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Thunderbird Arête  

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Sport, 1 pitch, 100'
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Wade Forrest, JJ Schlick
New Route: Yes
Season: Fall, winter, spring
Page Views: 1,044
Submitted By: JJ Schlick on Dec 20, 2014

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (18)
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felix? coming up the final slab section


A legendary creature of spiritual origin and significance to indigenous tribes throughout North America, the Thunderbird is a conveyor of messages for The Great Spirit, a bringer of wicked storms, a shape shifter, and an entity which you do not want to anger.

Thunderbird Arête is a fantastic Dacite scamperfest with several wonderfully solid 5.10 cruxes that punctuate the line. Like it's neighbor Man On the Moon, this pitch hosts an array of mega features, and is some of the closest climbing around that mimics granite face climbing. One could easily find a pitch like this in Joshua Tree or The City of Rocks.

Start out on slaby ramp 30' downhill from Man On the Moon. Move up and right across the slab to gain the first tan colored bolt above a dishy ledge. Cruise up large features through a short dihedral with bolt #2 on the slab to climber's right. Before traversing right on the large wavy ledge, clip bolt #3 which will be on climber's left on a small, smooth left facing feature, and blends in well. Then jug haul up several shields to a large alcove.

From there the climbing gets a bit more technical and pumpy. Good stemming brings you to the arête, and gorgeous holds. DON'T be afraid to look left around the arête for a nice mail slot. Turn the lip with classic big foot hold hero moves to a good stance just above. Some more hero holds lead to some slabtastic climbing as you join the water runnel that forms the top of Lucky Old Sun. Continue to LOS's three bolt anchor.

As seen from above, and back from the wall, the Thunderbird formation is the lowest part of the hanging slab. Lucky Old Sun Direct climbs the left edge off the left wing. Thunderbird Arête climbs the tail feathers, then up through the split in the wings. While Man On The Moon climbs the right edge of the right swooping wing.

This pitch can be done as an alternate start to the multi pitch version of Man On the Moon, via a short traverse into the second pitch.


In between Lucky Old Sun and Man On the Moon, behind 70' Bristle Cone Pine tree.


13 lead bolts
3 bolt chain/ring anchor
15 draws, long draws/ runners

Photos of Thunderbird Arête Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Thunderbird Arete photo topo.
BETA PHOTO: Thunderbird Arete photo topo.

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By Paul Zander
From: Neuchatel, CH
Feb 21, 2015
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

I loved this pitch! My partner and I both found this route to be a bit easier than man on the moon, but maybe we were just fresher on this one. Both felt in the range of 10b/c to me.

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