The Marsupial Traverse

Page Type
Oregon, United States, North America
Route Type:
Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day
5.8 [5.0R]
Rock Difficulty:
5.8 (YDS)
Number of Pitches:

Route Quality: 4 Votes

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The Marsupial Traverse
Created On: Oct 20, 2003
Last Edited On: Mar 6, 2012


Haydar belaying me up the...
Haydar nearing the summit of...
Haydar and Shirley on the...
Shirley downclimbing from the...
Looking back at...
Looking down into....
After topping out on...

The route is listed in R. Lawson's supplement booklet to the Smith Rock guide, "New Sh!tuff at Smith". According to this guide, this route has the distinction of being Smith's longest route. The route traverses the ridgeline from the Mudpile formation to the Opossum in eight mostly bolted pitches. The route combines some pre-existing established pitches along with a few new ones. The "R" rating happens on easy ground (low 5th class). The guidebook gives the route rating as 5.10b X - however, the "X" rating is most likely an exaggeration (esp. if you compare it to climbs like Snake Dike which carry an "R" rating) and furthermore the 10b pitch can be substituted with a 5.8 pitch. The route as described here is the 5.8 variation. The rock on the route varies from clean and solid to very loose (esp. on the Tail). With a few exceptions the protection consists of bolts.

To find the start of the route, follow the directions on how to get to the Marsupials from the parking lot. Specifically, from the hairpin turn in the Burma Road, traverse toward the north side of Brogan spire and pick up a climbers' trail heading downhill (roughly west) along the north side of the crags. Keep heading downhill until you're under the Mudpile formation (the bottom-most of this continuous chain of formations across from Delirium Tremens (a small, free-standing crag on the north side of the Opossum-Mudpile "ridge"). Look for a giant green lichen-covered flake leaning against the base of the formation. The route (first pitch of which is called "Carla The Stripper") follows the bolted line just to the left of the flake.

Route Overlay

The Marsupial TraverseMarsupial Traverse

Route Description

Shirley beginning the...
Shirley and Haydar on the...
Haydar rapping off the north...
Shirley rapping off the east...
Haydar pulling onto the...
Shirley and Haydar on the...
Jason s rap off...
Joanne getting ready...

Pitch 1: 5.8, bolts, 70 feet. Follow the bolt line ("Carla The Stripper") initially on the left side of the flake to a doubly-bolted belay anchor on a small slopy "ledge".

Pitch 2: 5.7, bolts, 70 feet. Follow the bolt line directly above the belay station. Many variations exist here as multiple routes converge on the upper half of the Mudpile's north face. Going left might be more interesting; going right heads for easier ground. All options are bolted and all top out on the Mudpile's spacious summit. The first set of anchors you will see are slightly to the right. You can use these just fine but a better option might be to go further up about 10 feet and you'll see a set higher up to your left that is more in line with the route.

Pitch 3: 5.7 (one move, rest is 4th class), bolts, 200 feet. Walk east (roughly) along the summit terrace of the Mudpile. A single (easy) downclimb move brings you to the slabby ridge between the Mudpile and the unnamed formation just west of Mini Half Dome. (You can belay down this from a bolt above the down climb if necessary.) A single 5.7 move brings you to the summit of this unnamed little chunk of rock. Belay when you run out of rope. (It's possible to just scramble to a bolt just past the down climb and then belay up to the top of the next chunk of rock to make it not so long of a pitch, essentially breaking this into two pitches.)

Pitch 4: Low 5th class, 40 feet. Step across a gap and scramble to the top of Mini Half Dome. Rappel (single rope) into notch between Mini Half Dome and Brogan Spire.

Pitch 5: 5.5 [5.0R], 200 feet. Climb the West Face of Brogan Spire (route is listed in A. Watt's guidebook and carries an "X" rating which seems exaggerated). A single bolt protects the only 5.5 move on the route and that's right at the start. Beyond, low 5th/4th class scrambling brings you to the huge terrace beneath the summit spire of Brogan. Note that some trad. gear opportunities exist on this pitch - specifically, large cams can be placed inside pockets (#3.5 Camalot).

Pitch 6: 5.5, 80 feet. Finish to the top of Brogan Spire via pitch 2 of the West Face Route. A few medium to large cam placements protect this pitch. Rappel into the notch between Brogan Spire and The Tail (single rope).

Pitch 7: 5.5, 100 feet. Climb up towards the summit of The Tail (loose esp. higher up!!). About 20 feet below the summit take the dirty ledge system left of the summit, traverse beneath the summit and top out via the east side of the spire (CAUTION: top of the spire if very loose and dirty!!).

Pitch 8: 5.5, 50 feet. Downclimb east (the way you came up) from the summit of The Tail to the Tail-Opossum notch. Follow a short well bolted section (relatively good rock) to the summit of Opossum.


From the anchors (double bolts at the end of the bolted line described for pitch 8) make one double 60 m rap to the north side of the spire (side facing Koala Rock) directly to the ground. Watch for loose rocks!

From Corvallis: I did this in 8 pitches as well, but we did it a little diffrently and got off with a single 60. From the summit of the Mudpile we unroped and did the down climb. And then climbed the pitch to the top of Mini Half Dome. I think if you belayed from the anchors on the N end of the Mudpile you could do it in 1 60m pitch to the anchor on Mini Half Dome. Then from the summit of the Opossum we did 1 pitch of about 5.1R along the ridge traversing NE to an old anchor with slings where you can do a single rope rap to the N.

Essential Gear

Haydar starting up the West...
Pitch two of The Marsupial...

Quick draws. A few mid- to large-sized cams. Double and a few trip length runners to reduce rope drag. Helmet. Two 60 m ropes for the final rap (there's probably a way to get off with a single 60 m rope but we haven't tried it).

Shorts over polypro longjohns! Without those, it doesn't count!!

The Marsupial Traverse

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