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YDS: 5.12+ French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX ZA: 27 British: E6 6b

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 350'
Original:  YDS: 5.12+ French: 7c Ewbanks: 28 UIAA: IX ZA: 27 British: E6 6b [details]
FA: FA: Suess, Clifton, Ellison, Roper, Bloom, & Consentino - 1997
FFA: Rodman & Bloom - 1999
Page Views: 10,354
Submitted By: Josh Janes on May 28, 2008

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Matt Swartz on the classic 3rd pitch of Shangri-La...


This is the only route in David Bloom's Sedona guidebook to get four stars, and it is worthy. The climb is unlike most of the other choss in Sedona and offers Zion-quality crack climbing that is very, very good. Well worth the laborious approach. Shangri-La takes a corner system that starts out right-facing and ends up left facing on a Rostrum-like pillar of rock at the terminus of Lost Canyon.

P1: Begin up low angle rock and then head up the obvious, varnished tips crack. Some wild, committing moves up the arete make this pitch an unforgettable warm-up. I was glad to have 6 blue Alien-sized pieces, but I'm a scaredy-cat. Finish at a bolted anchor. 5.12a, 50'.

P2: Climb past two bolts to a ledge below an obtuse corner formed by a sharp flake. This pitch is a powerful lieback that only lets up slightly just before arriving at a bolted anchor. Stopping to place gear is desperate and painful. A somewhat uncomfortable belay. 5.11d, 60'.

P3: Climb up off the belay via a flake and a 0.5 Camalot placement. Here, clip the first of 8 bolts, and head up a very cool incipient crack system that requires laybacks and interesting gymnastic moves. The crux is in the first half -- getting to a series of three providential jugs, but the upper section is no gimmie... unless you're flexible! Wild climbing and an improbable sequence up high. On this final stretch the bolts can be supplemented with a 0.75 Camalot and a 0.3 Camalot (green Alien). End at a bolted anchor. 5.12+, 80'.

P4: This next pitch is a bit easier - a long lieback corner with great stemming rests to a bolted anchor. 5.11b, 90'.

P5: Continue liebacking up the corner, past a wide section, and on to a stance before a very steep wide-hands crack that guards the summit. A great, burly finish to a classic route. 5.11, 70'.

Descent: Rap the route with one rope. The anchor above pitch one can be skipped on rappel.


This is what I brought:

6 ea. blue Aliens (only useful for the first pitch)
3 ea. green Aliens/0.3 Camalots
3 ea. yellow Aliens/0.4 Camalots
5 ea. red Aliens/0.5 Camalots
1 ea. 0.75, #1, #2 Camalots
2 ea. #3 Camalots (only useful for the last pitch)
8 draws and a couple slings.
60m rope

The hardware on this route leaves something to be desired: All the bolts are modern, but many are very poorly drilled (several are drilled upwards at such an angle that the hangers don't even sit flush with the rock). This includes the anchors. This is kinda a shame for Sedona's best. One small service could be to bring a bolt kit and remove the old cold shuts from the top of P3 and install a proper (Fixe?) rap anchor. If placed on the opposite side of the slot (from the current anchor), one could stand with their feet on a ledge and the ropes would pull more cleanly. On the anchor above P2, a second bolt with chain placed above one of the existing bolts, and a quicklink with lowering ring on the lower bolt, would eliminate the "death triangle" setup and all the tat hanging from that anchor. We removed the tat and added chains to the bolts atop P4.

Photos of Shangri-La Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: this shows the upper part of the route Mike Sokolo...
BETA PHOTO: this shows the upper part of the route Mike Sokolo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Low on the pitch, before the first hard moves.  Ph...
Low on the pitch, before the first hard moves. Ph...
Rock Climbing Photo: The redpoint crux for me was locking off way low a...
The redpoint crux for me was locking off way low a...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jon on 3rd pitch.
Jon on 3rd pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike with the rack he used on the third pitch
Mike with the rack he used on the third pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up from the base of the route
Looking up from the base of the route
Rock Climbing Photo: and yet another of Mike Sokoloff
and yet another of Mike Sokoloff
Rock Climbing Photo: Another picture taken of Mike on the climb (taken ...
Another picture taken of Mike on the climb (taken ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mike climbing Shangri-la without the bolts on teh ...
Mike climbing Shangri-la without the bolts on teh ...

Comments on Shangri-La Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 15, 2015
By Michael Sokoloff
From: Spokane, WA
Oct 16, 2009
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

This is likely the finest route I've done during my time in Northern Arizona. I've done better individual pitches, but no route rivals this.

Pitches 1 & 2 are combined easily as are pitches 4 & 5. This makes a lot of sense and essentially makes it into a 3-pitch route.

I brought gear for the crux 3rd pitch but didn't find it necessary to supplement the bolts. Still it's there if you need it. A couple varied pieces would suffice.

For the finish. If you are used to Indian Creek widehands, then a single #3 Camelot should suffice. There was a split second where I was wanting a #4 Camelot for a wide section of the last pitch, but the moves were east and secure. I'm glad I didn't lug it up there.

What a route!
By Michael Sokoloff
From: Spokane, WA
Oct 20, 2009
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

Okay, I went back out again and I now have to take back the first line of my previous comment about there being better pitches in Northern AZ. Today I combined the first 3-pitches into 1 megapitch. It was possible and downright reasonable with multiple rests and intelligent use of runners. Combining these three pitches was downright awesome! I highly recommend it. Does the linkup push the pitch over into the 5.13 grade? Well, probably not with all the great rests available. It does however make a classic route even better if that's at all possible.
By Josh Janes
General Admin
Oct 20, 2009

Mike, just because you put us mortals to shame doesn't mean you have to spray about it!

Seriously, nice send Mike. I reckon it would only be 5.13 though if you stayed in the corner on the first pitch. You should work on Lost Horizon.
By chuck claude
From: Flagstaff, Az
Oct 21, 2009

yeah, I was laughing the whole way you were doing it Mike since you were taking a perfectly good 3/5 pitch multipitch and made it into a 2 pitch sports route.

Just a note: when Mike linked the first 3 pitches we used a 70m rope (9.1mm) and when he got to the 3rd belay there was maybe 20-25ft of rope left (measured 4 lengths of my armspan)60m rope you will have to belay from the top of the pedestal at the base, and possibly may need to simulcclimb maybe 5ft.
By Michael Sokoloff
From: Spokane, WA
Oct 21, 2009
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b


I wasn't spraying; just really psyched.

What is Lost Horizon?


By KyleEdmondson
Nov 12, 2009

The direct start to the first pitch has been led. It takes 5-6 blue alien/.2 camalots through the business. Sustained crimpy laybacking, difficult to place but totally solid gear. I think it is better than the original, though definitely harder.
By chuck claude
From: Flagstaff, Az
Nov 19, 2009

And Josh,

I'll be taking you up on your suggestion of changing out the bolts on the top of pitch 3. I've got one Fixe with a stainless steel snapshut and have a second one on order, and hope to have it changed out by the end of November/early december of 2009. I'll also be replacing the tat on thee top of pitch 5 (summit) with chains and quicklinks which I already have
By Michael Sokoloff
From: Spokane, WA
Feb 27, 2010
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

The bolts are still there. As was discussed in detail on another thread, it's my belief that Shangri-la would be much improved as a mixed route. I personally am not willing to go against the predominant wishes of the local climbing community by altering the route based on my opinion. Eventually though someone will and should, so if you want to climb the sport-bolted crux then do it sooner rather than later.
By Josh Janes
General Admin
Feb 27, 2010

It sounds like I'm the only one with designs on removing the bolts... but don't worry, I'm a long ways from Northern Arizona right now. If/when it happens though, I'll post up here and correct the description to reflect the change. >:)
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 28, 2010

Josh, I have all the respect to those who push the boundries... But, however, your insights may seem clear to you, the first ascent has the insight of what was faced then! It is there choice of what style the route was done... And it is no other's choice how a route in Sedona in challenged, but by the folks that established it. Climbing is pure, as long as we respect those who have gone before us.................
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 28, 2010

And how can you all say you have the final word of what is right or wrong?????? Sheesh! Mike, you go an put up a multi pitch route, you go ahead and clean it, equip it, and go through all the nightmares that are par for the game. Fuck, I dare you!
By Michael Sokoloff
From: Spokane, WA
Feb 28, 2010
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b


I'm a bit confused as to why you're angry with me. If I were some ethical cowboy, I would have just sent the thing without the unnecessary bolts and chopped them on the spot. Instead I've brought up the issue on sites like this because I have the utmost respect for locals opinions such as yours. I never assumed that I had the final word. I assume the final word is in the hands of locals like yourself. I only have my opinion which I feel entitled to since I've been on the route and done it in a different style. My suggestion to locals (which I no longer am but you are) is to figure this out before some ethical zealot assumes the last word.

I'm not sure if by daring me to put up a multipitch route was some sort of insult to my ability, manliness, tenacity, worth as a human being, etc. It was hurtful coming from someone whom I respect and I thought had respect for me.
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 19, 2010

Hey Mike,

Hey I'm sorry for coming off in a gruff way I meant it more in jest. I certainly didn't mean any disrespect. I get riled up sometimes about the politics within our sport... What it all comes down to is that everyone's a critic, and there is no way around it. Take care. JJ
By Michael Sokoloff
From: Spokane, WA
Mar 20, 2010
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

Thanks JJ!

Even though I'm enjoying living up here in the NW and checking out new crags, I really miss the challenge and excitement of the routes at the Waterfall. That basalt has a way of bringing out one's best. Thanks again for all the work you've put in there. The ethic you and the others have established there (bolts only where needed) is an example that should be commended and emulated.
By Eric Foster
From: Chandler/Flagstaff, AZ
May 1, 2010

Going out here next week to climb this with a friend. What is the sun exposure like, it will be around 76 in Sedona the day we climb it, is it in the sun or shade is what i am wondering.
By climnron
May 1, 2010

Shade in the morning and sun in the afternoon.
By Abel Jones
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 13, 2012

First of all, Great route as everybody keeps saying. The crux is a workout. Now, either my blue alien sized pieces are worn or the crack has gotten bigger. I could not place a single blue alien size on pitch one. It took blue tcu/green alien tightly, and it liked it the whole way. I rechecked this numberous times including on the rappel just to double check reality. So more like 4-6 worn green aliens, blue tcus, or the c3s that are a hair smaller than green alien. Currently there is a purple tcu (blue alien size) stuck in the crack. it is fully umbrella'd in there. maybe don't clip it or rip it out on a fall for a freebee. Good times
By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
Feb 17, 2013

Earlier this year someone placed gear, fell and ripped out a few pieces destroying the rock. This from Colin Cox:"someone tried to onsight Shangri-La without the bolts. He fell, ripping several pieces from the crack, breaking the rock in the crack, and took a 60 footer. I guess now we know."

It is fragile. Don't mess with the bolts; if you are going to fall, clip them instead of tearing out the rock to suit your style.

I believe the FA group knew what they were doing and have a lot of experience climbing and equipping this fragile rock.
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 17, 2013

Hate to say it but I saw that scenario coming...
By Joel Unema
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 6, 2013

Well I thought I would make a comment here, although the discussion of this route and its bolts is spread between this page, comments on a photo, and other forum posts. This fall I tried to onsight the crux pitch on gear. As I was climbing and placing the gear I thought it looked great and was surprised that the pitch had been bolted in the first place. I fell off the mailbox slot on the arete just before establishing in the stem. The pieces protecting me at that point were a green c3 just below my feet, a .3 and yellow c3 equalized maybe 10' below that, a purple c3 maybe 6-10' below that, and a .75 camalot maybe 5' below that as well as a few other pieces lower than the .75. I fell at that point and pulled the four pieces down to the .75 which caught me. Upon inspection of the gear and the rock, I found that the green c3 and purple c3 were placed quite tight and tracked out of the rock, perhaps due to its softness. The equalized .3 and yellow were somewhat shallow placements and blew out the rock. The resulting fall was somewhere around 60-65 ft, headfirst, straight past the belay. I ended up 5-10ft below the belay. I pulled back up to the belay and finished leading the pitch, this time clipping the bolts.

After this experience, I understand why the bolts were placed. The rock is quite soft, and even equalized placements blow out on finger-sized pieces. For the sake of preserving this beautiful route for people to climb for decades, I think leading it on gear is perhaps an irresponsible choice. I will be returning to redpoint the pitch, but will be clipping the bolts next time. It isn't worth marring the route, especially for onsight attempts, which have a good chance to leading to more falls. Certainly a top-level climber could onsight on gear, but after my experience, I think the bolts should stay and should be used.

More importantly than any of the above.... this route rocks! What amazing movement and beautiful stone! Each pitch is special and the crux is something truly unique.
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 12, 2013

Thanks for sharing your story Joel, and it is that exact scenario that the FAist foresaw and tried to avoid by placing the bolts. No one likes to see bolts next to what looks like a perfect crack, but this stone is not Wingate, and no matter how solid it looks on the outside, it is all more or less sugar on the inside. In my world I would rather have a "bolted crack" than lose such a classic line because a handful of individuals want a more pure experience. Once again I would have to say the bolts stay put, and folks can clip 'em or skip 'em when they encounter them. The only drawback from things staying the way they are is that not everyone will be held to the same standard of ascent- clipping bolts or not. Well so be it, at least the route will have a fighting chance of retaining it's original quality and character. My 2 cents.
By Mike broad
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 12, 2014

Better than Astroman.
By Eric D
From: Gnarnia
Feb 15, 2015
rating: 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b

The best route in the state of Arizona. Pitch after pitch of glorious climbing.

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