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Carson-Kodas Arete 

YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c R

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches, 300'
Original:  YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c R [details]
FA: Ron Carson and Vaino Kodas, July 1987
Season: Spring, Fall
Page Views: 2,225
Submitted By: Dave Daly on Dec 14, 2007

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Kris Solem going for it on Carson-Kodas Arete (5.1...


A Brief History of 'Carson-Kodas'....

In July 1987, when they put up this route, Ron Carson and Vaino Kodas were two of the best and boldest climbers in the area. Ron's routes on Dome Rock (Carsonoma and Chemotherapy, etc.) are legendary 5.12+ power slabs. By this time he had also led "The Dark Side" (5.12 R/X) on Voodoo Dome, and he would go on to complete the amazing "Titanic" in The Needles with Tony Yaniro and Brett Maurer. Vaino Kodas, one of the Estonians (along with Eve Laeger) of the Power Dome classic "Esto Power", established difficult new routes throughout California at a frenzied pace until moving out of the area a few years ago.

Climbing in traditional style, with the bolts drilled by a climber on the lead, this strong team established a route which stands as a testpiece at it's grade. The exhilaration which comes with a successful ascent of this pitch will leave you wanting more, even if it was a bit scary.


As is obvious from the belay, the route face climbs up and over to the arete. Climbing the arete is airy and exciting, but most climbers will find the crux to be a sequence of face moves encountered after the second bolt.

From the belay, climb up easily and clip the first bolt (A large nut with a long runner can provide optional protection for these opening moves). The next bit, up to the second bolt, is 5.10. The last couple moves to the clipping (drilling) stance require skillful footwork and are probably the worst place on the route to fall. After the second bolt, you traverse left and up, through the crux, arriving at the arete just below a small overhang and the third bolt. While doing the crux you must again climb well away from the pro, but this time your potential fall is safe and clean. The next section ascends the exposed arete. You cannot see the last bolt until you get to it (If you are climbing with double ropes, you can place a decent small wired nut in the patina on the face to the right.) In either case, a couple hard moves over the little roof lead to easier moves above and then - surprise - that 4th bolt. There is no fixed anchor, but excellent nut placements and other things to tie off to are found at the top.


"My own experiences with this climb have been varied. I've led it several times. I've also backed off it more than once, either because I wasn't feeling solid or it was too hot. This route is R rated - it's not a death defying stunt, but you could take a real flyer coming off in the wrong place, so use your head. If conditions are good and you're feeling it, do the deed. When you are through the crux and arrive at the arete proper, take a good look around and savor the exposure. It's one of a kind.

If your second is someone you like, you might consider pulling the rope up through the gear and tossing it back down in the clear to TR the traverse.

This is not a good route to try on a warm day in the hot sun!"


The Carson Kodas Arete is a great line on perfect granite with wild exposure at a challenging grade. This fine pitch ascends the prominent arete which forms the south west corner of Trapper Dome. This formation is across the road from Trapper Springs campground and is a five minute walk from the car.

The route begins at a bolted belay stance one pitch off the ground on a ledge under the large dihedral to the right of the arete. This spot can be reached by climbing one of several routes leading up to the ledge, or you can hike up the back of the dome and rapell in from anchors across from the arete.


-60m rope
-Pro to #2, small nuts helpful
-(5) draws
-slings and biners for gear

Photos of Carson-Kodas Arete Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Kris Solem at the crux, above the second bolt. Man...
Kris Solem at the crux, above the second bolt. Man...
Rock Climbing Photo: Carson-Kodas Arete (5.11b R), Courtright Reservoir
Carson-Kodas Arete (5.11b R), Courtright Reservoir

Comments on Carson-Kodas Arete Add Comment
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By Kristian Solem
From: Monrovia, CA
Apr 10, 2012

I'm not sure how this climb got sorted onto the "Sex Wall" page, that is not where it is. Sex Wall is on the upper east side of Trapper Dome, this route is on the south west arete. FWIW...
By Guy Keesee
From: Moorpark, CA
Jul 25, 2013

Yes, not at all by the "sex wall", rather 180 degrees from the sex wall. The sex wall is a collection of ultra short, slabbbbb climbs.
I like to climb to the top of Trapper via one of the other sport climbs and then Rap into the start of Carson/Kodas. A few other climbs go up the overhanging face to the right of the arete. I forget the names, they be 10's
By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Jun 24, 2016

Guy...those 5.10s: Zodiac Mind Warp (5.10d)
The Rhythm Divine (5.10d)
Loomis-Draper (5.9 A1)

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