Sign Up  |   Log In:Login with Facebook
REI Community
West Face/ Southwest Arete

Select Route:
Born of Water T,S 
Cloud Man Got Angry T,S 
Crystal Line T 
Forbes Route (East Approach) T 
Forbes Route (West Approach) T 
I'itoi Dance T 
Watcher of the Skies S 

West Face/ Southwest Arete Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Page Views: 6,986
Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: epsilon on Nov 27, 2002

67° | 47°

65° | 45°

62° | 46°

69° | 49°

71° | 50°

70° | 50°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
Know the location? Show us! We need it for cool new features!
BETA PHOTO: Babo from the east. The SE arete route follows th...

Caution: Human and Drug Trafficking MORE INFO >>>


When approaching from the West side (Baboquivari Camp), there is an easy to follow pack trail to the Lion's Ledge. When I last went on Sept '01 there was a gauntlet of cat's claw and pointy branches on the trail, so long pants are recommended. Also recommended are a high clearance vehicle for the 12mi dirt road to the camp and trip scheduling on a cool day. On a hot day on hot rocks, 4L went easily. Leave extra gear near base of the Great Ramp. From there, the trail to the West side climbs and the Southwest arete goes through brush and descends shortly through a rock hole. In general, stay near the wall when following this trail on the Lion's Ledge. The trail ascends to a west-facing arete, then descends (past a bolted route next to a water stain near the base), then ascends to the SW arete. The arete base is wide and the start of the route is easy to pass unless you keep a eye out for the identifying landmarks (ridge of hills leading to the arete, dead pine tree and groove to right). A compass and topo map might help save time on a first trip.

West Face Area: Booty!! Mine, all mine! I found an aid-hook at the base of the West face in the vicinity of several relatively new bolted routes not mentioned in Kerry's Backcountry guide. First ascentionists can get the gear back in exchange for new route info posted to this site.

Overhead shot of the SW

Death on the Lion's Poor coati wasn't smelling too fresh a month after that photo was taken.

Getting There 

West approach: There is one clear trail to the Lion's ledge, and the trailhead is found near the end of Baboquivari Camp. The sign might have fallen, as it was on my last trip.

Climbing Season

Weather station 6.1 miles from here

7 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in West Face/ Southwest Arete

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for West Face/ Southwest Arete:
Forbes Route (East Approach)   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 3 pitches   
Forbes Route (West Approach)   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
Crystal Line   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 6 pitches, 800'   
Cloud Man Got Angry   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 8 pitches, 1000'   
I'itoi Dance   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 9 pitches, 1000'   
Born of Water   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 9 pitches, 1000'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in West Face/ Southwest Arete

Featured Route For West Face/ Southwest Arete
Rock Climbing Photo: Scrambling down the tricky part between the roped ...

Forbes Route (West Approach) 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b  AZ : Southern Arizona : ... : West Face/ Southwest Arete
An ascent of the Forbes Route is an outing not to be missed, earning three stars not for the technical climbing, but for the experience as a whole. The mountain will make you earn its summit; with a lengthy approach, unmarked trails, fickle weather by Southern Arizona standards, and virtually unprotected yet straightforward climbing, it defines the classic Arizona mountaineering experience. Hikers who know how to belay and rappel can ascend this route if accompanied by an experienced c...[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of West Face/ Southwest Arete Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Does anyone know anything about these spectacular ...
Does anyone know anything about these spectacular ...

Comments on West Face/ Southwest Arete Add Comment
Show which comments
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 19, 2015
It should be noted that you can easily approach all the west face routes from the east, if you want. Once you hit the SE Arete from the east, it is only about 10-15 minutes more to the area where most of the west face routes start. The advantages of this approach are (1) you don't need to get a permit ahead of time; (2) you pass the spring; and (3) you get to traverse the most spectacular part of Lion's Ledge, directly under the overhanging east face. The disadvantages (depending on what kind of experience you're looking for) are that the trail is worse and the route-finding is tougher from the east side, making it more likely that you'll epic if it's your first time on the peak.

You can also do the Forbes route from the East in a different way. Instead of going up the chockstone and slab pitches from the saddle, you can go around the entire Lion's Ledge to the Great Ramp. Go up the Great Ramp & ladder pitch, and then down the normal Forbes Route rappels over the slab and chockstone. This is my favorite way to do the Forbes route because of how amazing it is to circumnavigate the entire Lion's Ledge and the whole peak.

The Definitive
Climbing Resource

Inspiration & Motivation
to Fuel Your Run

Next Generation Mountain
Bike Trail Maps

Backcountry, Sidecountry
& Secret Stashes

Better Data. Better Tools.
Better Hikes!