Type: Sport, 450 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Mark Colby, Scott Ayers, 1996
Page Views: 22,344 total · 112/month
Shared By: James DeRoussel on Sep 6, 2002
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Potentially unavailable to climbing February through July if raptors are breeding here. Details


Steel Crazy starts up the face near the left end of the Fortress. Look for the well-bolted line just left of a large corner.

Pitch 1: Pumpy climbing up and over small overhang (crux?)to easier climbing above. Continue up easier terrain, slightly runout to sloping ledge. Scary, thin moves up steep face past more bolts lead to small sea of chickenheads. Follow these to two-bolt belay on huge ledge.

Pitch 2: From the belay ledge, Steel Crazy follows the right of two bolted lines. Fun 5.9 climbing on well-bolted (over-bolted?) face straight up for 100 feet. More chickenheads lead to another two bolt belay.

Pitch 3: Continue straight up over sustained climbing to chickenheaded face. Easier climbing leads to 40 foot runout onto sloping ledge just left of large chimney. At the shrubs, step across chimney (scary) to two bolt belay on right hand side.

Pitch 4: Easy climbing for 60' to belay on top.

Descent: If you are unfortunate enough to have return to your gear at the base, you can double-rope rap the route (not recommended).

Otherwise, walk off the backside of the Fortress, following the long narrow ridge that leads north back toward the saddleRequires potentially scary scrambling.


60 m rope, 20 quickdraws, biners and webbing for belay stations.
My partner and I tried rapping this route with a single 60m rope and wound up having to reach down to clip anchors while hanging on the end of the rope. Then the rope didn't reach the next anchors so we had to wrap a rock fin with some webbing and lower off that. Then the rope got stuck and I had to reclimb the pitch to free it. All this while the sun was setting and our fingers were getting numb. Walk off the route or bring another rope to double-rope rap. May 26, 2003
Warning! The last time I climbed this, one of the hangers on the two bolt belay at the top of the second pitch is missing. Bring a hanger and a wrench (or a small stopper for the bolt). Many heartfelt thanks to the jerk that decided stealing that $3 hanger was more valuable than the safety of my party. This is fun route. It has some long runouts on easy ground, so a good lead head is a must on pitches 1 and 3. The forth pitch, while short and easy, is also quite a head game in a strong wind. Communication is difficult, especially with any wind. May 22, 2006
Steve Pulver
Williston, ND
Steve Pulver   Williston, ND
That hanger was missing when I did the route, June of last year. I had put a comment on the tucsonclimbers.org website, for some reason the comment didn't transfer over to mountainproject. (I don't care for hanging belays off a single bolt either) May 22, 2006
j fassett
j fassett   tucson
Probably not a good idea to be posting your climbing activities in this area while the area is possibly closed to climbing. May 24, 2006
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
Hey Vince I found the skeleton of a climber with just shoes and a chalk bag and it had one finger though a hanger. I used the hanger on a new route in the Stronghold but I will give it to you if you want to put it back. Not a bad idea to carry a hanger and not in you chalk bag. May 24, 2006
Jerry Cagle
Tucson, AZ
  5.9+ PG13
Jerry Cagle   Tucson, AZ
  5.9+ PG13
I haven't seen it myself, but I was told yesterday by a reliable source that the missing bolt hanger has been replaced. Jul 26, 2006
Littleton, CO
Hendrixson   Littleton, CO
Amazing route -- I was tempted to return to the base and run up it again.

The runout sections are on much easier ground with massive chickenheads. I reduced the runout on pitch one by slinging a horn and believe this can be done elsewhere as well. If a 5.9 leader remains calm it isn't as scary as the description makes it.

All belay bolts are in place now, by the way. Jul 27, 2009
mike Herholz
mike Herholz   tucson
Very fun route but only found 3 pitches. It's a little tricky at the top but all you have to do is wiggle down a narrow chimney then climb the 20ft boulder problem to get up the other side. Definitely recommend a 70m rope because climbed to the end of it to reach the third anchor for some reason. Dec 16, 2011
Cody Brechtel
Glendale, AZ
Cody Brechtel   Glendale, AZ
Leave the extra gear near the orifice wall entrance and walk off the fortress for the descent. There's a pretty scary scramble involved but well worth it. Dec 9, 2012
pick one Apr 28, 2013
MJ Nelson
Tucson, AZ & Big Pine, CA
MJ Nelson   Tucson, AZ & Big Pine, CA
IMPORTANT info for the descent:
- There is an easy scramble on solid rock down a ridge just north of where you top out. But to get there you'll need to navigate a chasm between the south pinnacle (where you top out) and the north pinnacle.
- from the top of the south pinnacle, scramble down to the east, then wrap around to the west into the gully between the two pinnacles. Climb the short section (stem against the south wall) to top out on the north pinnacle then walk down. Sep 15, 2013
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
I don't think there is a description for getting off this cliff in the guidebook. There is definitely no suggestion you rap anything. There is a description on how to approach the routes. I guess when I did the guide getting off was too obvious to me since I was familiar with working my way back along the top toward where I left my pack. Sep 15, 2013
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
Hey MJ, I see where you could read that sentence you quote as the way off of the cliff. However the sentence before it says, "Approach the same way as the Ravens but follow the trail down and right at the Murray Wall to reach the small saddle where the Fortress meets the ridge. Dropping down the east side is the best way down.

How about this MJ? From the top of the cliff you will need to walk off. To get back to the uphill end of this crag work your way north along the ridge. Scrambling, down climbing, third classing or possibly roping up if you need to. Sep 24, 2013
Phoenix, AZ
K-Tanz   Phoenix, AZ
Fun route! The hangers are extremely well camouflaged though so be careful. I climbed right past the belay station at the top of pitch two and ended up tying off a ton of chicken heads before downclimbing and finding the anchors. If you find yourself tying off chickenheads or wishing repeatedly for bolts you are now off route. In doing this, though, I realized that it may be possible to link pitches two and three with a 70 meter rope....maybe. Keep your eyes open and follow the steel! Oct 13, 2013
Jon Ruland
Tucson, AZ
Jon Ruland   Tucson, AZ
if you're not comfortable with long runouts on 5.4/5.5 terrain, a set of nuts and some slings for chickenheads should help. Oct 26, 2015
Los Angeles, CA
Aashiq   Los Angeles, CA
Anybody have any opinions about climbing here during the winter? I am road tripping to the East Coast from California and looking for climbing along the way! Jan 11, 2016
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
24 inches of snow up there now! 1/12/15 Jan 12, 2016
Justin Headley   Tucson
Pitches 3&4 can be linked with a 70m. Just put an extended alpine draw on a 3rd pitch anchor bolt, and maybe the next bolt above that. The 5.8-5.9 sections are all bolted well but lots of runouts on easy ground. Sep 11, 2016
Tucson, AZ
RobPelon   Tucson, AZ
STL3 written description is wrong. The 2nd pitch goes right of the black streak. Oct 31, 2016
Just did this and my partner and I were planning to link pitch 3 & 4 with a 60m rope. We assumed that we would be simulclimbing the last bit but we did not have to because a 60 was plenty to link the last two pitches and it saved us some time. Just had to extend some spots to minimize rope drag. Sep 4, 2017
Two comments: we were having fun with naming routes, and Steel Crazy had little to do with using too many bolts. I put in the famed extra bolt to protect the leader from an ankle injury, if they popped off in that area. Why might somebody pop off there you ask. During the first ascent, one of the large crystals I stood on in same pitch blew out. When the crystal popped off, the aid hook I hung from was seriously bent, mutilated, but it held. With a prominent band of crystals, who doesn't like pulling up on or standing on a band of crystals?, and the chicken head field at the top, this route has some classic fun Rappel Rock type features. And, I think it's safe and enjoyable. Jun 12, 2018