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Stronghold Dome
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Bee Line 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 280'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R [details]
FA: Merle Wheeler, Mark and Gary Axen, 1972.
Page Views: 8,882
Submitted By: Tony B on Dec 24, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (93)
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Arin Trook starts up the stunning first pitch of B...


We did this route in 3 pitches, not 2. This worked well for us.

Another great route. The first pitch is best and is what justifies the classic rating, but the rest is also good.

Approach Stronghold dome via the standard trail. You will see a striking roof on the south end of the East face, perhaps 70 feet off of the gound. A fingercrack ascends to the roof from the ground.

P1: 5.9, 70'. Climb a fingercrack from the ground up to the roof above on the south end of the East face of the Stronghold Dome. This is the finestand hardest pitch of this route. Belay below the roof (optional).

P2: 5.8, 70'. Climb out and right from the previous pitch to traverse the roof and reach a flake system with some questionable rock. The gear here is as good as the rock you put it in, which is questionable in places. Keep on your toes and keep climbing out the flake. Eventually this will goes up over a mild bulge and cross the blunt corner to the right... whereupon it will become a solid crack leading to a good bolted belay out on the South face.

P3: 5.7 or 5.9+, 140'. This pitch is moderate, but more than moderately runout. We "missed" the easy part and ended up on a bolted variation to the top. For the 5.7 climb up and left toward the East Edge Edge of the South Face, past a bolt and then past a horizontal and up left to the summit. Otherwise you will encounter a bolted line (5.9+?) which we rode up and zig-zagged to the summit.


Standard rack of nuts and cams. Heavy on the finger-sized gear for the crux on P1.The crux is well protected, but thes second and third pitches are not.

Photos of Bee Line Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: 2 starts. The left route is up a flake. Or face cl...
BETA PHOTO: 2 starts. The left route is up a flake. Or face cl...
Rock Climbing Photo: You can break it into three pitches with a semi ha...
BETA PHOTO: You can break it into three pitches with a semi ha...
Rock Climbing Photo: Beeline
Rock Climbing Photo: A good sense of the pro through the thin crack and...
A good sense of the pro through the thin crack and...
Rock Climbing Photo: Decent pro and easier climbing makes turning the r...
Decent pro and easier climbing makes turning the r...
Rock Climbing Photo: Just before the finger crack business on the first...
Just before the finger crack business on the first...
Rock Climbing Photo: Susan eyeing the thinness ahead.
Susan eyeing the thinness ahead.
Rock Climbing Photo: Beeline 5.9
BETA PHOTO: Beeline 5.9
Rock Climbing Photo: Flex on the 1st pitch. Photo by Jeff Kennedy
Flex on the 1st pitch. Photo by Jeff Kennedy
Rock Climbing Photo: Ron Roach looking forward to some fine crack climb...
Ron Roach looking forward to some fine crack climb...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ron Roach follows the finger crack on the upper ha...
Ron Roach follows the finger crack on the upper ha...
Rock Climbing Photo: The perfect fingertip crack
The perfect fingertip crack
Rock Climbing Photo: First pitch of Beeline.
BETA PHOTO: First pitch of Beeline.

Comments on Bee Line Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 25, 2016
By Anonymous Coward
Dec 10, 2003

This was a two pitch route, and the person who put anchors right in the middle of pitch one should be tar and feathered!
By Steve Pulver
From: Williston, ND
Dec 12, 2003
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a R

The chains underneath the roof are useful if you want to set up a top rope on the first pitch of the route.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 11, 2004

They're good for a TR? All the more reason for a tar-and-feathering.
By Wes Turner
From: az
May 15, 2004
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

excellent line just a blast.chains shouldn't be added in the middle of classic routes...... it just breaks up a classic line!--2 pitches only! follow crack (solid .9) all the way up and around right of roof to easy laybacking(.7ish) belay at 2 bolts 165' if you clip the chains you didn't do Beelinep2 is very runout .7....but funI loved it!!
By Bob
Dec 15, 2005

The anchors in the middle of the first pitch have been removed.
By kBobby Hanson
From: Spokane, WA
Dec 31, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The first pitch has some loose blocks on it. The route has been climbed repeatedly over the decades without anyone pulling them off, but care should still be given.

The second pitch is runout, but mostly easy. There are a couple of 5.7 moves, right at the bolt; and one 5.6 move just above the horizontal crack (which protects with large cams). The rest is considerably easier.
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 30, 2006

Tony: The 5.9 "X" must be a typo, yes?
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jan 31, 2006

Well, the consequence of a fall on the 2nd pitch or in spots of the 3rd pitch could be career-ending. 5.3X. So does that mean 5.9R?
I guess so, so I changed it with that disclaimor.
By John Peterson
Feb 1, 2006

I'd say it's more R than X. Plus I doubt anyone capable of doing the first pitch would get even moderately gripped on the runout. I'm a big chicken at heart but never was bothered even slightly by the runout on this. Not that I tried, but you never know what sort of sneaky pro might lurk in the chickenheads on the upper pitches anyway. The rating should be 5.9 (5.3 x) or something like that if you want to get picky.
By jbak
Feb 17, 2006

There is no way this route deserves an X. That will just keep people away. Yes it's runout in places, but very easy. At most a PG13.
By David Arthur Sampson
Mar 5, 2007

I find this "discussion" rater silly (R versus X). There is a fairly clear definition on what makes a route deserve an R rating versus an X rating (assuming, of course, that the Mountaineering Club is a valid citation) see below;

""Since the standard usage of the Yosemite Decimal System defines only the hardest move on a pitch, or the hardest pitch on a multipitch route, a seriousness factor was introduced to give an indication of the relative danger of the climb. This system was developed in 1980 by James Erickson.

· PG-13; Protection is adequate; if properly placed a fall would not be too serious.

· R: Protection is considered inadequate; there is a potential for a long fall, and a falling leader would take a hard wipper, possibly suffering injuries.

· X: Inadequate or no protection; a fall would be very serious and perhaps fatal. ""

close Quote:

By jbak
Mar 5, 2007

Thank you oh master of the unsubtle. We already knew the definitions.

The real discussion is: what is "inadequate" relative to the overall difficulty of the route.
By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Jan 4, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Terrific line and a great location for winter climbing whereas it gets a good deal of sun all day.

Opening moves a bit cruxy of which I protected using a few equalized brassies then wiggled up through the grass until I got a good finger lock just above (maybe 20' from the deck). Great tips to finger to hand climbing to the roof where I (for the first time in my life) got STUNG by a BEE!! (Yes, on Beeline).

Plugged in a 1.5" cam at the roof to pick out the stinger before moving right around the roof. After the initial moves and grungy flake that takes basically no pro you are lead through easy climbing that could easily be protected or just run to the bolted bomber 1988 anchors.

Using the beta from the Kerry guide and recommendations from friends we rapped from this point using a single 70m rope which brought us within' 10' from the base of which you could easily down-climb.

Extremely fun, great rock, neat line.


Oh yeah, bring small gear. TCU's, nuts and nothing bigger than maybe a 2" cam unless you plan to protect the large crack just before the bolted anchor.

Enjoy :)
By Russ Walling
Jan 5, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Seemed pretty darn thin and hard at the top of the finger crack for me. For the men among us, with large fingers, you will be glad this fracture resides on a slab.
By Chris Wenker
From: Santa Fe
Nov 30, 2009

There's a bolted line just to climber's right of Rheen's 'Rete. From the shared P1 anchor of Beeline/Rheen's, you can see a 2 bolt anchor about 40 feet below. There's a second rap anchor somewhere below that (visible from the ground). I talked w/ two ABQ guys who said they'd done that bolted route (~5.10), and rapped it with one rope. So it seems likely that you could also get down to that rap line from the Beeline/Rheen's P1 anchor with one rope (?).
But, topping out is more fun....
By Daryl Allan
From: Sierra Vista, AZ
Nov 15, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Simply amazing route.. a real must-do. We did the direct line which proved to be quite grassy with a thin start but still quite fun. Some small robots, aliens or tcu's are helpful for the top of the crack. The crux for me was where my fingers didn't fit in a section about 6' or so long just under the roof. I sort of lied back and stretched up to the base of where it opened back up.

If you look at the pictures and think "big roof"/"little roof".. after the little roof veer up and left up the face about 20' to a 'ledge' where you will see a pair of bolts with webbing (tagged Aug88). From here you can head up and left to the summit and rap chains(5.7ish?). We went right up to the big ledge and climbed the face left of the manzanita tree to the summit (pass the first anchor you see and continue up to the rap chains). This kept the route more sustained imho.

From the chains, we rapped down keeping right on the face, then jumped/swung across the massive chasm to the next chains (fun!!!). Three more from here down and climber's right get you back to the base.
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Oct 24, 2012

A fun climb indeed and thank goodness the anchors in the middle of P1 are gone! Protected fine with a couple C3s through the thin part and the lay back flake was more solid than the AZ climbing guide made it out to be. Would highly recommend rapping the line from the top -- i.e. from the top to the P1 anchors (which would do well to be replaced with quick links and rap rings over the cords) and then a great double rope rap down to the base of the dome to the right of the arête. Pulling the ropes off the western side resulted in way more hastles (Hanna and I did both Beeline and Rheen's Arête, slightly different top pitches, and so rapped twice).
By Nick Henscheid
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 25, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13

Great line. First pitch is classic and protects perfectly, and the second makes up for less interesting climbing with spice. I found several halfway decent placements on the second, but expect 6/6+ moves in no-fall territory. Our rap beta: double 60m rap down the neat chimney to anchors at (near?) top of P1 of Big Time, then double rope rap to the base. You can't see the mid anchors when you leave the top, but you'll get there with 60's (they're just beyond the base of the chimney). On the first pull we got our rope stuck at the base of the chimney and had to lead back up to get it back, but you might get luckier. Rapping Bee Line is probably easier but less interesting.

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