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Parting Gift 

YDS: 5.13- French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E7 6c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 90'
Original:  YDS: 5.13 French: 8a Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: X- ZA: 30 British: E7 6c [details]
FA: Michael Sokoloff
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 3,290
Submitted By: Michael Sokoloff on Dec 27, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (10)
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BETA PHOTO: No Feelings, Kindness, Parting Gift, and A Wonderf...


Shares start with Kindness. Cuts right to lower roof. Steep moves up a flake with good but small pro lead into obvious crack with an initial hard move protected by a fixed wire. Higher up is a fantastic sequence starting with a tips lieback to a core-intensive boulder problem. If you successfully negotiate this you will be "rewarded" with a intense sequence of flesh-eating fingerlocks. Finish with a fun and easier steep, featured corner. At this moment, this is the hardest pitch at the Waterfall. Grade is approximate. I'm interested to hear others opinion.


Doubles in small cams. Fixed wires.

Photos of Parting Gift Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A shot of the tops of (L to R) No Feelings, Kindne...
A shot of the tops of (L to R) No Feelings, Kindne...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sort of a crappy shot, but Kindness goes out the h...
BETA PHOTO: Sort of a crappy shot, but Kindness goes out the h...
Rock Climbing Photo: Beta photo.... Kyle working Parting Gift. He is ju...
BETA PHOTO: Beta photo.... Kyle working Parting Gift. He is ju...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 15, 2016
By Josh Janes
General Admin
Dec 27, 2009

Awesome job Mike!

A little history on this climb... That fixed wire was from a few years ago when Dan Foster started sussing out the line. He bolted the anchor (shared with Kindness) and cleaned the route, but in doing so encountered a large "loose" flake near the first roof. This flake wouldn't quite pull out so Foster took his hammer to it. Unfortunately he only succeeded in breaking it in half, thus creating a rock scar and a huge jug. Disheartened by the fact that pulling through the roof had now become much easier via this jug, and the scar he had left behind, he abandoned the climb. When I was in Flagstaff I gave it a couple goes on TR and was able to do all the moves, but the painful nature of the climbing, and the difficulty, left me disillusioned. I thought the pitch would be pretty solid 13b, and if you cleaned that fixed wire (this section being easily protectable on the fly), Parting Gift could be Arizona's hardest purely gear-protected route!

It took someone with Mike's strength and tenacity to finally send this thing - Mike Sokoloff, bringin' the gun show!!!

PS... might deserve an R rating for the start... but Mike would know better than I do????
By Matt S
Dec 27, 2009

brilliant climbing mike, im just happy i got to belay you on this send let alone witness it. what a great "parting gift" you gave us before your move to greener pastures .
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Dec 28, 2009

Good work Mike, it is good to see that thing put to rest!
By Michael Sokoloff
From: Spokane, WA
Dec 29, 2009


The route is actually not runout even though I initially thought it would be at the start. After the obvious traverse on a footrail you encounter a bulgy pull around a right-facing flake. I protected this with a #00 and #0 equalized. The flake is solid as can be. Once in the crack above the pro is solid (although small) the entire way. As you know well, small pro on this rock can be quite confidence inspiring.


That was a fun day with both of us getting killer sends. Hope we can hook up at the Creek sometime in the spring.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 29, 2009

Sounds fantastic Mike!!! You guys are doing awesome work up there!

Josh Janes wrote:
Parting Gift could be Arizona's hardest purely gear-protected route!

Also a consideration for this title:
By Josh Janes
General Admin
Dec 29, 2009

Geir - not until the bolts are removed.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 30, 2009

haha! you might have me on that one, josh. the route is being done completely on gear, though, so does that count?

anyway, good work to both teams doing very hard trad lines. inspiring work!
By Michael Sokoloff
From: Spokane, WA
Aug 25, 2011

I talked to Chuck who said there has not been much activity on this route lately and it still lacks a second ascent. I was kind of expecting that by now with the plethora of strong N. AZ climbers that someone would have sent it and downgraded it to 12c or something. I was never quite sure of the grade since I'd not climbed many (I mean any) naturally protected routes that hard. Kyle seemed to think it was hard.

I figure I'll share some thoughts on my FA hopefully to get someone psyched on it.

Somehow I managed to spend the first 2.5 of my 3-years living in Flagstaff not climbing at the Waterfall. I'd climbed there in 2006 with Mark Geiken and did a few crack routes including Black and Tan, Lord Humongous and Vertebrae. For whatever reason I lacked to vision to see the vast route potential that was likely in the process of being tapped at that time by guys like JJ and Dan Foster.

It was not until the spring of 09 when Josh Janes (FA of 11.11 and Kindness) relayed to me the awesomeness of the Waterfall. I spent the summer and fall gorging myself on the sustained, pumpy, exciting but well-protected routes available there. At times, I was frustrated by the grades (geez that 5.11 seemed like 5.12!). By late fall I'd pretty much done everything in the 5.12 grade and was able to redpoint Kindness(5.13) in a reasonable number of tries which gave me a bunch of confidence.

I'd watched Josh try what was later to become Parting Gift on one hot muggy summer day and didn't give it much thought. Seemed real hard. If he was struggling to figure it out chances were I would have similar experience.

Fast forward to December 09. Armed with confidence from my Waterfall engorgement over the previous half year as well as a desire to do the FA prior to leaving Flagstaff for Spokane I jumped on a TR since the anchors are shared with other routes. Climbing over the initial roof was heady with the classic Waterfall pro of a couple completely bomber equalized TCU/Alien (can't remember, just small) pieces before the roof and great pro over it. Climbing that first try went surprisingly smooth. Fell once at the roof then figured a sequence which made it pretty mellow. Then proceeded on mellowish climbing to what seemed like an impossible move at that time where the fingercrack tapered to less than tips without much for feet. Worked the moves a couple times and I'm pretty sure I did not figure it out that day. Pulling through the hard part it was evident that the severe difficulty would be short-lived in that the crack opened up to good fingerlocks (still with poor feet) followed by a great rest and killer steep corner climbing to the top. Unfortunately, the tips-locking crux had shredded my fingers something fierce.

Came back with Keith a few days later to work the crux and was persistently frustrated by trying to burl my way through these horrible, painful and sharp locks. Without revealing my sequence (email me if you want it) I was able to figure a completely different approach to this tenuous section and actually do the crux moves. Now sending it was just a matter of time, which I didn't have much of since I'd be leaving Flag in a few weeks and winter weather could hit anytime.

I think I may have gone out one more time before actually sending it. My fingers usually were not good for more than 2-goes. The day I got it, Matt had just sent There Will be Blood after I'd had a rather uninspiring go on my project (I may never get this!). Somehow, likely inspired by Matt's motivated effort, I was able to send it my next try.

This send was one of those rare moments (at least for me) in climbing where I was climbing at what was the top of my ability while giving maximal effort and not letting my thoughts restrict me. It was a special experience which I'll likely never forget. Thanks to Matt for sending the positive vibes.

I guess what makes this so rewarding was the nature of my crux sequence. It reminded me of one of those nebulous gym boulder problems which guys much younger and stronger seem to pull off, but I couldn't even clear the sit start. Completely core/balance intensive without ever having a "good" hold.

Well, there it is. I sit here writing this with my leg raised and knee iced after having my second knee surgery in the past 14-months. This has hampered my climbing since moving to Spokane, but things are looking up after my most recent meniscal shaving. I'm pretty sure that I still have achievements like Parting Gift inside of me if I can get my body healthy.

So hopefully someone will endure the pain and blood and send Parting Gift. It's by no means the best climb around, but it is one of the hardest and is a proud tick (at least for me).
By Abel Jones
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 2, 2012
rating: 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c PG13

I think this thing is great. Gotta really visualize a bunch of stuff for the send. I went with a direct start that is probably pg-13 10+ish that gives it it's own straightened out line. Overall quality and harder than the 12+ routes at the waterfall, loads of fun right up to getting out of the pool at the end.
By Michael Sokoloff
From: Spokane, WA
Mar 5, 2012


Glad you're working Parting Gift. Let me know if you want the beta that worked for me.

That's cool that you straightened it out at the start.

Send it!

By Josh Janes
General Admin
Mar 5, 2012

Mike, great story - thanks for sharing. I hope you recover from your surgery quickly. I just had my meniscus stitched back together last summer and a new ACL put in. Not quite climbing as well as I was at the Waterfall, but give it another month or two and I will be. Good luck with your recovery!
By Abel Jones
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 6, 2012
rating: 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c PG13

Oh sorry to mislead... I sent on the day of my last post. I wouldn't have added my cents otherwise. Great route Mike. Its fun to be following in your footsteps... now if I could only link the first 3 pitches of Shangri-la on gear. Damn, you set the bar high on that one.
By john crawley
From: flagstaff, az
Mar 6, 2012

Abel your silly. You will probably onsight send on gear. Quit beating me to all the goods. Get a job and work some more so I can catch up.
By Michael Sokoloff
From: Spokane, WA
Mar 17, 2012

Nice job Abel!

When I linked the first 3-pitches of Shangri-la I used the bolts on the crux 3rd pitch. Came back a week or so later and climbed the crux 3rd pitch on gear with Chuck belaying me from the hanging belay. There's still room to push up the "bar" on Shangri-la should you so desire.
By Robbie Brown
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 17, 2015
rating: 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c

Super safe and not nearly as painful as advertised. Fixed wires are gone. More like 110 ft.
By shredthered
Mar 15, 2016
rating: 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c

Great route! The tight fingers at the top are stellar! I think the direct start is the way to go, I found it to be safe, but had to look and dig for the gear.

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