Elevation: 8,263 ft
GPS: 35.267, -111.592 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 9,405 total · 61/month
Shared By: Will Cobb on Apr 20, 2006
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland
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On the eastern slopes of Mt. Elden lies a 500' tall Southeast facing cliff. This cliff is broken in the middle by a gully. Mechanical Persistence and the Original Route up the Elysian are to the left of this gully. The Unemployment Line is on the largest face right of the gully.

Getting There

There are three standard approaches for the Elysian Buttress. I have listed them in personal preference order.

1. Drive north out of Flagstaff on Highway 89A to Elden Springs Road. Turn left here and travel past houses on your right, over a cattle guard to FS road 9180. Turn left on FS road 9180 (medium to high clearance vehicles recommended) and drive south for approximately ten minutes. Take the first right hand fork in this road and park at the dead end. (Drive time is approximately 30 minutes from downtown Flagstaff.) Follow the trail out of the parking area south until a clearing appears on your right. Turn off trail here picking the line of least resistance up to the cliff face. It is a good idea to stick to ridge lines as they entail far less bushwhacking than the gullies. Total hiking time is 30 to 45 minutes to the cliff base.

2. Drive north out of Flagstaff on Highway 89A to the Sandy Seep Trail head. This parking area is on the western side of 89A a little beyond the signal light at Wanona Road. Park here and hike up the Sandy Seep Trail until you reach a T junction. Turn right (north) and hike an additional 10 to 15 minutes until a clearing appears on your left. Turn off trail here picking the line of least resistance up to the cliff face. It is a good idea to stick to ridge lines as they entail far less bushwhacking than the gullies. Total hiking time is 1 to 1.5 hours to the cliff base.

3. Drive up the Mt. Elden Lookout Road and park where Upper Oldham Trail Crosses the road. Hike down Sunset Trail to it's junction with the Heart Trail. Turn right and head down the steep Heart Trail until even with the Elysian Buttress which will be on your left (north). Cut cross country to the cliff. Drive time plus hiking will be approximately 1.5 hours.

3 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Elysian Buttress

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Elysian Buttress Original Route
Trad 5 pitches
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Mechanical Persistence
Sport 4 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Elysian Buttress Original R…
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 5 pitches
Mechanical Persistence
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport 4 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Elysian Buttress »

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Kevin Kent
Flagstaff, AZ
Kevin Kent   Flagstaff, AZ
I think FS 9180 has gotten a lot worse since the floods in the summer of '13. Unless you have a really burly vehicle I would suggest parking at Little Elden Springs and jumping right on the AZ trail (heading south). It probably only adds 15 minutes of hiking and the approach option 1 here will take at least 10 minutes of driving. Jun 11, 2014
David Deville
Flagstaff, Arizona
David Deville   Flagstaff, Arizona
Having done option 2 and option 3 on the approach beta, I can say that option 2 (sandy seep approach) is totally casual compared to option 3. Approaching from above (Elden Lookout Rd) is heinous! From below you run into the big drainage that winds its way to the bottom of the Elysian Buttress standard route. Follow this along a fairly obvious path that crosses the drainage in a few places and when things start getting steep and loose watch for cairns/trail on the right side of the drainage. Eventually there will be a relatively clear path uphill that goes past some big boulders and through mostly open ground. This will end at the base of the routes. It's actually a pretty enjoyable approach and mostly level if you come in from below. Get out here, the rock and scenery is pretty awesome! Nov 8, 2015
Roan Allen
Flagstaff, AZ
Roan Allen   Flagstaff, AZ
I did not see Kevin's post until I went out there. FS Road 9180 is pretty gnarly. the road is way worse than "the high clearance vehicle recommended" description. Imagine door deep puddles and creek bed rock crawling for about 20 minutes and that's what you'll be driving on. I have a 4x4 pickup and this road had me puckered up and white knuckled.
From the end of 9180, there is a 100ft trail that connects to the Arizona Trail. Turn left and follow it until you reach the drainage on you right(the clearing). Then follow the cairns to the top. Takes about 30 minutes. Oct 16, 2018