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Totem-Proto Area
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The Totem Pole 

YDS: 5.10c/d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b

   
Type:  Sport, 2 pitches, 150'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10c/d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: 
Page Views: 10,004
Submitted By: Mike on Sep 18, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (46)
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Halfway up the Totem Pole

Description 

A tall, slender tower in a scenic location with good climbing and a tiny summit make for a great route. Start low on the NE side and climb up and right, slowly circling around to the West side to a belay. Belay here to avoid rope drag or, with a long rope, continue up to the top.

Protection 

Mostly bolted, but up high (at the crux) it helps to place a nut or two to reduce the slight runout.

Location 

Walk down into the main canyon from the parking area. There will be 2 tall towers on the right. The upper one is Proto-pipe (it looks just like one) and the lower one is the Totem Pole.


Photos of The Totem Pole Slideshow Add Photo
Totem Pole
Totem Pole
unknown climber ends the day on the pole
unknown climber ends the day on the pole
2nd Pitch.
2nd Pitch.
Panorama of the approach, glitterbox wall, and the spire.
Panorama of the approach, glitterbox wall, and the...
Wedding proposal on top of the Totem!  She said yes if you couldn't tell by his expression :)
Wedding proposal on top of the Totem! She said ye...
Aaron at the top of the (almost) full length image of the spire.
Aaron at the top of the (almost) full length image...
Sunset pole.
Sunset pole.
Austin pulling the crux moves
Austin pulling the crux moves
Colton taking a seat at the mid-pitch rappel station.
Colton taking a seat at the mid-pitch rappel stati...
Aaron on the lead. <br /> <br />This whole location is just beautiful, especially with turning leaves.
Aaron on the lead.

This whole location is just be...
Totem pole, shmotem pole
Totem pole, shmotem pole
Aaron at the crux of the route.  Up to this point, the whole route is maybe a 5.9, until the last 20 feet.  The last all trad section is definitely 5.10c~ish.
Aaron at the crux of the route. Up to this point,...
I could think of other names for this ~(:
BETA PHOTO: I could think of other names for this ~(:
Colton and Aaron at the top of the Totem Spire
Colton and Aaron at the top of the Totem Spire
Totem Pole
Totem Pole
Approaching the second bolt that is on the slant side of a great rest ledge.
Approaching the second bolt that is on the slant s...
Totem Pole
Totem Pole
Another Pano showing the valley below.
Another Pano showing the valley below.
Sometimes you just gotto warm up a bit!
Sometimes you just gotto warm up a bit!
You need to stand on top when you get up there!
You need to stand on top when you get up there!
Tony and Dobie on top of TP on Sat. Feb. 6th -- taken from the top of the Coop, LDE.
Tony and Dobie on top of TP on Sat. Feb. 6th -- ta...
Austin cruising around the aerate after clipping the 3rd bolt.  This was able 30 seconds before he fell on his first attempt.
Austin cruising around the aerate after clipping t...
The top of the Totem.  It's big enough for 4 people, but any more then that and you'd be pushing it.
The top of the Totem. It's big enough for 4 peopl...
Geir leads pitch 2 of the Totem Pole.
BETA PHOTO: Geir leads pitch 2 of the Totem Pole.

Show All 26 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on The Totem Pole Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 18, 2014
By Braxtron
From: ...
Oct 15, 2007
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

You better like bushwhackin' to do the approach for this one. Bring small stoppers for the end of P2. I linked both pitches with no problems using 2' runners and a 60m rope.

As of Oct. 2007, both anchors need attention. One bolt at each belay is either spinning or flexing.
By Mike
From: Phoenix
Nov 15, 2007

The access road has been greatly improved and is now accessable with a high-clearance 2WD vehicle all the way to the Hackberry Creek turnout parking.
By JimmyK
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 24, 2009
rating: 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

Need a #4 nut to protect the top portion of the 2nd pitch. There was a little bushwackin' but the approach was only 15 minutes from vehicle.
Directions to Lower Devil Climbing area: From US 60, exit south on Oak Flat Road Campground road, travel 1.3 miles on paved road, take left on a gravel road. Drive about 2 miles on gravel road, at the bottom of the meadow, take a left at the old windmill (still there as of 01/17/09). Drive appx 1 mile to the road end. (Gravel road is rough, high clearence 4 wheel drive recommended!)
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix, AZ
Jun 15, 2009
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

Just one or two small nuts for the top! And, a 00 cam just doesn't work that well...A truly exceptional climb.
By Doug113
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 16, 2010

climbed this summer of 09 and thought it was a great route. a bit of bushwacking to get to it though. nice shade though when you reach it.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Apr 17, 2010

Fun climbing to a terrific summit make this a classic for me!

Most of the climbing is straightforward - maybe 5.9. The moves after the final bolt feel 10 to 10+. A medium stopper works well to protect the crux and I a found a bomber black alien placement after the crux.

Marcy and I took a pair of clippers with us on the approach trail and pruned back the vegetation, so the climb is much easier to get to now. Just go to the rock gully at the edge of the canyon, turn right, and follow the cairns toward the pole.
By roman d
From: Pasadena, CA
Apr 4, 2011
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

Route length is ~115 feet. Straightforward to rap the whole thing with a single 70m rope. Bats in summit crack chirped at me when I got to the top!
By Micah Kurtz
Feb 21, 2012

A great route for sure. The summit is amazing.
By Dwight Jugornot
From: Arvada, Co.
Mar 9, 2012
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b

What a blast. The summit, the view. Just about perfect. Did it as one pitch on my 70. and one rap to ground no problem. For me the crux below the first belay felt 10d? The top crux felt 10-. Plenty of places for pro above the last bolt.
By Nate Young
From: Phoenix
Dec 31, 2012

I was asked to do a quick trip report for this route because one of our friends took a pretty sweet fall and walked away!

When Austin was attempting an on-site ascent of the original Totem Route, he took a fairly substantial fall, and subsequent swing, of about 30 feet. Austin was pretty much at the 4th bolt, and stopped falling well below the second bolt on the route! It was a pretty scary experience for everyone because as he was falling, his rope ended up catching on a sharp flake or rock, which severed the outer sheathing completely, and also destroyed a few of the core strands which give the rope it's strength. His fall was stopped about 8 feet above the deck, so close I was able to reach up and touch his foot while standing on the ground.

This was his rope after the fall. You can still see the rope where it went through the sharp flake at the top of the image.

This was his rope after the fall. You can still see the rope where it went through the sharp flake at the top of the image.
This was his rope after the fall. You can still see the rope where it went through the sharp flake at the top of the image.


This is a pic of Austin at the bottom after he was lowered to the ground. The green/blue portion of the rope is the protective sheathing, and the white strands are the dynamic core that gives the rope itís strength.

This is a pic of Austin at the bottom after he was lowered to the ground. The green/blue portion of the rope is the protective sheathing, and the white strands are the dynamic core that gives the rope itís strength.
This is a pic of Austin at the bottom after he was lowered to the ground. The green/blue portion of the rope is the protective sheathing, and the white strands are the dynamic core that gives the rope itís strength.


To his credit, Austin roped up again (ON A DIFFERENT ROPE) and was able to make a clean ascent on his second try!


This is where he started his fall.
This is where he started his fall.



This is where his fall finally ended, 8 feet above the deck.
This is where his fall finally ended, 8 feet above the deck.
By ldsclimber
From: Queen Creek AZ
Dec 31, 2012

Just an FYI the rope was a Monster 10mm.
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix, AZ
Jan 7, 2013
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

Wow, that's impressive on all counts. Close call indeed, and good recovery. Will get on you'lls new route soon!
By Brent Butcher
Feb 18, 2014
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

Does anyone know if any flakes have popped off near the top? The first few moves past the chains felt a little stout, looks like fresh rock. I would say the first few moves past the chains goes at a 10+