Tunnel Wall, 5.10-5.13+

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 37.21187°N / 112.94752°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
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Tunnel Wall
Cornback Rattler, 5.11, Picking on the Fat Kid, 5.10+ and Feast of Snakes, 5.11

The Tunnel Wall area in Zion National Park harbors the best selection of free crack climbs in the park. Four of the more notable such climbs are: Headache (5.10-), Gypsy’s Curse (5.10+), Lap Dance (5.11) and Pow Right in the Rat (5.11). This area encompasses a bit of ground, from the west tunnel entrance itself (The Headache) back east to Omaha Bob which is near the exit of the Pine Creek Slot Canyon. Bryan Bird breaks this area down further in his guide book, “Zion Climbing Free and Clean”, by grouping the eastern routes as the “Headache area” and naming the main tunnel wall the “Cragmont area”. Many of the grades on Tunnel wall, similar to most of the free Zion crack climbing, are fairly stout (read old school) in comparison to most climbing areas in North America where I have climbed. 
Headache, 5.10c
Headache, 5.10

To reach the Cragmont routes to the east, 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. The first route just left of the tunnel window is Master of Reality (5.12+). Continue down the beaten path until you turn a huge buttress on tunnel wall which is Another Road Side Attraction (5.10, A1). Then catch some spin off trails that angle up and left to a shaded alcove where there are some fantastic obvious wide routes in dark rock, Picking on the Fat Kid (5.10+) and Cornback Rattler (5.11). Gypsy’s Curse (5.10+) and Feast of Snakes (5.11) are to the right of this dark colored wall.

The Headache area routes start just east of the west tunnel entrance. Park along the last switchback and hike past the ranger tunnel kiosk to the north side of the tunnel entrance to pick up a trail.

Route Description(s)

Gypsy s Curse, 5.10+
 Gypsy's Curse
Lap Dance, 5.11
Lap Dance 
Feast of Snakes, 5.11
 Feast of Snakes
Another Roadside Attraction, 5.11R
 Another Roadside Attraction
Another Roadside Attraction, 5.11R
 Another Roadside Attraction
East Temple
Lap Dance, 5.11
 Lap Dance
POW, Right in the Rat, 5.11
Pow Right in the Rat 
Long Leaved Phlox
Great Arch
UnU, 5.10
2nd Pitch
Remnants of a Party
1st Pitch
Cock Smasher

The Routes are Listed Right to Left as you Face the Wall

    Headache Area
  • Migraine- Single Pitch- 5.11/

  • Headache- 3 Pitches- 5.10/
  • Sustained at the grade, very nice line. I thought the 5.10 third pitch was easier than the 1st pitch, but then I am not much of a crack climber. But that does echo some others comments at mountainproject.com. That last pitch does eat up gear. We took and used 5-#2's and found use for a #4 at least once. Probably had our photo taken over 300 times. The buses must communicate to each other or something regarding this route since there is a pullout in each direction. This is a horrible line in terms of privacy. Take a piss though and they start to scramble away. Dow

  • Never Again- 2 Pitches- 5.10/

  • Master Blaster- Single Pitch- 5.13+/

  • Cragmont Area (Main Tunnel Wall)
  • Krunk Juice- Single Pitch- 5.12+/

  • Master of Reality- 2 Pitches- 5.12+/

  • Reggaetone- Single Pitch- 5.12a/

  • I’N’I- 4 Pitches- 5.10/
  • Although laid out as four pitches on Bryan’s topo in his guidebook, Zion Climbing, Free and Clean, InI is best done in two pitches total with 60m or 70m double ropes (proper double rope technique required to avoid rope drag). The first pitch is typical Zion sandstone choss, pulling a loose and sandy roof off the deck. I led this pitch to get the feel of Bryan’s original line, but recommend you give the right facing corner a go just a few meters to the right. This corner actually leads to the rappel tree atop this lower wall. Once you pull the low chossy roof (5.9-10), the climbing is mellow to the top of this lower wall, but full of moss and sand. Once on top of the large bushy ledge above, set up the belay at the base of the hourglass chimney straight ahead, just about a full 200’ of rope out. If combining the rest of the pitches using double ropes, clip one rope up the left side of the first of two walls located in the middle of the broad based chimney (which narrows to a stem at the top). The first wall’s left side is approximately 5.7, the second wall’s left side is the crux of the climb on steep hands that slightly overhang toward the top. Then move to the right side of the chimney and start clipping the other rope using wide and narrow cracks until when close to the top of the chimney you can stem or chimney the last few meters to a fixed belay/rap on the left wall. Dow

  • UnU- 4 Pitches- 5.10/
  • Although Bryan has UnU listed at 5.10 in his guidebook, his actual topo, included in same, reflects all the pitches going at 5.9. The first pitch of UnU is an obvious hand to off-width crack (5.9) that runs up a face on the left side of the buttress separating UnU from InI (photo). I took a C4 #5 and #6 and used them on most of the pitches. At the top of this crack, scramble up towards some trees to your right for the belay. The second pitch (perhaps the best pitch of the route) runs up the obvious left facing corner above on solid rock. Once at the top of the corner, set up a belay below the next left facing corner above. The third pitch is one of the more interesting pitches at Tunnel Wall. Climb up the corner to what Bryan refers to as the “cave”. Stem and/or chimney up the short slot tunnel. Although dramatic moves, this wide section is more than reasonable for the grade and protects better than it looks. Pull out of the slot via large blocks above. The final pitch follows a hand crack that widens to almost off-width to the right of the ledge above the “cave”. It is best to step down to start this pitch. One single rope rap from the top of this pitch lands you below the ledge you just belayed on, the opposite side you climbed, to a 180’ fixed rap on the west wall followed by one more single rope rap to the ground. Dow

  • Out of Wax- Two Pitches- 5.10/
  • The first pitch is by far the crux and Bryan has it rated 5.10+ on his topo. After a spicy start up a short crack to the left of the main feature, follow a flaring finger crack up lessor quality rock (compared to most of the routes further east on the wall) to a finish up and right at a fixed rap on a ledge. The second pitch is quite a bit of fun, but more 5.9 than 5.10 which is what Bryan has it listed on his topo. Traverse left to an arching finger to hands splitter that is exited at a tree up the face to the right past a bolt to a fixed station on a ledge. Dow

  • Another Road Side Attraction- 5 Pitches- 5.11R/
  • While Tunnel Wall does offers some of the best free crack climbing in Zion National Park via such routes as Lap Dance, 5.11, Gypsy’s Curse, 5.10 and Pow Right in the Rat, 5.11, Another Road Side Attraction had little to offer in the way of good cracks or rock. In fact, the entire route was a bit nightmarish. The first pitch involves a chossy short chimney start and then pulling a roof that leads to run out ground up eroding edges a full 200’ to a comfortable belay ledge and fixed rap station. The second pitch is by far the tamest of the day; much easier climbing up the corner and then moving the belay over loose easy ground over to the main wall. We might have taken a more difficult variation on the third pitch. You can go out right up a wide chossy off-width section or stay direct up a mossy slab and into a dead vertical seem that involves surmounting a block (crux) to reach the upper crack. Continue through a mantle move up right to a semi hanging belay back left in the tall crack. The forth pitch is the crux pitch of the route. Climb the precarious and sustained chossy finger crack up a long distance and belay in the wide chimney above. The last pitch (another sustained one) was the most enjoyable in terms of rock quality. Head up the twin crack chimney, stemming and jamming until you reach the huge roof. Make hard moves out of the chimney to a ramp up the left wall and into a pod. We were only able to make this section in one pitch using a 70 rope. Scramble up some loose fifth class choss through some trees and bushes to the top of the wall. We slung a tree on the prominent fin above You and You and I N I and made one double rope rap down to a ledge with another slung tree that (with double ropes) will get you down into the fixed rappel lines of these other routes. Dow

  • HCN- Single Pitch- 5.10+/

  • Cock Smasher- 3 Pitches- 5.10/
  • The first pitch is amazingly clean. We climbed Out of Wax (5.10) first and in comparison the rock is much better on this side of the huge corner that forms Another Road Side Attraction. Cock Smasher and HCN (5.10+) share the same start and finish, but Cock Smasher takes the obvious corner finger crack to the left of the main corner that ties back into the large left facing corner above capped by a roof that represents the third pitch, whereas HCN is a single pitch route that terminates after pulling the lower roof. This first pitch is quite clean with good pro to a fixed rap. The second and third pitches are better combined with a full rack and finish with a dramatic off-width roof to a fixed rap. A 70m single will not make this top rap, you need double ropes or an 80m single might reach. Dow

  • Lap Dance- 4 Pitches- 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. Dow

  • POW, Right in the Rat- 4 Pitches- 5.11/
  • The first pitch of POW, Right in the Rat (POW) starts just to the left of Lap Dance in an off width corner. This first pitch faces east, thus on a hot day in June we chose to do Lap Dance first and then POW. Climb the fun chimney, off width corner to a ledge on the left. Climb around the block to the east to the base of an obvious finger crack just before a broad corner. If you suffer through a bit of rope drag on the belay here, you will be set up properly for the second pitch. The second pitch is the crux of the route. Right off the deck is a tough 5.11 finger crack that demands a certain awkward sequence up to a short off width section with a fun roof to pull on top, and then onto a comfortable ledge below the tall dirty corner and excellent splitters above. The third pitch follows the dirty corner at sustained 5.10, or maybe the rock deteriorates that badly towards the top of the corner that it just felt sustained. Eventually it eases up and you belay at the base of the stem box above. The splitters out right at the base of the third pitch offer fantastic climbing I am told and they look it. The last pitch takes the stem box which, like most stem boxes, looks wider than you can stem, but once in it, goes pretty smooth. Place gear at will in either corner as you make the athletic long stem trek to the top. Exit left and move to the right wall to a fixed rappel/belay. Dow

  • Brown Fairy-3 Pitches- 5.11/

  • G-String Divas- Single Pitch- 5.10/Tough C4#4 crack just to the right of Remnants and Gypsy. I prefer five #4's.  You do not get a #3 in until way past the bulge which is the crux.  The wider flare just below the top is easy in comparison to the straight in with little to no features.  Take a #.75 and #.5 to protect the traverse out right to access the ledge.  Stacked feet, off-fists, a few fists for larger hands.....much more difficult than Kung Fu Fighter for example which gets a 5.10+/5.11-.  Similar to the second pitch of Cherry Crack.  The Fixed station is one solid bolt and one rusted small nut as of 2014.  Can back up for top roping with a #1.  Single 60m rope works just fine.  Clean splitter, worth getting on if you have the off-width skills for sure. Dow

  • Remnants of a Party- 4 Pitches- 5.10/
  • There was some discussion on the internet somewhere in how the first pitch was awkward to protect. I did not see it that way. You can place a few small off-sets if you have them, but overall I thought it protected well. The one move crux comes as the left side crack/corner fizzles out and at 5’11” I had to dyno six inches or so for a nice sized hand ledge. There are probably other ways to reach it if you are more talented and the move protects well via the right side crack. It is a good pitch. The second pitch might be the purest 5.9 hand crack for that distance in the whole park. Nothing but easy jams the whole way in a solid corner protecting well from #2’s to #4’s. The third pitch is the business of the route. Some easy off-width leads into a large pod/chimney below a roof. Squeezing out of the roof is the crux, getting your right foot up high onto a face feature where I broke a foothold which will now make it easier to reach. #3’s actually protect the harder moves versus a #5 or #6. It is still helpful to have the larger gear on this pitch if you want to haul it up there. The last pitch is better than it looks popping out of a flared chimney to a ledge out right. Dow

  • HCN- Single Pitch- 5.10+/

  • Gypsy’s Curse- 4 Pitches- 5.10+/
  • The first pitch has a slopey move right off the deck and then deals with a ledge below twin cracks. Not your typical twin cracks though, the kind you can counter balance off of, but rather the typical Zion cracks, burly, sandy and wide in places. After the initial tough start up the right crack with the deck below, the going gets much easier as you switch to the left crack/corner and finish up the right crack into a tunnel underneath a large belay ledge. The second pitch is the money pitch of the climb, a full 170’ of crack. It starts out fingers for 30’ to a rest ledge, and then gets steep from 1” to 4” at the finish with one more rest available about midway up in a huge off width pocket on the right wall. Where Joe called for doubles to 4”, I used four each 1” and 3” as well as double 2” and 4” sewing up the line at a comfortable rate. The third pitch involves a fun chimney squeeze (don’t turn your head!) up spectacular rock to a comfortable belay. The fourth pitch is dirty and low angled, but worth doing. You are forced to rap off of a single bolt, but that bolt looked bomber in 2010 and can be backed up for the first to descend. Dow

  • Feast of Snakes- 6 Pitches- 5.11/
  • The first pitch starts off and stays mostly fingers and is quite sustained at the grade (5.10+) with a few hand jam opportunities including using a crack out right when possible. The second pitch is quite fantastical in that it burrows up and under a huge chock stone. It is quite dirty, but fun terrain just the same. The third pitch is by far the crux of the route. You start out traversing left under a huge roof and under cling and lay back your way into a precarious stacked hand pull and knee jam. A C4 #4 or #5 protects these crux moves at the pinch of the roof. A short distance later you move left to a fixed belay. The fourth pitch is actually quite good. It starts out mostly hands with the crux portion showing up during the second half where a 4” crack runs for about 30’ before you reach the fixed belay on a decent ledge. We combined the final two pitches to the top of the wall, a full 50m, mostly following chimney like ground at an easier grade than the previous pitches to a fixed belay on the right wall just below the top. Dow

  • Picking on the Fat Kid- 2 Pitches- 5.10+/

  • Cornback Rattler- 2 Pitches- 5.11/

  • Scandalous Hooker- 5 Pitches- 5.11/

  • Trbajando La Esquina- 4 Pitches- 5.10+/
  • The route follows the obvious left facing corner for four pitches as soon as you turn the before mentioned alcove to the left. This is a super position in the canyon with great views on a large ledge at the start. The first pitch is sort of a junker regardless of rock issues in terms of uneventful climbing. The second and third pitches offered pumpy finger crack lay back finishes at the grade on suspect rock. The forth pitch could easily be rated X if for no other reason than the rock was a disaster. On lead, I was climbing the short off-width section and grabbed what appeared to be a solid inside corner only to break it in half. This was not a block, rather it was part of the wall! Dow

  • Quanto Questa- 2 Pitches- 5.12/

  • Omaha Bob- Single Pitch- 5.10/

External Links

  • The Many Free Routes in Zion National Park

  • Zion National Park

  • Children


    Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.