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West Face/ Southwest Arete
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Born of Water 
Cloud Man Got Angry 
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I'itoi Dance 
Watcher of the Skies 

I'itoi Dance 

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

Type:  Trad, 9 pitches, 1000', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Mike Strassman, Jackie Carroll
Season: spring & fall are best
Page Views: 2,228
Submitted By: Charles Vernon on Mar 28, 2010
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BETA PHOTO: This is the SW face from the approach trail. I ha...
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This is a great way to climb Babo's SW face. The climbing is fun and well-protected on good rock, using occasional bolt-protected face climbing to connect various cracks and corners. While trolling for info about Baboquivari, I found this comment by Mike Strassman, who did the FA of both routes: I'itoi Dance is "far better than Born of Water and burlier too." That piqued our interest, and the route didn't disappoint, although there isn't really much that's "burly" about it. It's just good fun in a beautiful place. [edit: having recently climbed Born of Water, I would say that I'itoi Dance is actually easier; however, it's more serious as it's more of trad route. It's also more sustained, and overall it's a better route.] The first 5 pitches (on the topo) are consistently good; the rest get you to the top.

This route is not in Kerry's guide, but Strassman's topo and description are here and here.

Together they are enough to get you up the route. Because of the indistinct nature of the features, and the large trees at the base, it is very difficult to get an overview of the route before starting up, but all the features become apparent as you climb. On P3 you want to go straight up rather than up and right, and the "roof" is really just a way of indicating that the wall returns to vertical there. The last 5.10 pitch is fairly contrived (and not as good as the lower pitches), as joining Born of Water is the obvious way to go.

By stretching pitches 2 & 5, and combining 8 & 9, we did the route in 6 pitches with a 60 meter rope. All belays were on comfortable ledges with incredible views. We felt the route was more like III 5.10- than the topo's IV 5.10.


Hike the west side trail up to the great ramp as for the Standard/Forbes Route. From here, bushwhack along the base of the wall (you are on Lion's Ledge at this point). The beginning of the route is difficult to find, and the route does not start "at the lowest point of the wall" as the description says. Look for the bolt 10 feet off the ground on a small buttress, and for the square flat coffee-table sized rock at the base. If you get to the "South Side of the Sky" (an obvious overhanging area with a bolted line to the left), you've gone too far and need to backtrack a ways.


Fairly light rack. A single set of cams from blue tcu/green alien to #3 friend/#2 camalot, a set of nuts, loads of long runners, and 3-4 quickdraws for the occasional bolts. We made every belay from a cordelette wrapped around a sturdy tree, which cuts down on the amount of gear needed.

Photos of I'itoi Dance Slideshow Add Photo
Dan Millis leading the topo's 7th pitch (our 5th). Probably the least interesting pitch.
Dan Millis leading the topo's 7th pitch (our 5th)....
The wall is not this steep, though probably steeper than in the previous photo.  Taken by David Tilley from the SE Arete.
The wall is not this steep, though probably steepe...
Dan topping out on the last pitch.
Dan topping out on the last pitch.
Taken by David Tilley from the SE Arete.  I am visible near the skyline about halfway up the photo.  I think that's the top of pitch 2.
Taken by David Tilley from the SE Arete. I am vis...
View of a climber on the Southeast Arete.
View of a climber on the Southeast Arete.
Awesome view from the first belay.
Awesome view from the first belay.
Comments on I'itoi Dance Add Comment
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By Fred Nakovic
From: Tucson, AZ
Apr 5, 2010
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a PG13

Meghan and me did it this weekend. Dito on the route description. Still some loose rock up there - watch out below!. Got off route a couple of places (if there is much lichen on the rock you are off route...)

It would be nice if there were rap anchors at the belays ;)