Type: Trad, 3000 ft, 20 pitches, Grade V
FA: Sam Boyce, Kyle Willis Oct 2016
Page Views: 1,000 total · 38/month
Shared By: Sam Boyce on Oct 5, 2016
Admins: Larry DeAngelo, Justin .

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Access Issue: Red Rock RAIN AND WET ROCK: The sandstone is fragile and is very easily damaged when wet. Details


Head of State forges a wondering but somewhat direct line up "the fin", a faint buttress in the middle of the mountain between Lady of Wilson's cleavage and Dogma. It is by no means a classic route but is undoubtedly a classic experience. The route in general is not super sustained and climbs more like a long alpine rock ridge than a red rocks wall. It is however a substantial undertaking and should not be taken lightly. There is loose rock in a couple places, and some pretty key routefinding that you don't want to mess up. It would be pretty impressive to do this route in a day, for most a better strategy would be to stop at the giant bivy ledge below the "Kracken" chimney. The climbing above this bivy makes for the best on route, providing excellent and bold climbing through sustained and wildly exposed terrain. At over 3000' it is one of/ if not the longest route in red rock.

P1- 180' Head up the well protected face below a big varnished corner, continue up the corner to a ledge 5.7
P2- 110' A short low 5th pitch avoids some shwacking, head up the corner to the right to some boulders. 5.2

-Move the belay around 200' to the base of the treed out face.

P3- 200' find the least bushy way up through the band, possibly the worst part of the day... 5.thrash
P4- 140' head up the nice featured crack, follow it to a comfy ledge below a short corner 5.7
P5- 150' move down a step, then over left to the sweet finger crack, follow this straight up to a stance, either climb a corner to the left or straight up the 5.8R slab and traverse left, your likely out of gear here so build a belay at an uncomfortable stance. 5.10-
P6- 120'Traverse straight left towards a giant corner with a tree, squeeze through the tree and continue up the stem gully to a stance below a long chimney 5.6
P7- 220' Straight up the chimney, belay past a tree. 5.6
P8- 220' Up about 10' then traverse left across the easy face with spooky gear into a shallow corner. Follow the corner (with drumskin rock in multiple places) to its end and make for the summit of the "apron" good belay in a horizontal at the summit. 5.8R
-Scramble up the ridge about 400' to the base of a short splitter corner.
P9- 50' Climb the short corner, either downclimb the loose bs (4th) or rap/lower a short distance into the gully.

-Move across the gully to the base of a splitter up the slab.

P10- 200' A long pitch up the splitter, many trees in the crack, but easy climbing around on the slab avoids them 5.8R

-scramble up and left to a ledge with a tree below a splitter number one crack

P11- 80' up a weird boulder problem onto the bushy ledge, traverse left to the base of a gorgeous splitter corner. 5.7+
P12- 100' One of the best hand cracks in Red Rock!. Start up the fist crack, tapering down to good hands, then tight hands. A short section of crap rock leads to steep hand crack, the crux final bulge is physical and fun. Belay in a good finger crack on a ledge to the left. 5.11b
P13- 30' An insanely short pitch, but extremely memorable. from the belay downclimb a bodylength and hand traverse with wild exposure to the next corner, mantel onto the ledge and belay. 5.9 fun!

-Scramble up into the gully, cairns here indicate a scramble path? about 450' with some 4th class, some may want to simul. The scramble ends on a ledge with a gigantic cairn and an extremely comfortable bivy.

P14- 100' "the Kraken" chimney; From the bivy ledge head climbers right until you get to the corner, climb the OW/chimney up to a ledge. 5.9
P15- 200' Continue up the wide crack system until you get to the summit of the first tower, belay up by a HUGE mostly detached thumping flake 5.10

-Side Note: we found bail gear above this and later learned that it was from an attempt by Geoff Conley about 15 years ago. He stopped at the same place we stopped on our first attempt. I don't know what route he took lower down on the mountain, i suspect it was via sherwood, but am unsure and would appreciate any information.

P16- 70' "the knifeblade traverse" climb on top of the big flake. Face climb up into the ow, not having a 6 here wouldnt be a gamebreaker, but itd make things a bit spooky. These moves felt a little sporty, but maybe the bush involved was creating some grade inflation... Traverse right out of the ow with bad gear. Rope drag forced a hanging belay here, possible link into the next pitch. 5.10-R
P17- 160' Up an easy hand crack to some trees that force you away from the crack to make things a little dicey on questionable gear, continue up into a long chimney, some sporty exit moves around a chockstone lead to a big ledge. 5.9R
P18- 180' Climb the short corner to the summit of "gummy Bear" tower. Climb the blocky "gummy bear" and traverse into the thin looking corner. Continue up into the short chimney. A size dependant move gets you into it, belay at the top of the tower. 5.9+
P19- 140' "The Headwall" Straight up the face following a seam. This is a bold lead with well spaced, small gear below hard moves. Big whipper potential in most places, but mostly clean falls. Belay at a ledge. (take doubles to 3, 2's and 3's for the anchor). 5.11-R
P20- 110' From the ledge, go straight up the sugary rock through a roof, a mistep here could be bad. Your "first" piece is about 20' up, but don't trust it, the crack is formed by a thumping block, you get some bomber gear in a few ft above. Continue straight up seams to the summit, best belay is a huge tree way back from the edge. 5.9R

Descent: The best descent off wilson is oak creek. When you top out turn right and walk across the summit ridge to the true summit, follow cairns from here. There are 2 potential escape routes i am aware of, the first is down willies. I have never been in the upper parts of this gully but my understanding is that it is technical and would likely require rappelling. The second is from high on route and does require 2 ropes. From ledge at the base of p18 a long (60m) rappel gets you down to a ledge with a tree on the left (to the right and slightly below the base of p16). A 65m rap from here gets you to sherwood, continue down dogma.


Park at the lot for the old oak creek campground, follow the road straight up to the pimple, cut left onto the obvious ridgeline when natural, follow this ridge straight to the base of the first pitch Approx. 1 hr.


In Camalot C4: 4-1, 3-3, 2-3 or 4, 1-2, .75-2, .5-2, .4-2, .3-2, .2-2, .1-2, single set of offset nuts, offset micros or rp's (a blue ballnut is nice as well), a couple tricams are nice. Optional 5 and 6 (if you have them i'd bring em, unless you feel super comfortable on 5.9/10- in red rock). 70m rope
Flava Flav
Kirkland, Washington
Flava Flav   Kirkland, Washington
For me, this route defines desert rockaneering. It contains all styles of climbing, and the 11b cruxes come as the last pitch of Day 1 and Day 2, both completely different in nature. A one day ascent would be legendary with all the wide climbing and other heady leads before you would go and try to send the headwall. Bivy ledges are pretty good most places from the Kracken chimney on up to the headwall pitch, but the one below the chimney is super soft. Oct 12, 2016