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Time Wave Buttress
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Time Wave Zero S 

Time Wave Zero 

YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a

Type:  Sport, 23 pitches, 2300', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.12a French: 7a+ Ewbanks: 25 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 25 British: E5 6a [details]
FA: Ed Wright, Dane Bass, Paul Irby, Jimmy Carse, Jon Robinson
Page Views: 34,604
Submitted By: M.Morley on Jan 6, 2008

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From the summit of Time Wave Zero.


Time Wave Zero is one of the longest routes at El Potrero Chico. The route is about 2,300 feet and is listed as 23 pitches in the guidebook, although it is possible to climb in as few as 13 pitches with a 60m cord. All belay and rappel anchors are fixed, which allows for quick progress. The route tops out on the summit of El Toro and affords great views of the Potrero and the surrounding Sierra Madres. The single 12a pitch is easily aided if necessary, dropping the route grade to 5.11a A0.

Most will want to climb TWZ in a day, although there is a bivy ledge half way up if you choose to (or are forced to) spend the night.

A fixed line was in place as of 1/1/08 on the final ridge traverse to the summit (pitch 23).

To descend, rap the route. Simul-rapping is highly recommended to save time. A single 60m rope will get you down, but be extremely careful, as several rappels are a FULL 30m. A 70m would provide a bit more peace of mind.

The route has been climbed in less than 2 hours.

Cultural Reference 

"Timewave Zero" is a reference to the so-called "Novelty Theory" put forth by the psychedelic philosopher/ethnobotanist Terence McKenna (1946 2000). The theory attempts to plot the complexity (i.e., novelty) of the universe over time, producing a fractal waveform known as the "timewave zero". The theory has yet to gain much in the way of credibility from the greater scientific community.

Pitch Ratings and Lengths 

Pitches are as follows:
P1: 5.7, 100'
P2: 5.11a/b, 90'
P3: 5.9-, 100'
P4: 5.9-, 100'
P5: 5.10a, 100'
P6: 5.9-, 100+'
P7: 5.7, 50'
P8: 3rd class
P9: 5.9+, 100'
P10: 5.10b, 100'
P11: 5.9, 100'
P12: 5.7, 50'
P13: 5.8, 100'
P14: 5.9, 100'
P15: 5.9, 100'
P16: 5.10d, 100'
P17: 5.9+, 100'
P18: 5.9+, 100'
P19: 5.9+, 90'
P20: 5.10d, 90'
P21: 5.12a or A0, 90'
P22: 5.8, 100'
P23: 5.6, 100'


Hike past the Spires as for the Surf Bowl and Dihedrals. Just before reaching the Surf Bowl, locate a climber's trail to the right and follow for about 20' to the base of the route.


About 18 or so draws if linking pitches.

Photos of Time Wave Zero Slideshow Add Photo
Bailey Crawford on her way down Time Wave Zero. 2....
Bailey Crawford on her way down Time Wave Zero. 2....
looking TWZ
pitch 15 or something
pitch 15 or something
View from the summit of El Toro
View from the summit of El Toro
Don't let anyone tell you the summit is not worth ...
Don't let anyone tell you the summit is not worth ...
Bailey Crawford on the 16th pitch of Time Wave Zer...
Bailey Crawford on the 16th pitch of Time Wave Zer...
Time Wave Zero taken from the back of the Potrero....
Time Wave Zero taken from the back of the Potrero....
last chossy pitch/scramble to summit
last chossy pitch/scramble to summit
Arin Trook ascending the final pitch 23 fixed line...
Arin Trook ascending the final pitch 23 fixed line...
Arin Trook on Time Wave Zero, New Years Day 2008. ...
Arin Trook on Time Wave Zero, New Years Day 2008. ...
Summit of Time Wave Zero, New Years Day 2008.
Summit of Time Wave Zero, New Years Day 2008.
One of the first of 20-ish rappels.
One of the first of 20-ish rappels.
THis one captures the feel of the route pretty wel...
THis one captures the feel of the route pretty wel...
Just getting to top of last 10d pitch and looking ...
Just getting to top of last 10d pitch and looking ...
Look at that rope management
Look at that rope management
Time Wave takes the scrubbed line up the center of...
BETA PHOTO: Time Wave takes the scrubbed line up the center of...

Comments on Time Wave Zero Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 31, 2012
By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
Jan 6, 2008

[TWZ is the] south-facing wall starting just right of Surf Bowl and reaches the top for a great view all around. Starts on slabby buttress and heads up forever. Rock is generally very clean, couple of raps traverse and have fixed draws. Climbing is mostly easy 9 or 10 with one 12a pitch you can french free.

[To get there] hike up past the Agujas and trend left to Surf Bowl/Dihedrals. Just before entering Surf, look for trail going right to slabby buttress. It's the only route there.
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 10, 2008

I found this route fun. There are a few pitches with poorer rock up higher including the hard but uninspiring .12 pitch. Still the route is worth doing for the overall views and don't forget the bragging rights. It is not everyday that you can climb an alpine type route with only a handful of draws. The views at the top are spectacular too.
By TravisMelin
From: Roanoke, VA La Crosse, WI
Jan 14, 2008
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Sweet route with very straight forward consistent moves for pretty much the whole route. Contrary to what we heard other people say, the rock quality is excellent and the 5.12 pitch is a very fun, powerful lead. Well worth the time.
By Bingman
From: Denver, CO
Jan 16, 2008
rating: 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

Excellent route with long stretches of consistent and fun climbing. The 5.10 pitches are all excellent, and I thought the 5.12 section was very good with good rock and 1,000+ feet of exposure below your feet - a very cool experience. Definitely free this section if you still have the energy after the first 20 pitches - I would assume that it would be an uninspiring aid pitch.

Watch for loose rock on the last pitch (5.6) with the fixed rope and be mindful of the conditions of this fixed rope - it was quite frayed in a few spots this Jan (2008).

70meter rope was great.

BASE TO SUMMIT TIME (w/ Travis Melin): 4 hours 17 minutes 10 seconds! Speed Record?? (it can definitely be done much faster)
By Jimmy Farrell
From: Lexington, KY
Feb 19, 2008
rating: 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a

This is definitely an amazing line. In my opinion it is the most consistently quality climb of all of the El Potrero multi-pitch routes. I think the rock quality is great overall, and the climbing is super fun. The 12a pitch is good, but I do think it is way harder than any other 12a at El Potrero, and not only because it's so high up on the wall!

As for the speed record... I'm sure this climb could be done extremely quick. On 3/8/06, Tom Grundy and I climbed from the base to the summit in just under 3 1/2 hours, with no simul-climbing at all, just linking pitches. I'm sure a competent simul-climbing team could blast up this route in half that time, or less!
By James Garrett
Feb 10, 2009

Definitely agree with Jimmy. Is this really considered a grade III instead of a grade IV? Every pitch is a masterpiece...the crux pitch is no bolt ladder clip up gimme either! Thanks for quality in Mexico! A 70m rope is better than the 1x60m we took. The rappelling takes some time and care.
By gblauer
From: Wayne, PA
Aug 30, 2010

Been there, done that, won't do it again.

I am simply too old!
By Curt MacNeill
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 25, 2011

What's up with all the lousy descriptions in Mexico. This is a great route and one of the longest(if not the longest) sport route in the world. Most of the climbing felt 5.10a ish to me. I would recommend doing this in a single day, starting early, and doing it when its not too hot or cold. It doesnt hurt to start right at daylight or maybe a little before because it takes longer than you think. I linked pitches together and it took about 10 or so pitches to get very close to the top. Unfortunanetly, I ran out of food, water and daylight and had to bail somewhere aroung pitch 20. Nothing beats the 4 hours of rappelling I did in the dark. Yaay..... Overall a great route, probably not the best climbing you have ever done in the entire world, but worth doing for a day while your in Potrero. I had gone down there a stong 5.12+ to 5.13- climber planning to simul-climb the entire route but feel that it's not a great route for that, unless your strong and real comfortable simul-climbing. There is loose rock everywhere, some run outs that would suck if one of you fell while simul-climbing, and sharp rock and cactuses. Give yourself alot of time for the rappeling as well. We teamed up with another party, tied two 70 meter ropes together with a fisherman and were doing long, massive rappels and still took us quite a while. Nonetheless, this route is an adventure in a half and me being a single pitch cragging wheenie, this will most certainly feel epic even if everything goes your way. I got on alot of the classics while I was there from Space Boys and Celestial Omnibus to Surfer Rosa, Pangea and La Vaca, this was the one I seem to have the most stories about.. Enjoy the route... Mad props to the people who established Potrero. I cant even imagine the time that went into bolting some of these long routes, especially on the Jungle Wall.. Thanks for all your efforts everybody!!!!
By Dave Coleman
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 26, 2011

Amazing climb! One tip - don't link the last two pitches because the rope drag is extreme.
By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Jan 10, 2012

An Amazing Marathon of a climb! My Partner and I climbed it in 6 and 1/2 hours just with linking pitches, there is no need to simul-climb it for times sake. Took us less then two hours to rap it but we both had gri gri's and were pretty motivated to get down for dinner. The 12.a pitch is not french free'able by any means but stepping up on draws can help you gain good holds for the climbing between bolts. We did this one in the blazing hot sun and two liters each was cutting it close, water and snacks are important on this lengthy route!!

One very important tip is that if there are alot of people planning on doing the route, which often is the case on this class A cluster funk of a route, either be the first party on the route or the last because being stuck in the middle leads to tons of hanging out at belay stations in your harness in the grueling sun.

Enjoy it while your up there because chances are you wont be doing it again any time soon, haha!
By T.J. Esposito
From: San Diego, CA
Jul 31, 2012

An awesome climb!! Some of the belays suck a bit, definitely recommend linking pitches; we climbed with a 70m and simul-rapped. Great day of a ton of climbing followed by a ton of rapping, probably best to do right before a rest day! Try to get the 10d ones on lead, they were super fun (I was seconding those). The crux pitch is burly, has two distinct crux sections but apparently I missed a hold on the first of them. You will have earned your caguama of Carta Blanca and 1L margarita from La Posada afterward, especially if you climb this in the heat+sun like we did!
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