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Horseshoe Wall
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
DeAngelo/ Duncan Route (aka Double D) T 
Dogma T,S 
Gwondonna Land Boogie T 
Head of State T 
Just Missed the Cleavage T 
Lady Wilson's Cleavage T 
Pink Tornado Left T 
Sentimental Journey T 

Head of State 

YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c R

Type:  Trad, 20 pitches, 3000', Grade V
Original:  YDS: 5.11b French: 6c Ewbanks: 23 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 23 British: E3 5c R [details]
FA: Sam Boyce, Kyle Willis Oct 2016
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 734
Submitted By: Sam Boyce on Oct 5, 2016

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BETA PHOTO: Overview

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone in Red Rocks is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


Head of State forges a wondering but somewhat direct line up "the fin", a faint buttress in the middle of the mountain between Lady of Wilson's cleavage and Dogma. It is by no means a classic route but is undoubtedly a classic experience. This is a challenging alpine testpiece and should not be taken lightly. There is loose rock in a couple places, and some pretty key routefinding that you don't want to mess up. It would be pretty impressive to do this route in a day, for most a better strategy would be to stop at the giant bivy ledge below the "Kracken" chimney. To my knowledge this is now the longest continuous route in red rock.
P1- 180' Head up the well protected face below a big varnished corner, continue up the corner to a ledge 5.7
P2- 110' A short low 5th pitch avoids some shwacking, head up the corner to the right to some boulders. 5.2
-Move the belay around 200' to the base of the treed out face.
P3- 200' find the least bushy way up through the band, possibly the worst part of the day... 5.thrash
P4- 140' head up the nice featured crack, follow it to a comfy ledge below a short corner 5.7
P5- 150' move down a step, then over left to the sweet finger crack, follow this straight up to a stance, either climb a corner to the left or straight up the 5.8R slab and traverse left, your likely out of gear here so build a belay at an uncomfortable stance. 5.10-
P6- 120'Traverse straight left towards a giant corner with a tree, squeeze through the tree and continue up the stem gully to a stance below a long chimney 5.6
P7- 220' Straight up the chimney, belay past a tree. 5.6
P8- 220' Up about 10' then traverse left across the easy face with spooky gear into a shallow corner. Follow the corner (with drumskin rock in multiple places) to its end and make for the summit of the "apron" good belay in a horizontal at the summit. 5.8R
-Scramble up the ridge about 400' to the base of a short splitter corner.
P9- 50' Climb the short corner, either downclimb the loose bs (4th) or rap/lower a short distance into the gully.
-Move across the gully to the base of a splitter up the slab.
P10- 200' A long pitch up the splitter, many trees in the crack, but easy climbing around on the slab avoids them 5.8R
-scramble up and left to a ledge with a tree below a splitter number one crack
P11- 80' up a weird boulder problem onto the bushy ledge, traverse left to the base of a gorgeous splitter corner. 5.7+
P12- 100' If there is a reason to climb this route, this is it! Start up the fist crack, tapering down to good hands, then tight hands. A short section of crap rock leads to steep hand crack, the crux final bulge is physical and fun. Make sure to cut left under the fridge size death block! belay in a good finger crack on a ledge to the left. 5.11b
P13- 30' An insanely short pitch, but extremely memorable. from the belay downclimb a bodylength and hand traverse with wild exposure to the next corner, mantel onto the ledge and belay. 5.9 fun!
-Scramble up into the gully, cairns here indicate a scramble path? about 450' with some 4th class, some may want to simul. The scramble ends on a ledge with a gigantic cairn and an extremely comfortable bivy.
P14- 100' "the Kraken" chimney; From the bivy ledge head climbers right until you get to the corner, climb the OW/chimney up to a ledge. 5.9
P15- 200' Continue up the wide crack system until you get to the summit of the first tower, belay up by a HUGE mostly detached thumping flake 5.10
-Side Note: we found bail gear above this and later learned that it was from an attempt by Geoff Conley about 15 years ago. He stopped at the same place we stopped on our first attempt. I don't know what route he took lower down on the mountain, i suspect it was via sherwood, but am unsure and would appreciate any information.
P16- 70' "the knifeblade traverse" climb on top of the big flake. Face climb up into the ow, not having a 6 here wouldnt be a gamebreaker, but itd make things a bit spooky. These moves felt a little sporty, but maybe the bush involved was creating some grade inflation... Traverse right out of the ow with bad gear. Rope drag forced a hanging belay here, possible link into the next pitch. 5.10-R
P17- 160' Up an easy hand crack to some trees that force you away from the crack to make things a little dicey on questionable gear, continue up into a long chimney, some sporty exit moves around a chockstone lead to a big ledge. 5.9R
P18- 180' Climb the short corner to the summit of "gummy Bear" tower. Climb the blocky "gummy bear" and traverse into the thin looking corner. Continue up into the short chimney. A size dependant move gets you into it, belay at the top of the tower. 5.9+
P19- 140' "The Headwall" Straight up the face following a seam. This is a bold lead and should not be taken lightly. Imagine a 5.11 version of rock warrior with more specific gear. Big whipper potential in most places, but mostly clean falls. Belay at a ledge. (take doubles to 3, 2's and 3's for the anchor). 5.11-R
P20- 110' From the belay, go straight up the sugary rock, a mistep here could be bad. Your "first" piece is about 20' up, but don't trust it, the crack is formed by a thumping block, you get some bomber gear in a few ft above. Continue straight up seams to the summit, best belay is a huge tree way back from the edge. 5.9R

Descent: Walk off the back side of Wilson using your preferred route. If you get to the base of the headwall face and are unable or unwilling to continue it is possible to rappel the route. You will have to rig the first rappel down to the ledge at the base of p18. From there a long rappel gets you down to a ledge with a tree on the left (to the right and slightly below the base of p16). A 65m rap from here gets you to sherwood, continue down dogma.


Park at the lot for the old oak creek campground, follow the road straight up to the pimple, cut left onto the obvious ridgeline when natural, follow this ridge straight to the base of the first pitch Approx. 1 hr.


In Camalot C4: 4-1, 3-3, 2-3 or 4, 1-2, .75-2, .5-2, .4-2, .3-2, .2-2, .1-2, single set of offset nuts, offset micros or rp's, a couple tricams are nice (brown is a key placement on the headwall pitch). Optional 5 and 6, optional blue ballnuts (a number of shorter sections of climbing become a bit runout without them). 70m rope

Photos of Head of State Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Top of the Headwall pitch
Top of the Headwall pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: p18
Rock Climbing Photo: High point of Gummy Bear Tower
BETA PHOTO: High point of Gummy Bear Tower
Rock Climbing Photo: P15 finishing the Kracken, felt like 10- for a bit
BETA PHOTO: P15 finishing the Kracken, felt like 10- for a bit
Rock Climbing Photo: Sam following p13
Sam following p13
Rock Climbing Photo: Headed up P14 the Kracken Chimney!! Stop short, be...
BETA PHOTO: Headed up P14 the Kracken Chimney!! Stop short, be...
Rock Climbing Photo: P13 Very short traverse pitch. Super awesome!!!!!
BETA PHOTO: P13 Very short traverse pitch. Super awesome!!!!!
Rock Climbing Photo: Sam leading handcrack pitch with thrutching 11b ex...
BETA PHOTO: Sam leading handcrack pitch with thrutching 11b ex...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Slab pitch, pretty fun, gear kind of spaced. B...
BETA PHOTO: The Slab pitch, pretty fun, gear kind of spaced. B...
Rock Climbing Photo: P6
Rock Climbing Photo: P8
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting p5
Starting p5
Rock Climbing Photo: P4
Rock Climbing Photo: P2
Rock Climbing Photo: P1

Comments on Head of State Add Comment
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By Sam Boyce
From: Changes with the seasons
Oct 5, 2016

Here is the FA story: We were looking through pictures of Wilson looking for new lines and discovered an un-described system bordering the overview of the horseshoe wall. We decided to have a go. The FA occurred over 3 days of total effort. The first 2 were a grade 5 push to the base of the headwall, it looked intimidating, but possible. Having to be in town the next morning, and being out of food, we decided to tuck tail and rap. After a couple days we decided not to leave it unfinished, and had already developed plans to push a new route up the basin wall. It was decided that since we would already be on the summit, we would just rap in to the high point and climb out. After approaching the basin wall we got shut down after 15 ft (5.12, not 5.9) and were mentally just not feeling it. So we retreated, and after some discussion went back to town for the night. Determined to complete the route (and retrieve our stashed gear) we blazed up oak creek the next morning. We rapped down to the high point, and after better inspection of the Headwall decided it would be unsafe to try and onsight it. The tenuous climbing on lichen laden smears would certainly lead to some pretty big whips, so we fixed a line to clean it a bit. After completing the pitch below we went to work. A core shot and a psuedo stuck rope ate up some unplanned time. Once we both got a TR lap in it became clear we wouldn't have enough daylight to rap back down to give it a proper redpoint. At that point we were more concerned with the idea of getting stuck on the wall in the dark than style, so we ran up the last pitch to get off the mountain. Next time i'm in town i'll do a continuous ascent, but until then, it awaits its first complete ascent. Concerning the headwall: there is enough (micro) gear to make falls safe for the most part. A 5.11 version of rock warrior is an apt description (gear wise, the rock itself is reminiscent of inti). As far as retrobolting is concerned, I personally wouldn't care if someone were to take a drill to it, but knowing the legal status of such actions, I will remain impartial.
By Flavaflav
From: Las Vegas, NV
Oct 12, 2016

For me, this route defines desert rockaneering. It contains all styles of climbing, and the 11b cruxes come as the last pitch of Day 1 and Day 2, both completely different in nature. A one day ascent would be legendary with all the wide climbing and other heady leads before you would go and try to send the headwall. Bivy ledges are pretty good most places from the Kracken chimney on up to the headwall pitch, but the one below the chimney is super soft.

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