Arm and Hammer 5.11c (5.10a A0)
Middle Bell Tower, Bells Canyon
About the Climb
Arm and Hammer is arguably one of the best multi-pitch routes in the Wasatch Range. Even if Arm and Hammer can be climbed free at 5.11c, most parties will opt to do the fun pendulums which bring the rating down to a more reasonable 5.10a A0.
The highlight of this stellar route might be the famous “Zion Curtain” pitch, a spectacular thin flake hanging in the middle of a huge slab, but it has a lot more to offer than just that. In fact, the pitch above the Zion Curtain might be the most fun on the entire route, and the hard thin slabs sections, pendulums, and clean cracks add to the overall quality of this route. Arm and Hammer is packed with quality climbing, clean rock, killer exposure and spectacular views.
However, the rock quality starts to decrease rapidly on the upper section of the Tower, especially on the last pitch, which is a low 5th class scramble on very gritty granite. From the top, the walk-off is unpleasant, steep and takes as long, or longer than simply rapping the route.
Because of the lenght of this route and the moderately long approach, it is hard to combine Arm and Hammer with another climb, and most parties will take most of the day to do the round-trip. Other quality routes up Bells Canyon include the Beckey Route (5.9), The Nerve (5.11a), Cymbals of the Sun (5.11d), Butcher Knife (5.11c), and Route of All Evil (5.6).
Several other routes exist on Middle Bell Tower, and a few variations are possible to extend your day (rapping the route and climbing a few more pitches is efficient). If it is your first time up on Arm and Hammer, it is probably better to stay on the original line. But if you're looking for variety, or want to add a few more pitches, simply continue straight up into the main corner for an easier alternative: the Elsworth-McQuarrie route (5.7). If you're looking for a more sustained variation with lots of thin edging, check out Cymbals of the Sun (5.11d), which breaks out left at the chockstone belay, or continue right from the Pedestal ledge into Butcher Knife (5.11c) for a steeper finish.
If you are looking for multi-pitch climbs at a similar grade, you should try S-Crack to S-Direct (5.12a or 5.8 C1), Stiffler's Mom (5.11a), Precious Lost (5.10a), Triple Overhangs (5.10a) or Vertical Smile (5.10a).