Type: Trad, 400 ft, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: P. Davidson, L. Coats, M. Lawson, M. Peterson
Page Views: 2,146 total · 14/month
Shared By: Kole DeCou on Mar 19, 2006
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

You & This Route

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It's the line you always look at on the way back from Sedona. A striking arete, but the climbing isn't as good as it looks.

Pitch 1) 5.8 Start just left of the base of the arete. Belay at 2 drilled angles below the bulge 80 ft up. One of the angles doesn't look so good. You can't see the belay from the ground.

Pitch 2) 5.9+ R The business. Place a micro nut or two and a black alien, then crank over the bulge. Once on top of the bulge traverse out left a little ways and look for the path of least resistance up the slab. Good gear can be found every 20 feet or so in solution pockets. Keep an eye out for them! If you miss one you could be run out in a hurry on a sandy 5.9 slab. Aliens or tri cams work best. Belay on a big ledge.

Pitch 3) 5.8 Continue up the arete. Belay on another nice ledge.

Pitch 4) 5.7 Continue up the arete. The books call this pitch R or X, but I thought the gear was good. Just a little tricky to find and place. Like the rest of this climb, look around for horizontal cracks, and when you find one take the time to place good gear because it might be a little while to the next one. There is a 5.8+ variation on the face to the left that I didn't do. Belay on a huge ledge.

Pitch 5) 5.8 Move the belay to the back of the ledge, and continue up the arete. Belay at a small ledge where the ridge levels off.

Pitch 6) 5.8+ A wild and fun pitch. Worth the trip up here all by itself. Climb up the steep face past a roof using some really weird looking holds. Belay on the ledge just below the summit, or on the summit itself.

Descent: This is how we did it. I do not recommend this descent, but it's the best we could find. Does anyone know of a better way off?

Scramble down off the summit, then 3rd class up to the top of a ridge. a sketchy 4th class down climb off this ridge takes you to a dead tree with a sling around it. Rap 60' off the dead tree and scramble down the gully to your packs.


Take 89a to Cave Spring Campground (mile post 385.4). Park just before the bridge. Hike across the bridge, then down the road to the campground. Look for the first small drainage going up the hill on the right. Hike up this until past the small cliff band, then take a right and hike to the base of the obvious arete.


Nuts, including micros for the crux, 2 each #0.1 - #2 Camalot, 1 each #3 and #3.5 Camalot. Tricams useful. Extra slings for threads.


A little detail that has been lost over the years concerning protection on this climb is to carry a bunch of tied cords (small perlon loops) that can be untied and threaded through solution pockets, then re-tied with one hand. We were inspired by stories of just such techniques from the real Dresden region, and when we got the chance to try it out here we found that it provided protection where nothing else would work. Oct 28, 2007
The climbing isn't as good as it looks ?

It's not for everyone but I thought the slab climbing on this thing was just great fun.

Second pitch has the blue ribbon finish which goes straight up the steep headwall where normally you traverse left. Pretty sure that was 5.10R/X climbing. I've always been curious to know if anyone has repeated that variation. Opposition .4 TCUs in very shallow horizontal cracks. Then a high step off the sloping ledge above the roof onto a single nub, one foot standup, grab some better holds and finish straight up.

Tim C. was belaying that variation and on the walk in, I'd found a blue ribbon. Just above the crux is a small pocket thread (not worth any gear, it would just blow out) where I tied the blue ribbon as a tantalizing carrot for a later ascent. Anyone know if this has had a second and who retrieved the blue ribbon ?

BTW - I believe Kim Spence was in on the first all pitch ascent and in fact led one of the last two pitches ? Larry ?
I also have to think Jim Haisley was in on this at some point.
Basically Larry and I worked out the first four pitches. Seems like we went down there over about 3 trips? First afternoon was pitch 1 & 2 with a rap off the right of pitch 2? Then we did p3 (we came back down by escaping out right again?) and decided we needed more perlon for threads in order to do p4. Apr 8, 2008
P1: About six feet below the two drilled angles you will find two beefy threads. Incorporating these makes this belay quite a bit more solid.

Descent: Downclimb from the summit and locate a dead but solid tree in the notch. There are no slings on the tree. Rap to the north down a wormhole. It possible to climb up over the most constricted section (keep yourself on rappel), or shed harness and gear and squeeze through. You need two ropes for this rappel.

Gear: Melt the ends of your perlon threads and roll them with your fingers to make a cord needle. Feb 16, 2015
Ryan Z
  5.9+ R
Ryan Z  
  5.9+ R
This route was definitely an experience. I went right on the second pitch and thought the climbing was well protected and not too crazy, there are threads everywhere on this climb! Things get serious on pitches 3 and 4, be ready for spice. 120cm dyneema runners are the way to go for this bad boy. Have fun and be safe. Apr 14, 2015
Ryan: That was the way the second pitch was first done. Larry Coats and I were coming back up canyon and I talked him into walking up to this. I led the first and he led the second, going out right. The next time, we went up to do pitches 3 & 4 and we switched leads. I went left and it seemed much easier so... I can't recall if we did pitch 3 that time or not. We made a few attempts as Larry describes, coming back down to get different gear.

Never rapped off the descent. It was always a walk down, with a bit of third class chimneying. We ended up going right by Dresdoom Spire and Midnight Cowboy. I think that descent is from the top of P4. Just follow the gully down and chimney a bit. To get from 6 to 4, I don't recall. But I don't remember a rap. But not remembering doesn't mean we didn't. Jul 20, 2015
Ryan Z
  5.9+ R
Ryan Z  
  5.9+ R
Paul - This climb was an incredible experience and I am proud to have lead the beast P1-P6. I don't know if the route has changed or maybe I missed something, but I pulled a friction hand-foot match on Pitch 3, 40+ feet off the belay with no gear yet. Not to mention the belay was a shit little tree. Wild Adventure. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is willing to get creative and calculate the risk. I was fortunate to have done this a few months after a Joshua Tree trip, my friction climbing was still on point! Lucky Goes to the Creamery has always sat in the back of my mind. I always wonder what the human body can do, when put in the correct mindset. Mar 4, 2017