Zion’s Dunn Route Goes Free

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Mike Anderson and Rob Pizem freed the Dunn Route (aka Angel Hair) in the center of Zion National Park’s Angels Landing in a bold one-day push, after working on the crux pitches on two previous days. The 10-pitch route, established in 1974 by Jimmy Dunn and Dean Tschappat, went free at 5.13a, with six of the 10 pitches getting an “R” rating for dangerous climbing.

Anderson and Pizem attempted the route on October 8 and climbed through the 5.12d third pitch before Anderson got sick, forcing a retreat. Pizem returned the next day with Andy Raether to work the crux lieback on the fourth pitch and sent it on his seventh try. Anderson and Pizem returned October 22 to go for the free ascent in a day. Above the pitches they had already seen, they found five 5.10 or 5.11 pitches, four of them poorly protected. The two topped out as darkness fell, having placed no bolts on the route.

This is the second free route on Angels Landing and the first to go in a day. Last year, Mike Anderson freed the Lowe Route on the face, also at 5.13a.

“The Dunn Route is definitely a blue-collar climb,” Anderson wrote in an email. “The cruxes may be straightforward, plug-and-pull power pitches, but the cracks that guard them are physical and dangerous. Our helmets are off to Jimmy and Dean for pioneering this route in the early ’70s without cams, bolts or fixed ropes. We hope that our chosen style has lived up to the high standard they set back in 1974.”Comment on this story

Zion National Park’s Angels Landing, with the Dunn Route marked with the yellow line.Photo by Mike Anderson

Zion’s Dunn Route Goes Free