Type: Sport, Alpine, 1000 ft (303 m), 8 pitches, Grade III
FA: Evan Mathews, Matthew Abbott, Tony Chang (July 2017)
Page Views: 4,580 total · 72/month
Shared By: Orphaned User on Jul 14, 2017
Admins: GRK, Zach Wahrer

You & This Route

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The direct version of Trial By Fire, Blue Phoenix takes the center line up the north east face of Ross Peak. This line has three distinct crux pitches with very fun climbing leading up to and in between cruxes. Each crux pitch is on excellent stone and vary in style that will test your knowledge of the Bozeman area limestone climbing. The route it does have some runout sections, but generally not over anything harder than 5.10 terrain.

Pitch 1, 5.10-
Start under a large ledge 70 feet or so to the left of the start of The Fellowship. How easy this ledge is to get to is dependent on the snow level, at the lowest snow level it's about 5.8 (There is an old rusty piton that can be clipped, but should be treated as ornamental). Once on the ledge, start to the right of the obvious weakness and follow grooves and runnels past bolts to another ledge. Follow a large right facing corner to a smaller ledge. Bolt belay.

Pitch 2, 5.10-
From the belay, climb right and cross a small slab to a large left facing feature that leads to a short slab crux. After the crux climb up and left through easy 5th class to a belay on a slightly chossy ledge at the base of a right facing flake system. Runner things well, bolt belay.

Pitch 3, 5.10-
Climb up the fun flake system and pull onto a low angle slab at the base of a large roof/overlap. Clip the first bolt on the overlap and traverse right until it is possible to gain a nice flake that cuts back left over the first overlap to a bolt. From here it is possible to climb the corner to gain some good holds to pull over onto the face (crux). Follow the broken cracks to a belay stance. Runner things well, bolt belay. (There is an optional .5 Camalot placement at the crux)

Pitch 4, 5.9+
Step right from the anchor to a bolt and climb the excellent slab to a three bolt and chain hanging belay below the first crux pitch.

Pitch 5, The Wave, 5.12-
Follow a flowing but wandering line of awesome pockets and edges up the steep blue streaked swell to a pumpy crux between bolts 4 and 5. After pulling onto a small ledge the difficulty eases but the climbing becomes a bit devious. After the tricky bit follow a feature right to a bolt belay to the left of a small tree. Bring an alpine draw for bolt 6 and the last bolt.

Either walk or make a short rap down and to the right to the large comfy ledge to an un-anchored belay below the gray slab.

Pitch 6, The Ice Cream Parlor, 5.12
The hardest of the crux pitches. Named for the sherbert-esque colors seemingly melting down the walls of the alcove. Follow a line of bolts up the easy slab just to the right of a shallow dihedral to a short but steep section of wall with excellent rock. Take a breath at the no-hands rest before embarking up the steep face. Find your way through awesome but hard to see and sequence holds to a powerful and bouldery lip encounter pulling into the cleft before the upper slab. Climb up the fun and easy slab leading to a bolted anchor to the left of the large group of trees that live on the ledge above. Runner things well.

From the belay move right and up the small gully leading towards the obvious giant ledge. Walk up and belay un-anchored to the right of a large tree directly at the base of the next wall. As a note, if needed the last two pitches can be skipped by making your way right off the ledge to link up with a 4th class gully and ledge system that heads up and left across the wall towards the summit and descent.

Pitch 7, 5.10
Follow bolts up and left following a seam feature to fun chert adventure climbing staying just left of a small tree 3/4 of the way up the face. The pitch ends at an obvious large tree belay at the top of the face.

From the tree belay walk up and left to an obvious un-anchored belay area in a small alcove below the right side of the final headwall. The first bolt of the last pitch is just to the left of a short and small left facing dihedral and is about 10ft off the ground.

Pitch 8, The Headwall, 5.12-
Climb up easy ground to a small ledge with lots of orange lichen below the steep section of the headwall. Off the ledge move right and follow a series of underclings leading to a delicate traverse left. After traversing left move back up and right and fire a final crux lip encounter on amazing pockets, crimps, and chert features. Enjoy the last long stretch of easy (and a bit spicy) glory climbing to a bolted anchor on the right side of the ledge at the top of the headwall. Runner things well, a long pitch!

To summit, walk to the top of the headwall feature and follow a thin ridge that curves south east for about 80 feet or so that eventually deposits you at the top of the fourth class escape gully. To summit Ross Peak follow the trail that leads right around the backside of the headwall, to descend follow the trail left down the east ridge of Ross.


Bolts. Bring 10 quickdraws, 8 alpine draws, a minimum of 8 feet of webbing for the tree belay at the top of pitch 7, and a 70m rope (double ropes needed to rap). A double length sling can come in handy. Wear a helmet. There are usually mountain goats around traversing the ledges above that can cause rockfall. Pitches 1-3 and the belay starting pitch 4 being the most exposed to potential rockfall. 


Start under a large ledge 70 feet or so to the left of the start of The Fellowship.