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Courthouse Butte
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Flip Wilson Route (aka I'll be the judge of that!) 

YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 300', Grade II
Original:  YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: John Burcham
Season: Fall, Winter & Spring
Page Views: 3,306
Submitted By: Will Cobb on Apr 19, 2006

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the stunning view from atop Courthouse Butte


Flip Wilson is a great mixed trad and sport route that ascends the southwestern arete of Courthouse Butte.

Pitch 1 (5.7) - Climb a corner above the start ledge which starts as unprotectable 5.4 progressing to 5.6 and a #2 camalot placement. When the corner steepens look up and right for a #3 camalot placement behind a boulder. At this point mantle out of the corner up and right then climb easy 5.5 slabs to a two bolt belay/rap station. (~100') Leave your trad gear here as it is all bolted climbing from here.

Pitch 2a (5.10c) - Start up and left past two bolts then move right into a corner. Climb up the corner past several additional bolts to a ramp which leads to the next belay ledge. About 8 clips total. (~100') From here a 200' rappel will take you back to the start ledge.

Pitch 2b - Move the belay up 15' to a belay bolt on a large ledge.

Pitch 3 (5.10a) - Fun face climbing past 12 bolts trending up and right to a two bolt rap station. (~120')

Descent - Two double rope raps down the route.


Flip Wilson ascends the Southwest Arete of Courthouse Butte. Approach as if climbing one of the "South Bowl" routes as described by Greg. Once up the initial 4th class ledges trend left to a notch which is right on the southwestern arete. If you travel through this notch it will take you to the start for the Prosecutor. Up and right from this notch is the start ledge for Flip Wilson.


12 Draws
1 x 2 Camalot
1 x 3 Camalot
A creative climber may find placements for smaller gear on the first pitch.

Photos of Flip Wilson Route (aka I'll be the judge of that!) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Kyle finishing P3
Kyle finishing P3
Rock Climbing Photo: Kev and I sharing a Flip moment...
Kev and I sharing a Flip moment...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jen nearing the top of the 3rd pitch
Jen nearing the top of the 3rd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: On one of the false summits, the view is still awe...
On one of the false summits, the view is still awe...
Rock Climbing Photo: Approach Beta:  1) Turn off main trail onto climbe...
BETA PHOTO: Approach Beta: 1) Turn off main trail onto climbe...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tricky moves with awesome exposure to finish the l...
Tricky moves with awesome exposure to finish the l...
Rock Climbing Photo: 2nd pitch
2nd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: The Flip Wilson Route goes up the arete just above...
BETA PHOTO: The Flip Wilson Route goes up the arete just above...

Comments on Flip Wilson Route (aka I'll be the judge of that!) Add Comment
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By Dean Hoffman
Dec 4, 2006

Climbed this a few days ago after trudging for miles in search of a spire that seems to have vanished. Anyhow great winter route all in the sun. I agree with Will #2 and #3 are all you really need. You'd have to work to get anything else in. Belays are very comfy and the climbing, no harder than 10 but exciting none the less. Good route if you want to travel light or are short on time. 2 ropes to get off.
By Dean Hoffman
Nov 26, 2008

Just climbed this again, third time, makes for a great short day winter route, and had to upgrade it on my star rating. This climb is great, fun moves, good exposure, comfy belays and a cool summit. Really enjoyable route most definitely worth the hike, which is relatively easy and straight forward. Only down side is the two ropes, but not really a big detractor cause youre not carrying much else! Go climb it!
By mountainems
From: flagstaff, az
Nov 24, 2009
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Fun route!! Getting to it was a little vague... You need to hike over to almost the center of the bowl and that is where you will find the 4th class scramble up. From there continue to move left and up and around the arete and you will find the starting ledge. The route is just to the right of the TOP of the notch, not the bottom like I originally thought. Other than that the route is really straight forward and the belay stances are SUPER comfortable! Overall, great climb.
By JacobD
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 6, 2011

Really fun and interesting movement. Exploring the summit of courthouse butte is a real treat. Brought some more gear on the first pitch but didn't see any options to place it. The 2 and 3 are great though.
By Zack S.
From: Prescott, AZ
Mar 16, 2012

All around excellent route. There is a fairly good thread-through on pitch one above the #3 placement which helps to mitigate the runout. Pitch one is quite easy but a fall from the upper half of the pitch could be disasterous, so be aware. Highly recommended climb.
By Dustin Wildermuth
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Apr 18, 2012
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

Good times. I placed 2 #2s, 1 #3 3 nuts and found the tread through on the first pitch. The gear is there if you look for it.
By JacobD
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Dec 15, 2013

Did this route again yesterday and with Dustin's comments in mind found some pretty good placements on the first pitch, not at all "R" rated if you find the spots. I placed a 1,2,3 camalots, a #6 stopper, and a red alien.
By Molly Joyce
Feb 20, 2016

I climbed this a few weeks ago with my roommate. We had a fun day but here are a couple of tips for the route:
Approach: Turn off Bell Rock Pathway where it splits off towards Courthouse and Big Park Loops. From there walk until you see a climber trail heading up the slope towards the west buttress of Courthouse. This takes you up through the first gully/notch onto a small mesa. Continue following climber's trail through a second gully that will take you through some lush, shaded trees. Follow trail through field of prickly pear until you reach the top where there is a little notch leading to the top of a red mudstone pedestal. The route starts off a ledge. If you look up you can see the dihedral with a block at the top right where you can place a #2-#3 camalot.

P1: (5.6R) Easy climbing up the dark red sandstone with very little opportunity for protection. There are a couple of places where you can place a smaller piece but really not many options. Your best placement is at the small roof where you pull onto the large block on your right. Bomber #3. Basically just try not to fall on this pitch.

P2: (5.10b/c) Fun face climbing with a couple of committing moves above your bolts but nothing too terrible. Definitely felt this pitch was more height dependent as there were some high feet for taller climbers.

P3: (5.10a) super fun, and again height dependent, this time favoring taller climbers as some of the juggy huecos feel more like slopers for short climbers. Really fun moves to the belay ledge next to a very unfortunately placed prickle pair. Make sure you do the 10 minute hike to the true summit for the 360 view.

Raps: Definitely a Double 70 rappel. Two 60s were not enough, had to stretch and even then down climb a little.

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