Spare Rib – 5.8 – Gallatin Canyon

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Climbing Spare Rib in the Gallatin Canyon

On August 18, Opie Jahn and I jumped in the Sprinter Van and headed north on 191 into the Gallatin Canyon for some climbing. Our destination – Sparerib. Spare Rib is a 5.8, 2 pitch trad climb on the 2nd tier of gneiss in the Gallatin Canyon near the 35 MPH bridge. It’s an area classic – highly visible and highly exposed.

SpareRib Formation
SpareRib Formation

To get to Spare Rib, you first have to cross 191. This is probably the most dangerous part of the day (unless you use the trail under the bridge).The trail parallels the Gallatin River. At the first SW Climbers Coalition turn uphill and follow a steep climbers trail. You will pass the First Buttress and eventually come to the base of Skyline. At this point the trail meanders past several well known routes to the base of SpareRib at approximately 6345 ft. The total hike takes about 40 minutes and covers1.2 miles one way and about 900 vertical.

35 MPH Bridge Parking Area
35 MPH Bridge Parking Area
Lava Lake Trailhead Sign on the Busy 191
Lava Lake Trailhead Sign on the Busy 191
SW Climbers Coalition Sign
SW Climbers Coalition Sign
Sparerib
Sparerib
Flaking Rope
Flaking Rope

Sparerib is divided into two pitches. The first pitch follows a 2 ft. wide crack past several nice ledges. It ends at the top of the large crack where there are bolts and chains to belay the second. This pitch is rated 5.6.

Looking Up 1st Pitch
Looking Up 1st Pitch
Looking Down 1st Pitch
Looking Down 1st Pitch

The second pitch is 150 ft and is rated 5.8. It follows two double cracks over two small overhangs. It ends at the top of the rib. There are good cracks to place gear and you can also use a tree to set up a belay.

Opie Getting Ready To Climb
Opie Getting Ready To Climb
2nd Pitch
2nd Pitch
Looking Down 2nd Pitch
Looking Down 2nd Pitch
Smiles All Around
Smiles All Around

The views are incredible. You can see the entire canyon, the Gallatin River, the 35 MPH bridge, rafters, and a amazing view of Gallatin Canyon’s longest route – Skyline. Just to the south of the top anchor is the Ski Tracks climb, a 5.7.

Looking South
Looking South
Climbers On Skyline
Climbers On Skyline

As for gear, a standard rack is recommended. Personally, we tend to overprotect and uses lots of cams .75 to 4. There are plenty of cracks to place gear. ALthough we used mostly cams and only a few nuts.

The Rack
The Rack
Gallatin Tower
Gallatin Tower
Skyline, Gallatin River, Bridge
Skyline, Gallatin River, Bridge
Scouting Future Lines
Scouting Future Lines
Walk-Off
Walk-Off
Sparerib
Sparerib

We walked off to the north side of the formation, but it is possible to walk off to the South too. It’s an easy walkoff and a nice walk back to the car. 

Sparerib is an true classic rock climb in the Gallatin Canyon. Highly recommended.

Get more info on this route and hundreds of others in Bozeman Rock Climbs by Bill Dockins and Tom Kalakay.

This route was climbed on August 17, 2014.