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YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500'
Original:  YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: DB, SG, RT '75
Season: spring summer fall
Page Views: 2,619
Submitted By: Charles Vernon on Sep 4, 2011

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (13)
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BETA PHOTO: 2nd pitch


If you've ever complained that there's not enough good cracks in Southern Arizona, then you need to go climb this route RIGHT NOW. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is probably the best crack I've climbed in SoAZ. Unfortunately, there's high overhead: a long approach, plus either mediocre finishing pitches or a complex descent, but the second pitch alone is worth it and there's a number of other good pitches in the area. A good strategy might be to climb the first two pitches and then finish by climbing out on something else.

Pitch one begins with an awkward slot that leads to a cool fist crack, then a moderate hand crack, and finally a thin seam up a slab to a big ledge. A nice pitch in its own right.

Pitch two is the money: a beautiful splitter finger crack for 120 feet. The rock is superb, though slightly dirty due to neglect. After an old 2 bolt anchor, the crack begins to overhang slightly, and widens to rattly fingers! (There's an old fixed bong in this section that's extremely annoying as it doesn't seem reliable for pro, but takes up what is probably the only thing resembling a hand jam above the old anchor.)

There's a decent stance at the old anchor, and belaying here before the crux would also be a sensible option if you're at your limit on this pitch. The bolts are terrible, but good gear is available. I might try this next time.

Above pitch two we fixed a nut/sling anchor and rappelled off (with a 70, which just barely makes it to the ledge!), rather than do the last two pitches, which SQL II and Steiger describe as "rather boring." If you use this anchor, double check the back of the sling as the horn it's around is a bit sharp in places.

Edit: per the comments below, note that the bong and the old 2-bolt anchor have been removed, and there is now a fixed belay/rappel anchor at the top of pitch two which incorporates a new bolt.


Starts up and right from the lowest point of Poseiden. Look for a slot that narrows to a hand/fist crack. Another, thinner crack branches right below the slot and then curves back left into the main line--this appears to be an easier variation. On pitch two, SQL II seems to suggest climbing a left-leaning corner rather than the splitter, but Steiger clarifies that this is a variation. At any rate, once you're there, the splitter is the obvious way to go.


double small cams to 1.5 friend, singles above to #4 friend (the 3.5 & 4 friends or equivalents are only necessary for the beginning of P1, and there appears to be a thinner, though less aesthetic variant to the right). Save a 1.5 friend/0.75 camalot for the crux on P2.

Photos of Odyssey Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber on pitch 2
Climber on pitch 2
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 1 as seen from base of route
Pitch 1 as seen from base of route

Comments on Odyssey Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 2, 2015
By Clay Mansfield
Apr 8, 2012

Hey Charles you wouldn't happen to have a pic of this thing would you? I can't wait to go check this out!
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Apr 9, 2012

Not goes up the sunlit face in this photo, but obviously you can't make out the crack.

When you go, check out Om and Every Trick in the Book...two pitches that we saw on rap that looked amazing, but we didn't get on. Could make quite a day of 10+/11- on gear making the approach worth it.
By Andy Bennett
From: Tucson, AZ
May 19, 2012

I will second Charles' ratings for this climb-just stellar climbing. Good gear, excellent movement, and the longest splitter that I have ever had the pleasure of sinking locks into on the entire mountain. A must-do for the Mt Lemmon tradist. We placed a bolt at the 2nd pitch anchor to augment the nut and sharp-horn sling.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
May 20, 2012

I may have opened a can of worms when I fixed an anchor at that spot last summer. For reasons stated in the description, it's a logical place to have a good rap anchor, but the generally committing nature of climbing at the Reef is worth preserving even at the expense of logical rap anchors. If it hasn't happened already, someone should probably ask Dave Baker and Steve Grossman what they think (I would, but don't know either of them personally).
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
May 22, 2012
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

Good points Charles. My personal opinion is that we should avoid adding fixed protection to existing climbs. (This should be distinguished from replacing old fixed gear.) Having not done this route yet I am unsure as to whether this case should be an exception.

A pertinent question for me is whether or not the new anchor is in a better location than the old one. If it is and the FAs are on board then it seems like and we are simply moving the belay to a better spot. I do think the old bolts should be removed in this case, though.
By Clay Mansfield
May 22, 2012

Crux pitch is incredible. For sure one of the best crack climbing pitches in southern AZ. Beautiful, high quality granite and awesome fingers the majority of the way, capped with a steep finish/crux! I'm fairly certain I would never get tired of this climb.

The first pitch is high quality too, offwidth to fist to hands to slab.
By Clay Mansfield
May 22, 2012

Not to speak for Andy, but from what I understand, his goal was to replace those old bolts. Evidently they wouldn't pull, so he added a bolt to the upper nut/sling rap anchor above the crux (and about 20-25 feet above the old bolts).

In my opinion, the location of the newer rap anchor w/ bolt is superior to where the older bolts are...

Then again, I'm not the one who was putting up the route on lead with nuts and hexes!!

Probably best to check in with the first ascensionists on this.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
May 22, 2012

Has anyone been able to get that damn bong out of there?
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
May 22, 2012
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

Hey Charles,

I'm planning on doing this route soon and will see if I can get rid of it.
By Andy Bennett
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 17, 2012

I don't normally respond to anonymous posters who sling unfounded assumptions and orders around, but a friend of mine let me know about this and I feel it right to respond. For your information, "black death", I carry a bolt kit on back-country climbs so that I can replace existing anchors. Some people call it "community service". If you've climbed The Odyssey, first of all you know it to be a fantastic climb and, second, you know the nature of the anchors and, especially, the nature of the 3rd pitch. If you haven't climbed it, I encourage you to do so and to reconsider your comments.


Did we move the fixed anchor? Yes. It consisted of a manky bong and two ancient (1977?) 1/4" bolts.

Did we change the nature of the climb? Slightly.

Did we consult the FA? No, and that I do regret. Placing the bolt seemed a matter of personal safety at the time. For the record, I've had no luck communicating with DB, I don't have SG's contact info, and RT is RIP at the Reef, I pray. The bolt was placed at the natural end of the 2nd pitch (as indicated in Steiger's and EFR's topos), to augment an untrustworthy belay--a belay that must be solid enough to deal with the fairly dangerous character of the 3rd pitch. Originally, the 2nd pitch appeared to end at the old bolts/bong, and the 3rd pitch then climbed through the actual crux of the climb (indicated as "pitch 2" in the topos), to a belay on a ledge. The old 2nd pitch anchors were inadequate to protect this 3rd pitch.

And for your information, I don't relish in placing bolts. The less, the better. I love to climb with gear. This climb (will soon) has 1 bolt, before it had 3. I think most back country climbers would approve.

Again, I encourage you to go climb this if you haven't. It's a superb piece of the Reef, and deserves more traffic. Climb the entire thing, including the 3rd pitch. PM me if you want to talk about removing the bolt, it wouldn't be too hard. And if you have SG's contact info, I'd be happy to talk to him about this.


PS-The "Every Trick in the Book" start to "OM" and "Something Unsaid" is entirely worth doing and a great way to approach Poseidon!
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Jun 17, 2012
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

Hey Andy,

Just climbed this thing yesterday and it was awesome.

Personally I think the new belay is in a better spot. For those who don't know where it is, it is about 20 feet higher and on a good ledge. The pitch winds up being 120 feet.

My suggestion is that we just check with Grossman or one of the other FAs to see if they are cool with it. If so we can simply remove those two old 1/4" buttonheads. I saw the bong is gone, too. I think the climb will be a lot nicer with two less fixed pieces.
By Andy Bennett
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 1, 2012

I spoke with Steve Grossman and he gave the approval to leave the new bolt as is, thus creating a safe belay with one bolt and semi-fixed gear (the nut pulled, I've been told). Now you can climb the entire 2nd pitch in all its glory to a logical, safe belay. Thanks to Geir for pulling the old bolts at the "mid-way-belay".

If you're feeling frisky, continue on through the 3rd and 4th pitch. Wear a helmet.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 2, 2012
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

Excellent! The holes from the old anchor still need to be filled.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 2, 2012

Many thanks to all of you who worked to improve this route. The already amazing second pitch will be that much better without all that old useless fixed gear. Can't wait to get back on it.

Andy, just curious, when you say the nut "pulled," you mean in the sense that it actually failed while weighted?! Or simply that someone removed it?
By Andy Bennett
From: Tucson, AZ
May 5, 2014

Charles, Greg told me that the small nut pulled out frighteningly easily when simply hand-tested. There is now a pretty well-fixed #7 stopper + biner and a bomber rap hanger in place. I tried to clean up some of the choss on pitch 3, but I managed to lose my prybar in the process! It's still pretty loose up there...
By 1Eric Rhicard
Aug 7, 2014

Really great second pitch. I only did one and two so I cannot give my stars for the whole route only pitch one and two. Great pro and fun climbing. With a 60M rope my partner had to down climb a bit when I lowered him from the anchors at the top of the second pitch.
By Austin Sobotka
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 2, 2015
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c

Yosemite comes to Tucson! Well, almost. If you're into crack climbing I'd say the hike down would be worth making for the second pitch alone. The first pitch is really not a bad 100' of climbing either, but nothing in comparison to the second. .11- seems a bit sandbagged (although I had just finished working Rogue Planet, so maybe my perception is skewed); felt just as hard as the second pith of Reef break, which is supposedly .11.

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