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Cripple Creek 

YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Dave Baker, Merle Wheeler
Season: fall, winter, spring
Page Views: 2,788
Submitted By: Joe Lee on Mar 4, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (20)
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BETA PHOTO: Approximate topo of the route, using my advanced e...


A stout climb with fantastic exposure. Nice mix of face and crack climbing with some wide surprises. On pitch one, move up and right to a steep face into a corner/flaring chimney. Sketchy! Pitch two follows a direct line up a crack/corner system. Pitch three continues up a crack before traversing left under a roof to a steep slabby finish.


Look for two or three small roofs down low. Above you will see a left facing corner/slot. The route starts left of the small roofs. There are fixed anchors at the top of the first and second pitches. Gear anchor necessary for the last pitch. To descend, pass through a small notch near the summit to the west side. Drop into a large dish with rappel anchors just below a small tree. Rappel down (over) a gulley. Be careful not to fall into the slot.


Bring your standard rack. At least on fist size piece will be useful

Photos of Cripple Creek Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: This is a view of the headstone as you approach do...
BETA PHOTO: This is a view of the headstone as you approach do...

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By jbak
Mar 5, 2007

A Top-20 Lemmon trad classic.
By Jimbo
Mar 5, 2007

jbak, I find myself agreeing with you again.
By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Jun 30, 2007

Make sure to get some pro in on the easy leftward traverse at the end of the third pitch because there is one last tricky upwards move to get to the belay..Probably the random guano around there doesn't help either..

I'm not sure if that last move was the cause of the Alex Pendleton accident (see but I thought I'd put this out there anyway..
By James DeRoussel
From: Tucson, AZ
Apr 6, 2008

As mentioned above, this climb was host to a leader fatality in recent years. Ought not to be taken lightly at the grade.
By John Hayes
From: Bend, OR
Jan 6, 2010
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

I agree that this is a classic. There are (at least) two starts possible. One steps left up the very shallow left facing corner system into the crack that leads up and back right to the first belay alcove. The second start goes pretty much straight up the steep cracks just to the right of the big corner system (to the right of the first start.) Both starts are about equally difficult though I find the right version slightly more strenuous.
By John Steiger
Feb 19, 2010

This is one of several now-classic routes on Mt. Lemmon first climbed in 1971 (others include Trick or Treat, Centerpiece, Fiutt, Helms Deep, and Voodoo Child). For a more challenging variation, climb the thin crack of Gashlycrumb Tinies (5.11a) to the first belay (maybe a 3-4 star pitch itself, but double up on the small wires).
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 20, 2015


i can only attest to the first pitch since i ended up limping out of there after pulling a piece, but you should be VERY solid on mount lemmon trad before getting on this climb. the gear isn't always where you want it and you should be comfortable with "leader must not fall" situations. i was not and i paid the price (bad ankle sprain).

Rock Climbing Photo: mistakes
By 1Eric Rhicard
Aug 24, 2015

Thus the name Jon Ruland. It is also the site of one of Mt. Lemmon's fatalities. Place bomber pro, it is there, or don't fall off! Hope you heal up quickly Jon.
By Jordan Stone
Oct 29, 2015
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

I felt like the pro on this route was all great after about 25 ft off the ground---save, perhaps, an exciting move at the beginning of the 3rd pitch. In the first 25 ft there are options, but I found one stretch of no-fall zone. Awesome climb, not more sketchy than days of future past out in Cochise, if that's helpful as a point of reference.

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