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Quick Death 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a PG13

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 120'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a PG13 [details]
FA: unknown, 1974
Page Views: 2,789
Submitted By: Jon Ruland on Oct 21, 2001

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Starting the Quick Death pitch.

Closed to climbing March 15 - June 30 MORE INFO >>>


This is the nice-looking splitter located 50 feet directly above Pine Tree Ledge, and it climbs as good as it looks. This would be a 4-star pitch if it were longer, but for the 25 feet it goes it's as good as crack climbing gets on Mount Lemmon at the grade.

To get to the splitter you can take one of several variations. For an easy (5.6 at the hardest) but fun approach, either go straight up from the pine tree or left around the pillar. Going right will go at 5.7 or 5.8, but rope drag may be an issue.

At the top of the pillar there is a small ledge that drops off to the left. Protect here as best you can and sling long, then make a huge step left to get into the crack. This may be the crux for shorter people.

From here use finger locks, toe jams, and laybacks to ascend the beautiful finger crack (5.9) to a stance where the crack expands to hand size. Jam the rapidly widening crack for 8 feet or so to get to a good stance where the crack disappears.

This is where the spice begins. You will want to protect as high as you can for the finish. This will require a 4" cam in the crack (3" if you want to add an extra 5 or so feet to the runout above you). However, the pillar you are climbing sounds hollow and the inside of the crack is slick, which doesn't inspire confidence, so I slung the top of the pillar with a long runner which seemed pretty secure.

From here you can either go left or slightly right and up. Both ways are sporty, spicy, and unprotected. Pull over the lip as best you can (insecure and tricky, some folks call this the crux; don't fall here) then head up and right through an easy slot to a 2-bolt anchor.


Single set of cams from finger size to at least 3". Bring long runners for the step across at the bottom of the crack and for slinging the pillar at the top of it. An extra couple finger-size pieces wouldn't hurt. You may also want to strap on a set of nuts (both literally and figuratively).

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By Braxtron
From: ...
Feb 27, 2007

I believe that this pitch can be TR'd if you setup a creative belay from the end of P2 of The Standard Route.
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 21, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

brother braxton is right, you can (and should) toprope this pitch if you set up a creative belay from the top of the standard route pitch 2. this is a must do if you like crack climbing, because splitter cracks are so rare in tucson.
By Alex McIntyre
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 18, 2011

This route made me realize, once again, that 5.9 is HARD. One of the best 5.9's I've done on Lemmon. Top was scary because I went left instead of right. I highly recommend this pitch!
By 1Eric Rhicard
Jul 30, 2012

The topo in SQII is the same as the one John Steiger used in the original guidebook. I guess I could use some arrows and point out where the route goes and have a better description and a photo so that people have less trouble getting on it. Thanks for the input this all helps.
By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Sep 22, 2012
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

A #4 would be nice to have at the top of wide crack before the final unprotected moves up and right.

Unless there's an alternate easier finish, there's a typo in the guidebook as the whole pitch is rated 5.9 but the final traverse right is shown as 9+.

Sling everything long for the first 5.6 part and figure out some kind of directional at the blocks below the finger crack.

The pictures Joe posted are useful for finding the thing. From the Pine Tree ledge, trend slightly left up the low-angle right-facing corner w the wide cracks at the top, then hard left at the blocks.
By Dj telle
From: Tucson, Arizona
Jul 2, 2014
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

pretty good finger crack. some fun moves
By Nick Henscheid
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 4, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Pretty spectacular for about 30 feet, and not unusually scary if you take the right exit above the pillar and 5.9 is below your limit. If you lead 5.9 on gear, go do this Pitch! Extending the belay from the bolts out to the edge helps mitigate rope drag somewhat, but it's still bad even if you sling long.

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