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7 Easy Multi-Pitch Sport Climbs in the US (2024 Guide)

best easy multi-pitch sport climbs in the us for beginners

Published on: 09/13/2023

If you’ve been climbing for a while, especially on ropes (i.e., top roping and sport climbing), you’re probably curious about multi-pitching. Multi-pitch routes are a fun way to encounter extra exposure you cannot find in the gym, or single-pitch sport climbs at your local crag.

Of all the climbing styles, I like multi-pitching the best. That’s because I love the adventure these trips can offer. And I enjoy being high hundreds of feet off the deck with my friends.

The ideal way to start exposing yourself to longer routes is with easy multi-pitch sport climbs. That’s because you don’t need to know how to trad climb. Meanwhile, you can still learn new techniques, sharpen your skills, and expose yourself to what it feels like to be leading on the sharp end.

Keep reading to discover my seven recommendations for easy multi-pitch sport climbs in the United States.

Young man rappels beautiful climbing route above the wild river

What is Multi-Pitch Rock Climbing?

Multi-pitch climbing is a style of climbing where a rope team, usually two or maybe three climbers, climbs multiple pitches to reach the summit of the rock formation. A single-pitch of climbing can vary in length, however, it’s usually considered an entire length of rope. Therefore, a climb is considered a multi-pitch route if it requires more than a single pitch to reach the top.

At the end of one pitch, the leader stops and belays their partner(s) from above. After reaching the belay, the second becomes the leader for the next pitch, and the party continues their way to the top..

Multi-Pitch Sport Climbing

In most cases, multi-pitch climbing requires knowledge of traditional climbing equipment and tactics. For example, the leader must place their own protection and build their own anchors using traditional gear.

However, that’s not always the case. There are some multi-pitch sport climbing destinations scattered throughout the United States. On bolted multi-pitches, instead of placing and retrieving trad gear, the rope team clips bolts and anchors permanently fixed into the rock.

Therefore, a bolted multi-pitch is like multiple sport climbs stacked on top of one another with a bolted belay station at the top of each pitch.

female rock climber, climbing mountain multi pitch

Our Criteria for Easy Multi-Pitch Sport Climbs

When compiling the top seven easy multi-pitch climbs in the US, I wanted to avoid biasedly selecting my favorites. Therefore, I developed some simple criteria for the climb to make the list:

  • No harder than 5.9/5b
  • Only well-protected routes according to modern protection standards for sport climbs — no “old school” bolt placement like on Walk on the Wild Side (1) in Joshua Tree National Park or Snake Dike (2) in Yosemite
  • Easy, non-technical approach
  • Walk-off descent option to avoid rappelling (statistically the most dangerous climbing practice)

Our Selection of the Best Bolted Multi-Pitch Climbs for Beginners in the United States

1. Clip a Dee Doo Dah (5.3/2), Rumney, New Hampshire

Clip a Dee Doo Dah (3) is located on the Jimmy Cliff in Rumney, New Hampshire. Rumney is the premier sport climbing mecca of the northeastern United States. Climbers from all over the world visit Rumney to sample the various crags along the hillsides of Rattlesnake Mountain.

In particular, Clip a Dee Do Dah is a super-moderate multi-pitch sport climb characterized by low-angle friction slab climbing.

female rock climber on Clip a Dee Doo Dah multi pitch spot in, Rumney, New Hampshire

For the best experience, try this route when the temperatures are nice and cool, like in the Spring or Fall. Then, if you love the style of climbing, you can try out neighboring sport routes like Pine Tree Crack (4) or Lady and the Tramp (5) . No trad climbing is required to enjoy any of these routes!

2. Theater of Shadows (5.6/4b), City of Rocks, Southern Idaho

Theater of Shadows (6) is found in the City of Rocks National Reserve in Southern Idaho. Over the years, City of Rocks has had many different names, like Goblin City, Chapel Rocks, Pyramid Circle, and Ancient City. Although the name has changed frequently, the climbing has remained high quality, beckoning climbers in search of highly featured and varnished granite stone with impeccable edges, pockets, and large huecos.

Theater of Shadows is characterized by low-angle slab climbing on impeccable granite. Theater of Shadows is extremely well protected– in some sections, you can back clean quickdraws if you run low.

Theater of Shadows, City of Rocks, Southern Idaho

The climb gives you unique access to one of the City’s most iconic summits– Steinfell’s Dome. Because of the manageable approach, fun and easy climbing, and somewhat straightforward descent (two rappels and then a walk-off), Theater of Shadows is one of the best bolted multi-pitches in the City.

3. Royal Flush (5.7/4c), Mount Royal, Colorado

If you are a budding sport climber in Colorado, then you have probably heard of Royal Flush (7), or at least seen it. The climb is located on the West Face of Mount Royal outside Frisco, Colorado, easily seen from iconic Interstate 70, a highway that intersects an uncanny amount of quality rock climbing throughout the western United States.

Royal Flush is special because it provides a characteristically alpine feel without going into the alpine. This means you can climb many pitches (with minimal loose rock) and summit a mountain within only 10 minutes of walking from the car.

man multi pitch climbing on Royal Flush, Mount Royal, Colorado
©️ Photo by Nate Muncy on Mountain Project

Due to its position on the West face, Royal Flush is best attempted when the temperatures are cool. Otherwise, bring plenty of water and sun protection.

This is a popular one– so be ready to get up early to beat the crowds. And if you are still learning multi-pitching basics, your best bet may be to climb the lower pitches of the climb. Then, next time, when your rope management is better, and you’re moving faster, you can try out the upper pitches.

4. Five Finger Discount (5.7/4c), Lake Tahoe, Northern California

Five Finger Discount (8) is located on the Emigrant Wall, due south of the town of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra of Northern California. The wall is named after the Mormom Carson Emigrant Trail, which passed nearby during the height of the California Gold Rush.

The trailhead for the climbing on the Emigrant Wall is easily located off Highway 88, just west of Kirkwood Ski Resort and directly across the road from Silver Lake.

multi pitch climber on Five Finger Discount route

The Emigrant Wall, with routes like Fiver Finger Discount, The Pass (9), High Plains Drifter (10), and Independence, MO (11), is an ideal location for introducing new climbers to multi-pitching. The wall is absolutely stacked with routes that will test your climbing technique on slabs and satisfy your desire for wonderful views and sub-alpine adventure.

5. Return of the King (5.8/5a), Estes Park, Colorado

The Return of the King (12) is one of Estes Park’s newly bolted multi-pitches. It’s located on the West face of the Twin Sisters Mountain and is only a short distance from Highway 7. However, don’t let the proximity trick you– the hike can be slow going, mainly if you are not acclimated to the altitude.

The surrounding area, known as “The Crags,” has seen a lot of development since the early 2000s and is home to a goldmine of rock climbs. The climbing at The Crags is characterized by fun and exposed climbing with various different holds in a sub-alpine environment. The Return of the King is no different.

Estes Park, Colorado
©️ Estes Park, Colorado

The best time to climb Return of the King is during the summer. Due to its location, the climb stays in the shade until the afternoon and is cool, so warmer summer temperatures are helpful. And for the most fun, get up early to avoid getting stuck behind slower parties. And if it’s busy at the crag, the best practice is not to rappel the route. Instead, use the walk-off trail.

6. Sinocranium (5.8/6a), City of Rocks, Southern Idaho

Sinocranium (13) is another one of the City’s classic sport routes. Like Theater of Shadows, it’s located on Steinfell’s Dome. On the lower pitches, the climb is characterized by slab climbing on nearly perfect stone. Fortunately, the first pitch is a friendly introduction to the style. Then, after the third pitch, the climbing follows a unique vertical vein of quartz rock through a steeper headwall.

Sinocranium sport route
©️ National Park Service

When you finish the route, two double rope rappels bring you back to the ground in the descent gully behind the formation. Then, you walk back to the base of the climb.

If you don’t have two ropes, be prepared for some somewhat tricky down-climbing on slabs. As always, remember to close your rappel system with knots and to pay attention when leading the descent.

7. Big Bad Wolf (5.9/5b), Red Rock Canyon, Southern California

Big Bad Wolf (14) is one of the premier multi-pitches in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. It’s located just a short walk away from the car in the Calico Basin of Red Rock. The climbing is characterized by flowy movement on attractive red sandstone rock.

Compared to the upper pitches, the first pitch is steeper. Then, starting with the second pitch, the angle of the climbing eases off until you reach the top of the formation.

Like the other classic climbs I’ve mentioned in this article, be ready to make friends at the base of this climb– there are always other parties waiting to leave the ground. If you don’t want to wait, you can bring a trad rack and avoid the crowds on the next-door classic, Physical Graffiti (15). Then, afterward, if you’re feeling prepared, you can try out The Woodsman (16), which is slightly harder and significantly less busy.

Final Thoughts

Overall, bolted multi-pitches require considerably less than traditional ones. However, multi-pitch rock climbing remains intimidating because, compared to single-pitch sport climbing, it requires additional equipment, physical endurance, nuance-decision making, and risk management to reach the top safely.

Therefore, it’s critical to understand that multi-pitch climbing is inherently dangerous, even if you pick one of the “easy” climbs on this list. Hiring a mountain guide is always a good idea if you have any doubts.

As always, be safe and double-check!

References

Walk on the Wild Side
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105721828/walk-on-the-wild-side

Snake Dike
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105836362/snake-dike

Clip a Dee Doo Dah
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105888037/clip-a-dee-doo-dah

Pine Tree Crack
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/106057097/pine-tree-crack

Lady and the Tramp
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/106057108/lady-and-the-tramp

Theater of Shadows
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105741557/theater-of-shadows

Royal Flush
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/106811713/royal-flush

Five Finger Discount
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/119566158/five-finger-discount

The Pass
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/113499344/the-pass

High Plains Drifter
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/115402735/high-plains-drifter

Independence, MO
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/119371129/independence-mo

Return of the King
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/119095616/return-of-the-king

Sinocranium
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105740942/sinocranium

Big Bad Wolf
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/107339211/big-bad-wolf

Physical Graffiti
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105732266/physical-graffiti

The Woodsman
Mountain Project (retrieved on 09/12/2023)
https://www.mountainproject.com/route/120094953/the-woodsman

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