Type: Trad, 300 ft (91 m), 4 pitches
FA: Derek Field & Dave Spies (March 2017) - ground-up
Page Views: 2,417 total · 31/month
Shared By: Derek Field on Apr 10, 2017
Admins: Greg Opland, Brian Boyd, JJ Schlick, Kemper Brightman, Luke Bertelsen

You & This Route

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Airborne Sage is a new multipitch route up the most prominent prow on the west face of Crown Butte. It takes a direct natural line, passing through the Sage Chimney and other unique features, and tops out on a nice perch below the summit. Comfortable, scenic belay ledges separate short, action-packed pitches with a mixed bag of rock quality. For mega value it can be linked into two pitches by strong parties. This is a diverse route, as parallel-walled cracks in pretty much every size (fingertips through chimney) appear throughout the journey. There's still a wee bit of loose rock (yikes) but its part of the overall Sandona adventure, isn't it? Enjoy!

Pitch 1: The bottom half of this pitch is sort of an entrance fee for the route. See photos for the starting location. Meander up a shallow, mossy corner (sparse/no pro for 20 feet), aiming for an ugly flared offwidth. Stem/jam through the funkness to gain a nice handcrack that takes you up over a bulge and to a stance. Continue straight up a steep off-fingers dihedral on the arete, then work through a blocky wide section to a memorable belay seat with a two-bolt chain anchor. (5.10-, 80 feet)

Pitch 2: Scale the golden splitter offwidth and pull the burly roof on its left side. Take a breather, plug some gear deep in the alcove (long slings), and rest awhile before casting off on a steep traverse up and right on big sandy edges - this part is easier than it appears, but definitely a little heads-up for both leader and follower. Good idea to rest awhile before setting off. The traverse leads into a spacious belay alcove with a two-bolt chain anchor at the entrance to the corridor. (5.10, 70 feet)

Pitch 3: Move the belay to the back of the corridor. Enjoy 3D stemming between the pillar and two main walls with finger cracks too. Surmount the pillar and make an awkward entrance into the Sage Chimney. Three bolts protect a wild, airy line on the edge of the smooth, featureless chasm. The first ascent was done without any bolts. Belay from the two bolt chain anchor at the top of the chimney. (5.9+, 70 feet)

Pitch 4: Lean across to the main wall and clip a bolt. Don't forget the photo op before cranking up the splitter fingercrack. Past a loose section and a gritty ledge, it opens into twin handcracks. Settle into a seated belay at a two-bolt chain anchor on the outside of the formation with a sweet view. (5.10, 50 feet)

The final belay anchor was placed to provide a worthy "summit view". If a true peak is what you desire, the actual summit of Crown Butte is reached by 200 feet of loose class-4 scrambling. There is a slung tree (cordelette placed April 2017) that can be used to rappel back down this section.

Rappel the route with a single 60m rope. Note that the Sage Chimney rap station can be bypassed with a 70m rope.


Direct line up the west face of Crown Butte. See formation page for approach description. See photos for identifying the start of the route.


Single rack from purple (#0) metolius to green (#6) camalot
Single 60m rope
All bolted belays