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NE Arete T 
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SE Face T 

SE Face 

YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a R

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 520', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.11+ French: 7a Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: M. Brown, Z. Harrison, April 2012 FFA Z. Harrison, J. Snyder, B. McCord 2015
New Route: Yes
Season: not summer
Page Views: 1,350
Submitted By: Zach Harrison on Apr 24, 2012

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This route is good, even without considering that its in the Grand Canyon, and of course the views...
The sustained difficulty, amazing position and punchy cruxes add up to arguably the Grand Canyons test piece rock climb.

Pitch 1. Boulder up a crack to a traverse across blocks to the main corner. Continue up the easier corner to a sit down belay nook. 5.11- 110 feet.
Pitch 2 Go up through the runout squeeze chimmney, layback around the beautiful roof to a crux face sequence. Above, clip a bolt and get creative to make it to the hand crack corner and belay on a big ledge. 5.11R, 120 feet.
Pitch 3 Surmount the fun bulging crack into a awesome bouldery fingers section (5.10). Above a bolt, desperate slab moves in the corner will get you to a stance. Ascend large blocks to big ledge. 5.11+ 120 feet.
Pitch 4 Work finger to tip jams up the open corner to a stance, continue laybacking and stemming the varied and challenging corner above to a nice ledge. 5.11+, 80 feet.
Pitch 5 Walk left and climb a low angle left arching crack with comical quasi- gear. At the arete, face climb runout easy scoops, belay on talus slope from gear in various bedrock cracks. 5.7 R, 100 feet.

There is no vegetation to battle and all belays have great ledges. Once you find it, getting off route would be quite an achievment. Pitches 1,2 & 3 all require generous use of runners to keep rope drag in check, but not in a tricky way. The route gets morning sun, and afternoon shade.
It is possible to aid all the cruxes simply on small nuts and cams in order to climb the route in the 5.10+ C0 range. All in all, a stellar and demanding tower route no matter how you climb it.


The route ascends a large, ramping corner on the southern end of the SE Face. From the NE arete, hike along the base for ~15 minutes until the talus covers up the vertical poop of the Hermit Shale. There is a building sized boulder that is too far. Look for a cairn under the start by a juniper. To get down, hike across the summit plateau, with a detour up to the actual summit, to the NE arete. Proceed to rap into the vegetated, low angle gully of the NE Arete route. These raps will likely bum you out as they traverse though rope snarl tree terrain. Many rap stations consist of barely alive slung trees. Hike your trash out.


Protection is solid and dependable along the way, except pitch 5, which is runout, but very easy. Full trad rack of nuts (with micros for the aid moves), 2X BD #0C3 -#1, 1X BD #2,3. Bring some long runners. Two protection bolts. No fixed belay or rap stations.

Photos of SE Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 4
Rock Climbing Photo: Topo for SE Face route
Topo for SE Face route
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 3
Pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: The 4th pitch. Alwyne Butler learns its not over t...
The 4th pitch. Alwyne Butler learns its not over t...

Comments on SE Face Add Comment
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By pseudalpine
Apr 30, 2015

Grade III, so ~how many hours did it take you guys to get the FFA R2R?
By J. Snyder
From: Flagstaff, Arizona
Apr 30, 2015
rating: 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a R

The FFA was not a single push mission and the overall process required much more time and energy than any "Grade" could describe. I believe Zach is suggesting that the Grade III is an estimate and a challenge to anyone who thinks they are up to a R2R test piece. If you are a climber that is considering climbing in the Canyon then you already know that these semantics don't give much clarity....
By pseudalpine
Apr 30, 2015

And as anyone who climbs in GC knows, if it's a "test piece", it's going to progress to how fast it can be done.
It sounds like it took you guys a few days, but you think it could be done in <18h.

Zach, you state this route is "arguably the GCs test piece". Are you inferring that itÂ’s a more difficult route than the CPR?
By Zach Harrison
May 1, 2015

The grade III means, it will take you most of a day to do the climb. Just the climb. There are many approaches to a approach and climb like this, 'fast and light' in a push, overnight, or 'slow and heavy' many day with camps. If you could free this route in 18 hours 'R2R', I will buy you a case of beer. I think a bivy would set you up for success better then a in a push mission. Our 'R2R' time was somewhere around 76 hours. Not too bad. But really, it took 150 miles of hiking to this route during attempts over several years. So, I guess that the current 'R2R' record to free this climb is 275 hours. It features roughtly the same amount of roped climbing as Commanche Point SW Ridge, which we mostly 3rd classed, but the belayed climbing is a jillion times harder, and better. But the climbs natures are very different, comparing them doesn't really make sense. I was just suggesting that in terms of rock climbing in the Grand Canyon, it stands out for having both good and hard climbing. The only other route that I know of that is that hard and long in the GC is Tommy Caldwell's free ascent of the Grapevine Buttress at "5.11+ kitty litter." But it doesn't sound like anyone has repeated that one.
By Paul Davidson
5 days ago

Awesome looking route.
I recall wandering over that way when we did the S face and looking up what looked to be a blank expanse. Amazing that there's good gear cracks and climbing potential back in there. CPR looks to me like it's more of a traditional canyon scrambling adventure with bits of climbing here and there. Not to knock it, just not a long continuous climb like this appears to be.

Sounds like you certainly paid your dues putting it up. Awesome!

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