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Routes in The Great Wall

Great Dihedral , The T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b A0
Type: Trad, Aid, 900 ft, 10 pitches, Grade III
FA: Burcham/Giovale 2003
Page Views: 2,734 total, 89/month
Shared By: Casey Niggemyer on May 31, 2015
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick

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Route description

The Great Dihedral is an ultra classic sedona climb and possibly the longest route in the area. It was originally rated 5.11+ because of the first pitch, a 150 plus foot technical slab with 14 bolts. Unfortunately, after trying the route several times myself and talking to other parties who have repeated the route it has become clear that holds may have broken, causing the pitch to no longer go free, at least nowhere near the purposed grade. Thus the 5.10 A0 rating. Never the less, the remaining 9 pitches offer high quality climbing sustained in the 5.10 range. Expect lots of burly wide climbing, as well as cryptic sandstone face climbing. The route faces northwest and gets shade until the mid afternoon, making it a good choice when the weather is hot.

The pitch break down is as follows:

Pitch 1. A0 160' Batman up the fixed line for 30 feet until you reach the start of 14 bolts. get up the pitch however you can (i clipped in direct and stick clipped multiple bolts in a row). ends on a midsize vegetated ledge. bring singles from .4 through #2.

pitch 2. 5.8 80 feet. climb up into a chimney with a lone bolt half way up. bring gear to #2. belay on a small ledge to up and to the right.

Pitch 3. 5.10 90 feet. clip a bolt off the belay and slither your way up the Bombay chimney. layback and stem your way up twin cracks. bring all gear .75 and up.

Pitch 4. 5.10. 100 feet. layback, fist jam, and butterfly your way up a wide crack in a corner. Bring all gear .75 and up.

Pitch 5. 5.10. 100 feet. jam and undercling your way out a series of roofs with various and interesting faceholds. all gear up to #3.

Pitch 6. 5.10 70 feet. walk across vegetated ledge and climb up awkward chimney flare to sloping face holds. Batman up a fixed line for 10 feet. this will take you to the half way ledge. singles to #4. Belay off of large tree Pitches 5 and 6 can be combined with wise use of runners.

Pitch 7. 5.10. 110 feet. You can leave all the big gear here. Bring one #4 with you to the top, nothing bigger. Move the belay up and left to a single bolt. start up a slab and clip 2 bolts, trending left to a wide hand crack. follow this up to an awkward traverse around a bulge to the next belay.

Pitch 8. 5.10 100 feet. climb up off the belay to a right trending ramp with small pods for gear. continue up several bolts and then traverse left to the belay. all gear #3 and under.

Pitch 9. 5.10+/V4. 50 feet. Boulder problem in the sky pitch. traverse right off belay to a ledge and clip a bolt above your head. heel hook above your head and throw for small crimps. Wild! 2 bolts and singles #2 and under.

Pitch 10. 5.9 120 feet. climb up right trending crack and traverse slight right into another crack gain a large grassy sloping ledge with lots of exposure. clip the bolt half way across ledge and continue for another 10 or 15 feet right to a short corner. climb this, looking left to spot the first rappel anchors, and continue up lower angle terrain and belay off tree. Full rack.

Descent: look for a ledge to the left after the last bolt on the tenth pitch. On the far left side of the ledge are the first rap anchors. From here, double rope rap back to the top of the boulder problem pitch. Do another double rope rap to get back to the halfway ledge. Batman down the fix line for 15 feet to the next rap anchors. From here do a short single rope rap which puts you just above the roof of pitch 5. Double rope rap to the the top of the third pitch. Double rope rap again to get th the top of the first pitch. One more rap will get you to the ground.

Singles of green, red, and gold c3 cams or equivalent.
Doubles from .4 Camalot to #5.
One #6
Small to medium stoppers
14 draws or runners
2 ropes.
Flagstaff, AZ
  5.12- A0
JimmyK   Flagstaff, AZ
  5.12- A0
As Burcham's photo displays above, my partner and I also crossed paths with an agitated green mojave rattlesnake on the trail just before reaching the Great Wall. Beware.

I agree with Jeff regarding Pitch 1's 12- rating. Most likely my favorite climb in Arizona. It requires skill of almost all climbing disciplines. Mar 3, 2016
J. Snyder
Flagstaff, Arizona
5.12- A0
J. Snyder   Flagstaff, Arizona
5.12- A0
Josh- Those would be the Power Cracks. Right one .12+ and Left .12++ Nov 13, 2015
Josh Tokioka
Cedar City, UT
Josh Tokioka   Cedar City, UT
Is there any information on the two overhanging cracks with chains to the right of the beginning of the Great Dihedral? They look pretty sweet and would be interested on more info on the routes. Nov 12, 2015
Nick Dolhyj 1
Flagstaff, AZ
  5.10+ A0
Nick Dolhyj 1   Flagstaff, AZ
  5.10+ A0
definitely a good adventure, but can be done car to car relatively quickly (under 12 hours with plenty of farting around). that being said, eat your wheaties, the climbing is pretty sustained Sep 28, 2015
Flagstaff, Arizona
josh10   Flagstaff, Arizona
Super stellar climb! Few things to mention.

There is still a fair amount of rock on the top of the 3rd pitch.
When we climbed we were in the shade until 430 5 pm.
Wear glasses because the route is extremely gritty and will get in your eyes.
Also severe bush whacking to get to route. Sep 20, 2015
Josh Tokioka
Cedar City, UT
Josh Tokioka   Cedar City, UT
A little rappel beta:

On our way down we rappelled from the top of pitch 5 to the top of pitch 2 with two 70m. It was a nice clean rappel, avoiding the possible potential of the knots getting caught on the third pitch. Just a suggestion and information that this is possible.

Also, I would definitely suggest linking pitch 5 & 6. You can set up an anchor at the bottom of the fixed line before pitch 7. Sep 12, 2015
I did work on the first 30 feet, and was able to tr it cleanly at 12c. I felt the rest of the first pitch was fair at 12a slab. Jul 5, 2015
Casey Niggemyer
Flagstaff, Arizona
Casey Niggemyer   Flagstaff, Arizona
Thanks for the input on the first pitch guys. My description may have been confusing. It is definately worth freeing as much of the first pitch as possible, but dont expect it to happen anywhere near 5.11. Jun 1, 2015
Eric D
Eric D   Gnarnia
Nice write up Casey but I think that the description of the 1st pitch should be clarified. 90% of the pitch goes free at 10 or 11 with a fixed line to get up the first 30 feet, and then you may need to pull on some bolts in the middle of the pitch. Definitely try and climb as much of this pitch free as possible! Jun 1, 2015
J. Snyder
Flagstaff, Arizona
5.12- A0
J. Snyder   Flagstaff, Arizona
5.12- A0
Even with the batman rope fixed for the first blankness the first pitch always felt much more difficult that 5.11+ even several years ago, more likely in the .12 zone. It came down to a strange no hands no feet move on a weird sub slab a couple moves away from the 9th or 10th bolt??, I remember not climbing directly above the bolts during the crux moves but off to the side a bit. Even then a normal party would have to batman the rope to get to the first holds.

If I remember the story correctly, the FA party never really tried to make the first pitch go completely free specially because the first 20+ feet of steep blankness. Despite this, mutant K.Edmundson was able to figure out a free variation from the ground that set the first pitch completely free. Im not totally sure about the finer details but it is supposed in the solid 5.13 zone. The "direct start" leaves the ground only a few meters to the right of the fixed line. Look for some steep choss to a no holds impossible looking lip encounter...

Burcham would always jest that climbing "The Great D" was like getting punched in the belly by Mike Tyson... Jun 1, 2015
Kevin Kent
Flagstaff, AZ
Kevin Kent   Flagstaff, AZ
This climb is excellent. The whole area reminds me of Half Dome or the Chief in Squamish. Not saying the rock or climbing is quite as good, but the beauty, scale, and overall shape of the face is awesome.
If you scramble up a ways you'll reach the (flat and nondescript) summit of Lost Wilson Mountain. Jun 1, 2015
Trevor Bowman
Sheridan, WY
Trevor Bowman   Sheridan, WY
Great adventure route, and nice write-up for it Casey! A couple random additions:
A number of the pitches in the lower corner were slightly shorter than listed.
The 1st (top) rap can be done with a single 70m (maybe with a single 60m).
The grades are somewhat stout I thought. Casey aptly rates the "boulder problem in the sky" as 5.10+/V4 above... a number of the other pitches felt hard for the rating too. This thing certainly has a lot of engaging, varied climbing that makes for a full-value day.
A lot of the rock is somewhat silty/gritty. More traffic would help, but given the aspect, relative neglect, and nature of the stone, I think it'll always have a scruffy feel. Most of the stone is very solid though. May 31, 2015