Login with Facebook
Rockfellow Dome
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Abracadaver T 
Coming to Grips T 
Good Zzzzzs T 
Inner Passage T 
Jabberwocky T,S 
Knead Me 
Labyrinth, The T 
Lumpy Unmentionables T 
Sensory Desuetude T 
Unknown S 
Unknown (NE Face) T 
Unknown (S Face) T,S 
Unsorted Routes:

Coming to Grips 

YDS: 5.11c/d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 25 British: E4 6a R

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 550', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11c/d French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 25 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: Ray Ringle, Chip Chace, 1980
Page Views: 3,166
Submitted By: John Steiger on Feb 21, 2010

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (6)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
Clay on pitch 2

Closed from March 1 to June 30 MORE INFO >>>


An extraordinary climb, this is perhaps the best trad route of its grade in the Dragoons. It was one of the “three sisters” climbed by RR and Chip in the summer of 1980 in the corridor between the main Rockfellow Dome and Chay Desa Tsay, from left to right: Sound of One Hand Thrashing, Coming to Grips, and Sensory Desuetude. These are great summer routes because they rarely see sun, except for their summit pitches. (As of this writing, though, there is a Forest Service peregrine falcon closure from March 1 through June 30, which apparently is an annual restriction).

This route requires a variety of skills, including Dragoon groove climbing, technical stemming, creative use of gear, and steady nerves. Most pitches have some climbing above questionable gear. When we summitted, we were greeted by a group of vultures eyeing us from the top of Bastion. Eerie.

Coming to Grips is actually the name of a two-pitch direct start to the Sound of One Hand Thrashing. In Bob Kerry’s 1997 guide, he entitles the route described here only as the Sound of One Hand Thrashing. Perhaps RR gave him license to do this, but, according to the notes of my and Herb North’s ascent in 1981, the routes were originally named as stated here.

Begin by climbing a short section of 5.9 to the base of the dihedral. Clip the bolt and climb the nearly flawless corner, past a pin, to a three-bolt belay (5.11c/d). (2) Continue up the groove/corner above past two bolts (5.10d) to a belay from gear maybe 20’ below a roof. There were two fixed nuts at the belay when we did it. (3) Wild climbing on slightly overhanging rock traverses left and up to a bolt. Stiff climbing past the bolt (5.11b) leads to an obvious traverse left to a ledge and thankfully lower angle rock. Gear belay. (4) Climb a somewhat short 5.8 pitch to a gear belay just before the climbing gets harder and spookier. (5) Continue up the crack/groove system above, stepping left and then back right at one point. Above are the pitch’s hardest moves, which slowly let up as you get closer to the summit jug (5.11a).


Start up the massive chimney (the Inner Passage) just right of Abracadaver and Knead Me. A short distance past Lumpy Unmentionables on the left is a striking dihedral with a bolt at its base. This marks the start of Coming to Grips. The crack to the left that arches into Coming to Grip’s line is the original start of the Sound of One Hand Thrashing. Rap Abracadaver (2 ropes).


Double cams to 3.5”; full collection of wires, including at least one set of micronuts; runners, some suitable for slinging flakes.

Photos of Coming to Grips Slideshow Add Photo
Casual climbing on pitch 4
Casual climbing on pitch 4
Pitch 1 and its classic dihedral
Pitch 1 and its classic dihedral
Awesome groove climbing on pitch 2
Awesome groove climbing on pitch 2
Start of pitch 3
Start of pitch 3
Pitch 5 has some more hard climbing before topping out
Pitch 5 has some more hard climbing before topping...

Comments on Coming to Grips Add Comment
Show which comments
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 8, 2012
rating: 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a PG13

This climb is amazing. Pitches 1 and 2 have some of the coolest climbing I have done in the Stronghold. Thanks, John, for posting it up!!

Modern climbing gear protects this climb well enough that the R rating is probably not warranted, however, all but one of the pitches have some tricky pro and demanding climbing.

We felt that stoppers, singles to .75 camalot, doubles of #1-#3, and one #4 camalot would work well for protecting this climb. All pitches are under 100'.

Thanks to Dave Merin and the ASCA, all of the bolts have been replaced with stainless steel sleeve bolts. The route is in prime condition now.

If you are interested in a topo for this route, feel free to PM me and I will send you one. You can also get one by registering at the toofasttopos website.
By Clay Mansfield
Dec 7, 2012
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a R

This route deserves way more attention than it gets. And now maybe it will become more popular, thanks to modern gadgets and hardware upgrades.

In terms of quality, I think it is in the same ballpark as Abra...!!!

Save for the low angle OW on pitch 4, there is challenging climbing bottom to top, on incredible rock. I have never climbed or even seen anything like the semi-circular groove on pitch 2.
By Clay Mansfield
Oct 14, 2013
rating: 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a R

A Southern Arizona heavyweight. Just did this again, and wanted to give it some attention for incoming Beanfesters (2 weeks away).

This climb seems a bit under the radar, but it is badass.

Current temps are perfect, and a puffy for the belayer is nice.