Lowe Route 5.8
Includes The Answer (5.8) and Pika Paradise (5.8)
Question Mark Wall, Lone Peak Cirque
About the Climb
The Question Mark Wall is an impressive formation named because of a '?' feature located on the upper part of the wall. It offers incredibly exposed climbing on a near vertical wall featuring corners, cracks and an exquisitely exposed upper face covered with patina plates.
The Lowe Route is an ultra classic line, and is almost a mandatory climb if it’s your first time up Lone Peak Cirque. It is certainly the best 5.8 in the Cirque, and possibly the Wasatch. The route starts with an incredible handcrack in a sweet right facing corner, and is followed by some lower angle climbing that links up beautifully to the upper face. The last pitch is an absolutely amazing splitter crack on the headwall with fantastic patina features on either sides. The exposure is remarkable and it’s hard to get a better top-out anywhere.
The Answer is a slightly more sustained variation to the Lowe Route. It shares the excellent first pitch with the Lowe Route before branching out left for two long pitches. It is a good alternative if you’ve done the Lowe Route before, or if the Lowe Route is too crowded. It is also a great choice if you feel like clipping bolts and want a break from crack climbing. You'll encounter exposed face climbing on sometimes hard to see bolts and pitons with the occasional pro placement in between. Once again, the rock is excellent with exquisite patina features, and the exposure and position will keep you smiling the whole way.
Pika Paradise is a short but sweet one pitch climb located on the far right side of the Question Mark Wall ledge. It offers perfect hand jams in a long, continuous right facing corner. This short route is a good option if the weather is uncertain, or if you simply want to add another quality pitch to round-out the day.
The routes on the Question Mark Wall most be accessed by first climbing up Pete's Staircase, a meandering 4th class scramble approach with a few low 5th class moves leading to a ledge from which the routes really begin. However, these routes can also be accessed by descending Collin’s Highway after climbing a route on the Summit Wall, making them a good choice for an afternoon outing, and also allowing you to bypass Pete’s Staircase.
Lone Peak Cirque sits high above a pristine alpine meadow, where melting snowfields provide the only source of fresh water, so plan accordingly. The approach is fairly long and strenuous, and most parties will want to spend at least one night to camp once up there. As with all the routes in the Cirque, the Summit is incredible and offers fantastic views of the Wasatch Range. Beware of fast moving thunderstorms.
If the route is busy, it is possible to climb left and continue up on The Answer (5.8) as mentioned above. Another option is to first warm-up on Pika Paradise, or climb it at the end of the day.
Once you reach the top of the formation, you will follow the descent trail back to the base of the Question Mark Wall. From here, it is easy to climb another route to fill your day, and take advantage of the wonderful afternoon light that this wall receives. If you feel strong and want to get on something a little more sustained, don't miss the chance to climb Out of the Question (5.10b), which is simply incredible, or the Doomsday Book (5.10b).
If you are looking for other Wasatch multi-pitch climbs at a similar grade, but don't feel like hiking all the way up to the Cirque, you should try Pentapitch/Sasquatch (5.8-5.9), Tingey's Terror/Torture (5.8-5.10a), or Eleventh Hour (5.8).