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Sedona's Scenic Cruise  T 

Sedona's Scenic Cruise  

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 700', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: John Burcham and James Q Martin, 2001
Season: Fall and Spring are best
Page Views: 19,651
Submitted By: Byron Murray on Jan 24, 2006

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Dana Ikeda, pitch 3 of SSC

Description 

Sedona Scenic Cruise is a pretty cool moderate outing that has been gaining popularity over the last few years. The crux is often figuring out where the route is located. If you look east from highway 179 between Bell Rock and the Church Spires, there is a jagged high ridge of rock running roughly North-South. SSC goes up the leftmost formation on this ridge. At first glance, the rock looks way too shattered to be a good place for a climbing route, but surprisingly, it's pretty good.

P1) 120' Climb up corner to a big flake sticking out to the left. The crux of the pitch is skirting this flake out to the left. (tiny cam or Lowe Ball useful here). Above the flake, continue to a two-bolt anchor (no chains). From here, you can look out to the right (climber's right) and see RAPPEL ANCHOR for the last rappel.

P2) 160' Scramble around to the left and up onto the ledge with large tree. Set pro for anchor. Second pitch starts behind the tree, up face past several bolts and a two bolt anchor at the top, continue climbing, veer right across a slab and one bolt, then up a short corner to a bolted belay on a ledge.

P3) ~175' all the way to the blocky ledges. Traverse straight left, clip bolt, continue left and up (bolt), then into a corner system. Climb this to a nice looking vertical crack, then step up and jam your way up the steep hands to big hands crack (pretty good face holds as well). A short chimney bit will put you left of a sloping ledge with the bolted anchor w/chains (note this as a RAPPEL ANCHOR for the way back down). You can continue up to the left up a short face with a single bolt and combine this pitch with the next one. There are two bolts with no chains at the end of this.

P4) 100' Face climb up and right along the right side of buttress past 10 bolts to belay on ledge. Very nice pitch. You can see a long chain on the ledge just north from here that is the RAPPEL ANCHOR on the way down.

P5) 100' Climb around corner to the right across "spicy" traverse to gain chimney with chockstone. Climb up and over chockstone and continue up crack to belay on ledge. There is a small canister with a summit register here and RAPPEL ANCHOR.

You can scramble (4th cl) to the top from here. Highly recommend belaying this portion!

Descent:

R1) Rappel from the last anchor back down to the top of the fourth pitch (85'). If you have a 60m rope, it's probably easier to leave your second rope here rather than hauling it to the top.

R2) Airy rappel (TWO ROPES!) from the long chains back down to the sloping ledge with chains noted in P3 description above. Watch the rope pull on this as the blocky ledge above tends to eat the ropes.

R3) Rappel (TWO ROPES) off the sloping ledge down to a two bolt anchor with slings and a rap ring at the top of the vertical section of the second pitch. You're headed for a bolted anchor with chains down a slot just below the buttress where the second pitch starts.

R4) Rappel (TWO ROPES) back down to the ground, just South and around the corner from the first pitch.


Protection 

Standard desert rack, doubles up to #3 Camalot plus one #4 Camalot, two ropes, helmet.


Location 

UPDATED MARCH 2010 - From Sedona drive South on 179 pass Back ‘o Beyond road which is the last main intersection before the road becomes divided. Within .5 - 1 mile there is a turn off to the left (a scenic pullout) that crosses through the other highway (this is marked by road signs). This parking lot / trail head provides immediate access to Little Horse trail and Bell Rock trail. Follow the main trail East from the bathroom. At the T intersection go right (South) onto Bell Rock trail. Continue on Bell Rock Trail going pass the Little Horse trail intersection, to a large wood bridge. Continue on Bell Rock trail for 3 minutes pass the large wood bridge and you will find a stone type bridge that goes over a small wash. Take a left into this wash and follow it up towards the cliff side. The wash eventually crosses over a single track trail (aka LAMA trial). The correct wash is marked by a small cairn on the right side of the wash. If you are not in the correct wash this is a good time to find the wash. As you approach the slabs, cairns mark the easiest way to the base of Sedona Scenic Cruise.



Photos of Sedona's Scenic Cruise Slideshow Add Photo
Leading up the third pitch.
Leading up the third pitch.
Patrick Brown leading pitch 3 of SSC
Patrick Brown leading pitch 3 of SSC
Mark's shadow cast while climbing the 5th pitch.
Mark's shadow cast while climbing the 5th pitch.
View from the top of the first pitch
View from the top of the first pitch
Why, hello there... Self portrait during descent, September 2007
Why, hello there... Self portrait during descent, ...
Patrick Brown leading pitch 4 of SSC, belayed by Dana Ikeda
Patrick Brown leading pitch 4 of SSC, belayed by D...
Just off the third pitch of Sedona Scenic Cruise! Props to Tyler Meester for the photo :)
Just off the third pitch of Sedona Scenic Cruise! ...
Scenic is definitely a good word to describe this route. This climb will prove to be a sedona classic.
Scenic is definitely a good word to describe this ...
Pitch 4 action shot of Byron and the exposure below taken by Manny.
Pitch 4 action shot of Byron and the exposure belo...
Jeremy Dowdy at the top of pitch 4.
Jeremy Dowdy at the top of pitch 4.
Dana Ikeda waiting to rap from the top of pitch 4
Dana Ikeda waiting to rap from the top of pitch 4
Top of the first pitch
Top of the first pitch
This spire is found below the start of the Sedona Scenic Cruise.  It's an easy scramble from the notch to the top and is fun to do if you've got extra time.  Two Sedona spires in a day!  Yipee!
This spire is found below the start of the Sedona ...
Sedona Scenic Cruise
BETA PHOTO: Sedona Scenic Cruise
Don't want to botch the traverse left on the 3rd? pitch.
Don't want to botch the traverse left on the 3rd? ...
JD starting the sport pitch
JD starting the sport pitch
AMH at base of pitch 5, after the traverse. Note that a fall here would mean a huge swing. Photo by Hanna.
AMH at base of pitch 5, after the traverse. Note t...
At the crux of the first pitch.
BETA PHOTO: At the crux of the first pitch.
Unreal views!
Unreal views!
The stone bridge described in the approach description.
BETA PHOTO: The stone bridge described in the approach descrip...
Comments on Sedona's Scenic Cruise Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 1, 2014
By Dean Hoffman
Feb 1, 2006

Just an update for y'all I'd have to say this is a John Burhcam route for sure. I'm also pretty sure I've got an old topo floating around calling this 5.8

By jeff.place
Mar 18, 2006

Climb is 5 pitches long, we wimped out on the 5th pitch because it was getting late but up until that point the crux was the wide crack on the 1st pitch. Pitches 2 and 4 are 5.7-5.8 sport.

By Joe Keyser
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Aug 28, 2006

Great job with this route. Not as many pitches with full-on crack climbing as some of the other routes in Sedona I've been on so far. But, the great position, and good varied climbing make it one of my favorites in Sedona so far.

By Seth Dyer
Dec 14, 2006

The working name of the route was Four Flying Apaches but John Burcham and James Martin (First Ascensionists) renamed the route to fit it's classic character to Sedona's Scenic Cruise.

By Patrick Mc
From: Sedona, Arizona
Jan 5, 2007

We parked at the "long pullout with a barricade at it's north end". The GPS coordinates using UTM format for this parking area are:
12 S 0430027
3852461

Coordinates for the start of the route are:
12 S 0431085
3853130

NOTE: Make sure your GPS is set on the Datum of NAD27 or your GPS will be off.

Don't forget your head lamp.

By Kole DeCou
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 10, 2007

I'd like to add that I saw this route in a newly published guidebook, and the apprach described and pictured therein is definately wrong. The approach described here is the correct one.

By Laurel
From: Phoenix
Mar 26, 2007

Feel compelled to give better parking/trail info. The parking lot they talk about is a triangular shaped parking lot and it is the third parking lot after the official very large "Bell Rock" parking lot. When you get on the trail (through the gate), you will walk the trail for a while and than follow the old wooden power lines for 1/4 mile, when you hit the man made stone bridge that crosses the wash, drop of to the right and follow the wash. It is well cairned and you can't miss it.
Route wise; these directions are straight on, however, if you should happen to get a photo copied sheet or got to RC.com, be aware that you can run pitch 2 and 3 together, just use a xtra long sling on the last bolt of the "second pitch" before you traverse out across to the singular bolt and up the short dihedral. Also try to link up the fourth pitch to the short fifth pitch 40 ft chimney. As you take off on the "fifth" short 40 ft pitch, put an extra long sling on the bolt to the left of the anchor, to ensure a nice easy traveling rope.

By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 10, 2007

If Kole is talking about the approach described in the Weekend Rock guidebook, then I can verify it definitely works to get you there and is not wrong, only different. Most of it involves hiking on the well maintained Llama trail.

By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Oct 12, 2007

Did this route last weekend. I thought it was ok, but did find some of it to be contrived. Especially pitch 2 where the arete was bolted 5 feet away from the obvious chimney and thus the natural line.
Also on the second to last pitch...going up and left to the ledge instead of putting a belay on the obvious ledge at the base of the crack system that makes up the final pitch..thus forcing you to do the "spicy traverse". Other than that the climbing was pretty fun.

Also I went up via the approach described here...then descended via the Llama trail. They both have their good and bad...I'd call them about equal.

By BCramer
From: Prescott
Nov 19, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

We climbed this route Fri. 11/16 and found a fenced in road construction materials yard temporarily occupying the parking lot described above. Who knows how long it will remain. We parked across the street. Greg n' Laurel's approach worked great for us. While climbing pitch 2 do not belay at the 1st set of anchors encountered (we goofed here, this anchor is only for the rappel), instead continue up right passed one more bolt to another set of bolts at the start of the 3rd pitch as per Greg’s description. Highly recommend climbing to the summit, but stay roped and make sure you mark where you climbed out to make it easy to find on the return. Great climbing, raps and views!

By Kevin Hadfield
From: Glenwood Springs, CO
Jan 27, 2008

Right above the belay for pitch 5 (spicy traverse) there is a bolt that kind on protects the traverse. Do NOT get confused... this is not useful and should be ignored. DO NOT clip the bolt and climb past it... The rock gets very scary and there are no bolts above this rogue unnatural protection.

IGNORE THE BOLT ABOVE THE BELAY ON PITCH 5!

By rpc
Feb 20, 2008

Did the route 2 days ago with nothing but Greg's directions from here. Great info! Great route! Much thanks. The specified parking is still being used as a construction materials storage.

By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 20, 2008

After approaching and descending on different sides of the mountain two separate times now, I realize that the southwest side is the correct aspect to go up and down. It is the only portion of the mountain that has stable ground and where you will be less likely to get taken down by massive, shifting boulder fragments on unstable, eroding slopes. There is also a faint trail up this side (if you can find it). Aim for a somewhat indistinct ridge that rises up and conjoins with the SW side of the mountain. One section of the ridge is light in color and drops away on both sides of the trail suddenly for a short time near the middle of the trek up. At the top, a trail traverses around to the NW side and ends under the route. Going this way will prevent further considerable erosion damage by climbers as well.

By James Q Martin
Jul 2, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Hi All!

When John and I established the Sedona Scenic Cruise we did it originally all trad and that line can still be repeated if one chooses. We took a lot of time to consider the best possible way with one goal in in mind a fun and safe moderate route that we all can enjoy... the 5.7 choss chimney can be climbed to right of the bolts on the 2nd pitch. It is not that fun I climbed it maybe 5 or 6 times establishing the route along with some other crumbly cracks up high.

We did not add the bolt above the last pitch, this was done by someone else, do not go this way it is not correct and could result in injury!

Regarding the approach please, please do not follow the mis-informed guide book and stick to the original description above. John and I spent a lot of time on the trial with another goal in mind, minimum impact to the environment and ONE path that has the least erosion, please follow that well worn path to the base and element's further damage and social trails.

Cheers!

By roman d
From: Pasadena, CA
Nov 24, 2008

Be aware that the recently constructed road has eliminated all of the pullouts. We ended up parking at the lot just north of Bell rock, but there is a metal fence blocking the shortcut to the bell rock pathway, forcing you to go almost to bell rock before being able to head in the right direction. even with all the shenanigans, it still only takes ~1hr to reach the base of the climb.

By Brian Boyd
Administrator
Nov 17, 2009

There is a discussion thread available with updated approach beta:

www.mountainproject.com/v/arizona__new_mexico/current_direct>>>

By TylerW
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 30, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Just did this route and I feel like I should add to the rappel beta. our 60m rope didn't reach from the slopey ledge near the top of p3 to the anchors in the slot near the top of p1. it was close; we made it to the ledge with a few feet left. it could be that our ropes were short because they're old, but just a warning, you may not make it to the anchors in the slot.

Overall the route was pretty fun. I felt like it kept getting better and better.

By arjunmh
From: Phoenix, AZ
Aug 2, 2011

Aug. 1 ~3 hr. ascent w/ no heat or sun affects -- incredible, and incredible climbing and views! In regard to the approach, we followed the updated directions to approach the climb and they were spot on and easy to follow. For the return, all the visible trails down the spur southern ridge lured me to descend via the route that's described in the guidebook (w/ photo) and I completely agree with the above comment by James that the updated route should be used to minimize the impact by multiple trails through the brush. It's entirely on a trail or in a wash and the time taken is about the same.

Tyler's comment is true as well, though it's an easy scramble to the final rap anchors (for the non-faint of heart foolish ones) and then an easy belay over (for the sensible ones).

By hamlincheese
Feb 11, 2012

Good stuff. The first pitch is stiff. My partner and I got out ropes stuck (like, really friggin stuck) after the first and second rappel. Has anyone else had the same problem on this route?

By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 18, 2012

Classic desert climbing in a spectacular setting. Getting the views of the Peaks after pitch three is awesome. Pitches 1 and 4 are certainly the money pitches, though interesting sections are spread throughout the route. A good blend of new school flavor, with old school spice. I could certainly see how a shorter framed climber might find it challenging for the 5.8 grade, but for the grade in Sedona, the climbing is excellent.

Still quite a bit of loose rock on the rappels. Be careful tugging on stuck ropes!!

By arjunmh
From: Phoenix, AZ
Jun 4, 2012

A delight to get on this again, but a few notes to pass on. We said hi to a sweet rattlesnake on the ledge behind the belay anchors for P1. Quite startling, but considering all the rodents up there it's not that surprising. Be careful. Also, the loose rock note of JJ's is right on. Finally, I explored the trail options further and want to emphasize NOT using the ridge crest to scree slope approach that comes in from the southwest (that is, from the first parking area north of Bell Rock and the approach photo in Weekend Rock). The trails are multiplying, disrupting the black lichen that's holding the soil in place and the erosion is worsening. Instead, use second parking lot north of Bell Rock and take the main trail south to the channel, to the gully to the slick rock approach described in detail above. Bring clippers to trim the branches that have grown in!

By JMo
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 28, 2012
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13

I know it's lame to call this 9+ AND PG-13 but my reasoning is: harder than rubo's, and couple spots where falling would hurt and be ill-advised. That said.... It's safely bolted and a beautiful, classic climb. Crux's on p1 and p4 are tough! P3 is The Money Pitch.....

By Danger Charles
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 17, 2012

Brought a new notebook to the summit can as the old one is just about completely full. The old one is still there for everyone's viewing pleasure. Enjoy!


New summit log for the Sedona Scenic Cruise
New summit log for the Sedona Scenic Cruise

By MacM
From: Cave Creek/Preskitt, AZ
Feb 21, 2013

First, I'd like to mention how great this route is. Unfortunately I was only able to climb the first two pitches, but they were amazing. Pitch 1 was definitely a tough pitch, having not climbed the whole route I can't determine if that would be the crux pitch as everyone says. Also, my friend and I found the route very easily following the approach directions given. We were able to do it in 50mins, taking a few breaks on the way up.

Second, we descended back down to the trailhead from the route around dusk-sunset. My knife evidently slipped out of my pocket between the route and before you reach the bridge that is the main trail to get back to the parking lot, so in the wash or the slab area somewhere. If someone happens to comes across it, it is a black and silver Spyderco single-blade folding, I will definitely give you a reward for its return. Of course I'll still be looking for it myself when I go back to finish this awesome route.. Thanks!

EDIT: Knife found..and returned. Also, finished route and it is amazing.

By TylerW
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Apr 23, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

A few thoughts after doing this route for the 4th time this weekend:

  • #4 Camelot is totally optional, although two #3s is sure nice.
  • the final 50yds of the trail seems like it's gotten much worse over the past year or so.. Anybody else notice this?
  • for the full value experience, instead of rapping you can top the climb out all the way to committee tank/schnebly hill road -- quite an adventure! It took us 45 min for the approach, 2.5 hours for the climb, and 7 more hours to get to schnebly hill...

By arjunmh
From: Phoenix, AZ
Apr 29, 2013

Agree with Tyler on all points, but found the #4 quite nice to have on the trad pitches (even if it really wasn't that necessary). Would've been fun and funny to run into you en route as it has been a while. Just read his post about going all the way out from the top, which was hilarious given that this is what Hanna wrote in the summit register after reading Tyler's note in there: "These guys are crazy!"

Regarding the damage on the top of the trail -- basically from the upper saddle to the base of the climb: par for the course for these fragile soils given all the use. Tread as lightly and carefully as possible and stick on the trail rather than creating new ones. A bummer, but it's not going to heal until we stop using it, which isn't likely to happen.

On another note: I couldn't help noticing all the other potential routes up this buttress, most especially the crack to offwidth variation of p. 3. Has there really been no new development here?

By JimmyK
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 17, 2014

At the bottom of our second two rope rappel, our double 60 meter ropes were a few feet short of the anchors.

By Tony San Felice
From: Cottonwood, Arizona
Apr 1, 2014

Wonderful climb. We went on a day in which we were getting 80 mph gusts of winding spiraling up the formation. Adventure!!!!! Incredible views yeah but holy cow, the climbing is INCREDIBLE.

After you drop off the stone bridge into the wash, and you come to meet with the LAMA trail, go left. Remember this juncture because there isnt a lot to remind you about it on the way back. After turning left onto the bike trail, keep an eye out for the next trail uphill. Stay left of the large, lower schnebly formation and on the slabs you will find cairns.

Keep an eye out for all rap stations!
When you're rapping down.... After you're first double rope rappell, from the top of the fourth pitch, the next rap station can be tricky to find. Account for all stages of the rappell AS YOUR CLIMBING UP

Enjoy, this is 5.9 Sedona at its best =)