American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Tucupit Point, Morphology

Utah, Zion National Park

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Brandon Gottung
  • Climb Year: 2017
  • Publication Year: 2018

The development of Morphology began in April 2015, when Karl Kvashay aid-soloed the first two pitches, following aesthetic thin seams, as a direct start to Tucupit occidentalis (800’, 5.10+, AAJ 2016). The final version of that route followed the first two pitches of the Forrest-March (5.8 A2, AAJ 1982), those being much easier and more in character with the rest of the line.

Karl and I later returned to the two initial pitches he had aided and added bolts to protect difficult face climbing while not significantly altering the natural aid line. We call these the Dimorph pitches—both eventually went free at 5.12 with bolt-protected face followed by thin wires and small cams.

Above this, Morphology follows the Red Morph variation to Tucupit occidentalis for two pitches: a 60m 5.10 wide system and a beautiful 5.11 tips crack to an awesome belay atop a pillar. I established the fifth pitch, dubbed the Geomorph, in spring of 2017 with Petrouchka Steiner-Grierson, but I quickly realized it was too far beyond my abilities to free. However, after whipping around on some deeply set pins, I found just enough texture and one crucial bomber hold to warrant some drilling, and I placed three lead bolts. After the fifth pitch, the route links into the last pitch of Tucupit occidentalis.

After listening to me enthusiastically spraying of the high-quality rock on Tucupit the last two years, Aaron Livingston finally rolled into Kolob in the fall to confirm. After climbing Tucupit occidentalis, he spent one day working the route in a ground-up effort. I rushed out for my birthday to support his effort to free the full bold, direct line up the 800’ west face of Tucupit. In the process Aaron made the FFA of pitch two and pitch five. With the Dimorph, Geomorph and Red Morph pitches already named, we call the route Morphology (IV 5.12+)—six pitches of Tucupit goodness.

– Brandon Gottung

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