Type: Trad, 500 ft
FA: Dave Baker, Mike McEwan
Page Views: 19,969 total · 128/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


This unique route offers a chance to take non-climbers on an adventure. Most climbers would be comfortable soloing this but a belay is a good idea for newbies.

The crux is finding the correct entry into the dome. This route is immediately right of Abra / Knead Me, between the Rockfellow Dome and Chay Desa Tsay. It is NOT in the much bigger chimney next to End Pinnacle.

There are only two places where a rope need be used. The initial pitch is about 5.3 and follows a ramp / crack into an massive chimney leading into the bowels of the rock. At this point, the chimney becomes an amazing passageway - about 2' wide with a flat bottom and perfectly parallel sides reaching up for over 200'.

Eventually you reach a small chamber in the center of the rock. Stop and enjoy this unique spot! From the chamber, the crack no longer has a flat bottom. You need to chimney up about 10 - 15', then across 20 - 30', and then back down to get to then end of the climbing. There are bolts at either end of this part that would allow you to give beginners a safe belay.

The crack opens up and becomes more broken until you eventually exit the dome. From the south side of the crack you can walk around past End Pillar to the start or climb back through the rock.

You could solo this in about 30 leisurely minutes but bringing non-climbers through is a different story.

According to the rangers, even this route is closed during bird season. What a crock!


I didn't use any pro except the bolts in the chimney.
George Bell
Boulder, CO
George Bell   Boulder, CO
Recommended equipment: knee pads ...

We did this climb as an alternate way to get back to the base of Days of Future Passed after completing that route. I didn't feel a rope was needed, but unfortunately we were encumbered by all our gear. Still a really fun adventure, but next time I'd do it with just a pair of knee pads and climbing shoes.

This route would be harder in the opposite direction, I would think. Feb 6, 2006
John Peterson
John Peterson  
Warning: this is not a route for the large of girth! Returning to this after 20 years, I no longer fit! I had to back out at the small chockstone.

On the other hand, I now know that you can downclimb out the north end unroped without much fuss - I don't think there's much difference in difficulty either direction. Jan 21, 2008
Any topos available for this line? Mar 18, 2008
Josh Janes    
This weekend my partner, Charles Vernon, absolutely hiked this route. Onsight, and skipping all the bolts nonetheless. Done this way we call the route "The Brazilian Passage." It was impressive and inspiring to watch!

Nice job Charles! Jan 9, 2010
adrian korosec
adrian korosec   tucson,az
Does anyone have a topo of this route? That's funny if you've ever done it. Even using ropes is a bit funny because it's a traverse in a chimney and pro for the 2nd is as good as it is for the first....which is almost non-existent once you enter the slot.

Not trying to be critical, just letting people know that this is a solo with serious consequences if you blow it deep inside the bowels.

Bring your knee pads and be a 5.8 trad climber in my opinion. Oct 29, 2010
Doug Kinsman
Atlanta, GA
Doug Kinsman   Atlanta, GA
"if you blow it deep inside the bowels"

Sorry I had to quote that. Dec 3, 2010
Catherine Conner
Phoenix, AZ
Catherine Conner   Phoenix, AZ
I have to say, after climbing DOFP, and then going back to packs this way... I would never bring a beginner through this... maybe I was just exhausted/didn't have knee pads/had a ton of trad gear/whatever excuse, but I thought it was hard... my opinion is that it is a 5.8 solo... and you need to be cool with that. I personally am not into soloing anything over 5.6. This is just my opinion. My climbing partner Mike K. did not think it was bad at all... so I mention this to show opinions can vary, and maybe what I experienced that day wasn't totally accurate with it's true difficulty. It is a neat looking passageway though, you will get some cool pics. It's highly unique and different. So I'm glad i did it for those reasons. It is true that roping up doesn't do that much for you (leading or following), but the little that it did do saved me at the end-I almost had a blow-out in the bowels ;-)!! Nov 1, 2011
This climb will be UNenjoyable by anyone who;
-doesn't have climbing shoes, or at least good hiking or approach shoes
-doesn't have long sleeves and pants or knee pads on
-does't like small dark narrow spaces
-just watched 127 hrs
-is rotund in girth
[not being insensitive _ you will not fit _ it gets down to less than a foot in width]

If you took a non-climber through this, they might never talk to you again.
I feel that the rating might be accurate, but a little misleading.

ALSO very important :
Don't bring packs with you. Oct 15, 2012
Just did this epic adventure...DO NOT bring non-climbers!
It is a must to have chimney techniques, also it is NOT two feet wide, more like less than a foot wide in most areas. DO NOT bring packs, be sure to wear long pants long sleeves and knee pads are not a bad idea as well. Sturdy hiking shoes, or approach shoes are a must. For those that call it a "hike" well you just mislead all those poor souls that expect a leisurely day, the day was an all out adventure worth every moment of blood and sweat but be sure to be prepared for what you are getting into. good luck and squeeze on! Oct 16, 2012
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
This "don't take a non-climber" stuff is a bit off base, in my opinion. I've known plenty of people who may never tie into a rope but would have no problem negotiating the Inner Passage. And as we all know there are plenty of climbers who will have nothing to do with chimneys or the "techniques" for climbing them.

[Edit] Did this again recently with relatively stiff-soled hiking shoes rather than climbing shoes and actually found it to be easier than with climbing shoes. However, I have large (size 12.5) feet. Oct 17, 2012
Lee H
Lee H   Albuqueruqe,NM
Climbed this in late December. Led the first 5.3 pitch with a rope (essentially just free-solo, so my follower didn't have to free-solo it). Dragging the rope plus having misc. things on my harness made some of the chimneying more difficult than it should have been. Tried using the rope to protect the follower in the final Chimney where the bolts are supposed to be, and only found one bolt (I might just not have been in the right spot for the others). The one bolt I did find was near the exit, and if I recall correctly, the sleeve was sticking out a good 1 to 1.5 inches out of the wall. Once exiting the route, the downclimb looks pretty difficult, but we went out right and it's much easier than it looks. Overall, it was fun enough that I want to go out again and try it without carrying all of the gear. Feb 4, 2014
Definitely wear approach shoes vs climbing shoes. Very interesting "climb" with a very adventurous feel. Great squeeze chimney practice! We didn't like the look of the walk off so we went back through to the beginning-actually felt easier going that way. All in all a fun little jaunt. Feb 28, 2014
brian benedon
brian benedon   tucson
The bolts in the middle of the route do not look trust worthy. They might only be used to shuttle a non climber across, or maybe un stick someone that has slid down and become stuck.
We chose climbing shoes for the first section.
Nov 14, 2014
Jon Ruland
Tucson, AZ
  5.6 PG13
Jon Ruland   Tucson, AZ
  5.6 PG13
pretty baller, though definitely not recommended for non-climbers or non-cavers. also, knee pads are recommended unless you want bloody knees (i didn't bring them and guess what happened to me).

some people have mentioned that it gets down to less than a foot wide but this is only true at the very bottom; the higher you go the wider it gets, but also more dangerous of course.

finally, it's hard for me to even call this a climbing route. "adventure" seems like a much more appropriate word. roping up for this thing just seems like madness. Feb 23, 2015
Casey Engstrom
Burnaby, BC
Casey Engstrom   Burnaby, BC
I'd like to add to the voices saying don't bring a rope. If you are not comfortable free soloing a 5.easy chimney, don't do it. I had fun improvising knee pads by taping my wool socks over my knees under my pants! Dec 24, 2015
Tucson, AZ
mikehilbert   Tucson, AZ
The beginning of this route is found on the NORTH end of the Rockfellow formation. Apr 18, 2016
David Bruneau
St. John
David Bruneau   St. John
Calling this a "solo" is a little misleading. Nothing felt exposed or dangerous, you'd just wedge in the chimneys if you slipped. Definitely go all the way through the dome, finding our way out was cruxy! Dec 12, 2016
Sam Thompson
Tucson, AZ
Sam Thompson   Tucson, AZ
From 1/7/18 the south most bolt in the chimney traverse is half way out with the hanger dangling, and about 20 feet of looped cordlette hanging from it as an apparent down climbing aid Jan 10, 2018
Sara Fleetwood
Blacksburg, VA
Sara Fleetwood   Blacksburg, VA
More of a cave trip than climbing route, but quite fun! There is no exposure, so enjoy! The crux is pretty hard to protect for a beginner, unless a traverse is rigged. If the climber falls, it’s unlikely that they will get hurt (just stuck). Also, for those saying not to take a pack...just wear your harness, clip your pack into the belay loop (using a tether), and let the pack hang below as you chimney. Feb 3, 2018
Still think this is one of the best routes in the Stronghold and should not be missed. If anyone had some "funny", "scary", or "amazing" time on this i would love to hear your story and possibly write it up for the guidebook. Please contact me at cochiseclimbing@gmail.com Feb 4, 2018
John seJerman
Tucson, AZ
John seJerman   Tucson, AZ
The small chamber in the center of the rock does have a flat bottom, just very narrow. If you're tall (6'2) and skinny (32" waist), no need to chimney up and down to go across, just walk the bottom. I promise! :)

And yes, agree on knee pads, especially if already trying to recover from knee injury. Other than that lots of fun. Oct 3, 2018