Type: Trad, 400 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Jim Smith and William Rice, September 1936
Page Views: 31,483 total · 195/month
Shared By: Stephanie on Feb 21, 2006
Admins: C Miller, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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The crux is the first 40' of the climb. Start up a chimney then move into a nice crack system. The second and third pitches follow the crack system up to lunch ledge. From lunch ledge climb the crack to the runout 5.4 friction slab (1 bolt).


1 set of nuts, 1 set of hexes, BD Cams: .5 - 2


The belay ledges on this climb are all quite large, making this a good choice if you have three or more climbers. Feb 21, 2006
C Miller
C Miller   CA  
A great moderate (of which there are many) at Tahquitz that features fun climbing up a corner system and a very exposed finish on the upper slab.

The name is a take-off of Angel's Flight, the "World's shortest railroad". Mar 3, 2006
Bill Olszewski
Colorado Springs, CO
Bill Olszewski   Colorado Springs, CO
Fun climb! I thought the steep section of P1 (P2 in the guidebook) was the crux. Got off-route up high but figured it out and finished with the fingertip "lieback" crack. Nice! Jul 9, 2007
Marcy -
Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Marcy -   Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
I recommend the fingertip lieback variation at the top - it is super FUN! Aug 27, 2007
Mark L  
The steep face climbing after the chimney felt the toughest part of the climb - deciding whether to go left or right. Went right and it might have been a little harder that way + rope drag got bad. Dihedral pitch is super easy and the roof is easier than it looks. For those leaving lunch ledge the first time, could be helpful to get beta from someone while you are there if you want to do the 5.3 slab finish instead of the crack. May 14, 2008
Dan Costello
Dan Costello  
This was a lot of fun and one of the first routes I ever led, so I learned some lessons here. As mentioned by others, Pitch 1 (Pitch 2 in the Vogel/Gaines guidebook) after the chimney does present a little route-finding opportunity, or it did for me.

The topo, route description, chalk marks, and old fixed gear are useful guides. But in the end being alert to the rock, looking around, thinking ahead, and developing a picture of the route when your vision affords is better. I earned myself a little downclimb from trying to treat this route like a Joshua Tree chalk railroad.

I'll echo some of the other commentators again: bring plenty of slings, and plan your placements to minimize rope drag. There's nothing like rope drag to turn a 5-nothing topout on smooth slab into a nightmare as having to fight your body weight in rope friction with only your own poor planning to blame :/

All things considered, though, a worthwhile and memorable route! Apr 19, 2009
Ron Thompson
Idlewild, CA
Ron Thompson   Idlewild, CA
Try climbing the last pitch at night that's what happen with us. I had to climb the last pitch in total darkness, missing the protection bolts. This is what happens when you drink beer before climbing,"liquid courage." Mar 21, 2010
Here's some beta, pitch 2 video. The audio is out of sync a bit.

youtube.com/user/lhs2miler Jul 21, 2011
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
On the last pitch, you can almost eliminate rope drag by saving a couple of long runners for the gear you place just before you get into the left-trending crack that leads out under the slab with the bolt.

You don't need to extend all your gear...As you leave lunch ledge, wander as you see fit, but reserve gear placements for spots where you're directly above the belay. Extend a couple of pieces near the spot where you head out left as mentioned above, then put in one extended piece as you walk out the crack toward the little bush below the slab. If you do this, you won't feel like you're dragging a carcass behind you on the slab. Also, this permits a 60m rope to comfortably get you to a nice belay spot where it'll be an easy walk to the descent for everyone. Aug 26, 2011
Josh C
Somewhere out West
Josh C   Somewhere out West
Not sure why this climb is so popular and I love Tahquitz. Aug 31, 2011
Jace Mullen
Oceanside, Ca
Jace Mullen   Oceanside, Ca
Maybe I'm a wussy but I felt like the chimney in the guidebook felt harder then the 5.4 the guidebook gives it. Sep 5, 2011
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
The chimney is hard if you don't use the crack inside the chimney and the couple of chockstones. In that case, it's probably more of a 5.6 or 7 off-width, but if you use everything available to you, it's not hard, and easily protected. Oct 16, 2011
Chris Norwood
San Diego, CA
Chris Norwood   San Diego, CA
Fun Climb. Did it today in 3 pitches with a 60m rope. The entire corner is a little less than a full rope length to lunch ledge (maybe 55-57 m in total?), and you should not suffer any rope drag if you're mindful with placement locations since it's a pretty straight line.

Definitely link it unless you and your partner both want in on leading the corner. I enjoyed it more toward the top anyhow. The slab finish was good too and pretty mellow! Jun 14, 2012
Jan Tarculas
Riverside, Ca
Jan Tarculas   Riverside, Ca
Just did this yesterday with a friend (His first time ever doing trad/multipitch climb) and went very smooth. Climb can be done in 3 pitches. Ended the climb with the 5.5/5.6 slab with one bolt to the top. Jun 20, 2012
If you aren't up for the slab finish go right around the corner in a trough to an easy top out in a short corner, passing by the 5.6 layback finish on the way. Sep 16, 2012
Just climbed this route a few days ago for the first time. Bob Gaines' book describes this as a five pitch route. We did it in three without significant rope drag (except at the top) using long alpine runners. For the last pitch, we climbed the finger crack directly above the last tree/bush, rather than moving left for the slab. The finger crack was beautiful and I only wish it has been longer. Fun route with lots of variation. Toughest part for me was the first two placements in the book/chimney on the first pitch. Jul 2, 2013
All up in yo bidniss.
TacoDelRio   All up in yo bidniss.
Linked P1-2 with a 70m. Not a fan of what would've been P2's steep section, though I was in approach shoes. Did P3 normal to the huge belay/bivy ledge where one has ample room to shout obscenities (good for communication with follower). P4 was cool, steep, nice finish but would've been easier with rock shoes on. Fixed Rock Empire cam in crack above that. Sorta awkward rapp anchor around tree. Easy rapps down but be smart with pulling ropes or you could get them stuck. Had to reclimb P3 to get rope out from behind a chockstone. 70m makes it from top of P2 to ground with a little to spare.

Cheers Oct 20, 2013
Forget just linking 1+2, with a few feet of simul-climbing and a 70m you can link all the way to lunch ledge. Oct 21, 2013
Phoenix, AZ
K-Tanz   Phoenix, AZ
About 90 feet up there is a tree with a bunch of slings around it where one can still rap to the ground. Is this the first belay station or is it best to make way up and right for the first belay? Feb 9, 2015
Tim Heid
Tim Heid   AZ
Pretty delayed on answering your question K-Tanz, but the tree you described was about even with where I ended up belaying for pitch 1. I didn't use that tree b/c it looked like a more uncomfortable belay spot than the ledge just to the right(which also has a tree with a few horizontal cracks nearby). Aug 24, 2015

On the second pitch, after the steep bit (in the photo Kendal leading...) the route jogs right a bit and ascends several ledges. One of these has a car engine block size chunk of a bit decomposed rock that is completely detached and vibrates. It's right where you want to go.

Trundling this one would likely kill anyone on the route below or standing at the base.

It's marked for now with an X, but the bad section extends for a couple of feet to the left as well.

No Touchee!!!!!

Given that this route is popular for the relatively inexperienced and often generates a conga line, someone local should consider taking a crowbar to it mid week.

FWIW I've done this route several dozen times over the past 45 years and this is the first time I've seen something really hazardous on this route and the first time I've ever suggested cleaning something off any route.

In any case, next winters freeze thaw cycle should remove it. Aug 30, 2015
Ben Crowell
Ben Crowell  
It doesn't really make sense to me that Gaines calls both this climb and Jensen's Jaunt 5.6. Angel's Fright is at least a grade or two easier. Chuck Wilts's 1974 guidebook calls Angel's Fright 5.4 and Jensen's Jaunt 5.6, which seems more reasonable. Sep 16, 2017
Chase Leoncini
San Diego, California
Chase Leoncini   San Diego, California
Felt 5.7. Last pitch l, the section from the bush to the tree felt pretty terrifying considering the drag and how you really can’t communicate well with your belayer. Not a good beginner trad lead. Jul 18, 2018
Whoever left a dookie at the base of this climb yesterday morning....not cool. You could literally follow your nose to the base and the breeze was such that the stench accompanied you up the chimney of P1.

Other than that we felt like P1 and P2 should definitely be linked. Aug 27, 2018