Type: Trad, 900 ft, 9 pitches
FA: John Burcham, Chris Tatum, & Kenny Powell - 2008
Page Views: 6,148 total · 46/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on May 27, 2008
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

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Into The Wild is a long, spectacular new school route up Oak Creek's Sunrise Arete - an unmistakable feature to anyone who is familiar with the drive from Flagstaff to Sedona. The route is primarily steep slab and face climbing, but there are a few interesting crack sections as well as an awesome stemming and liebacking corner that comprises the crux pitch high on the route. I'm generally not a fan of slab climbing -- especially on sandstone, but the climbing on this route is extremely enjoyable, and for a new climb, the route is overall very clean. The authors of this route clearly put a lot of energy into it's creation -- both the line itself and the fixed pro on the route have been thoughtfully established.

Approach: Park at "Call of the Canyon" (the West Fork trailhead), just a few miles south of the last switchback after descending from Flagstaff. This parking area is on the west side of the road and is a fee area. We parked at a pullout 1/4 mile north and walked in before the entrance station was staffed (9 AM). Hike along the main tourist trail, crossing a bridge over Oak Creek, following the trail as it turns west up into the canyon below the obvious Sunrise Arete. Cross a smaller creek and after about 50 steps follow a faint trail up a wooded hill. A few small cliff bands must be skirted before scrambling steeply up slickrock to a large, open rocky staging area. A pair of bolts below a finger crack mark the start of the route. 20 minutes hiking from the car.

P1: Climb past two bolts to a thin crack with occasional pods to a bolted anchor far above on easier terrain. If you don't mind a little rope drag, this pitch can fairly easily be linked into the next one. 5.10; 70'

P2: Head up and left to the first of 9 bolts that head up ledgy slabs to a bolted anchor. 5.9; 100'

P3: Climb up and right past 15 bolts to a bolted belay. This pitch is called "The Basketball Pitch" -- you'll see why. For slab climbing, quite good! 5.10+; 120'

P4: Head straight right, then up the exposed arete to a bolt. Continue up past more bolts to a stance below a roof crack. Jam and undercling out this and up to a bolted anchor. I found a key mailslot out left to make turning the roof much easier. 5.11; 120'

P5: Do NOT head up the obvious corner above the belay. Instead, trend slightly right and up a short finger crack to a tree. Avoid this by climbing a bulge out right, clip a bolt, and continue up to a bolted anchor. 5.6; 80'

Unrope here and scramble up over a ridge, then head left through bushy terrain, following cairns, heading up to the upper wall well left of the arete. Probably 200' of 2nd and 3rd class.

P6: Begin at a cairn below a dirty corner. Climb the corner, clip a bolt out right, do a thin step across move to a second bolt, and continue traversing straight right to a bolted anchor and the start of the upper arete. This pitch, and the start of the next, are really the only junky sections on the climb. 5.10a; 50'

P7: Clip a bolt over a bulge just above the belay and perform a very difficult move off of sandy, portable holds to get established on the slab above. Yuck. Continue up slightly better rock past a bunch more bolts. At a large ledge there is a bolted anchor (this is expected to be removed soon); do not stop here, instead, continue up past two more bolts to a higher bolted anchor that is not visible from below. 5.10+; 180'

P8: This pitch is pretty awesome. Climb up low angle rock to a steep crack in the headwall above. The rock is sugary and it's nice to have a #3 Camalot here (we didn't and got away with it though). Pull up through this roof via jugs and continue up a finger crack to a bolt at a good stance below the enormous hanging corner. Follow this tremendously exposed corner via liebacks and stems to a mantle/lieback crux halfway up. Continue to the top of the corner with more steep liebacking. Belay at a bolted anchor after pulling onto a ledge above the corner. The meat of this pitch is protected with bolts, but smaller cams protect the first section and make sure to save a 0.75 Camalot for the last 20 feet. 5.12a; 130'

P9: Climb the steep arete via cool pinches and sidepulls and a few super-exposed moves past 6 bolts to a bolted anchor near the top of the wall. 5.10; 80'

Descent: Rap the route with 2 ropes.


1 each 0 TCU through #1 Camalot. A couple extra finger size pieces. 15 draws/slings. No wires. Two ropes. Optional #3 Camalot is handy for P6 and P8.


susan peplow
Joshua Tree
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
WOW! This is some description. Great job Josh from start to finish on access, route details, etc.

Keep 'em coming!

~Susan Jun 4, 2008
Chris Tatum
Flagstaff, AZ
Chris Tatum   Flagstaff, AZ
Josh, Thanks for posting such a thorough description and for getting all the facts right! I hope people enjoy it! Jun 5, 2008
Awesome route, awesome style !

From the description, this sounds like what used to be known as the West Fork Wall. It saw a few attempts and I think an aid line was established by Gordan Douglas and Ross Hardwick. With possibly some help from Larry Coats (or he might have been working another line.) I also recall Tim Toula doing something back up in there.

Or is this one of the striking buttresses before you actually get to the West Fork Wall ?

BTW - for a great read and pics see:
supertopo.com/climbing/thre… Dec 2, 2008
Chris Tatum
Flagstaff, AZ
Chris Tatum   Flagstaff, AZ
Ya Paul,
Probably the same wall. We found and pulled a few OLD and I mean really really old pitons on the slabs below the 2nd pitch and some slings on a bush at the ledge atop the 2nd pitch. The pins are about 7 inches long and made out of a flat stock steel. There is a logo stamped on them that has some german looking words on them... anyway...Looked like whoever placed the pins and slings were gulley climbing to the left of the route. Mar 18, 2009
Excellent description, but one note to add. You do not exactly rap the route. From the top of the crux pitch you rap straight down to anchors in the middle of the face, then a short rap to the main ledge. From there, walk the ledge and rap the route. Jun 28, 2009
Re-reading a TR of this climb, made me wonder,
did Chris and John find some Roma Rambler gear ?

Pretty odd sounding pins. Show them to Scott and see if recognizes them? Oct 2, 2009
Sooo, late July might not be the prime time to climb this... We were worried about the monsoons but instead dealt with the soul sucking heat, 95? Awesome route though, thanks John, Chris, and Kenny. Lot of work and it shows. One note on linking p1&2, do it! its awesome, but be aware that a 60 gets you to the anchors on P2 with about 8-10ft to spare, a seventy would be easy. Super day out! Jul 31, 2011
Bobby Treadwell
Bend, OR
Bobby Treadwell   Bend, OR
Awesome route! What a spectacular line! Apr 19, 2012
Jacob Dolence
Morgantown, WV
Jacob Dolence   Morgantown, WV
There is currently a big Wasp's nest behind a flake near the top of pitch 3. Apr 22, 2012
Blake M  
Note on the Rap. From the top of the crux pitch we rapped straight down the the face but did not find any anchors. Fortunately our two 70m ropes reached all the way to the main ledge (With a few feet to spare). 60m rope would NOT reach however. Sep 17, 2012
Jacob Dolence
Morgantown, WV
Jacob Dolence   Morgantown, WV
We rapped straight down from the anchors above the crux pitch and found a set of anchors about 100 or so feet down. There are two sets of anchors above the crux, the belay bolts, and then the rap anchors. I could see confusion if someone tried to rap off of the belay bolts straight down the other face. I thought the rappel route was super well thought out and clean.

Great job on the FA of this route, what a vision. Had a big wall feel in sub 40 degree temps and climbing with a puffy. Can't wait to go back in the Spring and get back on it. Nov 15, 2012
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
certainly a standard setting modern classic.

Personally I think the pitch ratings are more like:
10c, 10a, 11a, 11c, 6, 10(weird), 10+(sandy), 12b, 10d.

a few more notes on the raps. I counted 7 raps, with the first and last one being with one rope, and the others with two. this worked out perfectly.

RAP 1: Top(P9)-P8 ~80'
RAP 2: P8- P7* ~105' this rap station is located up and right from P7 anchors. Even though it is well camoed, you can take note of it from the P7 ledge if you look just past a bush sticking out of the rock.
RAP 3: P7*-Main ledge ~130' super steep! then scramble back to just below P5 anchors where there is another set with chains.
RAP 4: P5-P3 ~180' back to agave ledge
RAP 5: P3-P2 ~120' take care pulling ropes, there is a bunch of junk on the ledge out right.
RAP 6: P2-P1 ~110'
RAP 7: P1-GRND ~75' May 3, 2013
Josh Janes

Josh Janes    
OMG this route is sooooo difficult to rap! Be carefulz out there! Jun 20, 2013
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
would a rappel topo help, Josh? Jun 20, 2013
the crux is .12b and that's being modest given the sandy condition of the route when we climbed it. If mission to mars at the planetarium is 12d, the crux on this route is 13a. But if you enjoy the mentality of climbing sandbagged ratings its 5.11d, super cool and adventurous even with all the bolts. Mar 14, 2014
Josh Janes

Josh Janes    
Unless hold have broken since I've done it you're dreaming to call this any harder than 12a. Mar 14, 2014
Dj telle
Tucson, AZ
Dj telle   Tucson, AZ
Fun route, however literally sandbagged because of how sandy the whole route is. apparently its in a part of the canyon where sand is constantly being blown there... Mar 25, 2014
Ryan Z
Ryan Z  
I did not think things were sandbagged. Turning that roof on P4 did not feel like 5.11 by Sedona standards. Although the gear is a little junky in the roof, I would have done anything for a blue/yellow offset metolius. Call me crazy but I don't think the climbing on this route is anything special. P1 and the crux were the best pitches in my mind. It is an unbelievable location, and getting 800 feet vertical above Oak Creek Canyon is bound to be special.

In case anyone was curious, there is now a very, very, shitty variation to the 6th and 7th pitch. It is up a very sandy, unprotected corner, 200 feet right of the arete, after the 4th class scrambleÂ…. If indeed this is an F/A on our part it is now named "Into the Wild and Raped by a Bear"

All jokes aside. I would not climb this corner ^ unless you have a strange fetish for really dirty 5.8 X climbing. Take note.

We had no issues on the rappel. Apr 14, 2014
Robbie Brown
the road
Robbie Brown   the road
There were no holds at the crux to break... Vertical slab is the crux for this beast! Slap & Pray is the name of the game! Sep 18, 2014
James Xu
2005 Ford E-150
James Xu   2005 Ford E-150
Amazing route, super engaging and beautiful airy seventh pitch.

Holds look like they may have been broken on P7 during the crux (ones on the left wall in the dihedral) but I've never seen it before and it is doable without them.. definitely not 12a if crux is compared to anything else nearby, though the route is extremely fun before and after the middle.

Also WASPS are still a thing on the P3 flake and will give you some love if you get too close (you really can't avoid them), so climb fast or bring something to swat em when they charge you. Sep 13, 2015
Flagstaff, AZ
JimmyK   Flagstaff, AZ
Darren's post on May 3, 2013, is accurate for pitch ratings and rap info. The raps were straight forward and well thought out, no problems sticking the ropes. Still wasps on P3. Tricky move to get over slab roof toward the top of P3. Lots of slab climbing throughout. P8 was awesome with a sustained upper half & a tricky slab mantle 3/4 way up, IMHO 12b/c. Sep 27, 2015
Nate Farr
Flagstaff, AZ
Nate Farr   Flagstaff, AZ
Maybe we were hosed on the post-Monsoon ascent but this climb was SANDY. Thankfully, the crux pitch was far less sandy than the rest of the route.

We rapped single rope from the top, then double 70s all the way back to the tree ledge. Walk back down the treed ledge and rap the route. 2x double 70 raps and then a single rope rap get you down.

You really don't need much gear for this route. My rack would be Green C3-.75 C4 and a #3 C4. Nov 8, 2016