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Northwest Recess
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Consolation, The 
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Gulp, The 
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Magical Mystery Tour 
Sahara Terror 
Snakes on Everything 
Souvenir, The 
Swallow, The 
Wong Climb 

Sahara Terror 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 700'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: W. Shand, R. Gorin, P. Flinchbaugh, 1942
Season: spring-fall
Page Views: 7,184
Submitted By: Jordan K on Oct 8, 2006
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You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (58)
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BETA PHOTO: Sahara Terror, 5.7.


A great moderate climb. An easy pitch leads to a belay beneath a series of overlaps. Follow the crack through the overhangs and belay at the base of a deep crack that dogleggs sharply to the right. Take the dogleg crack to the left-facing corner and follow this crack system until progress is blocked by overhangs. Traverse 10 ft left, then up through the overhang; continue diagonally up and left for about 50 ft in the crack system, then up and right across a face to the base of an obvious chute, then up a deep chimney. A 4th class crack diagonals up and left to the top.


Begin 45 feet right of the Error and 15 ft left of an obvious crack/corner system.


Standard Rack to 3". No fixed anchors. Walk down descent by Friction Route or North Gully.

Photos of Sahara Terror Slideshow Add Photo
Start of P5 the crux pitch, start 10 feet to left of your belay station
Start of P5 the crux pitch, start 10 feet to left ...
Base of P1, Sahara Terror
BETA PHOTO: Base of P1, Sahara Terror
Eric belaying Kerry on P1 perhaps 100 foot from base
BETA PHOTO: Eric belaying Kerry on P1 perhaps 100 foot from ba...
Eric at belay station 2, start of P3
Eric at belay station 2, start of P3
Kerry leading P6 which has a 5.9 variation to the left or 5.7 to right up a slight gully/chimney
BETA PHOTO: Kerry leading P6 which has a 5.9 variation to the ...
belay station 3 best to set up lower where rope is flaked (start P4).
belay station 3 best to set up lower where rope is...
Tamara on a variation of pitch 4.
Tamara on a variation of pitch 4.
Me leading pitch two I think.
Me leading pitch two I think.
Comments on Sahara Terror Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 16, 2013
By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 10, 2007

This is a fun climb but study the guide carefully and get as much beta from other climbers as you can. This seems to be the most likely of all climbs at Tahquitz to get off-route. And every season there are a lot of loose blocks along the way. Most of the problems lie along the 4th - 6th pitches. Wear your helmet and be mindful of other climbing parties above and below you. Be sure to bring your headlamp in case you epic.

By Mark L
Jun 2, 2007

Definitely find the right set of overhangs to start under - use the bushes as a guide. I started the next roof to the left from where I should have and 80' higher handn't found a way to break right that looked less than 5.7 slab with kinda bad pro.

One of the middle pitches (maybe the third) goes from a comfortable belay at a the top of a gully/wide crack up to the first slight overhang then immediately left 10-15' to the next slight overhang and up and over that. This could be a heady lead - the pro on this pitch didn't seem great or always available and there were some pumpier edge pulls with poor feet rather than the pretty good feet most of the rest of the climb has. The last 2 pitches (getting to the final gully up and left and following it up to a chimney up and right, onto easy 5th to the top) were fine - really its the middle pitch of the climb that is the most physical and mental work.

By Brian Hench
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Jul 14, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c PG13

We took a direct looking start to the route which goes up a left-facing corner through a patch of distinctive yellowish rock. If you go this way, it's low fifth class.

The route description mentions going right across a face on the fifth pitch. This is incorrect. The route goes straight up past a bolt and then a piton and loose block. The crux moves is in the middle of this pitch- a balancy move above your protection and if you fall, a slab awaits your ankles.

I give the route a PG-13 because of all the loose blocks and the poor protection on the crux move.

By Mar' Himmerich
From: Santa Fe, NM
Aug 25, 2008

Loose. I saw someone die on it. Found body parts next day. Found stashed duffle with her fleece years later.

By Chris Owen
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Jan 13, 2010
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b

Blocky roof section and Dogleg pitch are classic. IMHO the crux is quite a long way up the climb, past the guidebook crux (where you traverse right and go over some overlaps). Up past this section, close to where a ring piton (if still there) and the bolt is you have to step right underneath a vee-groove, and pull into this, that's a tricky move. In the topo photo the groove is right underneath the second "5.6" from the top. Or maybe I've been off route all the times I've climbed it.

By The Gray Tradster
Jan 14, 2010

You were on route,

The topo is drawn incorrectly there

The route jogs right and goes up the Vee groove directly below the second 5.6 from the top. (beta photo)
The move isn't bad but the only piece that works to protect it hasn't been available for about 40 years. (smallest Peck Cracker)

If you go straight up from the belay the way the topo is drawn it's more like 5.9 thin

I've always considered the move around the "ominous downward jutting block" (obvious directly above the last 5.6 on the beta photo) the hardest move on the climb, but many traverse off or avoid it and don't finish the whole route.

By Christian "crisco" Burrell
From: PG, Utah
Jun 17, 2010

One of my favorites for relaxed climbing.

By Sean
From: Oak Park, CA
Aug 7, 2010

Did it in 6 long pitches, shortest around 150' and longest at approx 190' with one 60 m rope. Went past the piton with rusty decrepit O-ring (still there but placed own gear just below instead) and encountered the single bolt (belayed there with supplement gear on a comfortable standing stance atop small flat-top step-ledge) that Chris Owen mentioned; and regarding the V-groove above, was able to bring feet up as high as possible and reach left to pluck a yellow WC Zero (about blue Alien size) into a perfectly sized thin splitter crack before pulling the tricky move, which didn't feel too bad with good gear at chest level. Very enjoyable route. Full value, and then some.

By David M.H.
From: los Angeles, ca
Jun 27, 2011

Just did this route. It definitely seemed loose! Easy climbing mostly, almost too easy, with sparse but really cool moves here and there. Did it from the ground in 5 very long pitches on 60m. Last pitch was bad on may part that I ran it so long because I could not hear my follower at all. I dont think route finding was really that bad... I used both the photo topo on MP and the first edition of the Vogel topo's for this climb and didnt really have trouble. The route is not obvious however and I had to keep checking both topos while climbing...

By nealg
Jun 19, 2012

Did Pitches 1-5 of route on 6/18/12...thought for sure we were off route. Bailed.

At top of Pitch 4, our leader stepped up and triggered the release of a suitcase size piece of the climb (just by stepping up with body weight); it glanced away from the belayer, which it certainly could have killed. Very scary.

By Rob Donnelly
From: Riverside, CA
Sep 16, 2013

WARNING There is a very scary looking torso sized block at the end of the 3rd pitch (climbing out of the gully after the dog leg right before you gain the ledge and traverse left). It doesn't look like it would take much to dislodge. I don't remember this block being as scary looking last year. We were very careful to avoid it. Be careful!

My partner took the 5.9ish variation (slight left after bolt). The start is thin. Pro is ok to good. Good rests between short sustain sections. Recommended if you want more adventure.