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Courthouse Butte
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South Bowl Route (Right) 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 1500'
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: unknown
Season: Fall and Spring are best
Page Views: 2,268
Submitted By: Orphaned on Apr 4, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (9)
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BETA PHOTO: Rappelling the two 5.6 (bit oldschool) steps.


As laid out in Tim Toula's guide, this route comes off fairly trivial. In reality, most of it is pretty trivial, but I felt that the crux mantle move was much harder than 5.6 The good news is that it is well protected and you can always yank on something to get through the mantle.

This ascent is somewhat of an exercise in route finding. I will give general description here, but you have to sort of work some of it out as you go. Start by getting into the south bowl on the left side, then work your way up and across ledge systems to gain a ramp on the right side. Climb this ramp (4th or easy 5th class) to more ledges, and work your way up the right side of a big huge fin that sort of splits the bowl. Continue up drainage to a big ledge that cuts back right across the wall. Cross the ledge all the way over and around the corner to get to the one pitch of real climbing. You should be able to spot bolt or pin to identify the pitch once you get over there. A section of 5.6 climbing leads to the crux mantle move next to a bolt. A long sling might be hanging down from the two bolt anchor above to help out.

Once you're at the anchor, it's pretty much hiking to the top from there. The summit of Courthouse is straight up the hill south from the anchor. There's a register you can sign (needs more paper) under a cairn.

After topping out, reverse your steps, make one rap off the two-bolt anchor and then continue reversing back to the parking lot.


Located in the big bowl on the south side of Courthouse Butte.


Light rack; a few small cams, quickdraws, slings.

Photos of South Bowl Route (Right) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Traversing above thick brush.
Traversing above thick brush.
Rock Climbing Photo: In the lower part of the bowl.
In the lower part of the bowl.
Rock Climbing Photo: Near the bottom of the route.
Near the bottom of the route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Contemplating the technical pitch.
Contemplating the technical pitch.

Comments on South Bowl Route (Right) Add Comment
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By James Fisher
From: Sedona, AZ
Aug 26, 2007

Beware of yellow jacket nests. I have climbed this route at least once per year for the last 10 years, and this is the worst I have ever seen. Very aggressive. On the "first pitch", the 4th or low 5th class ramp, there is a nest right at the bulge. In the drainage and traverse to main pitch there were a couple of new nests as well. Still a great summit.
By Lspade
From: Maplewood, MN
Jul 20, 2012
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

This route is 8% climbing and 92% scrambling. There are basically four very short spots of climbing and only the 30 foot crux section has the potential of a death fall if you choose to climb ropeless which I highly recommend if you are a solid climber. It was quite freeing to climb this route with just some water and a powerbar due to all of the bushwacking, crawling under trees, and long unroped traverses.

It took me three visits to finally find this route. After the first visit I picked up the guidebook which was absolutely pointless and my partner decided that the summit was not worth all the bushwacking. The third visit ended with success. When I get back from vacation I will trace up the route on a picture for the site since it traverses all over the southern side of the butte and can be quite confusing.
By Bill Lundeen
From: Lee Vining, CA
Dec 5, 2016

This awesome old route was done in the 1930s, making it the oldest ascent known in the Sedona area--about 20 years before the Mace. It is the South Central Rib of Courthouse Butte.

Lspade's comment is correct: over 90% is scrambling and 4th class, making it a adventure to take someone new to technical climbing. The Bloom/Wolfe guide Sedona Rocks! has the approach shown correctly.

Pretty awesome summit. Commanding Sedona views. Great old-school adventure. No bees as of 12/2016!
By Jake Dayley
Feb 2, 2017

Solid fixed rope in place when I scrambled up this classic last week. Some of the best views of any Sedona summit!

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