If Armatron gets two stars in Handren's guide Sweet Thin deserves three. The route shares the first two pitches of Armatron (including the uneventful crux) before whisking you off to a unique balancey fifth pitch followed by a flaring chimney/offwidth one. The FA is unlisted in Handren's book. The route is south-facing; however, note that it goes into the shade in the afternoon in the winter.
P1 (5.8, 100')
Climb the first pitch of Armatron, which takes up and left past 6 bolts over a brief section of soft white sandstone and onto the dark varnished plates from which Brownstone Wall gets its name. Fixed anchor.
P2 (5.9, 125')
Climb the second pitch of Armatron, starting off with an excellent 30' thin crack on solid varnish. As the angle steepens go right to a huge horn and pull the bolt-protected crux by mantling onto the horn. Traverse right to another thin crack, aiming for the base of a left-facing corner with a fixed belay.
P3 (5.6, 80')
Head up an easy corner to chimney. Pull a roof on big jugs and step left to a ledge with a fixed anchor. Pitches 3 and 4 can be linked with significant rope drag per Dow, an option which I avoided.
P4 (5.7, 95')
Traverse left to a fixed belay below a tree and the bolted flake for which the climb was named.
P5 (5.9, 110')
Make your way onto the thin, balancey flake. The flake is flexy and gear placements are not very useful for most of the way. Fortunately, the flake is well protected with bolts. At the top of the flake move right and mantle onto a small ledge, then make a horizontal traverse to a bush. From there a fine hand crack leads to the anchor.
P6 (5.9, 90')
Climb the flaring chimney (or the face to its left) to offwidth. A double 3" would be nice to have here. At the top traverse right to a fixed anchor on a prominent ledge.
P7 (5.8, 130')
Move the belay left at the base of a short offwidth. Grunt up the offwidth then traverse left to a ledge. Head up a short but slightly overhung finger crack, which eases up after a few moves. Continue up on softer white sandstone to the top of the subsidiary summit.
To reach the summit of Juniper Peak choose one of the easy ramp systems.
Park at either Pine Creek or Oak Creek and follow the trails heading into Juniper Canyon. From Pine Creek a more direct route is to take the second entrance to the signed Fire Ecology trail and aim straight for the canyon (avoiding the two meandering Fire Ecology loops). The Fire Ecology trail is well maintained and as of Nov 2010 the climbers' offshoot was easy to find. The trail from Oak Creek is of similar distance but flatter.
Once in Juniper Canyon there are multiple trails, the better of which skirt the south side of the canyon. You'll end up passing below Jack Rabbit Buttress to your right and Crimson Chrysalis/Cloud Tower to your left. Brownstone sits opposite the prominent green lichen-covered Rainbow Wall (similar elevation). Brownstone is obvious from its large amounts of dark varnish. Expect some minor boulder hopping and bushwhacking. You'll briefly head up a small pile of talus before winding your way up the slabs. Juniper Peak is a local summit objective for hikers so the route is well cairned. Watch for ice on the slabs during colder months. Sweet Thin is on north Brownstone Wall (the wall to your right as you approach). Expect ~1.5 hours for the approach.
Alternatively, cruise one of the easier routes on Jackrabbit Buttress (e.g. Rose Hips or Myster Z). At the top make your way west over to the base of the route.
From the summit of Juniper Peak scramble down the north side (there should be cairns) and back around to the base of the route (if you left gear).
Per Handren single rack to 6", double 1.5-4". I brought a single to 5" (no nuts), but would have preferred a single to 2" with double 3". Bring a few double length slings in addition to regular ones. Fixed anchors and a lot of bolts.
the traverse to the ledge on P7
BETA PHOTO: Brownstone Walls
on the amazing P5
BETA PHOTO: descent from the base of the route leading down th...
starting up P1 (shared with Armatron)
BETA PHOTO: P1 from the base. Look for the roof (high and lef...
short scramble to move the belay for P7
close-up of the crack on P1
the route tops out on one of the subsidiary peaks ...
Jascha following P1
BETA PHOTO: routes on the right wall
looking back down P2
The Sweet Thin flake.
thin crack on P2
and on the offwidth section of P6
the short offwidth on P7
Jascha at the roof on P3
Jascha topping out on the final pitch
Jascha on the P4 traverse
BETA PHOTO: easy ramp system leading to the Juniper Peak summi...
BETA PHOTO: route starts
contemplating the traverse to mantle move on P5
Mo, and Greg atop the big block before the short s...
Jascha at the mantle crux on P5
starting up the flaring chimney on P6
sweet fist jams at the top pitch six
From: Las Vegas
Jan 17, 2011
Brought gear to #5 and that was more than sufficient. A couple #3's for pitch 6 was definitely nice to have, although if you had a 3.5 that would be better.
Climbing the 5.9 pitch of Mayday Malefactor looked to be a better option than climbing the corner on pitches 3 & 4.
|By Anthony Anagnostou|
Apr 18, 2011
I'd second that motion. I think that if you only did one route the most fun woudl be the first two pitches of MM, followed by the upper crack systems of sweet thin, followed by whatever looks best to you up top til the summit. You could also rap off the humerus ledge and come up the arete finish to requiem to a tadpole while you're up there.
|By Sherri Lewis|
From: Sequim, WA
Oct 10, 2011
As per Sqwirll, we took a #3.5 and found it exceedingly useful on P6. Never felt we needed anything bigger than a #5 anywhere.
This route was a lot of fun, interesting and perfectly comfortable on a sunny 75degree October day.
The last pitch seemed rather odd to us, like it didn't really belong with the rest of the climb. My partner opted to bypass the finger crack at the top of it and follow the easier arete, clipping a bolt on the right edge of it(I believe this is the last pitch of Armatron?)
Rather than heading for Gunsight Notch afterwards, We did the Juniper-peakbaggers' descent as described on summitpost. It got us back to our packs in under 45 minutes, moving at a casual pace. The nice thing about it was that it kept you on the northeast side of Brownstone instead of dropping you at the southwest end as Gunsight does.
- No offense taken, Spencer Wieler, (re comment below). We spent a little time looking around on the way down.
|By Spencer Weiler|
From: SLC, UT
Feb 22, 2012
Approached via mysterz. Better than hiking I guess.
Nothing too special on the bottom couple pitches of sweet thin but fun climbing nevertheless. Pitch 3's easy 5.6 roof has good jugs on the right, but you must have at least a #4 camalot to protect that section or you will deck hard into the slab. A #5 would be best but no reason to haul it up there for one 5.6 pitch. The best pitch by far is pitch 5, so get your head and shoulders shampoo out cause there are some wicked flakes up there. So sharp and crisp. Super good. followed by a fun traverse and hand crack. Pitch 6 is stellar too, a fun squeeze chimney that requires at least one number 4 camalot. I found my #3's adequate but open. I walked the 4 quite a ways. No number 5 needed here. The last pitch is quite enjoyable too, with an easy runout to the top after some fun crack moves. And most importantly, and I cannot stress this enough, the walkoff to the northeast is so chill a slurpee can't touch it. Casual casual casual. 20 minutes back to the base from the juniper tree(no offense to sheri lewis, but 45 min is definitely long). Under no circumstances should you even think about doing the gunsight descent. If you want long involved canyoneering, go to zion.
|By Andy Hansen|
From: Longmont, Colorado
Mar 2, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Climbed this route today with a slight variation. In the case that on the crux pitch (thin flake) you trend left after the flake into the wide section (instead of hand traversing right towards the ledge with the tree on it) and over a large protruding flake you will end up at a portion of wall that is very smooth and very intimidating. You'll be off route. But it's okay. Set a belay in a wide crack on 3"-4" gear. From here a very low angled ramp and crack leads left towards the gully. Follow this until the wall steepens. Pull on some large holds over a nasty shrub oak. A tough pull (5.10-) with pro in a thin crack leads to a good hand sized crack. This thins to a finger crack. At this point it's possible to step right into another obtuse corner. Layback up this for a long while placing good pro and pulling moves in the 9+ range. At the top of this layback section is a wide flake- place your big gear here and then pull some easy moves to a large ledge. This will put you at the last pitch of Sweet Thin. Belay on 3"-4" cams in the crack. I'd like to call this variation "Wrong Turn Dihedral," single rack to 5" will suffice.
Also, to combine P3/4 on Sweet Thin place less gear, use shoulder length slings on all pieces, clip one bolt on the anchor of P3 and then cut left all the way to anchors of P4 (about 50 feet of easy terrain- definitely not 5.7). Peace and Fukness.
|By Tom Fralich|
From: Fort Collins, CO
Nov 5, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Did the first two pitches of Mayday Malefactor to Sweet Thin and it's a great link-up. It's four stars no matter how you start it, but for those who've already done Armatron, Mayday is a great way to cover some new terrain and adds a bit more 5.9 climbing. I had two #3's, one #3.5, one #4, and one #5 and was pretty happy.
|By John Hegyes|
From: Las Vegas, NV
Nov 24, 2012
We climbed the first two pitches of Mayday Malefactor rather than the Armatron start. This is a faster way to go, two pitches of MM gets you to the same place as three or four pitches via the Armatron start. I found the second pitch of MM to be a little run out between bolts; this face section was the crux of the day for me.
By climbing the MM start we didn't need the wide gear until the upper chimney of Sweet Thin. I would have appreciated a pair of #4s but I just walked up the one #4 I had - there was no need for the #5.
Apr 7, 2013
Whew. I'm going out on a limb here and asserting that this route is a bit of a mess. It reminded me of the clusterfuckery of variations to variations crisscrossing each other up at Mount Chiselton, with similar craftsmanship shown by the first ascentionists, minus the hold manufacturing.
If you look at the Handren guide, p. 159, it looks like there are several lines here that all give each other plenty of room. What I saw was vertical trail braiding, harware store Redheads married to stainless hangers (corrosion city waiting to happen and low strength and quality control), a lot of puzzling and poorly thought-out anchor setups, a bolt in a loose block not even wedged in a crack, able to be trundled freely (the bonus was the second drill hole in this loose block-took two tries to do something this stupid), and, I will admit, several sections that I thought were pretty fun.
We nearly did Andy Hansen's variation, missing the rightward traverse on the crux pitch, but from a belay on #1+2 Camalots at the ledge, it was easy to traverse right on a foot rail to the base of the nice fists splitter, which put us back on point. And, at a bolted loose block. But I digress.
I feel like what happened on this wall was greed. Greed to snap up some undone line, to "create a new area", and what the end result is is a blockheaded concatenation of ok climbing mixed with some pretty doo-doo ethics, confusing crisscrossed lines, and unimpressive hardware.
If a route's worth putting up, isn't it worth taking the time to do it right? PS on that note there's a way sketch block wanting to pop out of the fist splitter, if you're climbing this at the crack of dawn and are SURE there's no one nearby, have your second chuck it. Sooner or later someone's going to have a real bad experience when that thing pulls unexpectedly.
Armatron may be a reverse-sandbagged tourist treat, but I thought it was overall much better than this. Hoping Mayday and Requiem are better routes. There's good climbing here, but overall was not a stoke experience.
|By Kevin Dahlstrom|
From: Fort Worth, TX
Apr 13, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
This route is worth doing just for the stellar P5 (although the other pitches are good too). Much better route than Armatron in my opinion. The descent from the top of Juniper Peak is a snap - 15 minutes back to the base!
|By John Wilder|
From: Las Vegas, NV
Nov 9, 2013
rating: 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
What a fun romp up this wall- I think that while a #5 is nice to have, its not strictly necessary- there are some decent pockets on the right wall for the 5.6 roof that eliminate the need for this piece. Maybe some tricams or a second #1 or .75 C4. I would, though, recommend a second #3 and the #3.5, or a second #4. Regardless, the #3.5 is nice to have.
Either way, thanks to the FA- this is definitely a great climb and probably better overall than Armatron, as you get more quality climbing at a bit higher grade.
|By BJ Sbarra|
From: Carbondale, CO
Mar 30, 2014
Crazy how thin that flake is! Very fun route, while I do think Armatron takes a more aesthetic line up the buttress, I did like how the difficulty was more sustained on this one, and great variety too!