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Traitor Horn 

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

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Jim Smith, Auther Johnson and M. Holton August 1938
Page Views: 30,504
Submitted By: Dpurf on Feb 23, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (259)
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Hanging out on the Traitor Horn. Photo by Jessica ...


Traitor Horn is an area classic, and has a great exposed crux when you pull on to the 'True Horn'!

P1 & 2 - Climb the first 2 pitches of Jensen's Jaunt (5.6) until you can head right just below the headwall to a protruding horn of rock. This is the 'Traitor Horn'. Traverse up and right to a small niche and belay. Try to protect this traverse well for your second, as the traversing moves can be delicate.

P3 - Climb up and over to the right. There will be 2 pitons just before the move onto the 'True Horn' (crux). The crack directly above with the pitons is a different route, and instead move to the right onto the horn. Then up, up, and over to a good belay spot with a tree growing out of a crack. If your second is not strong or is scared to move to the horn, make sure the rope is in the crack and not out away from it. I know this sounds wrong, but if your 2nd falls they will be hanging in air and will be hard to get them back onto the rock.

P4 is long up a low angle slab to the top.

You can also start the climb with Coffin Nail (5.8) or On the Road (5.10c). Also El Camino Real (5.10a) is another do way to go.


Thin to 2.5 inches

Photos of Traitor Horn Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris Owen posing on the Traitor Horn (c) Mark Gos...
Chris Owen posing on the Traitor Horn (c) Mark Gos...
Rock Climbing Photo: DANIEL GONZALEZ
Rock Climbing Photo: everyone has their version of true horn photo. her...
everyone has their version of true horn photo. her...
Rock Climbing Photo: HANG DOG!
Rock Climbing Photo: Sorry Chris M.
Sorry Chris M.
Rock Climbing Photo: Tony Tennessee on the True Horn at the crux. (c) C...
Tony Tennessee on the True Horn at the crux. (c) C...
Rock Climbing Photo: Traitor Horn; the true horn seen in the background...
Traitor Horn; the true horn seen in the background...
Rock Climbing Photo: Met this little guy at the top of the route. his p...
Met this little guy at the top of the route. his p...
Rock Climbing Photo: Davis gettin' on it
Davis gettin' on it
Rock Climbing Photo: Great view and position in the "niche" b...
Great view and position in the "niche" b...
Rock Climbing Photo: Traitor Horn Cooper Hanging out enjoying the view ...
Traitor Horn Cooper Hanging out enjoying the view ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the horn.
Pulling the horn.
Rock Climbing Photo: shar heel hooking the horn
shar heel hooking the horn
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up at Traitor Horn and company on the SW f...
Looking up at Traitor Horn and company on the SW f...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from atop the true horn.
Looking down from atop the true horn.
Rock Climbing Photo: Tina Tip-toeing around the corner on Pitch #2 of '...
Tina Tip-toeing around the corner on Pitch #2 of '...
Rock Climbing Photo: Thi-Ly Hayes  getting set to do the cruxy traverse...
Thi-Ly Hayes getting set to do the cruxy traverse...
Rock Climbing Photo: Thi-Ly Hayes climbing up into the big recess that ...
Thi-Ly Hayes climbing up into the big recess that ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Traitor Horn.
Traitor Horn.
Rock Climbing Photo: The two horns
BETA PHOTO: The two horns
Rock Climbing Photo: Another photo from below the Traitor Horn, with Op...
Another photo from below the Traitor Horn, with Op...
Rock Climbing Photo: My buddy on Traitor Horn.  The Traitor is in the f...
My buddy on Traitor Horn. The Traitor is in the f...
Rock Climbing Photo: Chris gets down to business on the true horn.
Chris gets down to business on the true horn.
Rock Climbing Photo: Belaying from the Traitor Horn.
Belaying from the Traitor Horn.

Show All 31 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 8, 2017
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Mar 12, 2006

Name is a pun on the 1931 movie "Trader Horn".
By Ron Olsen
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 12, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

One of the wildest, most exposed 5.8's I've ever done. The traverse onto the horn and standing up on the horn were exciting and memorable. The crux move off the horn had me sweating too.

My partner was too scared to traverse onto the horn, so she climbed straight up the crack in the back of the alcove. Harder, but a lot more secure!
By Mark Allen
Sep 29, 2006

Followed this route yesterday with my friend Tom who turns sixty on Wednesday. Fell making the move onto the horn the first time, fell twice making the move off the horn. What a kick! Hats off to the fellows who first did this route along time ago!
By Joe Keyser
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Mar 9, 2007

This is pretty "airy" for it's grade. I was gripped. Awesome!
By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jun 12, 2007

Finally got up the nerve to lead this one. Passed the P2/3 niche belay and anchored higher up so my partner could anchor in the niche for my run at the crux. Both traverses are delicate and have very few options for pro. Clipped the lost arrow just so I could be on something, anything while I set a cam higher up because the overhanging dihedral really spits you out! The crux was no issue but the exposure!!! I think the true crux is just protecting the horn. And standing up on the horn - my legs were weak! This is a must do for anyone who loves Tahquitz. Traitor Horn is an awesome climb!
By Christian "crisco" Burrell
From: PG, Utah
Aug 14, 2007

Fantastic! A must do. Nice introduction to exposed climbing. Test your self on this route if you want to know how well you will react to exposure. The exposed moves are amazing and quickly over.
By Ryan Kelly
From: work.
Aug 4, 2008

The exposure is awesome, the moves onto and off of the horn are fun, and it makes for a great photo op... that said, I was a bit disappointed given the four-star rating and hype. There’s only about 20 feet of climbing on the route, albeit a really fun 20 feet, a bit of a traverse before, and 4th class afterwards. Definitely worth doing, but not four-star compared to other routes at Tahquitz.
By The Gray Tradster
Sep 27, 2008

This climb often produces epic events for the second. (have seen this happen often over the years much to the entertainment of those below) The leader needs to make sure the rope management takes care of the second.

Make sure the rope runs on the horn side of the crack and can't slide back into it. Belaying shortly after the horn is a good idea.

If it runs in the crack or to climbers left of it a fall by the second will result in either a slam into the corner or a big air swing, lowering, reclimbing and much whining.

Yeah, it's a one move wonder, but premier among them. Do the Coffin Nail approach for full value.
By Jesse Davidson
From: san diego, ca
Mar 17, 2009

coffin nail approach is nice, but the route itself is nothing special. the horn is cool, sure, but then its over.
By PumpkinEater
From: Sacramento
Mar 21, 2009

Great "pucker" factor for the grade. One of my first leads and still memorable.
By scottydo
From: ventura, ca
Oct 10, 2009

Had a blast on this climb. Just remember to place your pro well so your second doesn't have some crazy swinging fall if he takes one. If exposure doesn't bother you then this is a lot of fun. Didn't think that any of the moves onto or off the horn were too bad. Kind of bouldery type moves. Fun stuff!
By Tradiban
Jan 14, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13

It's a little tricky to make the moves right and onto the horn. Biffing it might be ugly. Linking from Coffin Nail is classic.
By jackhmullen
From: Oceanside CA
May 5, 2013

Bring an extra pair of pants... Even following it I felt like I'd shit mine.
By alleyehave
From: San Diego, CA
Apr 13, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Coffin Nail to Traitor Horn Linkup on Tahquitz, Idyllwild, CA
By delly84
From: Golden, Co
Sep 2, 2014

Was able to slot a small nut above the 2nd piton and a small cam above the 1st, put a sliding X on both and i think protected well.
By jeffblankman
From: San Diego, Ca
May 25, 2015

Glad to have finally done this. Linked from Coffin Nail and it was a truly great experience.

We belayed ABOVE the short easy chimney for Coffin Nail and easily made the niche belay past the false horn with a 60m rope. Drag was not bad with good management at the angles: into CN dihedral, over CN roof, Traverse under horn.

I thought the moves through the niche and establishing on the lower part of the horn were stiffer than they appeared, but the the moves off the horn were no sweat. The exposure was great!

If you've got the cojones to solo P1 of Coffin Nail and the short, easy chimney before the CN crack, you can do the whole linkup in two pitches, really, and "get r done" fast!
By Miguel D
From: SLC
Jun 23, 2015

Climbed on June 18th. First time here. Finished the route late and had to come down after sundown. Managed to forget my headlamp at the base so we had to descend with only my partner's. Going down with just one hesdlamp wasn't too bad, but the darkeness caused us to get lost on the friction route descent and got to a spot where we couldn't continue to downclimb. We opted for leaving a sling and a wiregate biner tied to a tree so we could rap down. That got us almost all the way down and had to scramble a bit further down to reach the gully. I wish I could specify where exactly, but I don't know how to specify it's location. But I think it's somewhere on the friction route, though we could've gone off route in the darkeness

Moral of the story, if this is your first time here, allow plenty of time to find and descend the friction route
By Anouk Erni
From: Portland, OR
Sep 8, 2015
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

We linked Coffin Nail to Traitor Horn, then did the last pitch on Jensen's Jaunt, which is more entertaining. The money pitch on Traitor Horn is awesome, and while the crux is in the tight corner before moving up on the horn, it never felt harder than a slightly awkward 5.7. Great moves, great protection, love this climb!
By steverett
From: San Diego, CA
Apr 4, 2016

Did Jensen's Jaunt, and belayed from the JJ crack where the traverse starts, rather than between the horns like we saw other parties doing. Rope drag isn't an issue, if you place and extend thoughtfully. However, the rope was wedging itself in the crack after the lip, so I had to belay pretty low on the slab.

The beginning of Jensen's is really a scramble, so we did the whole thing as 3 roped pitches.
By Matt Himmelstein
From: Orange, California
Jul 6, 2016

Had a group of 4 do Jensen's to Traitor Horn. I was the only one willing to lead the Horn. We had 2 70M ropes so split into pairs for the first long pitch to the start of Traitor Horn, then I did 30-35M pitch to a nice flat spot above the horns. We pig tailed the second on my rope and then the third was able to tie in and trail the second rope for the last climber. Then we split into pairs again to top out.

I think we could have done it in two pitches with a 70M if I set up a belay between the horns.
By Jan Tarculas
From: Riverside, Ca
Apr 20, 2017

Jensen's jaunt to Traitor Horn in 3 pitches

Solo/scramble most of the 1st pitch of Jensen's jaunt. Belay when it starts to get pretty vertical. I set up 1st pitch anchors immediately left of the false horn. Guide book states to climb below the false horn in between the flakes, which my partner did. It seemed like a reachy move and a bad swing potential for follower. I ended up climbing over the horn, which seemed a lot easier to prevent the swing. Partner built a belay 15 ft above the crux horn. Since the rope was in that crack, I didn't feel comfortable hopping on the horn and just climbed the crack. Felt like 10a there. From there you can reach the top.
By Dustin Stephens
May 16, 2017

Meh. The true horn part is kind of weird and contrived. Climbing leading up to it on Coffin Nail is fantastic though.
By RyanOndriezek
Jul 10, 2017

Left a red size #2, DMM Torque Nut at the top of pitch 2, right next to the horn. Please contact me if you were able to free the lodged piece, I'll pay you in beer. Location: Los Angeles. Thanks!
By Kat Hessen
From: San Diego, CA
Aug 8, 2017

Climbed Jensen's this weekend, linked to Traitor. I just started climbing, so I had mucho fun. However, my partner (strong climber) thought the left side overhanging crack with the two pitons looked sweet, placed pro all the way up that crack, and had to listen to me deliver the finest Norwegian blasphemy as I struggled and swung into the nothingness, got lowered and repeated the sad sequence over and over...much to the amusement of everyone around. (Side note: the Norwegian swear word "FAEN!" when screamed into the void sounds an awful lot like "FUN!". "Yeah!" other climbers kept shouting back at me; "Falling is FUN!")

Not sure what the rating on that crack is, but people claim 5.10sumthin. Anyway I COULD NOT make it up to the piece of pro placed at the end of that variation, so I bailed down to our buddies who were rapping down Coffin Nail and swindled a rap of my own, while my partner rapped to get his pro and then danced up the 4th class finish all alone without my whining to keep him company.

This long tale just to warn you that if your second is not a 5.10 climber, stay to the right at the crux and avoid the left crack! Needless to say I demanded a lesson in prusiking up a tree as soon as we reconvened at the base of the climb. Now I can follow that madman anywhere.
Oh, and I'll be back for that horn.

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