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Routes in West Face/ Southwest Arete

Born of Water T,S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Cloud Man Got Angry T,S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Crystal Line T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Forbes Route (East Approach) T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Forbes Route (West Approach) T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
I'itoi Dance T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Watcher of the Skies S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Shared By: epsilon on Nov 27, 2002
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick
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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 arete:

Death on the Lion's Ledge: Poor coati wasn't smelling too fresh a month after that photo was taken.
Caution: Human and Drug Trafficking Details

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.

7 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at West Face/ Southwest Arete

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Charles Vernon
Tucson, AZ
Charles Vernon   Tucson, AZ
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. Dec 19, 2015

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