Superb climbing, outrageous position, and thought-provoking protection mark this RR and Chip Chace creation. These two were on a tear in 1980, making the first ascents of other multi-pitch climbs such as Coming to Grips (5.11c/d R) and Uncarved Block (5.11c/d R) in the Dragoons and Swept Away (5.11c/d) at the Reef of Rock. These were bold first ascents, with the pair launching up steep, often overhanging terrain, knowing that runout climbing likely awaited. This route may not be as difficult as those other 1980 vintage problems, but it is as mentally challenging, particularly the first pitch. We found crack-n-ups to be important when we did it in the early 1980s, but with modern equipment like offsets and microcams, they may not be necessary.
Begin by chimneying up above the Inner Passage corridor until the crack system can be reached on the left wall. Stemming, thin jams, and face climbing lead up the crack (the crux) until possible to step left to another crack and more difficult moves to easier ground. Sling belay from gear. (2) Continue up the crack for a short pitch to a gear belay just past a small overhang on the right (5.9). (3) Climb the crack above, past two small roofs, the first on the right and second on the left. Trust yourself through the crux (5.10d) to easier climbing and a good belay from gear. (4) A short but stout offwidth leads to the top (5.9).
(NB: Bob Kerry’s 1997 guide describes the pitches differently (three 5.10+ pitches in a row), and frankly his description likely is straight from RR; the description here is how we broke it up).
Find the Coming to Grips corner (see post). This is the next crack system to the right. Rap Abracadaver (2 ropes).
Double cams to 3.5”; full collection of wires, including at least one set of micronuts; crack-n-ups.
Looking up from the bottom of the route
A view of the route. The beginning and end are no...
Looking down at pitch 2
The start of pitch 4
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 8, 2013
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Clay Mansfield and I just repeated this route. It is loaded with committing climbing and awe-inspiring features but it also has some scary climbing.
We pitched it out a little differently from John's description. After the initial chimney we belayed at the base of the crack (60'). From here we climbed 140' to the top of pitch 2 (as described in the OP). After about 40' the protection became quite sketchy and the rock was crumbly in places. The next 30-40' required the utmost attention to placing the best gear possible and deliberate, careful climbing. Note: Falling and pulling the marginal pro here would likely result in the leader landing on the top of the pillar on pitch one. This part of the climb may be X rated. Gladly, we got to the crack on the left where the protection improves.
Two more pitches took us to the top. The first took the offwidth straight up to a stance under a roof/bulge. The moves to protect and pull through this were wild and airy. A #5 Camalot really helped here. We belayed 20' above the roof. The final pitch had committing moves up to a crack that continued to a 30' burly offwidth to the top.
We suggest the following rack:
Ball nuts #1-#3
Brass nuts – offsets may be helpful
Stoppers – offsets may be helpful
Doubles of cams from 00 Metolius (black Alien) to #1 Camalot
Triples of #2 and #3 Camalot
One #4 and one #5 Camalot (old Camalot sizes, not C4)