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Earth Angel 

YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 700', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Scott Baxter and Ross Hardwick
Page Views: 14,478
Submitted By: Will Cobb on Apr 12, 2006  with updates from Matt Enlow

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This is Justin, Matt, and I atop Earth Angel Spire...


Earth Angel is an awesome route that climbs what must be one of the largest sandstone towers in the United States. The first two pitches are laden with loose rock, so use caution. The last four pitches are four stars for climbing quality. This is also one of the best summits in Sedona.

Pitch 1 - Walk to the left edge of the large starting platform. Climb a short crack then wander up broken rock and ledges to a nice belay ledge next to the Chimney. (5.7 ~120') Watch for loose rock on this pitch.

Pitch 2 - Climb chimney off belay being mindful of loose rock. Belay at nice ledge on left at the top of the chimney. (5.7 ~180')

Pitch 3 - Step across chimney and climb off-width crack above. Jam, stem, off-width, and face climb past one bolt (pitch crux) to the top of this excellent pitch. Everytime this pitch starts to really become difficult a Red Rocks style face hold seemed to magically appear. Belay from a huge ledge at the top of this pitch. (5.10- ~150')

Pitch 4 - Climb the left side of a pillar up a hands to fingers crack. Belay at the top of this pillar. Some say this is the best pitch on the route. The first asensionists tunneled behind/through the pillar and climbed the right side. (5.9 ~100')

Pitch 5 - Traverse up and right to a finger crack that is not directly visible from the belay ledge. Climb up this crack and then onto the face above past an old bolt and pin. Once through the major difficulties trend up and right over large chickenheads to another huge ledge and belay. (5.10- ~140') This pitch carries some serious climbing above an old bolt and pin. Send the best lead head and face climber up on this pitch.

Pitch 6 - There are many ways to climb the final pitch ranging from 5.7 to 5.10x. The described way was our path of least resistance, but there are probably 5 or 6 different ways to climb this last pitch. Climb a moderate crack system directly off the belay ledge until an easy traverse left leads to the tower's north face. From here 5.6 face climbing takes you to one of the best summit's in Sedona. Look for the first rap anchor on the far side of the summit.


Turn off of highway 89A onto Jordan Road. At the "T" junction turn left and drive past the Adobe style homes following Forest Access signs and onto the dirt road. The parking area at the end of this road has been recently renovated and the old shooting range is gone. Park, drop into the drainage on the right and turn left. Mormon Canyon is accessed by hiking up this wash. After about 30-40 minutes of hiking the wash will make a right turn (east) and the tower will come into view. From this point stay in the wash until you are almost directly under the tower. At this point follow a climbers trail with some carins up and right. Hike beyond the route's base, then double back to the starting platform. Total hiking time is 1-1.5 hours.

Descent - Rap 1 is about 110' off a multiple bolt anchor to a nice ledge. Rap 2 is about 180' off a bolt anchor to another nice ledge. Rap 3 is about 160' from yet another bolt anchor to a large ledge near the ground. Scramble left just a little to the final anchor. Rap 4 is about 80' to the ground. There is an enormous poison ivy patch growing here so if you are allergic use caution. Scramble down and right for 5-10 minutes back to your gear.

It is a good idea on the first three rappels to have the second climber down work the knot over the lip of each ledge to prevent stuck ropes.


1 set Stoppers
1 x 0 Metolius TCU (Purple)/Blue Alien
1 x 1 Metolius TCU (Blue)/Green Alien
2 x 2 Metolius TCU (Yellow)/Yellow Alien
2 x .5 Camalot
2 x .75 Camalot
2 x 1 Camalot
2 x 2 Camalot
1 x 3 Camalot
1 x 3.5 Camalot
1 x 4 and 1 x 4.5 Camalot
2 x 4 Camalot
1 x 5 Camalot Optional
Draws and Slings

Photos of Earth Angel Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Earth Angel on the approach
Earth Angel on the approach
Rock Climbing Photo: This is the start ledge. It seems deceptive since ...
BETA PHOTO: This is the start ledge. It seems deceptive since ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Earth Angel say you'll be mine!!!
Earth Angel say you'll be mine!!!
Rock Climbing Photo: The hanging rappel from Earth Angel!! Definitely b...
The hanging rappel from Earth Angel!! Definitely b...
Rock Climbing Photo: Finishing up the end of the crux pitch of Earth An...
Finishing up the end of the crux pitch of Earth An...
Rock Climbing Photo: Line we took for the first pitch( Ends at massive ...
BETA PHOTO: Line we took for the first pitch( Ends at massive ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Th third, fourth and fifth pitch can be seen in th...
BETA PHOTO: Th third, fourth and fifth pitch can be seen in th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking from base of route to belay ledge
BETA PHOTO: Looking from base of route to belay ledge
Rock Climbing Photo: The fourth pitch, really short, maybe 80 feet but ...
BETA PHOTO: The fourth pitch, really short, maybe 80 feet but ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The view at the top of Earth Angel at sunset
The view at the top of Earth Angel at sunset
Rock Climbing Photo: The cool 'chickenheads'... more like cobbles... on...
The cool 'chickenheads'... more like cobbles... on...
Rock Climbing Photo: The 5th pitch
The 5th pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeremiah on the sweet 4th pitch... felt more like ...
Jeremiah on the sweet 4th pitch... felt more like ...

Comments on Earth Angel Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 27, 2017
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 28, 2006

In 2000/01 we did Earth Angel for a b-day outing. We had six people on the summit, and even brought the Hilti along and redid the rap anchors on the way down. That was just a long, long beautiful day from finding the start to hiking out in a dark rain. The first couple pitches are shit. A helmet wouldn't hurt here. I did get bashed up a bit from falling rock. A must do for any Sedona crazed climber.
By Alex Shainman
Apr 17, 2007

Funny...As I was reading the description of a scary bolt, I remembered that Joe Melley and I replaced [a] key bolt[s] on this route back in '97 (at least I thought we replaced all of them). I guess we missed one!!?? Bummer!

When in the area, also check out the awesome Low Maintenance Dihedral 11- (a FA circa the same time). Unfortunately I have so much sand in my brain I have forgotten exactly where it is (somewhere on the right/outer side of Mormon Canyon before E.A. tower, I think)...As well as a scary 5.12 mixed route we did somewhere near Dr Rubo's (behind?).

Alex Shainman
By Anthony Anagnostou
From: nyc
Apr 26, 2007

I got beta from a couple folks before i got on earth angel and appreciated the help. this is me passing on the love. random musings, in no particular order-

approach: it wasnt clear to us where the thing was. i think the 30-40 minute estimate to the turn is a little conservative. we took the wrong drainage (add two and a half hours approach-'schwacking!! oops) so i dont know for sure, but i would venture to guess it will take most folks a deal more than 30 minutes to get to the turn. we hiked up a drainage that started with a big red rounded ledge and beelined straight up loose stuff. then hike a hundred yards left along the cliff base to the route. we looked further up the wash for another turnoff, but it seemed pretty obvious to us that we had gone too far. we saw no cairns anywhere, except for a long ways down the main wash at a hiker's trail (?) to a beautiful pass.

if you want a general idea of where you're headed, from th eparking lot, you can see a white sandstone formation peeking out from the left side of the prominent red formation up canyon. the white sandstone formation, just visible from the lot, with roofs in it. no. thats not earth angel. but the little spike of rock visible between that prominent roofed tower and the main rock is. looks a long way away. remember that you wont see earth angel, as pictured in the beta photos, until you are on the other side of that formation you could see from the parking lot.

pitching it out: several people told me several ways to climb it. i think the way mountainproject has it pitched out is definitely the most logical to my mind.

for gear, i would add a black (or purple, whatever you call the tiny one) alien, another yellow alien, and a couple screamers. the bolt (leeper recall hanger??, 3/8" unknown bolt) on the top harder pitch is kinda' unnecessary, so you shouldnt lose sleep over it the night before. if you bring up a selection of nuts and small cams you can put quite a lot of pro in the crack that the bolt is right next to. the pin is ok, but you could get a decent small offset nut right under it if you brought those. above that the pro withers out, but the climbing is far easier.

and the big gear? we brought a camalot 3, two 4s, and a 5 (new C4 sizes. the new 5 is the same size as the old 4.5). we could have done it without the second 4. we generally ended up with one at a belay, althouhg we did backclean it a couple times on various pitches. the 5 was fine, but really i didnt think it was necessary. i clipped the bolt without putting the 5 in, with other gear at my waist, and it only went in one spot above that, and kinda' tipped out. above that a 6 would really be useful, but its really face climbing and stemming, and a little chimney, not OW, and you can put gear in the back of the crack without anything big. i kinda' think that burly leaders will be fine with no OW cams. more cautious leaders might want both the 5 and the 6 (i think the 6 is more useful than the 5 on the crux pitch).

rappels. on the first rappel, give the rope a big heave-ho as it pulls free. if it piles up on the intermediate ledge, you might end up pulling one of the big blocks down on yourself, or stickin your rope. on the second to last rappel, above the sloping ledge, the second rapper should hook the rope over the step climber's left of the anchors. if you run your rope through the crack it will eat the knot and jam the rope. (i guess i was getting tired..)

and the last rappel.. there is no poison ivy down there, anywhere, that i could find.

earth angel feels like a red rocks backcountry adventure 5.9+. same moves. same rock. spicy sections. varnished plates for face holds. sandy topout. if you really love this climb, you will really love lady wilson's cleavage, community pillar, etc.

the climb is mostly in the shade.

last note: no summit register, or box, up there as of 4/26/07, as far as i can tell. next party could bring one up if they felt generous.
By Chris Tatum
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 17, 2009

What an awesome route! Did it for the first time on Saturday and had a blast. I agree with Anthony, that old crummy bolt on the 5th pitch is not really necessary (not with modern day gear at least)... I had good gear before and after it and the climbing at that bolt is kind of mellow... the fixed pin above is more where the crux is and there is a bomber purple tcu right next to it.... so ya, don't lose sleep over it.
Right now there are a lot of cairns marking the turn and the correct wash that takes you up to the base of the route. Just like everyone says... be patient and stay in the main wash longer than you think. and look for the cairns heading up right.
Great adventure, good rock and amazing climbing! Get out and do it!
By Andy Bennett
From: Tucson, AZ
Apr 28, 2009

If you're not familiar with the area, use Bloom's book (for what it's worth) and the comments from the's often challenging to find your line, and it's quite easy to get lost. Earth Angel is WAAAY back in the canyon, almost at the upper end. When you think you've gone far enough, keep going...This route is all fun and the rap at the end was one of my most memorable!
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 2, 2009
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

This is a good, fun climb. To add to Will's description, I'd suggest the following:

I've put together a file for use with Google Earth to show the approach described above. This map can be viewed from any perspective and printed. It can be downloaded by clicking this link:


Pitch 1 - Rack up under a large ledge at the base of the right side of the formation. 3rd class up and left. Rope up before the climbing becomes exposed under a short crack. Climb the crack then wander up and left along broken rock and ledges to a belay stance below a chimney (5.7 ~120').

Pitch 2 - Climb the chimney, avoiding loose rock. About 80? up there is a stance with a nice crack headed to the left - avoid it - and keep heading up the crummy chimney. The chimney becomes more steep and has some loose rock. Belay at a small ledge with a tree. Left of the ledge is a larger stance that may serve as a good belay stance. (5.7 ~180').

Note that while these first two pitches are not too impressive, the next three pitches are quite good.

Pitch 3 - Ascend the chimney that gradually turns into an off-width crack. Most of the climbing does not involve actual offwidth technique; stemming and interesting face moves usually do the trick. One or two awkward 10a moves are next to a bolt, the remainder of the climbing is 5.9 or so. A #5 camalot is strongly suggested to protect some 5.9 moves before the climbing eases off. About 30 feet after the difficulty eases, you’ll see a large ledge on the
left. I suggest moving right under the nice, obvious crack (which you’ll climb next pitch): there’s a good ledge here and it will make watching/communicating with your second a bit easier (10a, ~140').

Pitch 4 - Climb the beautiful crack about 80’ to a terrific belay ledge. The most difficult moves are early in the pitch (5.9).

Pitch 5 - Traverse up and right to a finger crack that is not directly visible from the belay ledge. Excellent stopper placements lead to an old bolt. More gear can be placed to a good pin. Shortly after the pin the climbing becomes easier. Traverse about 10’ right and then continue up on easy ground. There is not good pro on this part of the pitch, but the climbing is straightforward. Finish on a huge ledge with some small trees (10a, 140’).

Pitch 6 - Climb straight up from the belay on easy cracks until you can traverse left past a tree. From here, climb an easy face to the summit. On the far side of the summit, you’ll find several bolts which can be used to belay. The rappels down the opposite side of the formation also start here (5.7, 100’).

Rappel 110' to the left side of a huge ledge. The second rap anchor is on the wall to the right at the middle the ledge. (Use caution when pulling the rope, as there is a large boulder on an intermediate ledge which can easily snarl your rope. Descent will become very problematic if you don’t have two ropes). The second rap continues down 180' another large ledge. From here, rappel 160' to a brushy ledge near the ground. The final rappel anchor will be about 10’ to climber’s left. Rappel 80' to the ground from here. A faint trail takes you down and right to the start of the climb in a few minutes.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 9, 2009

Which way does this route face? It looks shady from the photos. We were thinking of getting a super early start and climbing it this Sunday, is that crazy?
By Will Cobb
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 16, 2009


I know of several parties who have climbed this route in the dead of summer. I climbed it over the first weekend in September, and it was still pretty darn hot. Take plenty of water and start the hike in early. The route faces mostly north/north west and is in the shade almost all day. The higher you climb, the cooler it is, which is nice.

Good luck, have fun, and post a quick TR when you get back.

By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 16, 2009

Thanks...but we ended up wimping out and going to Paradise Forks instead. It was pretty damn hot even up there last weekend!
By erik kapec
From: prescott, az
Apr 3, 2011

There is still poison ivy at the base of the rappel...
By Dustin Wildermuth
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Apr 20, 2012
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

It would be a good idea to belay outside of the 2nd pich chimney because if your not kicking down rocks you will be kicking down sand. A Sedona route wouln't feel right with out a little choss. Great route!
By Robbie Brown
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 21, 2012
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

This climb was fantastic! One of the best i have done in Sedona.
The chimney on the second pitch was the sandiest ball o choss i have ever been inside of! Sitting on the tree that crosses the chimney for the second belay is a great seat. Also, the "serious climbing above an old bolt and pin" i found to be quite easy and well protected. Frankly, i felt the 4th pitch was harder than the fifth. when i go back to do this climb again i will bring this as far as gear

1 #0 c3 (purple metolius)
1 #1 c3 (Blue metolius)
2 #2 c3 (yellow metolius)
2 #.5 C4
2 #.75 C4
2 #1 C4
1 #2 C4
1 #3 C4
2 #4 C4
7 runners
1 set tricams
By Caitlin Mac
From: Tempe
Nov 4, 2012

Approach- Seemed very easy until after about 30/40 mins, the drainage starts splitting up into many directions and gets more washed out. My advice is always pick the right wash if it begins to split (this is where we went wrong). We marked the correct drainages to take with single carins. There are several washes to your right as you get closer to the tower, Nathan and I marked the correct turn off on your right with 3 carins- (11/3/12-I have added a picture of the 3 carins above) do not turn up any other wash or you will be bush-waking uphill on terribly loose rock for a long time (not fun).

P2- Belay from ledge with old tree -extremely chossy pitch..
p3- In my opinion the crux. Use small face holds to stem up- squeeze deep into the chimney to place higher up.
p4- I agree with Robbie above, this is harder than pitch 5, but well protected.
p5- lots of exposure once you traverse right and up- once you clip the pin it's easy climbing to the belay.

RAPS- On the third rap there is a tree directly below that your ropes will get caught in, if you throw right- you have a chance of your ropes landing in cacti on the ledge(worse in my opinion..)
-on the last rap there is definitely a bush that looks like poison ivy at the base- be careful.
Rock Climbing Photo: Carins where you are suppose to turn right and beg...
Carins where you are suppose to turn right and begin uphill towards the climb.
By DesertRat
Jan 21, 2014

We didn't look too hard, but there didn't appear to be a summit register as of 1/18/14.

Approach: Take drainage that is 100 yards from apparent end of main drainage (main drainage walls off). Follow cairns. There weren't as many cairns marking the turn as seen in previous pic.

Pitch1: 5.easy on choss. The one 5.6-5.7 move seemed to be less chossy, with solid holds available. There was an intermediate belay/bail about half way up the pitch, with some fresh 7mm with a quicklink. We belayed on the ledge right before the chimney. There was 1-wrap of 7mm around a big boulder with a quicklink. It can easily be backed up with a #6 stopper or .1 BD X4.

Pitch2: 5.8 Chimney. It would be 5.7 except that down low everything you want to use is suspect. Scary chimney. I think it would be difficult not to knock something loose on the ascent. There is lots of potential for really big rockfall. Too bad, because the chimney would be incredible if it wasn't for the choss. We belayed from the tree, which had some tat that some party had apparently bailed from. A .75 cam can be used in an adjacent crack as a backup as well.

Pitch3: 5.10- Looks more intimidating than it is. First little roof is pretty easy if you stay further out in the chimney. The first and most difficult crux is protected with a bolt and was awkward and insecure for me. Once above the first crux, there are still some difficult moves that are not easily protected down low without a #5 BD C4 and a #6 BD C4 would also be really nice here. Rock becomes pretty good on this pitch. Climbing starts to ease off toward the top and becomes really fun.

Pitch4: 5.9 Straightforward crack. Takes gear nicely all the way up. Pretty short pitch. Stellar climbing. Good rock.

Pitch5: 5.10- (Didn't feel much harder than P4) Lots of options to protect down low. Bolt is old, as previously stated. The pin seems pretty good. Up higher, the climbing is easy if you move about 3 ft right. There are places for pro, but nothing super good. Most likely you will choose to just run it out, since the climbing is pretty easy. Chicken heads are a blast. This is another absolutely stellar pitch with awesome exposure. I used the tree as an anchor and extended my belay back to the top of radius of the ledge.

Pitch6: 5.6 crux move is first or second move off the deck Follow crack up directly behind the belay tree. Moving left behind the tree (half way up) is a pain. The tree likes to grab gear. The 5.easy face to finish the route is stellar and super fun. Lots of options.

Descent: All the raps are from nice ledges. Beware of some loose blocks, especially on the first rap. We extended the knot past the edge on the 3rd rap based on some beta we had. This seemed to do the trick in avoiding the rope eating crack the the rope runs right next to. The raps were all pretty awesome though. Mostly hanging raps.
By Nicholas Withem
From: Olympia, WA
Apr 27, 2016

The hike in took longer than expected to we timed it on the way out. It was 50minutes from the trailhead with the 3 cairns(where the uphill section begins) to the parking lot. So maybe another 35 minutes uphill from the cairns for a total of 85mins. So keep hiking the wash until you definitely see the profile view otherwise you might go off hiking the wrong canyon.

The only anchors on this route are the cordallette wrapped on a rock on the first pitch, cordallette around a tree on the second pitch. You need to build your own anchor for the third and fourth pitch, but you will find good crack to place pro in, and the top of the fifth pitch has a tree you can use, and the sixth pitch has a bolted anchor for the summit topout. \

Definitely send your strongest leader for the fifth pitch, it's an airy traverse up to the right on a finger crack you cant see above a sheer dropoff and the crux move is pulling a sandstone bulge above an old piton, some questionable rock to place gear in and a questionable rusty old bolt, right above a nasty swing onto your solid gear anchor! But that's what makes this route fun!! It's spicy! And has a great view down from there!

Bring a helmet, this is Sandona!

Oh and by the way if you climb this route, I dropped my nuts here, yes the boy became a man... I dropped a bunch of nuts all over this route because of the dang wind! haha
By Joshua Munoz
Apr 27, 2016

Approach: Easily not 30-40 minutes. I timed my buddy and I on the way out and it took us 52 minutes from the 3 cairn turn off. That was moving faster then on the way in and we knew exactly where we were going on the way out. Plus, you have a slight downhill on the way out. You won't be able to see the tower until you've hiked at least an hour because it's hidden by the rocks in front. Once you see it and find the correct turn off you still have another 30-40 minutes of an uphill battle.

Top of pitch 1 has cordelette you can belay off of.
Top of pitch 2 belay off tree.
Top of pitch 3 I made an anchor at the base of pitch 4. There really isn't a great spot to place gear on the big ledge at the top so I used 3 small pieces just under the start of pitch 4.
Top of pitch 4 build anchor in the small crack near the ground. Just in front of the big rock.
Top of pitch 5 belay off of the tree just under the start of pitch 6.
Top of pitch 6 belay from chains. Chains are up and to the left so it's easiest to climb that direction and over the tree half way up.

Gear: We brought an assortment of pieces and even though we probably had too much we always had plenty to build secure anchors. I was very glad I had an assortment of small pieces when I built the anchor on top of pitch 3. We brought up one #4 and only used it once. However, it is not necessary. I placed it just under the bolt on pitch 3. Could have gone up above it to protect the run out because after the bolt I think I only was able to place a sketchy #3 to protect the rest of the climb (long run out). If you bring a 5 or 6 you can place them there. Again, I think it's unnecessary as the rest of the route climbs great on strong face holds.

Rappel: We had the hardest time pulling the rope on the first rappel. My buddy had to put on his ATC and work the rope down by pulling in the slack then sitting on it to bring it down. If I did it again I would most likely only run the through the rape ring to make the pull easier. We also made a very long PA to walk directly underneath the ledge to pull the rope in the correct direction.
By Derek Field
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 27, 2017
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

Classic for the history and setting. Middle two pitches have good climbing. Third pitch is wild! Found the new #6 camalot to be a critical piece to protect the roof about 20 feet above the bolt on P3. For big cams, I think one each #4 and #6 would do the trick - #5 unnecessary but won't go unused. Fourth pitch is as good as any classic Red Rock pitch. Fifth pitch is way more mellow than it sounds, as there are TCU placements adjacent to the old bolt/pin combo, and the climbing gets significantly easier straight above the bolt anyway.

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