Cragaholic’s Dream is one of the nicest routes in the Stronghold, but sees relatively few ascents compared to other climbs at its grade. The climb is entirely gear protected – not a single bolt, a rarity in the Stronghold for a six-pitch climb. It is a true gem not only because of its strictly traditional nature, but also because its rock quality is outstanding. With updated approach directions and a detailed new topo, this climb should be much easier to find and prepare for. For those climbing at the grade, it should not be missed!
Kerry's written description can be found here:
For a topo of this climb, you can PM me.
Note that two 60-meter ropes are required to descend.
This climb will take significantly longer to complete than routes of comparable difficulty with bolts. Make sure you are climbing solidly at the grade and allow enough time for you to complete the climb and return to your car.
Stoppers, doubles to #1 Camelot, triples of #2, #3, #4, single #5. A #6 is helpful if you like a lot of gear.
See the approach description for Squaretop. A Google Earth .kmz file is available at www.geir.com/googleearth/stronghold/west/
Sep 30, 2008
Perhaps the real crux is getting to the route. If you follow the fence line alone the wash to the left (don't go thru the gate and up the normal trail to rockfellers)and work your way back to the climb staying in the wash you will eventually come to it, make sure you have a good photo of it as this is the guaranteed way to identify it
Nov 23, 2008
Thank you Geir for making your topos available ! It was helpful for the climb and specially for the rappel.
For future parties, there is a probability that your rope may get stuck behind a boulder in the middle of the second rappel, when pulling it to set up the last rappel to the ground, unless you are very, very careful. If you have to go get it, climb the left chimney-groove (5.8 ?) and take at least a #2 and a #1 (perhaps a #3 too, less scary for the downclimb). Bring a headlamp.
Awesome route !
|By Chris Prewitt|
Jan 19, 2009
Just did this yesterday in perfect shady temps. What an amazing climb. P2 might be the best pitch of climbing at the grade I've done in southern Arizona. Engaging moves on every other pitch. Slot midway up P3 is interesting. Short wide crack on 4 is cute. P5 is incredibly awkward and insecure feeling in the beginning, a real sleeper pitch. P6 let's you run to the top with downpressure.
The entire descent feels like one step further into a possible bad idea. With a seemingly high probability of having a rope get stuck pulling some of the rappels, we decided to try to keep it to the climbers' left on rap 2 and 3. This worked for us, maybe you too.
The rack may indicate it, but I didn't realize how wide the climbing was going to feel. Pitches 3-6 had loads of fist jams with the occasional chickenwing for security. Thoroughly enjoyable. Maybe one of the best parts of the route is you'll never have to do a slab move if you don't want to.
If you don't have big cams, this may not be the route for you. There didn't seem so be many options for adequately protecting the second pitch without bigguns. We took the following rack:
nuts, 1 each .3-3 camalots, 0-4 tcu, #1.75-6 friends. Wished I hadn't left the extra #5 friend in the pack at the base. The first 80' of p2 the crack is >4", with only a hollow flake for a 0tcu, and crack-diving for a 2.5 friend.
This climb is a full package. Great climbing on good rock and a really pretty approach. Sure it will take you an hour, but if you look around at the boulders and trees you might not care as much. Be sure to take the SECOND drainage on the left (15min), then 3rd class up the wash until you reach a GIANT boulder blocking it off (30min). This is where you head (thrash?) uphill to the right heading for the base of the big dihedral.
Mar 5, 2009
First 4 pitches are fairly short leads... last pitch is 5.7 at best. 2nd pitch is kick in the pants full value roof. Anyone ever do the variation Instant ReSpray??
Feb 11, 2010
I have done the Instant Re-Spray Variation twice now (first time we turned back because pitch 5 was completely filled with ice). To me, the Re-Spray roof is perhaps the BEST traditionally protected roof I have ever pulled and it is actually pretty easy. I highly recommend that variation.
One piece of beta for the Respray Variation: After pulling the roof, you end up on a small ledge. Even with fully extended double lengths under the roof, you are going to start to get some rope drag, and will want to belay soon. The rock after the roof by the ledge is COMPLETE garbage. Flakes fill hollow cracks. The only piece that is comforting is a #6 BD camalot down low. Up higher I used stoppers in the crap rock to go easy on it.
The rest of the route is mediocre at best.
|By Justin York|
From: Phoenix, AZ
Oct 11, 2010
Great all around adventure in perfect temps this past weekend. Approach is fast as long as you take the second, very indistinct junction with a drainage heading up toward squaretop. There is a ridge just east of the drainage that will tempt you into continuing past it. Look for some low angle slabs on your right, followed by some huge boulders which you need to bypass on one side or the other. This is your turnoff up the correct drainage, north to squaretop.
I thought the first pitch was awkward and insecure, though the difficulties short. Second pitch needs no mention as it is superb. Third pitch is fun too, if only it would continue! 4th pitch is simply there to get you to the large ledge. 5th pitch is fairly sustained and quite awkward as the crack widens and always leans left, but has great pro the whole way. NOTE: The topos and guidebook indicate belaying in the crack as the angle tapers off, but I noticed a large ledge 5-10 feet left of the crack with a single bolt from which to belay, and some additional pro options at your feet if you wish to back it up. This was about 130-150 ft(?) up the 5th pitch. I recommend the ledge if you're out of big cams from which to set up a belay (plus it's way more comfy!).
The descent was straightforward. We followed the advice of others and kept the rope to the climbers' left, especially on the second rap.
|By Daryl Allan|
From: Sierra Vista, AZ
Nov 20, 2011
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
We linked the 3rd and 4th and had no rope drag at all. On our 4th (5th per Geir's topo) I stretched the ropes out to just below the cave on the left and belayed from a really comfy ramp. The start of this pitch where it's a pocketed cleave felt tougher than 5.9 to me and harder than anything on the 2nd pitch; maybe I missed something.
Gear beta(all bd sizes):
We used a #6 twice on the route (start of 2nd and middle [our] 4th. The #5 was quite useful as well but you could probably get away without the 6. My gear list for the 2nd pitch was #6,#5,#4 then a .4 just before the roof. The roof protects very well with a #1, then a #.75.
On the approach, stay in the wash until you see a large-stone cairn in front of an enormous boulder sort of blocking the wash. From here you can look up to Squaretop and see right up CD's skirt. Walk up the vague but easy to follow trail right to the base.
Two stars?!? What on earth are we comparing it to... The Nose?!? Classic must-do for Cochise standards and exceptional based on the humble diversity of my climbing career. Great route! Thanks for the topo Geir!
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 20, 2011
Nice work Daryl!
|By Catherine Conner|
From: Phoenix, AZ
Feb 16, 2012
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
FUN, exciting, good adventure!!!! The approach takes a bit of time, but really pretty. I want to go back and do a variation of P1-there is a great looking crack over to the left-anyone done that? I will next time... anyway, great day with Nestor, he lead the roof pitch and did great/and the awkward P5 (my opinion this is 5.10b in its own way)... since it was dark as we headed to find the rappels, we ended up finding the second rappel by some hiking down (thus bypassing rap 1, only had to do 2 raps)-they were a little intimidating as you head down-good advice here on avoiding getting ropes stuck. The final rap off the horn draped in webbing was exciting. These raps definitely need two 60 meter ropes with no room to spare. Thanks to Geir & Marcy for pointing us in the right direction, and worrying about us as we were descending in the dark! I will do this one again, there's no doubt.
Nov 5, 2012
That pitch 2 is spectacular & the total lack of bolts on the route is a rare thing of beauty! I think pitch 5 can be seen as 5.9 if you're tall & seem significantly harder if you're short...[edit in] err, I mean less tall. Actually I also think that goes for P2. My wife & I have a big height differential & that was our humble experience.
|By Clay Mansfield|
Dec 11, 2012
All the makings for a really satisfying day: long, beautiful approach, great physical climbing, and an adventurous descent (which I only appreciate after the fact).
I feel like pitch 2 is one of THE classic pitches in Cochise, at least from what I've done.
From: Phoenix, AZ
Oct 6, 2013
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Great day on this with DAS, Geir and Marcy. An excellent climb indeed, but just a wee bit harder than existing beta (i.e. be solid and comfortable/confident at the grade throughout). Funny how expectations can change an experience. What's called pitch 5 especially! If you used Geir's topo (his first, apparently!), then replace "awkward" with 5.10 and you'll be fine. It's a very nice 5.10 pitch indeed! Oh, and p. 2 would feel wonderful with 3 #4s, 1 #5 and plenty of draws. DAS chewed his shirt off with only 1 #5 and #4, but persevered and cleared the roof in masterful and elegant style. Great day indeed.