Type: Trad, 300 ft, 2 pitches
FA: FA: Tony Zeek (A3) , FFA: Darrell Hensel, 1985
Page Views: 3,527 total · 27/month
Shared By: Darrell Hensel on Jul 9, 2008
Admins: C Miller, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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Superb, both for the rock quality and the climbing. Continuous dimes with one seriously hard cranking crux and multiple other sections of 5.11+ to 5.10. While Ishi does have one of the areas hardest cruxes, the real challenge is to do the entire route from the ground without any taints due to it's continuous nature.

Ishi was the last Native American Indian known to be living in the wild around the turn of the century. The route was not renamed when it was done free since the existing name seemed so fitting; Ishi was the last aid route to be freed both on the Sunshine Face and at Suicide.

Pitch 1: Climb past 3 bolts (11d) to the crux 4th bolt (12d) that gains the small left facing corner. The corner can be quite difficult to protect if there isn't fixed gear at it's start. Climb the corner (11b), then move up and right on ledges to start the upper bolt ladder. More edging leads past three bolts (11c). From the third bolt move left (skip the 4th bolt which is a deadend) and climb a small flake/offset (10d). From the top of the flake move back right to rejoin the bolt ladder at it's 6th bolt. From there, finish with the last two bolts of the ladder (11d). The final two bolts are the shared crux of Quiet Desperation.

Note that there are now double bolts at the end of the corner, prior to the upper ladder that were/are not used for the free climbing.

Pitch 2: Do the right facing lieback flake that is also the last pitch of Quiet Desperation. Outstanding classic pitch.


Starts on the ledge that Iron Cross also starts on. Start with the bolt ladder behind the big tree.


Bolts, thin gear up to 2.5".


Darrell Hensel
Darrell Hensel  
The beta pictures clearly show the extra belay (x'ed in) at the end of the initial left leaning arch. I want to say there wasn't originally a two bolt belay there, but now I'm not positive. Anyone remember for sure? Were there always two 1/4" bolts there, or did they just somehow get doubled?

I guess it certainly would be possible to belay there, although that's not how the route was done. I think it would ruin one of the things that makes the pitch the most rewarding - keeping one's ducks in line for that long with that much hard climbing.
Sep 11, 2008
Bob Gaines  
Hi Darrell: I replaced all those bolts on the upper ladder section of Ishi (7 bolts I believe) in 2000. As I recall, there was also an old anchor (it might have been missing the hangers) with two 1/4 inch bolts on the half-way ledge that you can access via 4th class from the left.
In 2001 I replaced the old anchor and did a FA from this anchor up a flake/face up to the Drain Pipe belay. It's called Last of the Mohicans 5.11b * 4 bolts. This anchor half-way up Ishi's first pitch is somewhat left of the actual climbing line, so you probably wouldn't want to clip it if you were doing Ishi in one pitch, although it could be used to belay for Ishi also. In the old days I remember setting up a TR from there to work the crux with John Long. He almost did that crux move with a huge dyno, but couldn't quite hang on when he latched on to the base of the dihedral! Sep 18, 2008
Darrell Hensel
Darrell Hensel  
Bob: Thanks for the clarification on the bolts. Sep 22, 2008
I rapped in and did the final pitch, an excellent flake that goes at about 10a. From the last belay there's also a newer variation that is in Bob's new guide book, 11c but I can't remember the name. Apr 2, 2017
Bob Gaines  
Golden Oldies 5.11c Apr 9, 2017
Randy vocal and matt cox did the first pitch free in the late 70s Jan 3, 2019