American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, Utah, Zion National Park, Perfect Day for Bananafish and Occam's Razor

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2006

Perfect Day for Bananafish and Occam's Razor. In Kolob Canyons, on the south side of the finger canyon immediately south of Nagunt Mesa, Simon Ahlgren and I climbed two new routes. We approached from the Lee Pass trailhead, leaving the trail at the appropriate creek crossing (a map is useful) and hiking about a mile into the finger canyon, at which point the routes are uphill on the right.

Perfect Day for Bananafish (V A3, September 2002) climbs a series of left-leaning, left- facing dihedrals, with a small tree on a ledge at mid-height (60 or 70m to the left is a striking pillar that harbors Occam’s Razor, described below). The easiest path to the start of the climb involves locating the gully immediately below Occam’s Razor, climbing it to the base of the wall, and then moving right to the start of Perfect Day. The route is eight pitches long and consists almost entirely of aid climbing, with much thin nailing. Bolt anchors mark the end of every pitch, and we placed an occasional rivet, so scoping with binoculars or spotting scope will reveal the line of ascent. We descended (60m ropes necessary) by rappelling the blank face to the right of the exit pitches to a two-bolt anchor, then to the belay at the end of pitch five, and then down the rest of the route.

In April 2003, immediately left of Perfect Day, we established Occam’s Razor, on the right side of the eye-catching pillar. In October 2004 I returned and made the FFA (IV- 5.11+). Approach as for Perfect Day, but instead of turning right at the base of the wall, scramble uphill to the left 30m to the start of the first pitch. This route is seven pitches long (though pitches 2 and 3 are both very short) and ends atop the pillar. The first three pitches are face and friction climbing. We placed protection bolts, ground-up, only where gear placements were not possible. The crux of the route, a 12-foot section of stemming or laybacking, is two- thirds of the way up the fourth pitch.

Pitches five through seven all involve hand cracks and are brilliant fun. We equipped the entire route for descent.

Joel Nolte

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