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Steel Crazy 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Sport, 4 pitches, 450'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Mark Colby, Scott Ayers, 1996
Page Views: 19,260
Submitted By: James DeRoussel on Sep 7, 2002

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (104)
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Which way is up? Credit: EFR

Closed to climbing March 15 - June 30 MORE INFO >>>


Steel Crazy starts up the face near the left end of the Fortress. Look for the well-bolted line just left of a large corner.

Pitch 1: Pumpy climbing up and over small overhang (crux?)to easier climbing above. Continue up easier terrain, slightly runout to sloping ledge. Scary, thin moves up steep face past more bolts lead to small sea of chickenheads. Follow these to two-bolt belay on huge ledge.

Pitch 2: From the belay ledge, Steel Crazy follows the right of two bolted lines. Fun 5.9 climbing on well-bolted (over-bolted?) face straight up for 100 feet. More chickenheads lead to another two bolt belay.

Pitch 3: Continue straight up over sustained climbing to chickenheaded face. Easier climbing leads to 40 foot runout onto sloping ledge just left of large chimney. At the shrubs, step across chimney (scary) to two bolt belay on right hand side.

Pitch 4: Easy climbing for 60' to belay on top.

Descent: If you are unfortunate enough to have return to your gear at the base, you can double-rope rap the route (not recommended).

Otherwise, walk off the backside of the Fortress, following the long narrow ridge that leads north back toward the saddleRequires potentially scary scrambling.


60 m rope, 20 quickdraws, biners and webbing for belay stations.

Photos of Steel Crazy Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: 1st pitch just below crux.  John Herrara
1st pitch just below crux. John Herrara
Rock Climbing Photo: Sereia near the top of the second pitch.
Sereia near the top of the second pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: the last pitch- super easy, it had 3 or 4 bolts
the last pitch- super easy, it had 3 or 4 bolts
Rock Climbing Photo: Tom Lind took this photo as I'm sorting out the ro...
Tom Lind took this photo as I'm sorting out the ro...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing the 3rd pitch
Climbing the 3rd pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: third belay
third belay
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down onto the belay from near the top of p...
BETA PHOTO: Looking down onto the belay from near the top of p...

Comments on Steel Crazy Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 4, 2017
By Nick Kuhn
May 26, 2003

My partner and I tried rapping this route with a single 60m rope and wound up having to reach down to clip anchors while hanging on the end of the rope. Then the rope didn't reach the next anchors so we had to wrap a rock fin with some webbing and lower off that. Then the rope got stuck and I had to reclimb the pitch to free it. All this while the sun was setting and our fingers were getting numb. Walk off the route or bring another rope to double-rope rap.
By Vincent Greene
May 22, 2006

Warning! The last time I climbed this, one of the hangers on the two bolt belay at the top of the second pitch is missing. Bring a hanger and a wrench (or a small stopper for the bolt). Many heartfelt thanks to the jerk that decided stealing that $3 hanger was more valuable than the safety of my party. This is fun route. It has some long runouts on easy ground, so a good lead head is a must on pitches 1 and 3. The forth pitch, while short and easy, is also quite a head game in a strong wind. Communication is difficult, especially with any wind.
By Steve Pulver
From: Williston, ND
May 22, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

That hanger was missing when I did the route, June of last year. I had put a comment on the website, for some reason the comment didn't transfer over to mountainproject. (I don't care for hanging belays off a single bolt either)
By j fassett
From: tucson
May 24, 2006

Probably not a good idea to be posting your climbing activities in this area while the area is possibly closed to climbing.
By 1Eric Rhicard
May 24, 2006

Hey Vince I found the skeleton of a climber with just shoes and a chalk bag and it had one finger though a hanger. I used the hanger on a new route in the Stronghold but I will give it to you if you want to put it back. Not a bad idea to carry a hanger and not in you chalk bag.
By Jerry Cagle
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 26, 2006
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

I haven't seen it myself, but I was told yesterday by a reliable source that the missing bolt hanger has been replaced.
By Hendrixson
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 27, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Amazing route -- I was tempted to return to the base and run up it again.

The runout sections are on much easier ground with massive chickenheads. I reduced the runout on pitch one by slinging a horn and believe this can be done elsewhere as well. If a 5.9 leader remains calm it isn't as scary as the description makes it.

All belay bolts are in place now, by the way.
By mherholz Herholz
Dec 16, 2011

Very fun route but only found 3 pitches. It's a little tricky at the top but all you have to do is wiggle down a narrow chimney then climb the 20ft boulder problem to get up the other side. Definitely recommend a 70m rope because climbed to the end of it to reach the third anchor for some reason.
By Cody Brechtel
From: Glendale, AZ
Dec 9, 2012

Leave the extra gear near the orifice wall entrance and walk off the fortress for the descent. There's a pretty scary scramble involved but well worth it.
By AnonymooseCoward
Apr 28, 2013

pick one
By MJ Nelson
From: Tucson, AZ & Big Pine, CA
Sep 15, 2013

IMPORTANT info for the descent:
- There is an easy scramble on solid rock down a ridge just north of where you top out. But to get there you'll need to navigate a chasm between the south pinnacle (where you top out) and the north pinnacle.
- from the top of the south pinnacle, scramble down to the east, then wrap around to the west into the gully between the two pinnacles. Climb the short section (stem against the south wall) to top out on the north pinnacle then walk down.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Sep 15, 2013

I don't think there is a description for getting off this cliff in the guidebook. There is definitely no suggestion you rap anything. There is a description on how to approach the routes. I guess when I did the guide getting off was too obvious to me since I was familiar with working my way back along the top toward where I left my pack.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Sep 24, 2013

Hey MJ, I see where you could read that sentence you quote as the way off of the cliff. However the sentence before it says, "Approach the same way as the Ravens but follow the trail down and right at the Murray Wall to reach the small saddle where the Fortress meets the ridge. Dropping down the east side is the best way down.

How about this MJ? From the top of the cliff you will need to walk off. To get back to the uphill end of this crag work your way north along the ridge. Scrambling, down climbing, third classing or possibly roping up if you need to.
By K-Tanz
From: Phoenix, AZ
Oct 13, 2013
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

Fun route! The hangers are extremely well camouflaged though so be careful. I climbed right past the belay station at the top of pitch two and ended up tying off a ton of chicken heads before downclimbing and finding the anchors. If you find yourself tying off chickenheads or wishing repeatedly for bolts you are now off route. In doing this, though, I realized that it may be possible to link pitches two and three with a 70 meter rope....maybe. Keep your eyes open and follow the steel!
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 26, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

if you're not comfortable with long runouts on 5.4/5.5 terrain, a set of nuts and some slings for chickenheads should help.
By Aashiq
From: Los Angeles, CA
Jan 11, 2016

Anybody have any opinions about climbing here during the winter? I am road tripping to the East Coast from California and looking for climbing along the way!
By 1Eric Rhicard
Jan 12, 2016

24 inches of snow up there now! 1/12/15
By Justin Headley
From: Tucson
Sep 11, 2016

Pitches 3&4 can be linked with a 70m. Just put an extended alpine draw on a 3rd pitch anchor bolt, and maybe the next bolt above that. The 5.8-5.9 sections are all bolted well but lots of runouts on easy ground.
By RobPelon
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 31, 2016

STL3 written description is wrong. The 2nd pitch goes right of the black streak.
By ChrisO
Sep 4, 2017

Just did this and my partner and I were planning to link pitch 3 & 4 with a 60m rope. We assumed that we would be simulclimbing the last bit but we did not have to because a 60 was plenty to link the last two pitches and it saved us some time. Just had to extend some spots to minimize rope drag.

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