Type: Trad, 700 ft, 6 pitches
FA: Jeff Mayhew, Joaquin Fox, Dave Muller 2010
Page Views: 2,048 total · 19/month
Shared By: JMayhew on Mar 15, 2010
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

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Start about 80' to the left of "Shelter From the Storm's" giant left-facing corner. You should be able to see 2 bolts on the first pitch. If you plan well you can avoid rope drag (double ropes work great.)

1. Climb a short wide crack, up past 2 bolts, then diagonal left along crack to small ledge. Up past another bolt to a right diagonalling ramp and climb the right side of a steep, short corner with a bolt at the top. Up and slightly right on blocky ledge, ramping back left to a 2 bolt anchor at the base of a long, left-facing corner. (5.8 130')

2. Climb corner, continuing straight up, turning small roof on flakes to the left. Climb past the next roof (with agaves on top) on the right side, diagonalling right to a one bolt belay backed up by stoppers. This is below and left of the orange corner seen from below. (5.7 130')

3. Climb steep, exciting corner. Short step right onto ledge at base of bulgey face with great holds. Straight up onto ledge and 2 bolt belay. (5.8+ 100') [From top of corner it is possible to scramble around left through bushes and ledges with loose rocks and cactus, but....]

Hike up and left along slope, accessing left diagonalling ramp just down and left of turquoise mine. Walk to left end of ramp and belay on nice ledge.

4. Climb shallow left-facing corner, up thru black band of rock, then up thru "V" notch in white roof. Pass small white thumb, then up until you can step left and belay on big ledge, down and left of tree. (5.8 140')

5. Straight up to next big ledge at base of corner with "triangular-capped roof". A bolt protects the bouldery move getting into the corner. Up easy ground, looking for narrow ramp heading up and right (use long runners if placing gear in corner!) A thrilling "in-your-face" traverse leads to a short bulgey section of dark rock with in-cut handholds. A long reach to a bolt protects the final step back left, directly under a ledge filled with shindaggers. Climb just left of that ledge past one more bolt and belay 15' above bolt in a horizontal crack on a sloping ledge. [Save some tiny cams and especially gear from 0.3 Camalot equivalent to #1 for belay] (5.8+ 140')

6. Diagonal up and right across ledge to buttress with a crack with shindaggers near the base. Good pro leads up to a dirty ledge. Step left, right or go straight up to summit ridge. Either choice has some weak rock to avoid. The long boulder on top teeters so use the tree or something else for a belay. (5.5 60')


Descent: 2 options:
1. Rap half-rope from 2 bolts at top of chimney, just uphill from top of climb. Stay on rope as you walk to edge of cactus ledge, looking for two bolts just over next lip. These are just above the triangular capped roof** seen from below. [This anchor is 30' (climber's) left of the last bolt on pitch 5.
2.Rap 180’ to ledge right in front of mine.
3.Walk all the way back to the 2 bolts at the top of pitch 3. Rap 180’ to a sloping ledge with 2 bolts.
4.Rap 160’ to the ground.

B: If you've left nothing at the base, hike down the Pontatoc Ridge trail all the way to the road.


Lots of stoppers, pink and red tri-cams very handy, full set of cams to #4 with doubles to #2, lots of runners.

Two 60M ropes mandatory for raps.
Tucson, AZ
JMayhew   Tucson, AZ
Karl Rickson was a good friend who died in Jan.'02. After the near-death of his partner on Shelter From the Storm, Karl told me how the raps really needed to be improved and the top pitches were a mess because they had to avoid so many loose blocks. KR went to the hospital on a Xmas night, was diagnosed with cancer, and died in battle one month later.

The raps are better and the upper section is a little cleaner now. Mar 16, 2010
JFox   Cottonwood
This is a fun desert adventure on a seldom visited wall. Rock quality is generally good, but you want to test holds. Protects well, but you have to keep your eyes open. A few bolts here and there protect the scary parts. I recommend approaching from above and rapping to the base. Two of the five pitches are real gems. Mar 16, 2010
jbak .
jbak .   tucson,az
Jeff, that's a great name. Mar 16, 2010
adrian korosec
adrian korosec   tucson,az
We climbed this route today. Stay in the Pontatoc Canyon bottom until directly below the climb as instructed. We didn't and paid for it on the bushwack.

The climb protected well and the pitch descriptions were right on. Thanks for the 1st acsent party who obviously knocked off a lot of loose rock. If you stayed on route the climb was clean and pretty solid.

We didn't rap but the slings on top of p3 are sun-damaged and need replacing. The old mine has interesting inhabitants and many nice colored rocks with traces of copper and turquoise. It also has inscriptions in the wall from 1923. Overall a fun desert adventure as advertised. I'd climb it again. Sep 25, 2010
This is a remarkable climb for Tucson, in that it's one of the longest, if not the longest climb on the rock. It is varied, and requires a little from each corner of your repertoire. The route description is good, and I would highly recommend it. Like much of life, the best parts are left for toward the end. The traverse and subsequent vertical escape were particularly thrilling, and I was glad I was not on lead. That honor went to the sacrificial lamb, Adrian Korosec, who led all the pitches. The questionable rock quality did not bite us, but it added to the intrigue. I would stay on the approach trail even after it crosses the creek and goes to the west side. I wouldn't seek the stream bed until you're directly under the climb. We had LOTS of fun invading the bat cave, which reeks of ammonia to the extent you still get whiffs of it as you belay for the fourth pitch. There is a sound of motion and activity deep in the cave, that cannot be ascribed to wind. I want to get a gas mask, a histoplasmosis shot, and go all the way back. I'd really like to go back, do some leading, now that I know where it goes, and soak in the crux fifth pitch. I feel the grades are soft for all pitches until the fifth, where it appears to be a sand bag. But maybe I did it wrong... Sep 26, 2010
Looking at the photos from the FA, we did do the fifth pitch wrong. Rather than clipping the bolt at the end of the traverse and stepping back left, we went straight up. Much harder our way. Sep 28, 2010