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The Ultimates
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Brown Nosing T 
Lorax, The T 
Pumphouse Primer T 
Teddy Bear's Picnic T 
Twist of Fate T 
Ultimate Dihedral T 
Ultimate Dirty Sanchez, The T 
Ultimate Finger Crack T 
Ultimate Frisbee T 
Ultimate OW T 
Ultimator, The T 
White Wedding T 
Young Guns T 

Twist of Fate 

YDS: 5.12 French: 7b+ Ewbanks: 27 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 26 British: E6 6b PG13

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 215'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.12 French: 7b+ Ewbanks: 27 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 26 British: E6 6b [details]
FA: C. Thornley, 1996. FFA: D.Mabe, 2012
Season: Spring, Summer, Fall. P1 stays dry in the rain!
Page Views: 3,492
Submitted By: Darren Mabe on Apr 19, 2006

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In the crux of Twist of Fate Photo: Blake McCord


UPDATE 10/3/12:
“This coveted route was first aid climbed by Chris Thornley on rope-solo in 1996, just around the corner from the popular and excellent Ultimate Finger Crack. Since then, standing on top of the boulder, some have imagined, stared, and speculated the Fate of this route going free. Even fewer have ventured up with aiders, having realized the unforgiving fragility of thin Coconino cracks as a means to continue their sandy adventure for two more moderate free pitches. Speculation, rumor, and obscurity has left the fabled “5.13+(?)” first pitch to be neglected and almost forgotten for 15 years… even by Northern Arizona’s elite.

Here is a Twist. The striking first pitch goes free at a manageable 5.12 starting from the boulder. The lean/step across, along with the first gear placement, may be nearly-impossible for shorter climbers. Once you commit to actually starting, a brilliant crack-switch sequence unlocks the crux and leads to beautiful splitter fingers. One bolt was placed to protect the crux and preserve the soft and sandy seams, though attentive belay and careful gear placements above are necessary to keep you from hitting the boulder if you blow it. Difficulties ease above the leaning thin-hands offset, but the steepness and pump stay with you. Finish with twin cracks and a glorious handcrack bulge capped by a surprisingly tricky mantle onto the ledge. Lower 85’ from a pair of fixed biners on chains, or belay from bolted anchors on the ledge if continuing." -D.Mabe

Pitch 2. (5.10) Climb large hands, fist, and ow crack up a corner and flake to a stance with two bolts and chains (85').

Pitch 3. (5.8) Face climb up and right past two bolts to a groove and the sub-summit ledge (45').

Descend by rappelling the route starting from a tree that sits directly above the pitch 2 anchors. Three single rope raps get you down. OR take two ropes, top out, a short rap from a pine tree will get you to the bolted anchors atop UFC. A double rope rap from the top of UFC lands you about 25' away from Twist of Fate's start.


Twist of Fate climbs up the face/arete just right of UFC's corridor. The start is marked by a large boulder at the base.

The longer approach to the Ultimates: about 0.7 tenths of a mile north of the Oak Creek Overlook turn off from 89A onto a dirt forest service road heading east. Follow this for about 3/4 of a mile to a parking area overlooking the canyon. Hike down and left from the parking area to the canyon bottom coming out at the Beaver Pond. There are several John Middendorf practice aid routes here. Hike down stream for about 20min watching for the side corridor that contains the Ultimate Finger Crack.


A couple of medium stoppers and micro-cams, doubles of Camalots #0.4 - #2, and maybe one #3, should provide enough of a selection for the first pitch. If continuing with the upper pitches, add at least (3)#3s, (2)#3.5s, and (1)#4. For full credit, don't even think about stick-clipping that bolt!

Photos of Twist of Fate Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Darren Mabe on the FFA  of Twist Of Fate 5.12, The...
Darren Mabe on the FFA of Twist Of Fate 5.12, The...
Rock Climbing Photo: FFA of Twist of Fate, Darren Mabe, September 2012 ...
FFA of Twist of Fate, Darren Mabe, September 2012 ...
Rock Climbing Photo: wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of ...
wham bam hand jam. Wrapping up the final moves of ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Wilson on the dyno
Wilson on the dyno
Rock Climbing Photo: P1 of Twist of Fate.
P1 of Twist of Fate.
Rock Climbing Photo: View of the route from farther back.
BETA PHOTO: View of the route from farther back.
Rock Climbing Photo: Angela aiding the Twist of Fate. Yeah, its that st...
Angela aiding the Twist of Fate. Yeah, its that st...

Comments on Twist of Fate Add Comment
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By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 30, 2012

I freed the first pitch yesterday and it is incredible! I started with a 'sedona-step' from the boulder, and may be a bit height dependent. This summer I added one protection bolt for the crux and anchors at the top of the pitch to lower off. The grade is certainly not quite as hard as has been advertised for the last 15 years, but may need a few repeats to settle it. I am honored it got to be my ultimate fate!
By Eric D
From: Gnarnia
Oct 3, 2012

Props to Darren for the send. I was psyched just to hold the rope on this one! A stunning line in a beautiful place.
By KDog
Oct 26, 2012

Great job, Darren!! Looks like a sweet line.

Woohoo! ;-)
By J. Snyder
From: Flagstaff, Arizona
Sep 30, 2013

Snuck a send in on this Northern Arizona test piece just before our first monsoon of the season. I would put this beautiful route on a short list of Northern Arizona test pieces that are worth the time and effort. Fits nicely within routes such as The Terminator and Synestesia, and definitely on the training list for routes like Red Planet or Lifeline. Loved the classic jump across start move dyno thingy, helps remind you that your still in Sedona (sort of...)

Nice work Darren on the modern vision! The energy of that buttress in such an amazing canyon is worth tying in for!!
By aschwartz
Sep 5, 2015
rating: 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13

WOW! Awesome climb! The jump start off the boulder makes this thing one of a kind! Watch the boulder when pulling past the bolt it can come dangerously close if a ride is taken.

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