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Arrowhead Spire
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Southwest Face T 

Southwest Face 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a C1+

   
Type:  Trad, Aid, 3 pitches, 130', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a C1+ [details]
FA: Frosty Weller
Page Views: 1,085
Submitted By: Steve "Crusher" Bartlett on Nov 1, 2002

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On top of the Southwest Face.

Description 

The Southwest Face; I love these inspiring names.This is a fine route on a nice formation. Shady all morning. Easy aid, but requires some thought. A good starter tower for anyone who has done and enjoyed) a couple desert towers, is looking to learn aiding, and who does not want to buy specialized aid gear. Also a totally viable free-climbing challenge. Luckily it's not been done free yet, so Stu and I could aid with dignity. Maybe 1.5 stars really.

The route starts on the west side, on the obvious ledge system. It follows the very obvious crack up to and through the large roof.P1. C1+. Up to the roof, and over it to a hanging belay at fixed anchors (easily backed up with more cams). Cams range from one-inch up to about #4.5 Camalot. This is a fun pitch to lead. A pain in the rectum to clean. It will go free, and will be a very cool free pitch, but will be pretty hard. Bring several fist-sized and a bit bigger. The more you bring, the easier it is to aid, (and clean).P2. C1+, 5.9. A couple medium cams, then a long reach past a loose bit to more cam placements. Easy cam aiding round a bulge leads to an entertaining finish (use slings a to avoid too much rope drag). Belay on the left on a large ledge (two bolts).P3. 5.8. Traverse right along a horizontal break to a move up a thin short crack (a couple Aliens) which gains the summit.

Desert Rock IV calls this "A2, C2." An nicely enigmatic Bjornstadism. There is a classic Cameron Burns quote in the guide: "This route should go clean on its next ascent"Well, Stu Ritchie read this and we took a handful of pins, but I'll be dipped in dogshit if anyone can explain how they would be any use to anyone anywhere on this route.Anyway, a fun summit.Descent: A short rap to the big ledge from the top anchors (thus avoiding any potential rope drag issues), then a longer one (maybe 90') to the north to the ground.

Protection 

Gear is lots of cams, plus a bunch of slings. From about 1/2-inch to #4 Camalot. I recall we used a #5 Camalot, but it is optional. Pitch 1 is mostly fists and a bit wider, so heavy on these sizes. Maybe four of each size 2.5" thru #4 Camalot" Pitch 2 is various cams. Pitch 3 is short; a few small/medium cams. A few larger nuts might help too.


Photos of Southwest Face Slideshow Add Photo
Getting started on the first pitch with the #4 Cam...
Getting started on the first pitch with the #4 Cam...
Casting shadows on pitch two.
Casting shadows on pitch two.

Comments on Southwest Face Add Comment
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By Frosty Weller
From: Colorado
Mar 26, 2004

Not that it matters much anymore on this little tower, but the first ascent of this route was done totally clean and no bolts were place other than the two drilled rap pins below the summit. Unfortunately, subsequent parties placed all the bolts that are now encountered. Burns guide got it wrong both on the first ascent party and the use of pins at all on this route. "This route should go clean on its next ascent"

Sorry about the uninspiring route name. I just never thought it that important to name all climbs with something stimulating to others. At least you liked _The Arrowhead_ name I guess. And hey, at least it's not another _Putterman route_! Could have called it _Putterbutt Plug_ or something similarly lackluster.

Desert Bolting Commentary:What's up with all the new bolts sprouting like a virus out there? Could the problem be too many climbers these days don't go anywhere without their power drill? "Why should I dick around with gear when I can slam a bolt in 30 seconds?" Please, ease up out there. Go back to a hand drill and you'll at least think twice about drilling, especially on someone else's route.... and like it takes that long to drill by hand in most sandstone anyway... peace.-fw
By Steve "Crusher" Bartlett
Mar 18, 2005

Thanks for the update and clarification Frosty. I did not mean to be dissing you. I guess it does read like that when the route info is so screwed up but the FA is credited to you. Sorry. Maybe Cameron Burns, for his book, got this mixed up with something else? And this then gets compounded by Bjornstad getting info directly from Cameron, so his book ends up wrong too. He got the FA info correct at least.

The only reason I really thought it worth posting this at all was to encourage folks to leave their hammers behind for this route.

As for names, well, some of mine are no better. At least it tells folks which way the route faces. I've always wanted to call a new route "Putterman Drops The Soap."
By Anonymous Coward
Apr 19, 2005

Soloed this the other day. The crux for me was carrying my pack up the sandy scree covered slope to the climb. The sand is so soft.

For the route, bring 2 sets of cams with extra #3, #3.5 (if you have them, I didn't) and #4 Camalots. I brought nuts but didn't use them. Best to ditch them and bring more beer.

Try not to backclean the roof too much because it really sucks to clean.

Climbed the route in 1 pitch with 60 meter ropes. Rope drag might suck if you are not soloing so probably best to do it in 2 or 3.

I went left from the belay for the last 15 foot pitch up a choss filled crack/flake instead of right because I didn't read the topo. Bring a #4 if you go this way.

From where you park, it looks like you could take a line that goes from the ground up various choss to the base of the splitter (this is on the side facing the road). I guess it would add another pitch of sandy fun to the mix.

If you try this, don't miss the cool petroglyphs on the black faced boulder at the base facing the road.

Have fun.
By Ben Kiessel
Nov 19, 2006

This route will go free. The crux will be the wide crack on pitch one.

Check out our trip report at Brad's website:

piquaclimber.com/past/arrowhea...