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Old Man

5.9, Trad, 90 ft (27 m),  Avg: 3.6 from 155 votes
FA: Dave Baker, Fig Fiola
Arizona > Southern Arizona > Mt Lemmon (Sant… > Mt Lemmon (Cata… > 4 - Windy Point… > S Fin


This route ascends the huge, prominent left-facing corner near the south end of South Fin.

Start up the clean dihedral on thin fingers until you can get a stance for pro. Continue up through broken blocks, staying generally in the corner, until you come right under the large roof near the top.

While there are a couple of finishes, the most common is to move right under roof and up around corner. Continue up 15 feet to anchors.

While easily protected, this route is long and quite sustained, save for a couple good rests. It is also extremely fun! Some of the best crack moves around.

To descend, move back about ten feet to chains for Male Menopause, and rap down west face of South Fin back to start.


Standard Rack, Chain Anchors

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Highlining the old man gap!<br>
Me sending the line, photocred to Alex McIntyre!<br>
Highline made possible by Kurt Hast, using the fat bolts at the anchors of Old Man.
[Hide Photo] Highlining the old man gap! Me sending the line, photocred to Alex McIntyre! Highline made possible by Kurt Hast, using the fat bolts at the anchors of Old Man.
Dan leading Old Man
[Hide Photo] Dan leading Old Man
Getting into the upper part.
[Hide Photo] Getting into the upper part.
Finishing up the corner.
[Hide Photo] Finishing up the corner.
Working the clean corner.
[Hide Photo] Working the clean corner.
Alex Sizes Up the Old Man
[Hide Photo] Alex Sizes Up the Old Man
Path of the line we chose
[Hide Photo] Path of the line we chose
midway up on TR
[Hide Photo] midway up on TR

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Wes Turner
az / pa
[Hide Comment] great climb.. the crux is really the first 15-20' but I have seen some people get sketched out stepping out onto the face from the roof. Pay attention to your runners and make sure you long sling under the roof! Jun 14, 2004
Daniel Cohn
[Hide Comment] Use the chains on the left side at the top of the route. I didn't see them and used another set of chains 15 feet to the right, but there was too much drag. Nov 26, 2006
Phil Persson
Denver, Colorado
[Hide Comment] Did this route on 1-19-08; great climb, for me the crux was stepping out from under the lower roof into the crack, as well as a few tricky face moved down low. Overall though i thought it took very good pro and followed a great line; very fun long climb. One of the best 5.9's I've climbed for sure. Jan 23, 2008
Jon Ruland
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] best freakin 9 i've ever done. May 1, 2008
[Hide Comment] the exposure after you pull the roof will put a smile on any climber's face.

the views of hawkbill spire from the belay are great. Jan 4, 2010
Christian RodaoBack
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] Move(s) right off the deck felt like awkward, balancy 10- at least. Can be protected w a microcam.

Rest of the route is 5.9 although you can make it harder if you don't find the right stems. Nov 2, 2011
[Hide Comment] Totally classic, hardest moves are unprotected right off the deck. Nail those and cruise the rest of the way. A rap down the N face with a 70m takes you back to the packs easily. Dec 11, 2012
Tim Wolfe
Salt Lake City, UT
[Hide Comment] Straight up, slightly right at the first bulge and turning the high roof to the right up high makes for a great line. The crux is the first move - tiny piece of brass protects it well. As stated above, there are now two chains and you can rap straight down to your packs. May 19, 2013
[Hide Comment] Andy Bennett, very nice touch on the anchor! Thanks for doing this. Seems like a very appropriate location for the anchor! Nice work.

There was some noticeable wear on the rings today. People, please don't top-rope straight off of the rings; use a couple quick draws if you are yo-yo toproping.

Other classic routes on mt. lemmon deserve anchor updating attention like this!! Especially Chimney Rock.

Can we revive the anchor at the top of vistacruiser now?? I'll help with labor if the ASCA supplies the bolts. Oct 25, 2014
Andy Bennett
[Hide Comment] No Andrew, I don't think the ASCA will ever supply gear for anchor updates that don't involve truly suspect bolts. And using them here just because I was impatient and didn't have any others at the time was my Bush-league error. I've since made up for that by buying more identical gear, which I will use on future replacements. Will have to take a look at those anchors on Vistacruiser soon, what seemed suspect to you about them? Mar 24, 2015
Kemper Brightman
The Old Pueblo, AZ
[Hide Comment] A truly classic line. You'd have to wait in line for this thing if it were in J Tree. Mar 2, 2016
j mo
n az
[Hide Comment] Indeed at jtree this would get a ton of attention. Bring lots of long runners Couple gear thoughts: Sweet yellow totem/.4 slotted in plate out left protects final moves. blue totem/.3 is perfect at the very edge of roof, up high not under Mar 20, 2016
Randy Allen
[Hide Comment] It is a 5.9 only if you ignore the start ... that's a 5.10a Apr 27, 2017
[Hide Comment] Probably my favorite moderate trad route i've ever done. It has a little of everything- a lie back corner, some stemming, a hand crack, and a couple of roof moves to pull onto an exposed headwall with an amazing view. The hardest part is the first few unprotected moves. BETA: you can get a bomber .75 cam at your first stance on the obvious divot in the corner. It's nice to have it ready as if you slip it could be a little hazardous. Nov 3, 2020
Jon Ruland
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] Gear beta for the opening moves:

The above comment calls the start unprotected, however you can get a solid #00 cam in the first pod which is about at the height of the average climber's face when you start the climb. If placed well it can protect your ankles should you slip off the first couple of moves (I can personally attest to this). Apr 15, 2024
Jared E
Denver-based healthcare tra…
[Hide Comment] A red ballnut can also protect the first couple moves, similarly placed around head height Jul 7, 2024