and skip the chossy, overhang drytooling sometimes called "Octowussy." If it's not that fat (usually not), clip all the mank at the ledge (#1 BD cam can be placed around here to back it up as the gear is pretty bad and manky) and equalize it. Use a screamer here and there.

Octopussy (WI6, M8)About to commit to the dry tooling crux

Commit to the overhung corner for a couple moves to a very strenous clip to the hanging tat (two equalized pins). The transfer to the ice can be extremely strenuous. Whether it involves figure fours, front levers, or if you're lucky, it can be straightforward! Once on the front, cruise for 10 feet of WI5+ ice to the top. Make sure to place a screw a bit above the roof and not on the hanging curtain, and try to keep the rope from running directly underneath the curtain.

Mixed Emotions At the StartMixed Emotions with the curtain behind


Octopussy (WI6, M8)Talk about the position!

Vail, Colorado. Start with The Seventh Tentacle behind the Fang. A 70m rope barely makes it. Two ropes are usually used for the rappel descent. The curtain is just to the left of The Fang.


I would bring a #0.3 and #1 C4 BD cam. About 5 screws will be more then enough. Bring lots of alpine draws as there is a few pieces to clip before the roof. Double ropes work better on this, though I got away with a single. See JR's old guidebook for more details.

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