REI Community
Elysian Buttress
Select Route:
Elysian Buttress Original Route T 
Mechanical Persistence S 
Unemployment Line, The S 

Elysian Buttress Original Route 

YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 450', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Scott Baxter, et al
Page Views: 6,401
Submitted By: Will Cobb on Apr 20, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (29)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Skyline pitch


The start of this route has several markers. There is a cairn made of rocks and a stick that more or less marks the base. Additionally to the route's right there are three fins of rock in a row.

Scramble up about 10 feet to the route's start. It helps rope management if the belayer scrambles up and sits on a fin of rock that is just left of the route's start.

Pitch 1 - 5.7+ Head straight up crack system until a 3.5 or 4 camalot placement is possible and where the crack "gooves out" above. At this point step down and traverse left on good but flexible holds. Look for a second crack system and take this until it is possible to traverse back right to the main system. Belay on a sloping ledge off small cams and slung horns and blocks. (~120')

Pitch 2 (5.6) - Head up off the belay using creative gear in horizontal cracks climbing to a leftward slanting ramp system. Climb this ramp until an exit right is available. Run out the rope to a nice ledge which is below and left of the Skyline Pitch. This belay takes small cams and stoppers. It is also possible to stay on the ramp/gully system and exit at the top next to a dead tree. From here one can climb up and right to the same belay ledge. (~200')

Pitch 3 (5.7+) - The Skyline Pitch. Climb up and right past a small hueco and around a corner. Find a thin crack with face holds and edges. Climb up this crack until it ends, then step up and left to a good crack which slopes up and right. Climb this crack to a flat spot below a chimney and belay of medium sized gear. (~100')

Pitch 4 (5.7+) - Climb chimney above belay surmounting small roof/chockstone at top. Above this climb easy 5.4 corner to a nice ledge with two bolts and belay. (These bolts mark the top of the third pitch of Mechanical Persistence and the second rappel anchor.) (~85')

Pitch 5 (5.6+) - Head up and left off the belay. It is tempting to clip the first bolt on Mechanical Persistence, but this will give you terrible rope drag later on. After climbing up about 15-20' traverse left across some ledges. At this point look for the second ramp cutting up and right. A nice finger to hands crack in this ramp will lead to the top and a two bolt rappel anchor. (~100')

Descent - From the final anchor rappel down the 4th pitch of Mechanical Persistence to the above mentioned rap anchor. From the second rap anchor (at the top of Elysian's 4th pitch) rap 70' down and right to a large ledge. Walk to the far side of this ledge and scramble down the gully and back to your packs.


Finding this route is the real crux. During the approach head for the largest lefthand buttress. If you find a black, dry waterfall, you are too far to the left and need to back track. Mechanical Persistence, an excellent four pitch sport climb, is about 100' to the right of the Elysian's first pitch.


1 set of stoppers
1 set TCU's or Alien's
1 set .5 to 3.5 Camalot (Old Sizes)
1 x 4 Camalot Optional
Sings and Draws

Photos of Elysian Buttress Original Route Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Elysian Buttress beta photo
BETA PHOTO: Elysian Buttress beta photo
Rock Climbing Photo: JenRN looking in awe at the old school technique u...
JenRN looking in awe at the old school technique u...
Rock Climbing Photo: This wash formed (or at least intensified) over th...
BETA PHOTO: This wash formed (or at least intensified) over th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Marcy leading pitch 1
Marcy leading pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: 4th pitch
BETA PHOTO: 4th pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: JenRN pulling the last moves of last pitch on Mech...
JenRN pulling the last moves of last pitch on Mech...
Rock Climbing Photo: Working across the skyline pitch, who knew 5.7 cou...
Working across the skyline pitch, who knew 5.7 cou...

Comments on Elysian Buttress Original Route Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 19, 2016
By Dean Hoffman
Jul 24, 2008

In Greek mythology, the Elysian Fields were the final resting place of the blessed chosen by the gods. This route is well worth the bushwack, almost makes you forget your still in Flagstaff.
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 24, 2008


I concur. Classic old school Flag. If you haven't done it, well, I think your lazy:) JJ
By Dean Hoffman
Jul 24, 2008

PS with a 70m pitch 1 and 2 link and pitch 4 and last pitch of M.P. link, pretty sweet.
By Sam S
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 19, 2011
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

Really fun route. Quite the approach and route finding adventure.

Just a word of caution, many (if not most) of the gear on this route is very difficult to place and in many places non-existent. Just be ready to run it out!

Great old school trad!
By Dustin Wildermuth
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 26, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

Bring small know what I mean. The skyline pitch takes off from or in the big bowl depending on where ended the last pitch. It heads way right to face climbing, placing thin nuts in a seam followed by some good gear. It then coninues with more thin nuting while climbing over a ledge. This route is heads up for the grade and I wouldn't recomend it to a 5.7 leader. Be ready for tricky thin gear, Rish ratings and challenging route finding. A geat adventure and a must do if you are ready.
By dsmit
From: Flagstaff, Az
May 26, 2012

This thing is sweet! I thought the crux was exiting the crack on the 4th pitch. We linked the skyline pitch and the 4th pitch with no problem. Have fun and enjoy the hike in.
By Jeff Peabody
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 31, 2012

The Elysian Buttress
By Alex Wood
From: Flagstaff, Arizona
Dec 9, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Watch the weather! This route/area gets hit hard by summer monsoons and it is hard to see it building! I had to retreat twice from this route. Once from the top of the first pitch and once from on top the second. The third pitch is weird. From the belay above the dead tree on the big ledge system, traverse out right quite a ways on easier terrain with really no pro. You should be able to see bolts from Mechanical Persistence. You traverse till there is a small flake and you can see a shallow crack above. Move up this exposed face with little options for pro (PG-13 I'd say) until you get a to a small ledge and until the crack gets wider. The 4th pitch is awesome!
By Ryan Z
Jun 13, 2013
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R

This was my first trad climb and I didn't remember gear being too much of an issue (probably because I had no idea what I was doing). Since then, I have climbed this route 2 more times, and I would have a hard time saying this is any less than R-rated. Bring a ton of long runners because the route wanders a bit. With a 60m I linked P1/P2, as well as P4/P5, making for 3 long pitches. Have fun!
By Ryan Anderssohn
Jun 16, 2013

A buddy and I went direct for the second pitch, instead of traversing right. It was protectable with small cams in occasional pods at first, and with nuts up higher. Thin foot work and a bit of extra style in the beginning probably made this pitch more like easy 5.9. Super fun variation, and not any different choss-wise, actually maybe even a little cleaner. I recommend it!
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 16, 2013
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

A little stiff for the grade and (at times) the pro is scarce. Once you leave the main trail, the approach trail is faint.

After you find the climb, routefinding is not too bad with the directions provided here. I thought pitches three and four were the best of the climb; pitch 4 required an interesting combination of chimney, groove, and crack moves and even had some overhanging terrain on it.
By MJ Nelson
From: Tucson, AZ & Big Pine, CA
Oct 4, 2013

Climbed this route on October 2 with groves of golden aspens exploding in the distance. Absolutely beautiful rock and views in all directions are spectacular. An area classic for sure!

We linked pitches 1 and 2 with a 70m rope easily, as well as 3 and 4 (some rope drag but not too bad) to make it a 3-pitch climb.
By Robbie Brown
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 17, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Did not seem so R rated to me. This was one of my first multipitches and it seemed a touch exciting but not unsafe.
By mikeyrob
Oct 7, 2014

fun climb , first pitch wasn't the best rock quality but the rest were fine. I did loose my chalk bag on the climb it was a green hippie tree bag with a prana waist belt strap . It went bouncing down the cliff at the third belay. If anyone finds it would be rad if you could drop it by flagstaff climbing for me.
mike robinson
By Eva Christ
Oct 4, 2015

Awesome climb, bomber rock, good placements all the way (nuts nuts nuts). No cairn at the start. Remember it is an old school route with an old school chimney.
By ericm
Jul 19, 2016

I think I have climbed the Elysian Buttress 7 or 8 times. I think it to be a great route. You get a real back country feel all while hearing the train whistles and bustle of town. Oddly enough I only rapped off the route once. The last time I climbed the route. The walk off is long and loose and it is easy to get lured into the wrong gully.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About