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Dr. Rubo's Wild Ride

5.9, Trad, 300 ft (91 m), 4 pitches, Grade III,  Avg: 3.4 from 216 votes
FA: Tim Coats, Larry Coats, and Scott Baxter, 1983
Arizona > Northern Arizona > Sedona Area > W Sedona > Coffeepot Rock… > Summit Block Rock


Dr. Rubo's has gained in popularity over the last few years as one of Sedona's best moderate multipitch outings. The climbing is pretty dang good, with the awesome splitter crack of the second pitch being the highlight of the ascent. The route sits on Summit Block Rock, found just left (west) of Coffeepot Rock.

P1) Climb the obvious slot on the left side of the face to a belay seat at bolts atop the limestone band.

P2) Thrutch up through the slot right above the belay to gain the splitter hand crack above. Once that peters out, follow discontinuous cracks to a belay on a sloping block.

P3) Follow the line of fixed pro (retrobolts and fixed pins) out right from the belay across the face. At the end, turn and climb up to gain the top of the ledge above. Belay.

P4) Climb east from the belay up broken ledges to the left side of the summit feature. Out on the left, find a single bolt, clip it, then make a sort of airy bouldery move to gain a small ledge, then scramble up easier stuff to the top.

Descent: Rappel (two ropes) off the east side into the saddle behind the formation. Scramble back to front.


Standard rack from 1/2" up to #4 Camalot.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Kam gets a nice fist jam while linking the first 2 pitches of Dr. Rubo's Wild Ride in Sedona, AZ.
[Hide Photo] Kam gets a nice fist jam while linking the first 2 pitches of Dr. Rubo's Wild Ride in Sedona, AZ.
Claire R. executing the overhanging rap off the summit of Dr. rubos, hanging from the new rap staion.  Thanks, much better as a single rope route!
[Hide Photo] Claire R. executing the overhanging rap off the summit of Dr. rubos, hanging from the new rap staion. Thanks, much better as a single rope route!
My wife rapping off the summit of Summit Block Rock after our climb of Dr. Rubo's.
[Hide Photo] My wife rapping off the summit of Summit Block Rock after our climb of Dr. Rubo's.
Kam on the first pitch of Dr. Rubos Wild Ride in Sedona, AZ.
[Hide Photo] Kam on the first pitch of Dr. Rubos Wild Ride in Sedona, AZ.
Route Overlay Dr. Rubo's Wild Ride
[Hide Photo] Route Overlay Dr. Rubo's Wild Ride
Where the route is. Approach on the left side.
[Hide Photo] Where the route is. Approach on the left side.
Kam links the first 2 pitches of Dr. Rubos Wild Ride in Sedona, AZ.
[Hide Photo] Kam links the first 2 pitches of Dr. Rubos Wild Ride in Sedona, AZ.
Dr Rubo's Wild Ride summit shadow
[Hide Photo] Dr Rubo's Wild Ride summit shadow
Austin nearing the top of P2 on a pitch 1 and 2 link up.
[Hide Photo] Austin nearing the top of P2 on a pitch 1 and 2 link up.
just after the crux of Pitch 1 (5.8+.. but stout for the grade) Fun Climb!
[Hide Photo] just after the crux of Pitch 1 (5.8+.. but stout for the grade) Fun Climb!
hmo on the belay, p1
[Hide Photo] hmo on the belay, p1
Me looking forward to a great adventure on Dr. Rubo's.  I was lucky enough to have Scott Baxter loan me his hand jammies so I could lead the 2nd pitch solidly.
[Hide Photo] Me looking forward to a great adventure on Dr. Rubo's. I was lucky enough to have Scott Baxter loan me his hand jammies so I could lead the 2nd pitch solidly.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Great climb at a moderate grade. Minimal loose rock for a 'desert tower' climb. Combine to 2 pitches total to enjoy even more without 'short' pitches, although that adds sustanance to the 'first pitch', and may make the climb feel more like 10a. Jan 23, 2006
Aimee Rose
Bend, or
[Hide Comment] There are anchors on the summit, so look around for them. I was goofy enough to belay off of some marginal gear right next to the big bomer bolts! Silly me. Mar 30, 2006
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Fun route that isn't too tough. Rap from anchors at the top and escape off the back. Walk back around to your gear. Sep 17, 2006
Brian Boyd
Flagstaff, AZ
[Hide Comment] First two pitches are stiff for the grade, but very cool.

The fourth pitch is challenging as well. The pitch wanders a bit, the mantle move is above a ledge, left of the bolt, and my belayer couldn't see me at all. So, it seemed like a good chance of hitting the ledge below if you blew the move.

At the summit, the bolts are on the opposite side of the formation from where you top out. Nov 6, 2006
EricH Helfrich
Salt Lake City, UT
[Hide Comment] What a climb! The first two pitches were quite stout for the grade but well worth it. My favorite part was by far the third "airy traverse" pitch.. it puts the Mace's traverse to shame! Mar 25, 2008
Kevin Dahlstrom
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] Fun route with pretty solid rock. The pitches are all short, so the climbing goes really fast. The crux is getting into the crack on P2 -- definitely 5.9+, maybe even 5.10.

IMPORTANT BETA: On June 15, 2008 a rap station was added on a ledge about 98 feet from the summit, so the route can be rapped with one 60m rope. Jun 17, 2008
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
[Hide Comment] "On June 15, 2008 a rap station was added on a ledge about 98 feet from the summit, so the route can be rapped with one 60m rope"

Interesting, I don't recall the rap being a problem. Jun 18, 2008
Portland, OR
[Hide Comment] "Interesting, I don't recall the rap being a problem. "

Yeah, I agree. I don't recall the rap being an issue? One shot with 2 ropes & you're on the ground (my photo above).

Is it because folks don't like to carry a 2nd rope? Jun 18, 2008
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
[Hide Comment] I'm curious to see if these do gooders are as conscientious at replacing worn sport area anchors as adding superfluous stations to classic Sedona towers.

Gotta love it. Jun 18, 2008
Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] I distinctly recall the rap being fun and pretty. Darn shame someone would F with it. Jun 19, 2008
[Hide Comment] Actual first ascent of the tower was Herb North's lead. Followed by Peter Nobels y moi. Larry does deserve credit for the first ascent in that he did the first pitch, found the climb, etc.... But then let it sit for awhile (6 months.)

A group of us where in the area (same day as Tower of Boodle first ascent I believe) when this was pointed out to Herb. He was actually going to come back down after the crux when he found out he was "stealing" Larry's climb, but I convinced him to finish it off. Aug 12, 2008
[Hide Comment] I agree with Greg. There's no way the first pitch is any harder than 5.9. It's hard to miss the huge jugs (at every tricky part), even at night. If it's feeling harder than 5.9, you're probably overlooking a big hold. Oct 19, 2008
mike bromberg
[Hide Comment] Did the route yesterday. The new rap station is well placed and in an excellent location on a huge ledge and does not remove the "free hanging rappel" aspect. Used no stoppers and a double rack with single #3. Apr 7, 2009
Flagstaff, AZ
[Hide Comment] Watched out for the bees. On 09/01/2009, we were attacked by bees after we rappelled down from the top on our way to retrieve our packs at the start of the climb. The bees hive was located appx 50 yards down from the base of the rappel, along the edge of the rock face. There is an alternative path if you head out from the spire a bit and then down and around to the base of the climb. Awesome climb. Sep 1, 2009
Chris M
Hailey, ID
[Hide Comment] I had a similar experience with the bees years ago, but have been back and not been bothered. Good to know that they are still around. Try linking p1 and p2 for an awesome 190 foot enduro pitch. Awesome summit Nov 3, 2009
Darren Mabe
Parks, AZ
[Hide Comment] wild route. clever route-finding of Dr.Rubo. Classic spire summit. can't beat mid-sixties temps in January! Definitely would have been nice to have more than a single #1, #2 and #3 for P2. oops. mantle move on last pitch was puzzling and somewhat under-protected to do it the "5.7" way. regarding the new rap station, i don't mind only needing one rope for the raps. Jan 17, 2011
Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
[Hide Comment] A fine summer morning climb! Surprising. First two pitches in the shade, belay in the shade after the third, gorgeous summit, sunny return. Not bad. Start as early as you can from the lot. Shade lasts through 10 or 11ish on the first two pitches and the rest is mellow. Double rope rap highly recommended (Fun!) rather than messing around with the midway anchor. Aug 11, 2011
[Hide Comment] If anyone lost a ring, found at the base of Dr. Rubos, please describe for its return.

Fletch Sep 7, 2011
Jacob Dolence
Farmville, VA
[Hide Comment] Found a belay device on the approach up to Dr. Rubos, let me know if you lost it and I'll get it back to you. Nov 22, 2011
j mo
western slope
[Hide Comment] Stellar **** p1 & 2, the rest is fun and quite civilized. I saw the 9+ and 10 ratings on here and was scared. But this climb is at most 9- and well protected, by local standards I would say. Grade easier than mace, and certainly coyote tower. The mantle on p4 is cool. Fantastic climb Dec 10, 2011
[Hide Comment] P1&2 are great. Rock quality goes downhill quickly after that (P3 especially). Cool mantle and great views from the top! Feb 5, 2012
Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
[Hide Comment] The anchor that folks above were complaining about may have a different purpose -- it's the anchor for a climb that starts from the saddle that you rap to from the top of Dr. R's. I got the rope stuck pulling from below the saddle (NOT recommended, pull rope from saddle and then downclimb) and in rescuing it we "discovered" a sweet little climb from the saddle up to the anchor on top of the ledge. A single bolt protects the loose and crumbly layback section and it's about 8 by Sedona ratings. Jul 22, 2012
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
[Hide Comment] Seemed like solid "desert 5.9" to me. The mini-roof on P1 was the crux for me. I had a double rack to #3 camalot including nuts and seemed to use most things somewhere. I brought a #4, and although I placed it - I probably could have done without it.

Rap was easy with one rope. We had a 70m. With a 60m, watch the ends on the first rap.

Very well protected climbing. Apr 23, 2013
Flagstaff, AZ
[Hide Comment] Pitch 1 was good, with good hands the whole way, but awkward feet for the crux move. Bolted Anchor.

Pitch 2 was way harder for me than it should have been. I would say that if you aren't solid on hand cracks, it's going to feel harder than 5.9. Doubles of .5"-3" will definitely make you feel better about it and it takes gear really nicely the whole way. Bolted Anchor.

Pitch 3 A couple of well protected traverse moves and then up some 4th class. Gear anchor.

Pitch 4 Fun 5.easy moves to a lip. Mantle protects with a bolt. If you don't want to do the mantle, going left looks pretty easy.

Descent: That rap is beautiful hanging rap. If only one rope, then the rap station is slightly off to climbers right.

I would consider this climb more Grade II than Grade III. Jan 25, 2014
Micah K
Denver, Co
[Hide Comment] Does anyone know what the climb directly left from rubos (if your looking at it) and around the corner is? It looked like a thin lay back crack and I may have seen a piton up past the crack. Thanks! Feb 6, 2014
Max Dismukes
El Paso, TX
[Hide Comment] Be careful pulling your rope. We did the rap in one with two 60s and it got stuck in a chossy dirt clod crack just below the intermediate rap station. Retrieval was very sketchy Feb 7, 2014
Tony San Felice
Cottonwood, Arizona
[Hide Comment] so there is no anchor at the top of the pitch 3 traverse. and the final pitch is easy 5th class climbing. nothing harder than 5.5. all in all definately one of sedona's best Apr 8, 2014
Nate Young
[Hide Comment] Don't bring a #4 sized cam, you don't need it and it's big. Bring extra #1-3 though, the second pitch eats those sizes up!

Linking the first and second pitches would take doubles from sizes .5 - 3, but I would look into taking tripples from 1-3 if you don't want it to feel run-out.

Belay advice:

On the top of pitch two, the belay is a bit oddly placed and isn't all that conducive for the belayer to sit while the second climbs. If you bring a cordellette or an a couple 4 foot slings, you can bring the belay down to a very nice and pretty huge ledge system that you can stand up on.

The top of the 3rd pitch is a gear belay. Cross the saddle at the top and get into the small roof angling right. There is a larger vertical crack that is a great spot for a belay since it's completely out of the sun until mid-afternoon in the spring / summer. It takes cams from 1-3 and a few hexes can be placed as well.

If you want to belay on top of the block, right before the 4th pitch mantle move, you'll need a #4 and a couple #3's, or tie the 4th pitch bolt into your belay with a long cord or sling. 8' sling did the job for me for a nice sitting belay stance.
Jul 20, 2015
Derek Field
Sedona, AZ
[Hide Comment] Highly recommended for a budding 5.9 trad leader. Lower two pitches are among the cleanest in Sedona, upper two pitches are "classic Sedona" rock quality.
P1: I found the crux of the whole route to be the little bulge 15' off the ground - pretty awkward.
P2: Remarkably consistent #1-2 camalot width - bring doubles or even triples in these sizes and that's really all you need.
P3: Delicate traverse on not-long-for-this-world flakes, then easy scramble to top of subsidiary tower.
P4: Around left side of summit block, boulder problem (~V1) on exposed north face, then a series of easy mantles to tiny trough-shaped summit.
The double-rope rappel is freehangingly awesome, but watch for the rope-snagging ledge at the midway point. If snagged, the chossy chimney leading up to the ledge goes at 5.8 or so. Can also rap with single 60m using the intermediate ledge station (bolts). Mar 2, 2016
[Hide Comment]

My partner accidentally cleaned this super-overcammed piece of fixed pro on P2.

He said that the "red one" with the "broken wire" was really stuck in there. I assumed that he did something very silly with my red Camalot and was being dramatic about the occasionally loose wire. After over 20 minutes, we both celebrated him freeing it. When he showed me this, I was both horrified and extremely impressed. I promise one day we'll put it back. It was very helpful since we only had a single rack.

Doubles of 1-3's (especially 2's) sure won't hurt for P2 if you're a trad newbie like myself. Nov 2, 2016
Jon Ruland
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] p1 crux is the hardest move on the route.
p2 is nonstop "5.9 moves" with minimal or nonexistent rests for 50 feet hence the 10- rating. see the discussion for Ego Donor to see what i mean.

great stuff, enjoy! Dec 15, 2016
Ivan Cross
[Hide Comment] Heh this is Rudy, Flagstaff's parkour-pup here. I hijacked my human's mountainproject profile to tell all the other crag dogs out there that you've got to get yourselves to the base of this climb. It's like an all-you-can-eat buffet of human shit. People make it so easy, you hardly need to dig at all! Here's the move for move beta. If you want the onsite, stop here.

Wait till your human is climbing and their partner is belaying. Go down to the East from where the route starts, that's where humans seem to like to crap. Eat all the crap you want. There's not much they can do about it while climbing or belaying. Enjoy! Dec 17, 2017

[Hide Comment] really cool route. i thought the 4th pitch was hard and kind of scary. it looked like you could go out left but the location of the protection would be sub optolimal. it wouldnt be a bad idea to bring the belayer up to this ledge, although the anchor wouldt be as straight forward as the one immediately at the top of the 3rd pitch. for the ledge belay a 4, 3, and the bolt with some macrame would be the ticket. Jan 3, 2018
Shelby Kincaid
Phoenix, AZ
[Hide Comment] Glad i didn't listen to the condescending douchebags we met who said to do the double rope rappel. way too easy to get stuck while pulling. there's a nice big ledge where the anchor is midway down, so you don't even have to hang while rigging the 2nd rap. easy peasy.

p1: most people on here seem to think this was the crux, but I think it was just as hard as the first 15-20 ft of p2.
p3: easy but scary because the flake you're traversing on is loose and will for sure blow one of these days.
p4: i also agree that the airy boulder move was stout and reachy, but it's well-protected by a high bolt. Dec 23, 2019
[Hide Comment] I must have missed a lot of holds. I’ve climbed old school Joshua Tree 5.11 that went easier than this. Feb 21, 2020
Tyler Collins
Phoenix, AZ
[Hide Comment] Excellent climb. The P1 crux is on par with the first 20 feet of P2, IMO. They both feel every bit of 5.10 to me.The flake on the p3 traverse is not long for this world, speak softly and whisper it sweet nothings as you tiptoe across. The mantle on p4 is a nice cherry on top of a great climb.

There's an active bee hive on the NE side of the tower as you're heading back to your gear after the rap. They didn't seem bothered by us. May 22, 2020
John Knight
[Hide Comment] Confused about whether the rap can be done with a single 60m or if we need two. Derek's comment suggested there was an intermediate rap station. Can someone provide a bit more beta on the rappel for me? Nov 19, 2020
Nolan B
Sedona, AZ
[Hide Comment] John-
Only one rope is needed for the rappel. Use summit anchor on opposite side of tower (northeast) from which you started the route. Get down in two easy 100ft raps Nov 20, 2020