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Routes in Cochise Dome (What's My Line Dome)

Double Jeopardy T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R
Let's Make a Deal T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Quadruple Direct T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Unknown T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Unknown route on lower left side S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
What's My Line Direct T 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
What's My Line? T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A0 R
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Type: Trad, 280 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Mike McEwen and Dave Baker
Page Views: 5,723 total · 41/month
Shared By: Geir on May 11, 2007
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Closed to climbing, March 1 - June 30 Details


A direct start to What’s My Line that avoids the 4th class gully approach. It has some quite committing climbing and requires a got of ingenuity to protect the follower. Make sure to provide a means to protect the follower through the traverse.

Pitch 1 (5.10+ R, 130'): Start at a left-leaning ramp below a bolt. Clip it, then do the 10+ crux move. Clip another bolt, then traverse left and then up to another bolt nearby a right-leaning crack (5.9 R). Continue up and left to a two-bolt anchor.

Pitch 2 (5.9, 150'): Climb straight up, joining What’s My Line, stopping at a the three-bolt anchor.

Finish on What's My Line.

It is also possible to skip the 10+ move by traversing in from the right (5.6R).


See topo image.


Use the same rack as for What's My Line.
Did the second ascent of this variation back in '77 or '78
(at least according to Axen it was the second) w/ Jim Haisley.

At that time, I thought it was great although I do recall the second pitch being runout but on decent holds.

However, when we did Let's Make a Deal (I say we, it was all Steve, see that route description) and I led this second pitch I thought it was pretty testy. More like runout on slopers, serious 5.8 climbing.

But it's also possible that the way you do this pitch off Let's Make a Deal is different than when you do it from the direct start of WML. Someone more in touch with the belays would have to comment on this.

BTW - I am pretty sure that the first did it by coming in from the right from the ledge. That's the way we were told do it and I believe the pitch had been only recently put up in '77.

Also, the 5.8+ rating is a bit of a sandbag. The moves are probably in the 8+ range but I wouldn't want to be a anything but a solid 5.10 climber to be leading that 2nd pitch (unless you're an experienced old (or young) fart who's comfortable on run out 5.8.) Aug 14, 2008
Russ Walling
Russ Walling
I just did this route a few days ago (2/09) and had to ask WTF a few times on the beta available. Maybe some stuff has changed, but the approach descriptions only vaguely mimic the route we did. Here is an easy and straight forward description:

Look at the dome. See all the chickenheads cutting across and down the dome. Go to the base, boot up, grab a few slings, and then scramble up and right to the base of the wall. You will see a rampy ledge system with a single old bolt and a small tree on the left end of a ledge. Look to the right about 60ft and see two newish bolts heading straight up. Start there. A couple of thin pulls (maybe 5.9) get you on the main face. Look up and left and you will see another newish bolt near a small right facing book/feature. Head toward this and then continue moving up and left on easy ground to a fat 2 bolt anchor. From here just follow the giant holds until 2 bolt anchors appear. Repeat, a few times, moving up and right as you go. All the anchors are bolted and the jugs are giant. Pro is the jugs, but a handful of slings might help you out if your wig pops off during the 120ft runouts (on 5.5c holds) between anchors. For the last pitch, if you try to skip the 2 bolt anchor about 80ft below the summit, and try to gas it all the way to the rap anchors, you will not make it. We had a 70m cord and came up about 20 ft short, using the far right arete finish. You can sling a giant chickenhead before doing the arete finish, and clip an off route bolt, before paddling up the slabby ramp to the top.

This is a great route and is highly recommended for anyone who will not fall. If you pitched off on this thing and Pachinko balled down the face, you would really be a mess. That being said, you could pro the thing to death with slings and the climbing is very secure and easy for 98% of the route. The other 2% is near the bolts on the first pitch. Feb 5, 2009
Russ Walling
Russ Walling
I think I'm still confused. So the two bolts that are in a line, about 15 feet apart, that lead to a large flake/stance with grass in it (see pics) is some aftermarket retro bolt thing? Weird. So is there a 2 bolt anchor that would be to the right of where I started that is described in some book?

Maybe Susan will chime in.... I think she has a pic of an old and new bolt right together, maybe on that pitch. Feb 5, 2009
Tucson, AZ
Geir   Tucson, AZ
Repeated one of the above-listed variations to this direct start today; we started by heading straight up past two bolts and then traversing to the left. Done this way the route has a couple of moves in the 10 to 10+ range. It is difficult to protect the second on the traverse unless you have a couple of tricks in your bag.

Two old bolts still need to be pulled and filled. Please try to re-use old holes when replacing bolts; these 1/4" buttonheads could have easily been pulled prior to replacement.

If you want a topo for this route simply PM me. Oct 6, 2012
  5.10b/c R
  5.10b/c R
Excellent route. Went straight up at the first bolts- agree it is 10 or 10+. The traverse after clipping the second bolt (i.e. where Geir's photos indicates 5.9R)felt more like .9R/X. This is probably because I am not as comfortable with Cochise runouts. However, by the time you are clipping the third bolt (just before the right facing book feature) you are 20-25 feet above your last bolt, 20-25 feet left of the last bolt, and only 40-50 feet off the ledge. It is sustained .8 climbing to get to the 3rd bolt. I think you would be lucky to survive the fall if you blew it at or near the bolt.

Regarding the "optional nut," I could not find the placement. There is a feature at the location shown in the photo that can be slung (less than ideal), which I slung. Also, bring a #1 and #2 camalot to protect the second on the final traverse.

This route is fantastic, but .8 or .9 climbers should be wary of pitch 1. Geir, thanks for the topo! Mar 3, 2013
Tucson, AZ
Geir   Tucson, AZ
Hey Scott,

I agree the earlier nut is tricky to find (I'll update the topo to reflect this) - I used a BD #7. [EDIT: I left this nut in place and it remained fixed until November 2013.] In my opinion it's only useful if you want to protect a second who might fall on that traverse.

I totally agree this is not a climb for a .8 or .9 leader! Mar 3, 2013
Daryl Allan
Sierra Vista, AZ
Daryl Allan   Sierra Vista, AZ
5.8, LOL! And ppl call ME a sandbagger. The traverse left of the 2nd bolt is protected well by the bolt but a 5.8 rating is just asking for hatemail and/or injured climbers. I pulled it clean but not by much. After that, yes, there's a heady runout on easier ground but if you're comfortable on 'chise runouts, you probably won't mind much. It's your follower that'll be looking at a big swinging fall if they come off at the crux, just after cleaning the 2nd bolt.

I see that the submitter's account has been orphaned and hasn't logged in since 2007. Maybe we can transfer this to someone responsible and level-headed yet emotionally/psychologically unbalanced enough to lead this.. someone like, oh I don't know, GEIR!?!

Take care! Jul 9, 2015
Tucson, AZ
Geir   Tucson, AZ
Hahahahahaha Daryl! Your appeal was heard and they reassigned the route to me. I posted up a new description and added an image with a topo for pitch 1. :) Jul 9, 2015
Daryl Allan
Sierra Vista, AZ
Daryl Allan   Sierra Vista, AZ
LOL!!!! I got your back buddy.. waaaaaay back.

Nice job on the write-up and topo! :) Jul 13, 2015
David Bruneau
St. John
David Bruneau   St. John
P1 had a pretty reachy move on PG13 ground and seemed about equally sketchy for the leader and follower. Calling it "Direct" is a bit of a stretch - the rope runs 45 degrees across the dome on P1. What's my Line is as good as 5.6 gets - this variation is a good way to add a bit more chickenhead climbing and put yourself further behind other parties that may be on the route. Dec 12, 2016
Couldn't find the gear, slung two uninspiring features, but it felt like R/X at the traverse between bolt 2-3. You're 20 ft out and left of bolt 2, at a great no hands stance, pretty bold not to drill here, but that's what we're left with. Would have been nice to equip this line a little safer, in my opinion. Guess I'm just not comfy on the "Chise runouts". Too dangerous for my taste. Jan 15, 2017
Tucson, AZ
Geir   Tucson, AZ
Yeah it is pretty intense there Neil. I personally thought it was scarier for the follower than the leader. I was able to find a nut that I could use to protect the follower up and right of this spot. It's only useful for the follower and hard to find though. Jan 16, 2017
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
Charles Vernon   mind & body in Colorado, he…
Geir's nut placement no longer exists; the rock broke off when I yarded on it to test it. We didn't think this looked especially dangerous for the follower, though. For the leader it seemed like 5.8 R/X because you could deck if you fell approaching bolt 3, but the climbing is straightforward and positive there, much easier than moving left from bolt 2. No one fell so this is mostly speculation. Nov 6, 2017
This line actually traverses in from the upper ledge and only has 2 bolts. The ones listed here as bolts 2 and 3. It seems that people think the climbing between these 2 bolts is only in the 5.9 R/X range. In my guidebook I rated it 5.10. Guess it seemed hard in that runout head space and it seems like you are already high up. The fall for the follower is very real on this pitch. One follower has pendulumed, her ankle hit a chickenhead, it broke, and had to be airlifted out. Climb this pitch with caution for both the leader and follower. I know I won't be repeating it any time soon since hearing about this accident. I have posted a photo above of where the original traverse comes in. Nov 21, 2017

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