Type: Sport, 100 ft
FA: Wade Forrest, JJ Schlick 2014
Page Views: 1,376 total · 28/month
Shared By: JJ Schlick on Dec 20, 2014
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

You & This Route

22 Opinions

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A legendary creature of spiritual origin and significance to indigenous tribes throughout North America, the Thunderbird is a conveyor of messages for The Great Spirit, a bringer of wicked storms, and a shapeshifting entity of which you do not want to anger.

Thunderbird Arête is a fantastic Dacite scamperfest with several wonderfully solid 5.10 cruxes that punctuate the line. Like it's neighbor Man On the Moon, this pitch hosts an array of mega features, and is some of the closest climbing around that mimics granite face climbing. One could easily find a pitch like this in Joshua Tree or The City of Rocks.

Start out on slaby ramp 30' downhill from Man On the Moon. Move up and right across the slab to gain the first tan colored bolt above a dishy ledge. Cruise up large features through a short dihedral with bolt #2 on the slab to climber's right. Before traversing right on the large wavy ledge, clip bolt #3 which will be on climber's left on a small, smooth right facing feature, and blends in well. Then jug haul up several shields to an alcove.

From there the climbing gets a bit more technical and pumpy. Good stemming brings you to the arête and gorgeous holds. DON'T be afraid to look left around the arête for a nice mail slot. Turn the lip with classic big foot hold hero moves to a good stance just above. Some more hero holds lead to some slabtastic climbing as you join the water runnel that forms the very top of Lucky Old Sun.

As seen from above, and back from the wall, the Thunderbird formation is the lowest part of the hanging slab. Lucky Old Sun Direct climbs the left edge off the left wing. Thunderbird Arête climbs the tail feathers, then up through the split in the wings. While Man On The Moon climbs the right edge of the right swooping wing.

This pitch can be done as an alternate start to the multi pitch version of Man On the Moon, via a short traverse into the second pitch.


In between Lucky Old Sun and Man On the Moon, behind 70' Bristle Cone Pine tree.


13 lead bolts
2 bolt chain/ring anchor with ClimbTech steel mussy hooks.
Shares anchor with Lucky Old Sun


Paul Zander
Bern, CH
Paul Zander   Bern, CH
I loved this pitch! My partner and I both found this route to be a bit easier than man on the moon, but maybe we were just fresher on this one. Both felt in the range of 10b/c to me. Feb 21, 2015