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Fort Stress 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Sport, 4 pitches, 400'
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Scott Ayers and Mark Colby
Page Views: 6,557
Submitted By: Nick Kuhn on May 19, 2001

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (42)
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BETA PHOTO: The 2nd pitch tower and the start of the 3rd pitch...

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


This route is long, fun, reasonably safe, high, sustained and exposed. It's one of the best on the mountain with super solid rock...go climb it!

As you're hiking down to the base of The Fortress, you'll pass a narrow slot between a large boulder and the main wall with a large pine tree and ledge on the other side. Slipping through here will deposit you at the start of the route's second pitch, otherwise, continue hiking down another 100' or so to the actual start.

P1: 80ft. 5.9 Follow the bolts over a slightly bulgy start (not the bolt-protected roof to the left). A short 5.9 section yields easier climbing above. Use the pine tree on top for your belay anchor.

P2: 150ft. 5.9 Amid the myriad bolt lines that cruise upward from here, pick the second from the left. It will follow slightly reddish rock generally up and slightly left, then angle right and head straight to the top of the mini-tower. The climbing looks hard from below the tower, but the holds appear as you reach them. Belay from the 2-bolt anchor on top and relish one of the most fantastic positions in the Catalinas. Then rap down to the massive ramp, keeping a sharp eye for the 2-bolt anchor that lies at the base of the third pitch.

P3: 150ft. 5.9 Ponder your chosen pursuit of hobbies as you make the committing step over the void from the ramp to the main wall. Follow the bolts through the route's crux 5.9+ moves. Though mostly well-bolted, there's at least one lean stretch in the middle that will keep most leaders on their toes. Belay from the 2-bolt anchor. A dropped belay device from here will whistle down, strike an angled face, and lauch hundreds of feet into the trees. Really. After my partner did this I loaned him my spare, which he proceeded to almost drop again from the next pitch. Choose your routes and partners carefully.

P4: 100ft. 5.8 Follow a few more bolts over a short headwall and cruise up easy, unprotected 5th class to the 2-bolt anchor on top. Soak in the views, have some lunch, and argue over which pitch was the best.

Descent: Take the North Ridge 5th class scramble home, unless you have a second rope and want to risk interfering with other climbing parties and getting the rope stuck on rappel.


20 draws; the route is all bolts with double bolt anchors for each pitch.

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By Steve Pulver
From: Williston, ND
Sep 1, 2005
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

The second pitch was some of the best climbing on the mountain. But our rope getting stuck on chickenheads when we rapped off the tower to get to the third pitch turned a great day into a sucky day. It's much better to just finish on Tres Frijoles.
By Paul O
Aug 8, 2006

Hey Turk, is that you? contact me. I'd like to get back into rock climbing....awesome dude, seen Alex? Find me at a college back home.
By Mark and Stacy Egan
Aug 3, 2008
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Locate the start of the second pitch as follows: When standing at the big tree at the top of pitch 1, pitch 2 is the first bolt line to climber's right. A route was added to the cliff so the route description for locating the second pitch is out of date. Note too that the "Squeezing the Lemon II" topo (page 304) correctly shows the route to the right of the big tree.
By Alex McIntyre
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 4, 2011
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Did this route summer of 2010 the day after one of the large thunderstorms. The climbing team had gotten together and we had spent the night in the observatory (a crazy place to be in a thunderstorm!) Well after a very late night and only about 3 hours of sleep we woke up and walked down to the wall. Mico and 2 others roped up for Steel Crazy while my partner Sean Campbell and I started up Fort-Stress. This is some of the funnest climbing on the mountain! For a second multipitch (Steel Crazy was the first) this was a real treat. We had a mini-epic locating the anchors at the base of the third pitch. They are hard to find and are in a small groove which makes them very difficult to see.
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 26, 2015
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

this route is considerably better than Steel Crazy but also considerably harder. don't skip the climbing up the tower, it's great.
By Don Stump
From: Sierra Vista, AZ
Jul 11, 2016
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

If Steel Crazy is a 5.9 this has to be a 5.10. Very difficult lead for me and I took a lot brakes after clipping. Wasn't really sure where the third pitch started, so finished on Steel crazy after the first two pitches.
By Justin Headley
From: Tucson
Aug 8, 2016
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

For a "sport" route, the bolting is pretty spicy. In fact, I think Endgame is bolted better and that's called a trad route. The cruxes (which I think are 10-) are well protected but there are other spots on the 2nd and 3rd pitches where you are on 5.8-5.9 terrain and could take long falls. I love the route, but just know that it's fairly heady and committing for a moderate sport climb. A light rack (BD .75 and smaller and some thin slings for chickenheads) can help you feel a little better, or at least turn the final 5.3R section from a hard R to a soft R.

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