Smithsonian Butte

November 29, 2009

A loose but very intersting scramble and climb with a serious 5.5ish crux

North side of SE ridge

Dominic and Dwight scrambling along the north side of Smithsonian Butte's southeast ridge.


The crux of the route is gaining the crest of the southeast ridge here. There seemed to be several options.

Exposed ledges

Dominic scrambling along exposed ledges to reach the base of the crux pitch.

Starting up the crux

Dominic leading up the crux which was approximately 30 meters and very loose in places. Dominic gave it a rating of 5.5 scary.


The crux pitch is located about 10 feet away from a massive dihedral. Dwight can be seen starting up the pitch.

Exposed traverse

Immediately after the crux pitch is a wildly exposed traverse along a slightly downsloping ledge. Its easy but we decided to rope up given the consequences of a slip. Dominic was able to get in a cam at the start and sling the small tree on the opposite end.


A better picture of the air below the traverse.

Scrambling up from the ledge

Dominic scrambling up 4th class terrain above the traverse.

Exposed scrambling

Exposed scrambling above the traverse. We stayed roped up here.


Dwight squeezes through a narrow slot along the route while Dominic scrambles up loose junk.

Exposed step

Dominic climbing an exposed, low 5th class obstacle on the southeast ridge.


Dominic gives Dwight a handline for a steep 5th class step.

Easy section

One of the few easy sections of the ridge.

Another exposed step

Dominic belays Dwight up another easy 5th class but exposed step in the ridge.

Final bit of ridge

Dominic scrambling along the final part of Smithsonian Butte's southeast ridge.


Dwight nearing the summit.

West summit

The lower west summit of Smithsonian Butte is a soft ranked peak.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park lies just four miles to the north.

Dominic on the summit

Dominic on top of Smithsonian Butte with Zion National Park in the background.


Dwight climbing down a step on Smithsonian Butte's southeast ridge. On the descent we did a handful of rappels, all from pre-existing anchors. The exposed traverse is avoidable on the descent.

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