The Bishopric

April 17, 2010

A long hike and scramble to two spectacular, very remote, almost never visted summits


UN 5,950 (given the name "Rosebud" by CP) as seen from the mouth of Trail Canyon.

Trail Canyon

The approach takes us through Trail Canyon, a peculiar  mud-filled mess that. Here Jason watches as Harlan enters a tight passage that will allow us to continue upward.

View North

View North from near the head of Trail Canyon. Lots of neat peaks can be seen. Left to right: "Moqui Peak", Lambs Knoll (long one), Red Butte (pointy one in center), Tabernacle Dome (round one), Spendlove Knoll & Firepit Knoll (boring bumps on far right).

South Guardian Angel

The elusive South Guardian Angel as seen from near the head of Trail Canyon.

Dropping into Terry Wash

We begin the drop into Terry Wash . UN 6,700 is dead ahead. There appears to be no reasonable way up this fine peak.

Upper Terry Wash

Dominic and Jason hike along Terry Wash. Its been a big snow year in Zion and north facing slopes are still holding a bit of snow.

UN 6,700

Looking back at UN 6,700 from the east.

The Bishopric, west summit

Harlan studies the southwest ridge of The Bishopric's west summit. CP is making his way up it as the rest of us head over to the higher east summit. Bishopric is a Mormon term used for a priesthood council composed of a bishop and his two counselors. The three form The Bishopric which is charged with caring for and leading a ward (congregation). Very fittingly, Zion's Bishopric has three distinct summits.

The Bishopric, east summit

Dominic heads for the east summit of The Bishopric. The slickrock steepens considerably up ahead and the remainder of the route looks a bit intimidating from here!

Sandstone layers

Dominic on East Bishopric's nicely layered southwest ridge.

Looking down the SW ridge

Looking down East Bishopric's southwest ridge from the point at which it begins to steepen. UN 6,700 dominates the background.

East Bishopric crux

Dominic climbs the crux on East Bishopric's southwest ridge, a short 5.0 slab. All of us are comfortable without a rope on the way up. Exposure is minimal.

Altar of Sacrifice

The Altar of Sacrific as seen from the southwest ridge of East Bishopric.

View West

Looking west from East Bishopric. West Bishopric is on the right and the snow-covered Pine Valley Mountains are in the background.

Approaching the summit

Harlan leads the final climb to the summit of East Bishopric. Loose rock and exposure keep us on our toes.

Delicate scrambling

Harlan delicately scrambles up steep, loose terrain just below the summit mesa.


I spotted this seasonal waterfall from the north edge of East Bishopric's summit mesa. Much of Zion's higher ground is still covered with snow.

Towers of the Virgin

The best thing about The Bishopric is its spectacular location; the views are second to none. Most notably, it offers a unique, awe-inspiring perspective on the Towers of the Virgin.

Summit Mesa

Jason admires the Towers of the Virgin from the east edge of East Bishopric's summit mesa.

Careful downclimbing

Dominic carefully downclimbs steep, crumbly rock below the summit.

Downclimbing the crux

We all welcome a handline while downclimbing the short crux. A convenient bush provides a reasonable anchor. Harlan goes first.

West Bishopric's SW ridge

After descending East Bishopric Harlan and Jason begin the long hike out while Dominic's a sweatheart and accompanies me up West Bishopric. This is the view of East Bishopric from West Bishopric's southwest ridge.

West Bishopric crux

The crux of our route up West Bishopric was on the east side of the ridge near the top. Here Dominic climbs the slabby, low 5th class crux. We were comfortable without a rope on the way up.

Pine Valley Mountains

The Pine Valley Mountains as seen from West Bishopric..

Beginning the descent

Dominic begins the descent from West Bishopric, rope in hand and ready to set up a handline at the crux. 

Preparing for the squeeze

A small tree makes for a good anchor and since the crux is short and low angle a handline is sufficient on the descent.

Cross country

Dominic on the long cross country hike out. The route passes by some amazing sandstone hoodoo formations.

Secret passage

Dominic in the secret passage in Trail Canyon.


We saw a bunch of little toads while hiking out along the Right Fork.

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