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B Cubed (Broken Bit Blues) is an enjoyable backcountry climb which consists of six long pitches up the Elephant Dome. The rock quality is good at the 5.10 cruxes but rotten in many places along the way. As you climb, tread cautiously on the grass-covered ledges as the climbing shoes can skate. The first ascenders have added more bolts to the route since the "Backcountry Rockclimbing in Southern Arizona" by Bob Kerry was published making it a safer ascent. All belay stations have two bolts (most are button heads) except for the top of pitch 6 which has one bolt and a sling over a dinner plate.
Pitch 1: 5.6. This pitch contains about 140 feet of slab climbing up between the two stains. Three bolts are the protection for this pitch. The first bolt is visible from the start of the climb up about 25 feet and slightly left. There are lots of small features for purchase but be cautious as you may detach some of them. Climb up to the ledge with the two bolt anchor.
Pitch 2: 5.7. Climb directly above the belay toward a blunt flake, clip a bolt and step on to the flake. Climb up and left to another bolt. Trend up and left through steeper rock and across the water stain. Climb directly up to a final bolt 15 feet below the belay ledge. From here, easier climbing to the belay ledge can be done by traversing left to features, up and back right with hands on the ledge edge below the grass. This pitch has 3 to 5 bolts for protection.
Pitch 3: 5.10b Move right up a left-facing blocky and grassy ramp to two-tiered dihedral. Place protection and lieback up to the bolt. After clipping bolt it is time for the first crux move. Perform the ackward but well-protected transition from the lieback stance to a face-climb stance onto first tier of the dihedral (5.10b). Face climb up past another two bolts to the belay. Protection can be placed between these two bolts.
Pitch 4: 5.9R Stem and lieback up left-facing broken dihedral with plenty of protection opportunities (5.9). Place protection at top of dihedral as this is the last chance you will have before the belay ledge. Climb on large holds toward ledge. Dicey moves onto and across grassy ledge to belay anchor (40 foot fall potential to the rock below, 5.8R). Find protection before committing to climb from below the ledge to the anchors if possible. This may require digging dirt out of the crack at the base of the ledge.
Pitch 5: 5.10a. This is the longest pitch and has 6 bolts and opportunities to place at least 6 more pieces of protection. As you climb, see if you can see the broken drill bit in the rock. Climb up left of anchors to first bolt and continue climbing up on face and flakes with protection possibilities to a short slab below a 1-foot thick arching flake. Clip the bolt and climb up to right side of the flake. Sink some pro in the crack between the wall and flake and under-cling/lieback up arch to another bolt. You have arrived at the crux moves for the pitch. Step onto roof and face climb above the roof past a couple more bolts (5.10a). Difficulty eases slightly as you climb up to the belay anchors at a comfortable ledge.
Pitch 6: 5.9. From the belay anchors traverse right and climb up to a bolt 15 feet above belay. Diagonal up left to better rock with dinner plate features then up to the short left facing dihedral on the roof. Place a small cam or two and pull at right edge of dihedral (5.9). Above the roof the climbing gradually eases off as you climb higher on knobs and dinner plates. Sling dinner plates for protection or work in some Tri-Cams in the groves between plates. Favor the dinner plates as they are better rock. The crystal knobs tend to break off. The belay station consists of one bolt with chain and a slung dinner plate.
From the last belay stance, third class up 50 feet on lower angle rock to the summit register and express your thoughts.
B Cubed starts on the slab between two water stains on the right side of Elephant dome (see beta photo).
1. This option only requires three raps on a single rope (two raps if using two ropes) and is the quickest. Walk on the spine of Elephant dome towards Right Dome. You will be descending the gully on the south side between the two domes. As you begin to scramble down you will immediately reach an easy tree down-climb (15 Ft) or you can rappel down the short cliff (bring new webbing). Continue down and trend left away from steeper terrain. About 250 feet above the bottom you will trend back right across the gully to the anchors for the next rappel. All three rap stations have two new bolts with chains. From here there are three single rope rappels or one double rope rappel and one single rope rappel. The middle rap station is hard to see from the top rap station but it is directly down the fall line from the top station and if you can't see it you will probably trip over it. The final rappel station is easy to spot on the edge of a big ledge. This last rappel deposits you about 40 feet from the start of the climb.
2. Rappel the route. This requires two ropes and plenty of webbing as you will be replacing old slings at each anchor.
Set of small cams, e.g. Metolius TCU 00- 3
Set of medium cams, e.g. Camalot 0.75-3
14 draws for pitch 5 (6 with 2 foot slings)
2 ropes if you rappel route or retreat
Jeff M. on pitch 3 crux
Pitch 5, the longest pitch.
Looking up at the Pitch 1 with climbers at top of ...
Looking up at Pitch 2. Scotty belays Dusty.
Start of Pitch 3. Dusty climbs toward two-tiered d...
Looking up at the roof on Pitch 6.
BETA PHOTO: B Cubed Route
Looking down from the second belay
View from the base of Pitch 4. Scotty belaying fro...
Feb 22, 2008
I climbed this route years ago before Bob published the second backcountry guide. Before there were bolted belays.
I told him to take all the stars of the route.
Chossy and uninteresting is what I remember telling him.
I've done both Elephantiasis and Crater Genetics twice and they are both way better than this route.
My advice, if your going all the way out to this dome don't waste your time on this one.
Nice route description, though. Glad to see folks climbing out there.
|By Charles Vernon|
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 15, 2009
To provide balance to Jimbo's comment, I thought this was a worthwhile route. I suppose it's not a "classic", but the rock was much better than I expected (I didn't really notice any rotten rock), and with the added bolts and anchors, the protection is quite reasonable. It's a bit ledgey, but the actual climbing moves are really fun.
If you've done some of the other 10- and under routes in this canyon and enjoyed them, then definitely consider this route. If Elephantiasis is really that much better, then I need to do it asap!
|By Steven W. Johnson|
From: Tucson, Arizona
Jan 23, 2010
Climbed B-Cubed a few weeks ago. I'm not an old school runout climber and I had fun. I had the odd pitch leads with the first being the only wiggy one due to two bolts and no other possible protection for the better part of a 60 meter rope. Though, as they say "a 5.6/7 runout with potiential ground fall should not be a concern if you are a solid 5.10 climber". I think two more bolts (halfway between the 1st and 2nd, and halfway between the 2nd and anchors) would easily up the popularity of this climb. The rest of the pitches had good protection and bolts where you needed them. I especially enjoyed the 5th pitch crux that is well protected.I would agree with Charles above that I didn't experience "rotten" rock like in the route description. I look forward to leading the even pitches.
|By Charles Vernon|
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 17, 2010
Steve, sounds like you might have missed a bolt on P1. My partner led it and definitely found three. Two were new. They are all a bit hard to spot. At any rate, P1 is no harder than 5.6 if you go the right way, and shouldn't keep a 5.10 back-country climber off this climb.
Jun 18, 2010
I guess traffic has cleaned this route up. That's a good thing. There certainly weren't any new bolts on it when we did it.
I've done Elephantiasis twice and Crater Geneitics twice. I still say they have better rock quality and climbing than B-cubed.
|By Charles Vernon|
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 21, 2010
Jeff Mayhew told me that when they added the bolts, they also pulled off a mountain's worth of loose rock. I'm sure it isn't as good as those other routes (which look a lot steeper), but you might like it now, Jimbo. Hell, I liked it enough to do it again, I'll do it with you :)
|By greg k|
Jan 28, 2014
I thought the 5th pitch was one of the best I've experienced in Mendoza. Be ready for some heady run-outs on easier terrain: especially pitch 1 (didn't help that this pitch has the worst rock too)! All in all a great backcountry route, just don't slip on the grass…