Skinner’s Roof, 5.9-5.12a

Page Type
Idaho, United States, North America
Trad Climbing
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
650 Hits
72.08% Score
Log in
to vote
Page By:
Skinner’s Roof, 5.9-5.12a
Created On: Jul 1, 2015
Last Edited On: Jul 1, 2015


Margarine Fingers, 5.9
Margarine Fingers, 5.9

One of my favorite places to climb at the City of Rocks (and clearly avoids the urban climbers) is to connect Yellow Wall with White Lightning and of course the Twin Sisters if you have the courage and even Eagle Rock if you have the time. When you hike up the hill to access White Lightning you pass a notable roof objective, Skinner’s Roof (5.12a), located on the right.  The name derives from Todd Skinner visiting the area for the first time in 1982 looking for hard cracks. Bingham took him to this roof which he on-sighted. It is a beautiful splitter through a significant roof straight away with a short crux. This is a must do climb for the 5.12 leader.

They call this relatively short wall Skinner’s Roof but it does have one other climb on it named Margarine Fingers (5.9).  Margarine Fingers might have got the name because, as it is currently configured, you must traverse right, climb up, then traverse back left on a ton of rat urine and feces. Your fingers at that point can have quite the film on them, thus the name.  Not an attractive start for such a cool off-width above. If the start would ever get retro bolted (just one protection bolt) up a patina face that leads to the off-width, it would straighten out the line and make the route more of a must do at the grade.

Skinner’s Roof and White Lightning can best be approached by circumventing the South Twin to the west as though heading for the Yellow Wall.  Soon after you enter its shadow and/or pass the South Sister, the White Lightning Wall with its unique and distinguishable left facing corner (splitting it down the middle) comes into view high on the ridge that extends north from the North Sister.  Skinner’s Roof is slightly down hill and to the right of White Lightning. The splitter running through the roof is fairly obvious.

Route Description(s)

Routes, Left to Right on the West Face

  • Skinner’s Roof- 5.12a***/

  • Margarine Fingers- 5.9*/ If one bolt were added through the face features, it would make for a more direct (and cleaner) line. Without the bolt, the line traverses way out right and into a right facing finger corner full of rat piss. Follow the corner up to a rat piss ledge. I placed no pro prior to this ledge due to rope drag potential.  I double extended that piece I placed before starting the traverse back left. Traverse left to the base of the off-width crack (C4#4-#5). Making the exposed layback entrance to the wide crack via a grass filled closed crack with chossy feet below is by far the crux.  Once in the crack, I basically soloed the 5.8 off-width to the top. You need to walk a C4#5 if you want to protect it. Walk off skiers left. Dow