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The Sheepshead
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Absinthe of Mallet T 
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Bruise the Rooster T 
Burning Calves S 
Climb Too Tough To Die, The T 
Dark Horse T 
Ewephoria T 
Get The Flock Out Of Here T 
Greedy Little Varmint T 
Hardskins of Our Forefathers T 
Ides of Middlemarch T 
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Unmitigated Audacity S 

The Climb Too Tough To Die 

YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a PG13

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.10- French: 6a Ewbanks: 18 UIAA: VI+ ZA: 18 British: E1 5a PG13 [details]
FA: Scott Ayers & Mike Strassman (1987)
Page Views: 7,886
Submitted By: Joe Lee on May 20, 2007

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BETA PHOTO: Erin on Too Tough To Die. Photo by Ryan, taken fr...


Super fun six pitch route up the left front side of the Sheepshead. The bulk of the climb is easy to moderate slab climbing protected by bolts. But each pitch has a distinct crux to keep the 9+/10a leader fully entertained. Expect runout sections on easier ground. The middle section of pitch one follows a wide crack system that requires trad gear. This is the only pitch that requires a trad rack. On pitch two, at the top of the brown streak, the bolt line forks. The bolts to the left are for a DIFFERENT route. Follow the new bolts that go up and right. Pitch three pulls a short steep headwall. The upper section of pitch four ascends a rounded slab. Bring several long slings to protect pitch five. Move the belay up and left for the last pitch which is outrageous (more mental than physical for both the leader and follower). Follow the bolt line on the left side of the final headwall. If you have any concerns, there are two alternate finishes on the right up the wide slot. One is a bolted right angling sporty pitch that is fun and just as hard (IMO) as the standard finish to TTTD. Can't comment on the chimney.

A topo of the route can be accessed at



The main trail to the Sheepshead takes you to the start of Absinthe of Mallet. From this point hike left and up along the base of the Sheepshead towards Ewephoria. Continue past a large roof/overhang. Look for three closely spaced bolts that angle up and right toward a small tree. Above this tree, you can see a bolt on a small lichen covered roof. After the crack, you basically follow the bolt line. Descend by walking off the back side and contouring left. Follow cairns to a well worn trail. Make sure to bring your walk off shoes.


The majority of the route is bolted. All belay stations have fixed anchors. I carried 8 shoulder length slings and 6-8 quickdraws. For pitch one, I would recommend a single set of cams from medium fingers to a blue Camalot.

Photos of The Climb Too Tough To Die Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Angelina & Christi topping out on the Sheepshead i...
Angelina & Christi topping out on the Sheepshead i...
Rock Climbing Photo: Shirley leading the final pitch of The Climb Too T...
Shirley leading the final pitch of The Climb Too T...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mark Mellot leading the final pitch
Mark Mellot leading the final pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from the middle of the third pitch.
Looking down from the middle of the third pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Swinging leads with Mike D on tttd.  Beautiful day...
Swinging leads with Mike D on tttd. Beautiful day...
Rock Climbing Photo: The very cool second pitch
The very cool second pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: Wyatt Payne sends the super exposed final pitch!
Wyatt Payne sends the super exposed final pitch!
Rock Climbing Photo: Christian leads the climb across an ocean of rock.
Christian leads the climb across an ocean of rock.
Rock Climbing Photo: Leading p2 of Too Tough to Die!
Leading p2 of Too Tough to Die!
Rock Climbing Photo: Get ready for six pitches of slab climbing on anot...
Get ready for six pitches of slab climbing on anot...

Comments on The Climb Too Tough To Die Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 27, 2017
By coolaid
Nov 19, 2007

This route looks like fun. Do you remember what the trad part of pitch 1 is rated? I lead sport to mid 10s, but only lead trad to about 8+.

By John Peterson
Nov 19, 2007

The trad stuff is around 5.8 or so. Nothing very extreme. It was easy to get the gear in. I tried this on a very light rack (4 pieces?) and wanted more but you don't need that much - I'd go with camalots from .75 to 3 and 3 - 4 large wires.
By Jerry Cagle
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 3, 2008

Two and a half stars? YMBFKM. This is one of the best, most varied routes in Cochise. The finish is spectacular. Not as hard as it looks, but some of the best exposure in The Stronghold.
By rpc
Jan 26, 2009

Very fun route, with the last 2 pitches being the funnest & I think pitch 2 being the crux. 3/4 stars at least (mostly due to the lower angle section on P3 & 4).
By Meghan
From: Sierra Vista, AZ
Nov 2, 2009

...I have just confirmed that you cannot link pitches 3 & 4 with a 70m rope... In case anyone was wondering. There is, however, a good tree about 30 feet past the actual anchors to belay from with a huge ants' nest to sit in (red ants) if you are stupid enough to try. They were fairly benign for red ants. :-) FYI-- I took a single rack from #1 Metolius to #3 Camalot and used everything except the #1 Camalot and #4 Metolius. I definitely didn't sew up the route, but wasn't run out either.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 25, 2009

A detailed topo for this climb is now available at this address:

By David Lammers
From: Grand Junction, CO
Apr 25, 2010

I think we slung a chickenhead or placed a piece of gear on all but the last pitch to manage some of the runouts. The belay is moved between pitches 5 and 6, it is very obvious and safe.
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Feb 22, 2011
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

A delightfully varied climb, which makes it really fun. The runout is so easy that a strong 10 leader won't even blink about it. Did every pitch twice and was glad of it given the cold and wind. Camping in the cave would add a great twist!
By Erik Hanschen
Nov 11, 2013

I whooped and hollered my way up leading TTTD yesterday- what a fun route! So much fun it seems like it should be illegal. My 5'5" belay partner found the cruxes on P2 and P3 pretty height dependent though (my 6'3" wingspan didn't notice).

As always, thanks Geir for the amazing topo- what a great reference!
By Mike Loitsch
From: Lake George, New York
Jun 15, 2015

Last pitch of TTTD had a spinner bolt about 4 bolts up.. the entire bolt, not just the hangar. be aware
By Nick Henscheid
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 22, 2016
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

This climb is almost a super-classic. I only wish it was a bit more sustained at the grade - there is probably only about 40-50 feet of 5.10 on the route. However the easy climbing is really a joy, and the route protects perfectly - I'm a big wuss and I didn't really feel there were any truly PG-13 parts (i.e. cruxy moves above so-so gear). If you're climbing 5.10 slab, the 5.5/5.6 runouts are really no issue, and can actually be tamed a lot by fiddling with nuts and slung heads. A couple beta spoilers: 1. the alternate P4 belay stance on Geir's topo is definitely better. However, you might want those large cams for P5, so unless you brought doubles you might need to move the belay (or just use the bolts & an extension). 2. Belay from the tree at the top of P5 - It's a nice shady place to sit. 3. If you can make it to the little tree on the first pitch, you can climb the whole route.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Mar 27, 2017

Accidently grabbed my 50 meter rope and didn't have any trouble doing this route. Last pitch of this is the best I have done on this cliff!

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