Type: Sport, 400 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Scott Ayers and Mark Colby
Page Views: 7,435 total · 35/month
Shared By: Nick Kuhn on May 18, 2001
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

You & This Route

48 Opinions

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


This route is long, fun, reasonably safe, high, sustained and exposed. It's one of the best on the mountain with super solid rock...go climb it!

As you're hiking down to the base of The Fortress, you'll pass a narrow slot between a large boulder and the main wall with a large pine tree and ledge on the other side. Slipping through here will deposit you at the start of the route's second pitch, otherwise, continue hiking down another 100' or so to the actual start.

P1: 80ft. 5.9 Follow the bolts over a slightly bulgy start (not the bolt-protected roof to the left). A short 5.9 section yields easier climbing above. Use the pine tree on top for your belay anchor.

P2: 150ft. 5.9 Amid the myriad bolt lines that cruise upward from here, pick the second from the left. It will follow slightly reddish rock generally up and slightly left, then angle right and head straight to the top of the mini-tower. The climbing looks hard from below the tower, but the holds appear as you reach them. Belay from the 2-bolt anchor on top and relish one of the most fantastic positions in the Catalinas. Then rap down to the massive ramp, keeping a sharp eye for the 2-bolt anchor that lies at the base of the third pitch.

P3: 150ft. 5.9 Ponder your chosen pursuit of hobbies as you make the committing step over the void from the ramp to the main wall. Follow the bolts through the route's crux 5.9+ moves. Though mostly well-bolted, there's at least one lean stretch in the middle that will keep most leaders on their toes. Belay from the 2-bolt anchor. A dropped belay device from here will whistle down, strike an angled face, and lauch hundreds of feet into the trees. Really. After my partner did this I loaned him my spare, which he proceeded to almost drop again from the next pitch. Choose your routes and partners carefully.

P4: 100ft. 5.8 Follow a few more bolts over a short headwall and cruise up easy, unprotected 5th class to the 2-bolt anchor on top. Soak in the views, have some lunch, and argue over which pitch was the best.

Descent: Take the North Ridge 5th class scramble home, unless you have a second rope and want to risk interfering with other climbing parties and getting the rope stuck on rappel.


20 draws; the route is all bolts with double bolt anchors for each pitch.


Steve Pulver
Williston, ND
Steve Pulver   Williston, ND
The second pitch was some of the best climbing on the mountain. But our rope getting stuck on chickenheads when we rapped off the tower to get to the third pitch turned a great day into a sucky day. It's much better to just finish on Tres Frijoles. Sep 1, 2005
Mark and Stacy Egan  
Locate the start of the second pitch as follows: When standing at the big tree at the top of pitch 1, pitch 2 is the first bolt line to climber's right. A route was added to the cliff so the route description for locating the second pitch is out of date. Note too that the "Squeezing the Lemon II" topo (page 304) correctly shows the route to the right of the big tree. Aug 3, 2008
Alex McIntyre
Tucson, AZ
Alex McIntyre   Tucson, AZ
Did this route summer of 2010 the day after one of the large thunderstorms. The climbing team had gotten together and we had spent the night in the observatory (a crazy place to be in a thunderstorm!) Well after a very late night and only about 3 hours of sleep we woke up and walked down to the wall. Mico and 2 others roped up for Steel Crazy while my partner Sean Campbell and I started up Fort-Stress. This is some of the funnest climbing on the mountain! For a second multipitch (Steel Crazy was the first) this was a real treat. We had a mini-epic locating the anchors at the base of the third pitch. They are hard to find and are in a small groove which makes them very difficult to see. Feb 4, 2011
Jon Ruland
Tucson, AZ
  5.10- PG13
Jon Ruland   Tucson, AZ
  5.10- PG13
this route is considerably better than Steel Crazy but also considerably harder. classic climbing on pitches 2 and 3. don't skip the climbing up the tower on p2, it's great.

p3 has some 15-20 foot runouts on ~5.6 terrain, then of course there's the LONG ~5.2 runout on p4. i don't think any trad gear would help though you might be able to sling a chickenhead or two on p4. Oct 26, 2015
Don Stump
Sierra Vista, AZ
Don Stump   Sierra Vista, AZ
If Steel Crazy is a 5.9 this has to be a 5.10. Very difficult lead for me and I took a lot brakes after clipping. Wasn't really sure where the third pitch started, so finished on Steel crazy after the first two pitches. Jul 11, 2016
Justin Headley
Justin Headley   Tucson
For a "sport" route, the bolting is pretty spicy. In fact, I think Endgame is bolted better and that's called a trad route. The cruxes (which I think are 10-) are well protected but there are other spots on the 2nd and 3rd pitches where you are on 5.8-5.9 terrain and could take long falls. I love the route, but just know that it's fairly heady and committing for a moderate sport climb. A light rack (BD .75 and smaller and some thin slings for chickenheads) can help you feel a little better, or at least turn the final 5.3R section from a hard R to a soft R. Aug 8, 2016
Bryanz   Arizona
I will second what many people have said previously. Do not skip the tower. The climb also has traditional bolt spacing where it is not always appropriate to fall/could be a long ride, however the crux's were close bolted. Pitch three was a great lead! Keep an eye out for the bolts, they were hard to see for me matching the color of the rock and in the shade, the 3rd pitch trends right and then back left. Jul 8, 2018