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Routes in Rockfellow Dome

Abracadaver T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Good Zzzzzs T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Inner Passage T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Jabberwocky T,S 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a R
Knead Me 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Labyrinth, The T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Long, Strange Trip, The T,S 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Lumpy Unmentionables T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c X
Sensory Desuetude T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Sound of One Hand Thrashing T 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a R
Unknown S 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Unknown (NE Face) T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
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Type: Trad, 500 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: Mike McEwan, Steve Grossman, Dave Baker 1975
Page Views: 26,272 total · 169/month
Shared By: John Peterson on Feb 3, 2006
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Closed from March 1 to June 30 Details


One of the finest routes in Arizona or anywhere. Every pitch is hard. Every pitch is different. The position of the route is incredible. An ascent of Abra is one you'll always remember.

The line of the route is all too obvious as you approach the rock. The route faces northish and remains comparatively cool. On the highest part of the wall two crack systems lead to either end of a small roof about 250' up. The right hand crack is mostly wide - Knead Me, a classic grunt. The left side is Abra.

Pitch 1: climb a funky crack / groove past a bolt to a belay on bolts. (5.10a)

Pitch 2: feed yourself to the offwidth above. Expect no mercy. Some large cams will make your life easier. The crack is about 6" or so and then narrows to fist size. Belay at a small stance where the crack pinches down to finger sized. (5.10)

Pitch 3: lieback for glory up the perfect crack to a roof. This gets harder as you go - the crux is the upper part of the crack. Traverse left, small cams, to the first real ledge of the climb. 5.11a.

Pitch 4: climb the face above. The fixed pin is gone so you'll need some small gear in a thin seam. Then make committing slab moves until holds appear. Then up a crack to a wonderful belay atop the "Friendly Flake". 5.10c. We did this in two pitches but Kerry indicates that one will do here.

Pitch 5: The guidebook gives a number of alternatives (left, up, and right). We took the left hand version: up a bolt, the back down and frictioning left (5.9) to a good crack that leads to the summit area.

At this point you've entered a world few ever visit. The summit area is vast and complex. We spent about an hour scouting around for the passage to the true summit. Eventually we found it - it's marked by a bolt and goes at 5.7. Unfortunately we were too lazy to go back for the rope so I haven't stood at the crest of the dome.

Descend by rapping the route on two ropes.


The pro is mostly natural - just a few bolts on the route. Bring small wires (maybe small cams nowadays) for the crux. I did the OW back in the days of tube chocks - I assume big cams are the ticket now.
The bolted line to the right of Abra was done by, of course, Scott Ayers.
I have done the first two pitches at .11a and .12a. According to what Scott told me several months ago, the next pitch is 5.10, then another .12 pitch and a .11 pitch. I think. I do know he said the 5.12 2nd pitch I did was not the crux pitch of the route.
Lots of hard slabby climbing, on this one.
Just the first pitch is fun and worth a quick go.
Feb 1, 2007
An absolute classic test piece.
11a ? I guess with sticky rubber, micro cams, etc...

I remember taking a fall from the top of layback in '77 or so.
I ripped two pieces and fell past Steve at the belay.
I had just grabbed the flake that stuck out (which later cut loose on some poor party.)

A few weeks later, Fig Fiola took a similar fall and broke his ankle when he popped the bottom of the small ramp. Very nasty walk out...
Steve and I were down in the drainage soaking sun and watching Fig and Dave have a go.

Another variation: In early/mid 80's, I led the first 3 pitches (this time the 3rd felt pretty good, hmmm, stickier shoes (Fires), TCUs (set of Bryne's beta versions) and better technique (done a few more finger cracks by that time) with JJ (John Juraschek.)

From the top of the third, I led out left across the main face for 50-100 (?) ft or so, no gear but easy climbing. This put us into the crack system over there that is probably the upper Jaberwocky pitches. It's a corner groove that took a couple of sketchy nuts. I believe it was a set of three discontinous cracks up and right. Belayed in the second one. I recall being somewhat frazzled by the moves with only 2 questionable pieces between me and a full rope whipper.

This set of cracks had been climbed a few weeks earlier by ??? (either Eb Webster or Chip Chase, Webster I believe.)

They eventually link you into the main cracks with the rappel bongs.

A bolt or two would make it a pretty neat variation. Maybe one at the bottom of the system or perhaps one towards the end of the long traverse ? May 9, 2008
Paul Hunnicutt
Boulder, CO
Paul Hunnicutt   Boulder, CO
Does anyone know how many pitches can be linked on this climb? Especially if you have a 100m rope!!! May 27, 2008
I suspect you could combine 1 and 2 (heh heh.)
And probably stretch the original #4 out for a long ways and belay up in the upper crack somewhere.

Not sure why'd you want to do that. The current belays are very natural breaks. Aug 14, 2008
randy baum
Minneapolis, MN
randy baum   Minneapolis, MN
with a 70m, you can link pitches one and two. just make sure you bring enough pro for the belay. there are two good spots for the belay where the crack narrows below what is traditionally regarded as the third pitch. using the large pinch/flake located where the crack starts to narrow, you can belay off .75 and #1 camalots and/or large nuts. go another 10 feet or so and you can belay right at the base of the dihedral off of red TCUs, .75 camalots, and/or large nuts. while the higher belay may be more comfortable, it reduces the length of the stellar third pitch.

other notes:

third pitch didn't feel like 11a. more like 10a/b. bats like to nest inside this crack, fyi. kind of freaky when you climb past (or over?) them. take yellow or blue TCU for section (crux) below the roof traverse.

beginning crack of traditional 4th pitch feels close to 11a. purple TCU or small nut works well for crux. take some runners for the rest of this pitch. about a 180' pitch. belay atop flake is cozy, though.

fifth pitch has two bolts. after climbing up the 3-4" crack above teh belay, you reach a big flake/jug. directly above this about 10' is the first bolt. the next (and last bolt) is about 30' higher. moves at first bolt are fun, airy, and solid.

two metolius rap anchors have been put in next to the old rap station, of which only one bong is left. first rap station (down and to the left of the huge flake(pitch 4 belay)) is easy to find. we had trouble finding the last station, as it's a ways to the right and a pain to get to.

with offwidth, hands, fingers, laybacking, flares, and even some face climbing, abracadaver might be the astroman of cochise.

Oct 16, 2008
Mike   Phoenix
What a day! Rugged approach, excellent & varied climbing, solid rock, great position & beautiful views.

I thought the start of P4 was at least PG-13, and I never saw the piton. A fall onto that ledge would suck.

We finished on the 11a face. Tough move past the bolt, but then it eases off considerably, which is good because it's a long way to the second bolt.

I love the description above for P2: "Feed yourself into the offwidth above. Expect no mercy." Very descriptive. I taped my ankles ant still got ankle gobies! Oct 7, 2009
Petaluma California
stevecurtis   Petaluma California
A few things to add.
I thought it felt like yosemite 11A crack. Arizona??
Pitch 4 is the sleeper. I placed a red alien blind from a layback. I'd give the pitch an R. One of the best climbs of the grade on granite. Nov 18, 2009
Daryl Allan
Sierra Vista, AZ
Daryl Allan   Sierra Vista, AZ
Paul H., linking 2 and 3 works very well and cuts out the hanging belay. Nov 22, 2009
Bill Wright
  5.11a PG13
Bill Wright  
  5.11a PG13
Absolutely stellar route! I just climbed it last Saturday (Dec. 12) and feel it's the best route I've done in Arizona. I know that means little without a list of routes that I've done there, but the route is outstanding. Each pitch has such unique character. It was quite cold when we did and somewhat wooden hands might have colored my perceptions. I thought the first pitch had one very hard, super insecure move. It just didn't seem like it would work out. Besides that one move the first pitch isn't too bad. Some offwidth at the top to warm you up for the second pitch. The second pitch is probably sustained Yosemite 5.9+ offwidth, meaning, it's pretty brutal. But you can push an old-size #5 Camalot up almost the entire way, so it is very safe with this piece. Besides this piece bring one more #5 Camalot (old size) to leave, and singles of #4.5, #4, #3.5, #3, #2, and #1. I used the #1 and #3.5 for the belay. There is an old bolt about 40 feet up and a fixed copperhead/stopper 20 feet up.

The lieback pitch felt very hard, following, and obviously harder leading. Pulling out of the lieback to place gear is really burly and I was glad my partner led it. The crux of the pitch is just endurance and getting into the stem when you hit the roof. Your fingers never really sink into the crack. The traverse to the belay is 10- at most.

Pitch four is a bit heady to be sure. I took a 15-foot fall here. It's sort of hard to get the gear in. Small cams and RP's work well, but the crack is a seam and you have to run it out between placements. The fixed pin is gone - there is no fixed gear on this pitch now. It is also a long pitch, at least 150 feet, but the hard climbing is all in the first 40 feet.

The fifth pitch is ridiculously easy compared to the other pitches. 11a??!! No way. It is literally one move, with your nose at the bolt. My partner called it 5.9. It might be 10-. Above there the climb is 5.7 and on good edges - no dicey friction moves. The next bolt is 20 feet up and it causes zero stress. The rest of the pitch is super easy slab paddling.

Finding the summit is indeed very complex. There is a great description in the Southern Arizona guidebook. It took us 90 minutes and 6 tries to finally find the route. We were only the 4th party all year to summit. Dec 15, 2009
Brent Silvester
Brent Silvester  
I am sooooooo glad that I finally got on it. I climbed it with Chris, and hats off to him for leading the second pitch. I thought it was really straighforward climbing (except pitch 2, which involved some serious effort). Pith 3 is amazing, if it could only go on and on. I would highly recommend this route to anyone climbing at the grade. Pitch 4 is a little heady to start, but eases up and the friendly flake is absolutly wild! We didn't have enough time to do the final 6th pitch, but I WILL STAND ON TOP SOON. I cannot wait to do it again!

Outstanding!! Dec 22, 2009
FWIW - Steve Grossman always felt the 4th pitch was the true crux of the climb. Maybe technically it is. Nasty little fall.

There's also the first pitch which no one ever mentions. Relative to the others it's not that notable but if you're not familiar with groove climbing, I bet it could wake you right up. How does it protect these days with newer gear ?

I'm still waiting to read about the new route up the rappel line. Dec 23, 2009
Hi Paul, protecting the first pitch is now a no-brainer, with cams.
I wonder how it was with nuts & hexes back in the day ?!
New route in the rappel line? Would love to know about it. Dec 24, 2009
Is it useful to carry a #6 camalot up this route? Jan 12, 2010
Daryl Allan
Sierra Vista, AZ
Daryl Allan   Sierra Vista, AZ
Not really unless you wanted to push it up p2. Otherwise it might be hard to climb 'around' since it would be out on the edge. You'd benefit more by doubling up on 3's and 4's. They go in deep enough to allow climbing past. Might be able to place a 6 on p4 somewhere but definitely not required. Jan 12, 2010
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
  5.11- PG13
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
  5.11- PG13
I was happy to have one (old #5 camalot works too). You can walk it for a long ways.

On the other hand, I think Dave Baker had one #11 hex on the first ascent. Jan 12, 2010
Tucson, AZ
Geir   Tucson, AZ
Stellar climb, certainly among the very best in the Stronghold.

The route descriptions here are terrific, to this I can only add a topo to consolidate the information. Simply PM me if you would like it. You can also get one by registering at the toofasttopos website.

Nov 7, 2010
Jon Clark
Philadelphia, PA
Jon Clark   Philadelphia, PA
Skip the #6, you don't need anything more than singles including a #4 BD camalot

The OW is the crux! Dec 10, 2010
Daryl Allan
Sierra Vista, AZ
Daryl Allan   Sierra Vista, AZ
Awesome topo Geir but you left out the breakfast sandwich, lower two-thirds of small intestine and socks I barfed up on p2. Last I checked, it was all wedged in right about where you have "5.10OW" annotated. Sep 16, 2011
Tucson, AZ
Geir   Tucson, AZ
^^^^^^^^^ Hahahaha Daryl I just saw this post!!!! Hilarious! And sorry to hear that too. :) Sep 9, 2012
Jeffrey Hyman
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Jeffrey Hyman   Santa Fe, New Mexico
I believe I left a white marmot rain coat at the base of the climb Sunday Nov. 24th, 2013. If you find it please PM me. Nov 24, 2013
Drew Marshall
Drew Marshall  
Rad! Sustained in quality and difficulty, with a little bit of everything!
A #6 Camalot is very nice to push up the second pitch, but probably not needed
Easy to link 1 and 2

edit: oh and no raincoats at the base, sorry Jeff! Dec 18, 2013
Kevin Kent
Flagstaff, AZ
Kevin Kent   Flagstaff, AZ
Definitely link pitches 2 and 3, it avoids the hanging belay and you'll earn some all important style points. This route is easily doable with a single 60m rope (as long as you don't need to bail!). To get down with one rope locate the rap anchors 30' to the east of and slightly above the top out and do 3 short raps (80-95' each), then scramble down the gully and do a very short walk back to the base of the route.

I agree with the above posts that the OW really isn't that bad (lots of face holds), a single #5 and #6 are nice for walking up, and the start of P4 is very heads up with potential for a nasty fall. Feb 10, 2015
Austin Sobotka
Tucson, AZ
Austin Sobotka   Tucson, AZ
What an awesome route! First pitch is harder than it looks from the ground (awkward/insecure), second pitch is not as bad as it looks (I haven't done a great many offwidths, but it felt closer to 5.9/5.9+ than 10), third pitch is just so much fun, but not as pumpy as I had expected (lots of good stemming available). It was insanely windy when we did the route, and it definitely made the fourth and fifth pitches feel harder (so windy that I almost got blown off some of the thinner moves). The first section of the fourth actually protected fairly well. The top of the fourth, however, IS run out (I slung a small tree while climbing around the friendly flake and it was my first "piece" of protection after about 30'). Fifth pitch crux is one move, and definitely height-dependent. It didn't feel like 5.11 for me (I'm 5'9).
We rapped with one 60m rope from the anchors to the east of the top out and had no issues.
Also, doubles to four was fine for the second pitch. A five may have been nice but definitely not necessary, nor is a six. Mar 1, 2015
Apple Valley, Ca
adventure4life   Apple Valley, Ca
I biffed it at the bolt on the wide crack (p2) pulled out my 4.5 and fell 30 feet onto the copperhead. that thing is solid, props to the person who placed it.

I would suggest that a size 5 BD cammer is useful if you don't like tipped out smaller ones ;) Dec 12, 2015
Justin Headley   Tucson
If you did want to bring big cams for the offwidth (I brought a BD #5 and #6 and am glad I did, having little OW experience), you can leave them at the 3rd pitch anchors and then pick them up when you rap down if you do the double-rope rap route. You'll want to keep #4's for the rest of the route.

I think the 4th pitch was actually the crux for me. Tough 10+ face climbing on small gear, right above a ledge, then a long, leaning fist crack that I just groveled up. I belly flopped onto a ledge (the start of the chimney), with about 49% of my body still hanging off of it, and had to stop for 5 minutes to catch my breath and try not to throw up. The pitch is long and rope drag was awful towards the top. If I were doing it again, I might try to split up that pitch and belay off the bolted anchors under and to the left of the Friendly Flake. Oct 9, 2016
David Bruneau
St. John
David Bruneau   St. John
Didn't realize there would be wide climbing on all pitches but #3. Make sure to ditch the puffy lest it get shredded...

We came up short on the single rope rap line with a 65m rope. First 2 raps were short. Then the last was off a station in a diagonal flaring crack with a couple ancient 1/4"ers leading away. I ended up BARELY reaching a dead tree, while my partners had to do another rap off a single bolt. Did I miss a station? Dec 13, 2016
Thomas Gilmore
Golden, CO
Thomas Gilmore   Golden, CO
I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere so I wanted to add it; after the runout on pitch 4 you gain a ledge system. I believe the original line stays left on this ledge and up into the wide crack system. Instead of climbing this I went right into a short chimney/OW type feature which pinches down to good handjams. The crack will be angling right and right after a small bush the crack takes a sharp turn left up to the original pitch 4 belay. This last part of the crack is tight hands and a lot of fun. My partner and I agreed this variation is no harder than 5.9 and although we didn't climb the original line, after checking out the original line on rap I feel like this variation would be much better climbing. Just remember to extend your pieces! Feb 7, 2017

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