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Fisherman's Elbow 

YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Sport, 3 pitches, 350'
Original:  YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: John Hayes, Scott McNamara, JSt,EFR, Aleix Serrat-Capdevila
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 3,482
Submitted By: 1Eric Rhicard on Sep 17, 2008

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BETA PHOTO: Route as seen from Radio Ridge Rd (trail)

Closed to climbing March 15 - June 30 MORE INFO >>>


Long moderate with some fun climbing on knobs and the third pitch has some great exposure. Never done bottom to top on lead John and Scott stole the FA yesterday in record time.


Drop down the west side of the Fortress. As you descend you will find a tower as the cliff base swings to the west. Scramble up gully between the tower and the main wall to the small saddle. 1) From saddle follow the bolts up the face to the right and belay on top of giant rounded flake. 2) Step across and climb more knobs to easy ground and belay below headwall left of crack/corner. Move left then up face as it eases look for a bolt on the left that protects easy moves up short headwall. Work your way around bushes to a big flat ledge with a single bolt. 4) Step across then work left to bolts leading up face. Single bolt belay where you can still look down at your partner. At the start if you go straight up the weaknesses then step right on to bolted face you will have a long single 10- pitch that will take you to the top of second pitch of the described route.



Photos of Fisherman's Elbow Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Approximate descent route (at least the one we too...
BETA PHOTO: Approximate descent route (at least the one we too...
Rock Climbing Photo: Fisherman's Elbow. First 2 pitches and start of 3r...
BETA PHOTO: Fisherman's Elbow. First 2 pitches and start of 3r...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up 2 pitches from the start, though I shou...
BETA PHOTO: Looking up 2 pitches from the start, though I shou...
Rock Climbing Photo: Approximate descent route.
BETA PHOTO: Approximate descent route.

Comments on Fisherman's Elbow Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 3, 2017
By Jimbo
Sep 17, 2008

Too steal the FA from a fellow injured climber. Is this what the world is coming to???
After all I've done for the local climbing community.
I get no respect, no respect at all....
and this was the the one that would have finally made me a contender...
By 1Eric Rhicard
Sep 18, 2008

Hey Jim, I thought I had convinced you to follow my lead and be a pretender. It is a lot easier and you will save that elbow for more important things like.......... fishing.
By Matt Walker
Nov 10, 2008

this is not a criticism: what is the thought behind the single bolt belays? can you back them up with gear near by? 2nd bolts to be added later? just a question for the FA team.

By 1Eric Rhicard
Nov 18, 2008

Hey Matt, the single bolts are because you are on a big ledge and there is a lot of friction between your butt and the rock. Starting the next pitch this doesn't really apply but you are even with the belayer about the time you clip the first bolt. At the top you can brace your feet against the rock so it would be hard to cause the bolt to be weighted. Feel free to add one at each location if you are so inclined. E.
By Larry
From: SoAZ
Aug 31, 2009

4 pitches, not 3. 100', 100', 100', 60'. Only the last two pitches have single bolt belays. This seems quite safe. Gear or knob tie-offs needed for third pitch.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Sep 7, 2010
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

this is a wonderful addition to the fortress! fun, moderate climbing the whole way.

at the start of the third pitch, walk about 10' to the left to a bolt on a bulge. the second bolt is hard to see, it's about four feet directly above the first.
By Sean Campbell
From: San Francisco, CA
Aug 18, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Super fun!

Need 11 draws for the first pitch (if you use 2 on the anchors) and less for the rest. For the third pitch, I did not see a need for knob or gear tie offs. Finally, it is 4 pitches although you could link the last two (probably with rope drag).
By mikehilbert
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 9, 2013
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Have second bolts been added to the single bolt belay anchors? Is this a walk-off? I'm concerned about rapping off single bolt.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 10, 2013

Mike, I think typically the multi-pitch routes on the Fortress all use the standard walk-off descent from the top, unless the route description specifies otherwise. There is a good description for this descent in the first comment on the rock page.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Jul 10, 2013

Hey Mike, I am guessing you can figure out a way to back these single bolt anchors up with the use of the rope or a cordelette. You will not want or probably need to rap off them. Feel free to bring your hand drill and add one for each of the last two anchors. You will have fun I am guessing.
By Marmo Marmorstein
Oct 7, 2013
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This is a fun route! Easier approach than many Fortress climbs and mostly well bolted. Compared to other Lemmon climbs, I'd grade it closer to 5.7

I wanted to point out though that I could not find the first bolt on the third pitch, and if you're like me, this pitch requires more protection than a standard set of quickdraws. If you fell before clipping what I guess is supposed to be the second bolt, you're looking at a wild 80 ft sideways whipper. There is a nice tie off just before a moderate 5.5 section, before reaching the second bolt (about 20 feet below it). The traverse to to the 5.5 section also takes gear (I put in one cam). I presume from other comments that there is bolt somewhere near, but I couldn't find it.

Also, this is a walkoff route, same as many other Fortress climbs. There is a rapell station setup after the second pitch but it likely requires doubles.
By Alex McIntyre
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 14, 2014

Fun climbing but more an incredible line up a side of the Fortress that doesn't get much action. The third pitch has some crazy exposure. We linked the last two pitches with no issues. The first belay anchor is what appeared to be two very rusty buttonheads (I think 1/4" but could have been 5/16") with SMC hangers- strange considering everything else on the climb was stainless 3/8" hardware.
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 10, 2014
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

did this route today and found a rappel setup on the 2-bolt anchor at the top of pitch 2. the first bolt on pitch 3 is really hard to see (it took us several minutes to find it) so my guess is somebody couldn't figure out where the route was supposed to go and rapped off.
By J tot
From: Tempe, AZ
Jul 27, 2015

There is an alternate start 10' to the left. It is a one move wonder 5.10 and goes to the same anchors as P2 of Fisherman's Elbow. "Big Rod Direct"... I think.
By canyonwren Lisa Levine
Sep 10, 2016

Fun route! P3's a bit run out on easy terrain, part of the fun. I slung a chickenhead before the 3rd bolt for peace of mind. Bolts on P1 seemed all right, not ultra shiny new, but safe. Great, rando name.
By Abby S.
Sep 18, 2016
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I believe the crux is pitch 3. Moves after traverse are at least 5.8+; and I wouldn't describe as "easy." Nice climb, and thank you R. Pollard for good, descriptive photos!
By canyonwren Lisa Levine
Jul 24, 2017

Hey Abby, I didn't mean that all of pitch 3 was easy. The second bolt, like you said after the traverse, takes some thought - until you reach the lovely, lovely hold that hauls you over the bulge! But after that there is a stretch where you're scrambling on easy terrain, followed by one oddly placed bolt (to me) before you get to the top of that pitch. Lisa
By jbak
Jul 24, 2017

I love the fact the a route added in 2008 is still listed as NEW. Nice coding.
By Justin Headley
From: Tucson
Sep 3, 2017

P3 and P4 now have two-bolt belays.

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