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The Wasteland
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Fire Sermon, The T,S 
Teenage Wasteland (Sweeny Direct Variation) T,S 
Wasteland, The T 

The Wasteland 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 600'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
Season: Fall thru Spring
Page Views: 25,628
Submitted By: Mike on May 17, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (127)
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Lauren cruising the 3rd pitch


A great climb. Make sure you are comfortable slinging chickenheads & plates and belaying off of slung chickenheads before attempting this route.

P1: Climb the face up and left to a small arch (usually with webbing on it), sling the arch, then head up and right to a belay ledge.
P2: Traverse right to the crack/groove and follow it up to a nice belay below short chimney.
P3: Climb up and left through the chimney and exit left on top of the small tower, then step across chimney to the main wall. Climb great chickenheads and plates on the right side the corner and on the arete past a short headwall then belay on thin cracks & chickenheads just below the big roof.
P4: Make a loooong traverse right on chickenheads until just past the big roof, then make a few 5.8 moves up over a bulge and belay off of chickenheads and chocks, or traverse farther right and belay off of a 2 bolt anchor, which gets you more rope-drag on pitches 4 & 5. Note: The bolted anchor makes an adequate emergency escape anchor as it is possible to rappel with 2 60m ropes, but you will need to extend the anchor as much as possible and will still just BARELY reach the ground. A 60m + 70m is probably ok.
P5: Make a long traverse back left just past the far left side of the upper headwall, then climb up chickenheads past a small bulge to a belay under an arete. Watch for rope-drag on this pitch.
P6: Follow the arete up past a crack and up a low-angle slab with a couple bolts to summit.


To descend, rappel off the NW side and scramble down west, then 5 single-rope rappels and some downclimbing down the west flank gets you back to the base.


Natural pro, with a couple of bolts. Bring a standard rack to a #2 or #3 Camalot and plenty of nuts/hexes, plus extra slings for slinging chickenheads & plates. Make sure to use long runners on the traversing pitches to minimize rope drag.

Photos of The Wasteland Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Maryann and Laine comin' round the wild and expose...
Maryann and Laine comin' round the wild and expose...
Rock Climbing Photo: Two parties on Wasteland.
Two parties on Wasteland.
Rock Climbing Photo: 5th pitch traverse on Wasteland
5th pitch traverse on Wasteland
Rock Climbing Photo: Great opportunity for the mega-hero shot!
Great opportunity for the mega-hero shot!
Rock Climbing Photo: The traditional top-out offers fun, moderate slab ...
The traditional top-out offers fun, moderate slab ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking at the impossible looking pitch 3. Not as ...
BETA PHOTO: Looking at the impossible looking pitch 3. Not as ...
Rock Climbing Photo: This is The Wasteland as it appears from about hal...
BETA PHOTO: This is The Wasteland as it appears from about hal...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rap Beta for Wasteland
BETA PHOTO: Rap Beta for Wasteland
Rock Climbing Photo: Nothing but air below on the 3rd pitch.
Nothing but air below on the 3rd pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: We were climbing in 2 groups. This is Bill coming ...
We were climbing in 2 groups. This is Bill coming ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff and Kimberly hanging out
Jeff and Kimberly hanging out
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing the chimney.
Climbing the chimney.
Rock Climbing Photo: Marcy leading P3
Marcy leading P3
Rock Climbing Photo: Marcy and Casey during our Rap of Wasteland.  Fun ...
Marcy and Casey during our Rap of Wasteland. Fun ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ran pitch 5 and 6 together in one pitch.
Ran pitch 5 and 6 together in one pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Knees are a no-no!
Knees are a no-no!
Rock Climbing Photo: Hanging out at the top of pitch 2 just below the c...
Hanging out at the top of pitch 2 just below the c...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tied 2 ropes together to run the last 2 repels int...
Tied 2 ropes together to run the last 2 repels int...
Rock Climbing Photo: Eric Peterson leads P3
Eric Peterson leads P3
Rock Climbing Photo: The 2nd pitch of Fire Sermon used to attain P3
The 2nd pitch of Fire Sermon used to attain P3
Rock Climbing Photo: There are a couple variations you can do to the Wa...
There are a couple variations you can do to the Wa...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up Wasteland from the ground.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up Wasteland from the ground.
Rock Climbing Photo: Hangin' (literally) at the top of the 3rd.
Hangin' (literally) at the top of the 3rd.
Rock Climbing Photo: What a beautiful climb.
What a beautiful climb.

Show All 25 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on The Wasteland Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 13, 2017
By Mark Abbott
Oct 20, 2006

The route-finding on this route is highly inobvious, especially the first pitch. The descent too is unusually tricky. One's best bet for the first time up this route is to go with someone who has done it before.
By David Arthur Sampson
Feb 20, 2007

I agree; route finding on the first pitch is difficult. For P1 I would suggest that climbers look up and right for a clump of grasses NEAR the start of the diagonal crack of P2 (viewable in February, anyway- likely viewable any time of the year). This provides an objective; climb whatever way (safely) possible to achieve the small ledge associated with this clump of grasses).

And, when Bill and I did this a few days ago, we choose different belay stances than that listed above. We made P3 shorter (by belaying in the scoop at the bottom of the short face/corner and just above (20 ft) the step across) and P4 longer.
By David Yount
From: Seattle, WA
Aug 21, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Wasteland 5.8 6P **** - Cochise Stronghold - Arizona

It's easy to identify Wasteland Pinnacle from the primitive campground near the Forest entrance. Looking directly west is the most impressive rock face with three vertical lichen streaks, and a generally flat top. To its right is a forested saddle. From the broad summit follow skyline left, dropping off the summit to a formation behind. Continuing left is Wasteland Pinnacle with a 400 foot drop on its left. The Pitch 3 chimney is facing you, at the bottom of the pinnacle, near the left side, below the faint black color. Pitch 4 traversing roof begins near the left side and continues right and slightly upward. Pitch 6 takes the low angle arete at the top left.

Now situated at the base of the route, the climbing route begins on a large dirt ledge, shaded by a gorgeous twin trunk tree. To orient for Pitch 1, there's a Right Facing Corner that is heavily right leaning; Pitch 1 always remains clearly left of this.

Pitch 1: Go left and up, shooting for a small clump of cactus 40 feet up, at the top of a very short Right Facing Corner. Pull a bulge to a large ledge. There's a natural arch to sling on this ledge, just past the cactus. Now trend up and right to a second ledge, and again to a larger ledge to belay.

Pitches 2-4 as written in the Description above. Beware Pitch 3 will have rope drag, you may want to split it up.

Pitch 5: Traverse left and slightly down, beneath the roof, until close to the let end of the roof. Belay near where there are two small holes/pits/huecos at your feet and a large round scoop in the wall above.

Pitch 6: Climb the small roof near the round scoop, then go right and up the steep heavily featured short dihedral, gaining a large ledge. Step left and ascend the rounded arete past a bolt ot the summit.

Alternative Descent: This is direct and simple, dropping you 100 feet up the main gulley from your packs. However, we may have been lucky, as some of the rope pulls do not look statistically friendly. Alternative Rappel: Find the rap anchor hangers that are far right. Double rope rappel over an impressive overhang to rap anchor hangers equipped with cord, webbing, and rap rings. Double rope rappel to a slab, you may use a provisional rap station that is right and slightly up the slab, or traverse left 40 feet to another pair of rap anchor hangers. It may be a safer rope pull from the provisional rap station. Either way, a third double rope rappel reaches the ground. Your packs are just 100 feet down this loose upper gulley.
By randy baum
From: Minneapolis, MN
Oct 26, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

if not for the bad rope drag on the upper pitches, this route would be a 4 star outing.
By Luke Bertelsen
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 30, 2008
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

Seems like everyone has a different way of doing this one. We did it in 5 pitches instead of six. We did not get bad rope drag at all, and we didn't clip any bolts. I think the circuitous nature of the upper climbing keeps me from suggesting the full 4 stars.

Pitch 4 (traversing under the first roof) is one of the best easy trad pitches I have ever led. Good continuous climbing and good exposure.

We also rapped the backside slightly different and ended right at the packs (nice!!!!).

Hope to have more beautiful climbing days like today out in the Stronghold very soon.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 10, 2009

Are the traversing pitches on this route safe to follow for a second who doesn't lead and who will be at or close to her limit on 5.8, but is otherwise comfortable with the "long multi-pitch in a remote setting" routine?
By eMurdock
From: Tucson, Arizona
Dec 16, 2010

Charles, I finally did this route after living in AZ for nearly 17 years. The traverses are on good plates and could protect well. The route does not actually involve tricky route finding, just follow the Kerry guide descriptions and photo. With a 70 meter rope we cruised the route in 4 pitches without rope drag. P1 climb up to base of chimney, P2 chimney and climb to base of roof, P3, traverse right and over roof and back left and down under juggy roof, P4 straight up to the top. It also avoids the last rap.
By Bob Graham
Dec 20, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Did this climb yesterday and loved it, a really good classic Cochise adventure. With a 70 meter I was able to link pitches 1 and 2 up to the base of the chimney. The chimney was super fun! Moving onto the face was cool and interesting face/corner climbing above. The long traverse right was just awesome and the steep roof moves bomber. We did the normal rap off climbers left into the west gully, did some downclimbing and rappelling to get to the last tree. We did not rap off the tree though, we traversed the ledge about 10 feet to a pair of belay bolts and rappelled down to the webbing slung hole in the rock on the first pitch of the route, this brought us straight back to our packs, very nice.
By Aerili
From: Los Alamos, NM
Dec 27, 2010

Having done this twice now with both standard and slightly altered belay positions for pitches 4 and 5, I think I recommend this: on p4, instead of belaying just above the roof, belay just below (I used some small cams, nuts, and a chickenhead lasso). Pitch 5: climb the roof and the easy traverse, then make a new belay just right of the final headwall. Pitch 6: Climb the headwall to the top.

This set-up reduced rope drag on some of the most chickenhead-intensive pitches and allowed the leader to climb the steep sections right off the belay with no rope drag and in full view of the belayer.

I think many climbers will find bringing a full set of small to large nuts and a set of micro-cams quite helpful in addition to a standard rack (we used singles on cams, but if 5.8 is at or just below your limit, you may want more).
By Benjamin Smith
Jan 21, 2011

I seemed to have missed the belay for the 5th pitch and decided to link it with the 6th. You can make it to the top with a 60m, but as you would except the rope drag becomes horrendous.

On the descent we decided to rap off to climber's right (east side). The first double rope rap brings you to the alternate bolted belay for pitch 4, which is also described in the above beta as being the escape route. From here, another double rope rap brings you to the "ground". On this rap be sure to STAY TO CLIMBER'S RIGHT, ie uphill, toward the tree in the gully. If you end up rapping to the left (to free stuck ropes or something) you will rap off the ends of your ropes. Once on the "ground", there is an old, fixed, blue, 8.5mm rope which you can rap down a steep section of the gully to a point where it is safe to descend on foot.
By 2tradornot
From: Anaheim, CA
Nov 12, 2011

The best way to finish is do as it says and turn the bulgr ASAP on pitch 4 and go straight up and belay (5.8). Then look for the humongous chicken-head just to the climbers left (this was the picture on the front of climbing magazine years ago). Throw a sling over top and skinny up it and on up the steep chicken head wall to the top. (5.8)
By Sayfe
From: Scottsdale, az
Mar 29, 2012

Fun climb, excellent maze of zig zags, chimney, chicken heads, long run it traverse, and exposure... No doubt one of the best climbs in AZ. Not a place for sport bolt climber!

Take plenty of small wires to protect, chimney is fun but not much pro on it,
on the traverse to the right, belay after you climb up about the overhead.
On the trevarse back, go left for 60-80 ft, then head up.

New anchors on the left bellow the last pitch with a rap that'll take you to the ledge bellow.

By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 20, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

A topo for this route can be downloaded from here:
By Erik Hanschen
Feb 17, 2014

I've done this route twice now- the first time we did the alternate descent and had to abandon a rope stuck on chicken heads. A week later, we retrieved my rope, but almost lost two other ropes while pulling from the 3rd belay station described in the comments above. Luckily, we managed to leave with all our gear.

For future parties, I'd strongly suggest against this rappel route. Wicked fun climb though- get on it!
By John Peterson
Mar 24, 2014

Here's my beta:

Starting on Fire Sermon is a nice way to go but you don't have to follow it exactly. On the first pitch, we went about 20' up from the thread instead of going left to the bolted alcove and then traversed easily left to join Fire Sermon above th2 2 bolts in the alcove. This makes P1 about 5.7. The 2nd pitch of Fire Sermon is very nice bolted slabbing - it seemed to be about 5.8 or so. This avoids grunting up the chimney on the normal P2. There is now a bolted anchor at the end of P4 - not really needed but makes things go quicker. After coming through the overhang on P5 there are 3 bolts to the left of the normal finish. These go at 5.8 or so and make the finish a bit more fun. These variations keep the route at the 5.8 level.

On the descent we traversed over to the top of the fire sermon P1 - this give the final rap a bit nicer line.
By mikeyrob
Dec 17, 2014

I'm heading to the stronghold and am looking at climbing this route. There is a lot of info on the what seems like the infinite ways to rap off this climb but nowhere does it state if you need two ropes for the raps . Can this be rapped with one rope or is two necessary ?
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 17, 2014

One 60 meter rope works for the standard descent.
By mikeyrob
Dec 22, 2014

thanks for the information Charles .
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 4, 2015
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13

this route seems overrated. it has one 4-star pitch and the rest are 1- or 2-star pitches (pitch one may even be a bomb and should not be attempted by an inexperienced leader). also the semi-hanging gear belays and traverse pitches make for logistical nightmares. i actually think adding a couple of bolted anchors to this route would improve it immensely, but it still wouldn't get more than 3 stars in my book.

i suppose if you're into long traverse pitches you'll really like this route. otherwise, meh. a good day out, but not something i would recommend.

the descent was pretty cool though, surprisingly. i thought it was going to be a major PITA.
By Luke Bertelsen
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 5, 2015
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

I always thought one of the best things about the route was the lack of bolts. You have have to use old skill climbing skills like:

Building gear anchors (gasp)
Route finding (oh no)

It's a bummer that a quality rating would be tied to whether the route was so user friendly that any person who was in the gym for the first time 3 months ago could waltz right up it with no issues.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 5, 2015
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

It's about personal taste I think. For those that like the challenge of the route finding and anchor building this climb is stellar. I really like it a lot.
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 9, 2015
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13

nice luke. i see you enjoyed this route more than i did. that's great.

i don't think the quality of the climbing itself warranted more than 2 stars. 3 would be a stretch so it sounds like you're adding stars simply because there aren't any bolts on it. if that's what you're into then cool, but for me the lack of bolts by itself isn't enough to add stars to a route.
By Benjaminadk
From: San Pedro, California
Mar 3, 2015

Solid adventure route. For the first pitch I started at the twin tree and headed straight up into the crack in a right facing corner and took that all the way to the base of the chimney. I thought this pitch was the crux of the climb (though i'm not sure it is the standard start) with tricky gear and some awkward moves. The chimney pitch is probably the money and is 4 stars. The traverse pitches are good fun and the last pitch is an easier (over) bolted climb to the top. The varied climbing and exposure make this fun but I would prefer a more direct line on the upper pitches.
By Kevin Wagner
From: Tucson, Arizona
Jan 10, 2017


Our team decided to rap the fixed line to avoid having to pull our ropes through loads of cactus, and it was probably one of the worst decisions I've made climbing. The rope was making cracking and breaking noises while I was rapping – I thought whatever, it's probably just stiff, until the sheath actually started cracking and breaking on the other people rapping in our party.

Ultimately, we put at least 4 core shots in this rope, which is obviously very old and in a terrible spot for wear since it is very often soaked in water/mud and exposed to direct sun for long stretches of the day.

If I find time in the coming weeks I will replace the line, since pulling a rope here looks only vaguely possible. Does anybody know when the fixed line (blue) was left here? I'm interested to know how long a new line will last if I were to replace it.
By Daryl Allan
From: Sierra Vista, AZ
Jan 13, 2017

Thanks for the notice Kevin! :)

How about we move the last rap station? Seems like a better option than leaving ropes up there to rot and trash the place up. Fwiw, I'm pretty sure a rope is visible from much further away than a couple painted rap hangers.

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