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Routes in The Citadel

Anticipation T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Arch Rival T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Best Forgotten Art T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Clem's Folly T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Finger Breakers TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Finger Zinger S 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13
Glad We Came S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Hercamur Snurd T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13
Iron Worker T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Little Diddle T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Murray's Crack T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Nose, The T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Romper Room T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Second Thoughts T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R
Stem Cell Research T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Styx n Stones T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
West Ridge T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Whole Banana T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Wish You Were Here T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
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Type: Trad, 650 ft, 6 pitches
FA: 1 June 1963 Dick Ingraham, George Goedecke, and Owen Moss
Page Views: 4,410 total · 29/month
Shared By: Aaron Hobson on Jun 17, 2006
Admins: Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB Brinckerhoff, Marta Reece, Drew Chojnowski

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Access Issue: Placement of bolts/fixed anchors is prohibited in Wilderness Study Areas Details


This route is described in Dick Ingraham's guide as the NW ridge…. It involves some meandering and plenty of route-finding, which makes it exemplary of Organ Mountain climbing. Doubtless, there are scores of variations on this route, but most of them offer good climbing on decent rock.
The overall character of the route is to find the path of least resistance. The first pitch scrambles up some easy ground on the west side of the Citadel, to the right of The Nose. Pitch 2 traverses left on the large ledge system taking you to the north side of the Citadel. Pitch 3-5 work up the ridge whichever way seems best. If you stay left from pitch 2, you end up doing more face climbing. One can easily end up facing a difficult move, or not having pro on this face, but there are many possible lines. The climbing eases closer to the top, becoming low-5th, or even 4th class for the last pitch. At the summit is a nice desert garden. Relax and read the summit register under the juniper tree.

There are some nice comfy belay ledges that stay shady most of the morning providing protection from the sun. However, protection from the wind, particularly west wind, is nonexistent. This is one of the windiest climbs in the Organs.

Warning: Loose block

There is a loose block where Pitch 3 used to start. We had trundled one blobk there already, but another, a much larger one, is moving. It's too large to trundle safely, with a couple more on top and no way of knowing what else might come down. The way to handle it is to start Pitch 3 to the right and completely avoid the area. Images of the problem and the solution are provided.

Administrator's Description

Submitted by Marta Reece

Pitch 1 goes up the straight crack system to the right of the Nose. It starts with a staircase, goes past a cactus and a tree and up onto a chock, all in a safe-feeling groove. This gives way to a less protected section with some exposure and slabby feet (very small cams are essential here), then well protected but a steep step to an wide, supper-chossy ledge. One way to avoid the exposed section is to follow cracks to the left and up just before it. The climbing is a bit harder (5.8 or so), but fully protectable.

Pitch 2 is a forth-class walk to the left on the ledge, up a step, and then some scrambling on a sloping ground to the north face of the Citadel. The ledge once again becomes flat and wide and this time even grassy. Build in the first crack you can find. It will be fairly high up.

Pitch 3: Avoid the left side. Instead go up on the right, traverse left into the right-facing corner. Follow this to a pinnacle on the ridge line. Climb the pinnacle, then step off of it to the slab above. There is a pair of bolts on it, only one of them a modern one, not really a belay station anymore. From the bolts go up and slightly left, first on a slabby then on a more featured ground. You may belay from a crack on the slab or from the base of a head wall above it. Either alternative is quite comfortable.

Pitch 4: Go left of the head wall, or turn the head wall on the left, and continue up a an inclined surface grooved by parallel cracks. Once on the ridge proper again, you can stop either below or above the large boulder there. (Depending on whether you are looking for a shady or sunny belay.)

A corkscrew version of the same pitch: Turn the head wall on the right instead of left. Head up a short corner. At its end, make a high step up to the base of a featured wall which leans left (away from the ridge). Go up this wall and make an exposed move up to the ridge line, which is now a series of bulgy steps, some smaller ones, one large one. Belay below or above the large step/boulder.

Pitch 5: Once on top of the large step, look for a deep groove starting on the right of the ridge line. Climb first on the right side of it, then in the groove itself as it turns a gully with a jumble of rocks inside of it. It will continue leftward, ending as a nice, wide ledge to the left of the ridge. Climb back up to the ridge somewhere before you come to a piton at the base of the wall. Continue up the now easy ridge and belay, ideally, from a location in a shallow saddle.

Pitch 6: Continue up an easy 4th class ridge line to the next head wall. Turn left and go down a few feet to the level of a narrow flake detached in its middle (a small "arch"). Step onto the face past this and go left on good holds. A rap station marks the end of technical ground. To reach the summit, continue on 4th class terrain staying generally to the left of the ridge line proper.


Start of the route is a short way up the side canyon between Citadel and Rabbit Ears Slabs to the west of it.

Descent to the north requires some scrambling/down-climbing. Scramble down off the summit and back to a small, exposed ledge on the north face over a 100' slab. Find the poot slings you have come across on your way up, and you can do a single rope rappel to gain a large ledge beneath the slabs. The east side of this ledge is a dirty gully which can be scrambled down. While you are scrambling down check out the cool roof system to your right, several harder lines exist.

Once out of the gully, you can head east under Glad We Came and take the trail down from Clem's Folly to the bottom of Rabbit Ears Canyon and use the canyon to get back to your packs (hopefully down close to the canyon bottom, not all the way under the rock). Or you can head back to the start by the shortest route possible, down and around the base of the Citadel. This is a true Organ Mountain bushwhack, however, with at least one false turn to the left more than likely.

Descent to the south: A pair of good bolts with chains is located on the southeast side of the summit plateau, to the left of the south rock pile. A single 60m rope is sufficient for the rappel. Bringing your walking shoes is recommended (for either descent). From the south rap, you will drop down into Rabbit Ears Canyon and walk all the way around Citadel to where you have left your packs (hopefully down close to the canyon and not all the way under the rock).

To reach the bottom of the canyon, go down the gully until it opens up and look for a large, dead tree. The trail goes just left of it. Continue down following largish rocks. Turn right under a slab and continue into the canyon.


Standard rack. Some topos show fixed pins and bolts, but depending on how you meander up to the top, you may not run across these.
Tucson AZ
5.8- R
Waffleman860   Tucson AZ
5.8- R
The vertical spot following the easy traverse at the beginning of pitch 3 is risky now. The slab on the left ledge that offered a small crack for protection has broken free and should not be touched. That being said, there might be some protection above the ledge on the right, but the cracks are filled with grass. Otherwise, it is a long runout with serious risk of decking. Sep 6, 2011
Forrest Wilcox
Las Cruces, NM
Forrest Wilcox   Las Cruces, NM
I went in the dirty crack on the right on this pitch and it was fairly easy except for the overhang getting off the ground. I went inside this chimney wedged on a pinnacle. After I pulled out of the chimney, I was on a nice belay ledge with bolts and a rap ring, so I guess I was on route. After the belay station on my pitch 3, there was a sketchy slab move and then pretty much 5.5-5.6 to the top. Aug 18, 2012
A better descent (or at least different) option is to walk east on the summit, and find a nice rap anchor (two beefy bolts with chains) just over the edge. A single rope rap lands you in a gully, with a relatively simple scramble down into the Rabbit Ears Canyon. Apr 1, 2013
Eric Wydeven
austin, tx
Eric Wydeven   austin, tx
Don't underestimate the West Ridge. It is short, and you might think an easy day. Complacency getting out of camp on an early Organs trip for us left us sleeping at the base of the pitch 4 slot on a cold and windy October night. Brrrrrrrrr. The route meanders back and forth over the ridge line, and the short pitches and route finding take some time. I still want to go back and finish it up to the juniper garden one if these days. What we got done was fun though. Aaaah, the Organs. May 24, 2014

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