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Cochise Dome (What's My Line Dome)
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What's My Line? 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b A0 R

   
Type:  Trad, Aid, 3 pitches, 400'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b A0 [details]
FA: Dave Baker, Larry Seligman, Peter DePagter, 1971
Page Views: 21,027
Submitted By: James DeRoussel on Oct 12, 2003

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Great Heads!

Closed to climbing, March 1 - June 30 MORE INFO >>>

Description 

What's My Line? ascends the huge sea of chickenheads that grace the south face of Cochise Dome. While the climbing is easy at 5.6, exposure and runout will keep the attention of most moderate leaders. Additionally, an AO pendulum or 5.10b traverse is required to access this chickenhead highway. I have rated the pitches below separately, as the climbing is distinctly different on each pitch.

To access the first belay, it is necessary to gain a large ledge about a third of the way up the face. This can be done from the west (far left) end of the face. Some technical scrambling and scary fourth class are required to access the final v-slot gully that leads steeply to the route's starting ledge. Chimney up out of this slot onto an exposed ledge. There are two bolts for the pendulum located at the far right end of this ledge.

Pitch 1 (5.6R A0): Set an anchor in flake behind ledge and lead out through two-bolt anchor. Leader may lower out and pendulum (A0) to chickenheads, or traverse over from ledge (5.10c). Once on chickenheads, climb generally straight up until you can get some pro. Beware of protecting too low, as you will either create horrendous rope drag, or doom your second to follow a terrifying falling pendulum. Double ropes are ideal for this situation. Climb up and right on sparse pro to a two-bolt anchor at the bottom of a huge brown water stain. NOTE: I have given this pitch an 'R' rating due to the runout climbing at the bottom of the pitch, and the potential for collision with chickenheads below in a fall.

Pitch 2 (5.6): From two-bolt anchor, this fun and easily protectable pitch climbs up and right for a full rope length or until the chickenheads run out. Belay on huge chickenheads just below final traverse.

Pitch 3 (5.6): From chickenhead belay, step up and left into seam. Continue traversing left past a bolt towards tree in corner. There are two ways to finish from here: either climb flake to bolt and finish up slabby face (difficult), or continue into corner and finish up easier gully to summit. Belay from three-bolt anchor.

Descent: Rappel from anchors on east side of block. Requires two rappels with one rope.

Protection 

The majority of the protection on the route is by slinging chickenheads. Bring at least a dozen or more single and double-length runners for this purpose, and make damn sure you can tie a trucker's hitch and clove hitch. Large Camalots (#2-4) are helpful to build an anchor for the initial pendulum. Double ropes are also highly recommended for this route, though certainly not necessary. Lastly, some smaller finger-size cams ease the tension on the third-pitch traverse.


Photos of What's My Line? Slideshow Add Photo
A really cool shot of Cochise Dome with What's My Line.  Seen from the approach.
A really cool shot of Cochise Dome with What's My ...
Josh and Taylor from Tucson on pitch 2, and Don and Curtis from Texas on pitch 3.  I think Don is on the summit. <br /> <br />If anyone has contact info for these guys PM me.  I have more shots of them.  I think Josh is an ER resident in Tucson and Taylor might be a medical student.  We had Curtis's card but we lost it.
Josh and Taylor from Tucson on pitch 2, and Don an...
Climbers on Whats My Line
Climbers on Whats My Line
Adjusting to life on the outside and pondering My Line.
Adjusting to life on the outside and pondering My ...
Joe's chickenhead anchor
BETA PHOTO: Joe's chickenhead anchor
What's My Line + route map, by Keith Hoek
BETA PHOTO: What's My Line + route map, by Keith Hoek
Two climbers on What's My Line viewed from the Rockefellow group.
Two climbers on What's My Line viewed from the Roc...
January 2005 on What's My Line?   Taken from below the route.
January 2005 on What's My Line? Taken from below...
Rockfellow Dome from the top of Cochise Dome.
Rockfellow Dome from the top of Cochise Dome.
Unknown climbers on What's My Line.  Photo taken from End Pinnacle.
Unknown climbers on What's My Line. Photo taken f...
From about half way up the third pitch.  That belay station was created on 3 chicken heads and it was completely bomber.
From about half way up the third pitch. That bela...
Jason Schrack on second pitch of WML.  Other parties visible on route below.
Jason Schrack on second pitch of WML. Other parti...
Climbers on What's My Line
Climbers on What's My Line
chickenhead belay at top of P2
chickenhead belay at top of P2
The second biggest checkenheads I've ever seen!
The second biggest checkenheads I've ever seen!
A climber silhouetted on Whats My Line
A climber silhouetted on Whats My Line
Swinging out on "What's My Line"
Swinging out on "What's My Line"
Brian McHolm, hanging out at a bolted hanging belay, halfway up the route.  From this point, one can climb a bolted variation (~5.10?) to the same ending as the original.
Brian McHolm, hanging out at a bolted hanging bela...
Rap station from the top.  You can make it all the way down with two ropes, no middle belay necessary.   <br /> <br />If you are just a two person party, only take a single rope and do the two rap stations, much lighter and the rope management on a single with this route is way easier.
Rap station from the top. You can make it all the...
Some climbers on a new route of Rockfellow Dome.  I have no idea what route it is, but it looked amazing with the setting sun.
Some climbers on a new route of Rockfellow Dome. ...
WML from End Pinnacle
WML from End Pinnacle
The first bolted belay at the start of the second pitch.
The first bolted belay at the start of the second ...
The start of What's My Line? - looking up at the pendulum anchor.
The start of What's My Line? - looking up at the p...
Absolutly Breath taking!  Greg at top of 2nd Pitch of What's my Line with Rockfellow Group in the rears.
Absolutly Breath taking! Greg at top of 2nd Pitch...

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Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on What's My Line? Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 27, 2013
By Wes Turner
From: az
Jun 14, 2004
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

Great route!! --Okay Kerry's book says third-class approach and the description above says scary 4th class...Scary maybe.. .but undoubtedly 5th class. Novice parties be aware and don't be afraid to rope up if need be! --P1 w/ traverse is absolutely 5.10c and no easier...with the pendulum P1 goes at a solid 5.6+ (the R is a good call because to pendulum your second across you have to wait to sling a chicken head until you're way up (20' above bolts at least; maybe 30'-40') ...and obviously put it as close to directly above the pendulum bolts as possible)--P2 is very easy.... 5.4 at most diagonally up right--P3 a long traverse...5.6...Slinging that huge chicken head is tempting but don't do it...you'd have way too much drag...get a piece in the horizontal..clip the bolt...and get a large piece in the finishing crack on the FAR left. Put a 4' runner on this piece at least!
By Wes Turner
From: az
Jul 16, 2004
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

--sometimes the closures do end early and it is also probably possible that you haven't heard about it before...There isn't a climber handout that they pass out... You have to call the ranger station and get the update from them... This year they closed late (March 1) and remained closed through June 30... now they are open...
By Anonymous Coward
Aug 10, 2004

I was surprised at how long it took my girlfriend and me to get to the base of this climb. I'd say with scrambling it took a good 2 hours from the pay (east?) campground.
By kBobby
From: Spokane, WA
Nov 15, 2004
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

I agree that the approach is pretty scary. I also agree that with the A0 pendulum start on pitch 1 it can be pretty runout. Here is a tip if you are doing this climb A0:

The chickenheads that you pendulum to are massive. Don't sling any of them too low or your belayer will face a BIG scary pendulum start. Instead, as you climb up, you can drape your rope over the chickenheads to your left. This will provide a moderate amount of security without forcing your belayer to swan dive into the start. When you get up high enough, you can start slingin' those puppies. Beware that there is rope-cut potential with this method.

A good alternative is to use a double-rope system. Then you can start slinging chickenheads with one rope almost immediately, and leave your second rope unclipped until you are up high.
By Jerry Cagle
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 4, 2005
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A0 R

This is a great route, and is worth doing for the "3rd Class" approach alone; a quasi-rebirthing experience of sorts...
By Andrew May
From: Sandy, UT
May 11, 2006

This was a great climb, as well as my first trad lead. The beginning pendulum was a little interesting. BEWARE of bad weather! I started the climb in shorts and a t-shirt and it was snowing by the third pitch!
By Rob Allen
Jul 27, 2006

This is a nice climb, but I would like to emphasize the approach is fairly long, and the 3rd-class slot is probably just as hard as the climb. If you plan this climb in cooler weather, and allow a full day, then the climb is very pleasurable. When you reach the slot (you will know) go ahead and rope up. Doing this will save time at the belay anchor, and although not hard, give security to step out to the anchor. It is much closer to hike up from the east side, but a little steeper. I used my cams (not needed on the first two pitches) to weight the slings (as well as hitching), then clipped another into that. This works very well, giving almost no chance for the slings to come off. At the top, DO NOT sling the tree in the corner before traversing the final slot to the top; way too much drag. If you do not have double ropes, use a DMM revolver for a little relief. As far as a rack, I only used .75 to #3 Camalots. Good route, just take your time and enjoy the view of Rockfellow Dome.
By Jordan K
From: Ohio
Dec 25, 2006
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A0 R

A little beta that may be good to know if ever you need to bail on this route... which we learned the hard way when a nasty storm took us by surprise. From the top of the first pitch it is nearly impossible to retreat back to the starting ledge due to the initial pendulum traverse. However, there are two massive rap anchors on the face ~30' below the start ledge (and more or less directly underneath the anchors at the top of the 1st pitch). This allows you to rappel the entire face directly to the ground using double-rope rappels (you need to be carrying 2 ropes anyway for the rap off the top). Look hard for those rap anchors... they are easily lost in the sea of chickenheads! From the lower anchors, you can rap all they way to the ground (be careful lowering through the pile of boulders at the base of the cliff).
By Jordan K
From: Ohio
Dec 25, 2006
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A0 R

The turn off from trail #279 is marked with a small cairn as of 12/23/06. From the west side, shortly after passing the 1 mile marker, look for a small trail descending down and to the left as the main trail switchbacks up and to the right. Follow the trail as it wanders up a drainage, going in and out periodically. On the right, you will see the Rockfellow formation, and on the left is Cochise Dome. Soon after passing a Forest Service sign about raptor closures, look for a trail off to the left (beware, there are a few). Follow this up a steep wash littered with large boulders. Leave gear at the bottom of the 3rd class approach gully to avoid repeating it.
The approach up the gully is non-trivial and certainly potentially dangerous, and while I wouldn't call it 5th class myself, roping up wouldn't be stupid if you have any doubts!
By Kole DeCou
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 10, 2007

A little beta on the 10a start since it's not so obvious. The leader is on toprope the whole way, so there is no reason not to have a go at it. Climb up and clip the bolts, then climb back down to the saddle. Look down and to your right, and you'll see a lonely chickenhead way down there, that's your goal. Downclimb diagonal and to the right for quite a ways, then straight right from the chickenhead (crux). It's thin and crimpy.
By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
May 10, 2007

I disagree with Kole; if free-climbed, the traverse start is NOT 10a, it is 10c as stated in the guidebook. It's basically 10a for first half of the moves, then it gets super thin and is 10c (esp. if you are not super tall and able to stem realllly far over to the giant chickenheads). However, I agree with him that the leader would take a short, but likely clean, pendulum fall that should be no big deal.

Also, Jordan K said you need to bring two ropes for your rappel; this is not true. Two SINGLE ROPE RAPS get you down.

Despite its 5.6 rating, I do not think this climb is good for newbies. The final portion of the approach is harder than the route itself and does indeed involve scary 4th classing plus three short sections of essentially free soloing moves. Moby Dick would be a far better choice to take the less initiated.

I did the West side approach and recommend; it is long but relatively easy and quite scenic on a good trail.
By Kole DeCou
From: Flagstaff, AZ
May 12, 2007

I agree, if you go straight across then I'm sure it is 10c. I started out this way and then came back to look for something easier. The 10a way downclimbs a ways, and traverses across something like 10 feet below the bolt. It still felt stiff for 10a, but thats how the guidebook I had rated it.

Like you said, this would be a very heads up climb for a beginning party. Don't be fooled by the rating. I do think new-ish climbers with a good head and good sence could pull this off safely, but I wouldn't reccomend it as a first multi-pitch climb.
By Jerry Cagle
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 20, 2007
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A0 R

On 11/18/2007 the anchor for the "lower out"/pendulum,
and the belay station at the top of P1 were upgraded
using Fixe Trad Anchors. The 1/4"er with SMC hanger at the "lower out" was pulled and a Fixe Trad Anchor was installed incorporating the existing 3/8" bolt. The old Leeper w/ 1/4" bolt at the station at the top of P1 was pulled and a Fixe Trad Anchor was installed also incorporating the existing 3/8" bolt. One bolt was left in situ to the right of the anchor for "historic purposes" and as a place to hang a pack or rope or what-have-you. The 1/4" bolt with the SMC hanger on the traverse on P3 was pulled and replaced with a 3/8" bolt and Metolius hanger.

A few details remain to be finished up: primarily patching and disguising a couple of the old holes.

Thanks to Dave Baker (first ascentionist) for his blessings on the project, to the ARI (Anchor Replacement Initiative/Climbing Magazine) and FIXE for supplying the anchors and hanger, and to Greg Barnes of the ASCA (American Safe Climbing Association) for supplying the "Tuning Forks" we used to pull the old bolts, Larry Scritchfield for supplying the drill and sharing in the labor.
By James DeRoussel
Administrator
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 30, 2008

...and a big thanks to Jerry Cagle for all his anchor upgrade work around southern AZ.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 21, 2008

A topo for this climb is available, simply PM me for it.

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By Cody Ferguson
From: Tempe, AZ
Jan 13, 2011

An incredible climb. It might be only 5.6 but it's one of the headiest things I've ever climbed. On pitch 1, the second tied in short and used the left over tail of the rope to lower himself off the anchor to avoid the scary pendulum. Worked like clockwork.
By LBK
Dec 12, 2012

If anyone finds a shoe, please PM me. Unfortunately, my Biner wasn't locked and one shoe fell off my harness (probably on the last pitch chimney). Not a fun walk out.....
By GregC
Feb 20, 2013

If you are not familiar with the area, plan on a 1.5 to 2 hour approach. It is around 5km one way. Most spots have cairns marking the way but sometimes you need to hunt or just follow footsteps. The last 15 minutes are insane. Basically scrambling over boulders then a quick chimney solo to the starting ledge. Plan for a long day with the approach as well as possible crowds. Really fun climb once you find it. You can rap off the side (climbers right) in two with one rope or a single rap with two ropes.

With a 70m rope it might be possible to build a gear anchor instead of chicken heads before the last pitch.

Guide says to bring way too many slings. My partner just ran it out as its easy climbing but even 3-4 slung heads would be OK and 5-6 excessive (in addition to an anchor). 12 dedicated slings is overkill.
By RazRez
Feb 27, 2013

GPS coordinates (WGS84 hddd.ddddd°)

Parking:
N31.92549 W109.96686

Start of 4th class approach to What's my line:
N31.92785 W109.98232

Rappel landing:
N31.92964 W109.98176