Where the approach trail meets Leviathan is a long, right-facing corner that marks the start of the North Face route. Walk up left along the base of the rock passing a long left-facing corner. Just after you skirt a boulder blocking the base you will come to a small clearing. A small, tilted flat rock at the right end is a good place to start the route. If you can spot 2 dark, half-circles side by side about halfway up the first pitch,(see Beta picture,) you may be able to see the 1st bolt just up and right.
1. Connect small cracks and ledges to get to the thin face with 2 bolts above the two half-circles. Start up short, right-facing corner, step out left and head up to small ledge and make a belay on gear. (5.9 155')
2. Diagonal left on easy ramps until you can easily traverse right on a small ledge. A bolt protects the move from the ledge into the beautiful, left diagonalling slots. Just past a small bulge is a nice little ledge that is intersected by a diagonalling crack that shoots all the way to the ground. Belay here on gear. (5.8+ 160')
3. Steepening climbing diagonals left toward a small overhang. Follow the best pro a little left of center to pull the roof on big jugs. Up and left to a small ledge with a big green block. (5.8+ 130')
4. Diagonal right past flakes and ledges to an improbable looking, left-facing, left-leaning corner. A hollow flake is just to its left. Layback and jam the corner with great pro, then step left to a 3 bolt anchor. (5.9 140')
5. A tricky step left off the belay leads to runout but easy climbing, bearing left. The last pitch cuts over the headwall just left of a wide black water streak. Make a gear belay to set the last pitch up, at about 155' to 165'. There's a nice slanting ledge between the streak and the exit moves for a belay. (5.8 165')
6. Cut through headwall at steep jugs and short cracks, left of the wide, black water streak. The wall kicks back afterward so climb to rope's end and belay. (5.9 200')
Easy scrambling to the summit.
Descent: From the summit head back north then around east to find a long gully that drops down to a tall, dead pine tree (old rap anchor). About 30' below that is a 3-bolt rap anchor. This will drop you into the gully between Leviathan and Wilderness Dome. The rap is roughly 33M (with rope stretch.) Attempting to use half of a 60M rope would be dangerous due to the steepness of the face at the base – half of a 70M would just make it.
Drive to Catalina State Park on Oracle Road (Hwy. 77) just north of Tucson in Oro Valley.
After paying the entrance fee of $7.00 as of Jan. 2013, (self-pay if you've started as early as you should!), park at the parking lot for the Ruins Trail. Immediately after crossing the huge CDO wash, just before the trail heads uphill, there is a well used horse trail forking right. Take this trail as it climbs up onto a ridge that parallels the Ruins Trail ridge. It eventually heads right into Alamo Canyon. Right before it drops into the canyon there is a brand new trail that has been cut and groomed, by the FS I think, that stays on the left side of Alamo for quite a long ways now. It eventually drops into the canyon. Follow the canyon to the obvious side drainage that shoots straight up to Leviathan.
Stoppers, doubles to #2 camalots (or equivalent) and a #3, extendable draws. Double ropes or a 70M.
BETA PHOTO: Pitch 1 beta
BETA PHOTO: Leviathan Overview
BETA PHOTO: Updated Topo
|By greg k|
Apr 5, 2013
Really enjoyable backcountry climb with surprisingly good rock and continuously varying climbing: ramps, cracks, seams, headwalls, overhangs, slab (am I missing something?). Approach is an easy 2 to 3 hrs in increasingly beautiful setting.
|By brian benedon|
Apr 22, 2013
Jeff, thanks for the post. We were hiking around out there a few months ago, wondering where the route started. Thanks for the recent work, not to mention the fa.
Monsoon season; 1992. My buddy Steve and I set out after work on Friday to bag User Friendly. It started raining hard within minutes, undeterred we pushed on. About half way in we set up camp. It rained all night. Bummed out, we slept in. When we got up, the clouds parted, revealing the massive dome. We decided to walk up there, even though we could not climb.
We brought gear thinking that we might be able to do the first pitch.
The climb was wet, we may have skirted around the moves on the first pitch. We would not have known we were in the right spot had it not been for some bail-off gear at the belay. We were having so much fun, we went for it. I don't remember much about the route, except that; the difficulties were protected, long run-outs on easy ground, hoping that I was still on route, and the thunder storms that threatened us from the time we got a couple of pitches up. We watched as small but powerful thunder storms, packed full of lightning and raining hard, work their way up Alamo Canyon, and get right up to the dome, then turn to the right and blow on by. It was like there was a force field around the dome. This went on all day.
We cruised User Friendly, but things did not go as well when we came back for the North Face..........