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Routes in The Mace

Blood,Sweat, and Fears T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c R
Bruce Carson Memorial Route T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Little Big Man T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c R
Original Route T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Rappel Route TR 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Real Rappel Route T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Webster/ Becker Variation T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Wind, Sand, and Stars T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b A2+ R
Type: Trad, Aid, 250 ft, 2 pitches, Grade III
FA: Molly Higgins, Larry Bruce 1976
Page Views: 1,804 total, 21/month
Shared By: Larry Coats on Sep 26, 2010
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick

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Sadly, this route description is posted only for its historic significance as the third route to be forged up the Mace, and the first to climb directly to the main summit. The route was virtually eliminated in the late 1980’s by a party that bolted the crack line to within 50 feet of the summit. Unfortunately, since the crack features some of the softest rock in Sedona, removal of the bolts to restore the route would only create horrific scars and damage the spire beyond repair. It is hoped that the bolt ladder will now stand as a monument to the folly of a style of climbing that ended long ago (and was over LONG before the “new route” was installed).

Pitch 1: Today, the short, right-facing corner that begins the pitch is distinguished by its graffiti. Mixed free and aid follows soft rock up the obvious crack just left of the notch. The crack size varies from hand-sized to RPs, and expect numerous placements to be suspect. Crux aid climbing (A2+) arrives as the crack pinches down above the obvious traverse band, and a crack switch to the left is required to gain the triangular belay ledge.

Pitch 2: The “Fissure Higgins”, first led by Colorado legend Molly Higgins. Climb the obvious wide crack above the belay, encountering increasingly difficult chimney and off-width climbing through the overhang above (5.10). Expect significant effort to pull onto the Mace main summit!


Passive gear and a few pitons were used on the first ascent.
Ron Thompson
Idlewild, CA
Ron Thompson   Idlewild, CA
My family were the first settlers in Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona and they would "roll over in their grave" seeing all the trails destroyed leading up to the Mace today. Today, hand chalk and rock formation signs on the ground with hand writings on the walls. My family named most of the rock formations in Sedona, build roads down into Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. They also started the first trail up towards the Mace in the late 1930's. Now hand chalk is seen all over the soft sandstone routes around the Mace, toilet paper and writing on the walls.

Nobody is forced to climb any route.... ever! People are free to choose what they want to climb. Hard or easy, easy to protect or difficult to protect, very solid gear at close intervals, very solid gear at large intervals, some solid gear and some crappy gear. There are millions of combinations. Choose what is most suited for your desires and abilities. Not ever monkey gets to climb every tree.

Gyms are homogenized and pasteurized for your safety and protection and longevity of the corporation that owns. Outdoor climbing is a wide open canvass with a tremendous amount of diversity that should be preserved. But, today, many climbers get their start in the gym and are able to safely try any route regardless of skill level. Then, some head outdoors and want this same opportunity. This is one of the issues facing the climbing community today.

Some place bolts to make a route much more safer for others and more accessible to all. The North Face of the Mace is a prime example now of a safe route to the top spire in the softest sandstone in Sedona with well protected bolts. Until a climber decided to 'play God' and remove our hangers and than years latter he was caught by the Forest Service in Sedona. He was cited by making a profit from his rescue training classes without a permit in Sedona and was also destroying vegetation plant life and 'starting fires' in a wilderness area and was cited $5,000 dollars in court. How than did my route hurt the environment in Sedona over his destruction of the land ?
Jun 15, 2011
Ron Thompson
Idlewild, CA
Ron Thompson   Idlewild, CA
The bolt ladder put up in 1986 was not in the crack system and was put in by hand no drills. All bolts were 3/8 and went in 3 inches or more for safety because of the softest rock in Sedona is located on this route and bolts would protect the softest sandstone in Sedona. Also, Our team wanted a safe climb to the top of Cathedral Rock so others could climb without destroying the "softest sandstone" in the area. The climb took one year and in the mid 80's no one could tell us where Wind,Sand and Stars was located on the Mace. On the route we only seen bolts from Blood,Sweat, and Fears 5.11 R 15 feet right of our route. On pitch 1 we seen no anchor bolts or pin scars nothing, if we had see any pin scars or pins or a anchor bolt than we would of bailed from the wall.

The route did not go up in the crack system on pitch one. The guidbooks in the 80's did not show any location of older routes on Cathedral Rock except for the Mace.
When climbers tried to remove some of the bolt hangers from the route they "rap" from the top of the Mace and they left a green webbing at pitch one using our bolts to "rap down" removing hangers; we did not leave any webbing on the route we lowered off on a snap link from pitch one still there today.On the positive side you can now "rap "from the top without doing the jump back .Why could thoes "supper climbers" climb the route from the bottom up instead rapping down taking bolt hangers and using our bolts for safety ? Strange.

In the 80's and 90's many climbers NEVER even noticed our route and no bolts were ever place a foot off the ground. Also, if they were it was not from us ! However, hikers and climbers today can see hand chalk on others routes around the Mace and trails being destroyed and new trails being added up too the Mace and people writing on the walls all around Cathedral Rock.
While climbing around Cathedral Rock you can see rock formations built by the New Age people all around the Mace , we never used hand chalk or power drills on our route this is why it took over a year.

On the Pulpit in Zion bolts went up near a perfect hand crack put in by Fred Beckey and Galen Rowell and Pat Callis because of the soft sandstone. The sandstone was soft like Sedona and the route was not destroyed .Today, this route is a very popular route in Zion because, climbers have a choice by using aid or free climbing the crack at 5.10 or C1. The same with Artist Tears in Utah another fine route put up by Molly using fixed bolts and the route is not destroyed because bolts were added in protecting the soft sandstone. Climbing ethics were violated on all first ascent routes on and around the Mace after Molly "first ascent of Wind, Sand and Stars." Because, if Molly climb our route and left no trace of pin scars, bolts or fixed anchors or chalk marks for over 200 feet with no fixed anchors on the first or second belay ledge in the sofest sandstone in Sedona. Than Voltex in a Can 5'10 is a ethic climbing violation also because, the route 'has fix anchors and bolts' and is rated lower than Wind, Sand and Stars . How can you destroy a crack system used for aid climbing when the bolts are not even in the crack ? The route is not damaged at all, go climb it and have fun and be safe . Nov 5, 2010
My tongue is bleeding...

Thanks for posting all these routes Larry.
Keep on before you forget it all... Oct 5, 2010
I had no idea. WOW, and in 1988 no less someone comes along and bolts Wind Sand and Stars... Ignorance is not always bliss. Good catch Rick Sep 27, 2010