Psycho Killer Pillar

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Sport Climbing
Spring, Fall, Winter
Rock Difficulty:
5.9 (YDS)
Number of Pitches:

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Psycho Killer Pillar
Created On: Jan 22, 2010
Last Edited On: Sep 28, 2010

The Route And Its Etymology

Originally FA'd in 1977 by Luke Stong and Tom Cowie, the routes' namesake wasn't attached until 1985 by Tom Cowie and Scott Loomis. Tom and Scott thought of the name when, in that same year, Luke Stong was convicted of first degree murder after killing his grandmother and placing her body into the truck of his car, with the intent to dump her body somewhere in Yosemite. Luke never made it to the park, only to be stopped by the CHP on the way there. Stopped for speeding along the 395, the cops soon became suspicious when they noted that Luke was edgy and nervous, insisting he needed to leave right away. A quick search of his car revealed the body of Luke's granny. CREEPY!! The same can be held true upon your arrival to Great Basin Falls and the surrounding landscape. Think 'The Hills Have Eyes' or the original crash landing scene for 'Planet Of The Apes'!

From the parking lot, take a faint climbers trail to the right of the falls. This trail makes subtle switchbacks along the right shoulder of the falls and cuts close to the rock above. The trail then tops out through a corridor of rocks, hugging the left side of the broken walls above. Continue on the trail and around a corner, to a flat sandy area. On the right side of the sandy area is a low angle slab (4th class). Scramble up the slab to it top, referencing a slender pillar (yep, that the Psycho Killer Pillar!). Once at the top, downclimb off to the left into an alcove. There is a small sandy spot in this alcove and this will situate one at the base of the pillar and the route.
User Profile ImageJon Slaeger scrambles to the base of 'Psycho Killer Pillar'

"You Axed Me.....I'm Tellin' You!"

Psycho Killer Pillar ain't no easy "sport" route. Think old school, with Mrs. Bates as your belayer! Yes, it is equipped with bolts and possibly an RP placement for some comfort, the route in general should be treated with ghostly respect. Refitted in 1985 by Tom Cowie and Scott Loomis, the old Leeper bolts were replaced with 3/8" buttonheads. However, due to the proximity of the falls and the shadowed area, most of them are spinners and rusted. When Luke and Tom FA'd the route, it orginally had 4 bolts (in 165'). Tom and Scott came back to restore the route with the intent to making the route "safer" (1985 standards, of course!). So, two more bolts were added near the top of the route (originally a 60' runout), making it a total of 6 bolts and a small "Psycho-logical" nut placement in the runout section between bolts #3 and #4. There are three rappel bolts at the top with beefy chains. Rappel off to the right, drop down to the top of a steep slab then rappel the remaining way down into a chimney slot to the base of the pillar (a full single 60 meter rope rappel barely makes it!)
User Profile ImageJon on 'Psycho Killer Pillar' (5.9)

Route Description

Climb primarily on the left side of the pillar, following 6 bolts to the top. Be sure to get in a small nut between bolt #3 and #4. The last 25' is a bit gritty but a tad bit easier.

Essential Gear

- 60 meter rope
- (7) quickdraws
- #1 or #2 nut