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Cochise Dome (What's My Line Dome)
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Double Jeopardy T 
Let's Make a Deal T 
Quadruple Direct T 
Unknown T 
Unknown route on lower left side S 
What's My Line Direct T 
What's My Line? T 

What's My Line Direct 

YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c PG13

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8+ French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Baker, McEwen, 5.6R start unknown
Page Views: 4,660
Submitted By: Orphaned on May 11, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (13)
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I wonder where the route is??? I bet it goes up a...

Closed to climbing, March 1 - June 30 MORE INFO >>>


While often cited as a "R" route, the first pitch has some options.

The best approach is via the right side of the dome (the main decent gully). Hike/scramble up past the large pine tree adjacent to the rock outcrop that sits against the right side base of the wall. Above the tree about 50', traverse left to the platform block at the base of the wall. What's My Line direct original (was 5.9R, now sporting a bolt 10/09), is down about 15' along past the trunk of a tree and out a ledge system 25'. (See image of Russ)

You can come in from the real base of the wall, but a 15' rotten corner has to be climbed then work through some big boulders and chimneys to get to a belay spot.

Pitch 1) The EASY route starts 5' down from this platform above the limbs of the tree. Traverse in left 25' to flake (5.6R), stand on flake and clip the good 3/8" bolt (there is the original 1/4" that needs to be pulled and filled). Step up, then work left 15 feet stepping down when you need to then trend up and left to a second 3/8" bolt next to a shallow right facing corner/flake. Continue up and left past this feature to first section of chicken heads. There are now bot anchors where the chickenheads thin out to belay from. NOTE, the second could take a healthy spill if they blow the moves after unclipping the first bolt

pitch 2, climb above belay on thinner moves (5.8+, PG) to gain sea of chickenheads on regular route.

pitches 2-3 are mostly the same as regular route, with the last belay on highest good heads on right.

pitch 4, (exit pitches). finish the direct arete, scary 5.7R, climb the middle seam (see WML), or go far left into corner (see WML) to exit.


right side of main face (right of Grossman's "Let's Make a Deal", a bolted trad line in center of face)


Slings and Biners. Stoppers if you think they might work.

Photos of What's My Line Direct Slideshow Add Photo
Photo showing location of start of climb.  Note th...
Photo showing location of start of climb. Note th...
Me at the start.  The first bolt is directly above...
Me at the start. The first bolt is directly above...
Austin starting WML Direct
Austin starting WML Direct
Susan moving up on the first pitch.
Susan moving up on the first pitch.
Photo taken from the top of the first pitch.  Prot...
Photo taken from the top of the first pitch. Prot...
Looking up pitch #2.   (susan pic)
Looking up pitch #2. (susan pic)
This photo shows the first bolt (with a locker on ...
This photo shows the first bolt (with a locker on ...
Start of WML Direct via the two bolt start
Start of WML Direct via the two bolt start
Austin working left  to a bolt and thin vertical f...
Austin working left to a bolt and thin vertical f...

Comments on What's My Line Direct Add Comment
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By Paul Davidson
Aug 14, 2008

Did the second ascent of this variation back in '77 or '78
(at least according to Axen it was the second) w/ Jim Haisley.

At that time, I thought it was great although I do recall the second pitch being runout but on decent holds.

However, when we did Let's Make a Deal (I say we, it was all Steve, see that route description) and I led this second pitch I thought it was pretty testy. More like runout on slopers, serious 5.8 climbing.

But it's also possible that the way you do this pitch off Let's Make a Deal is different than when you do it from the direct start of WML. Someone more in touch with the belays would have to comment on this.

BTW - I am pretty sure that the first did it by coming in from the right from the ledge. That's the way we were told do it and I believe the pitch had been only recently put up in '77.

Also, the 5.8+ rating is a bit of a sandbag. The moves are probably in the 8+ range but I wouldn't want to be a anything but a solid 5.10 climber to be leading that 2nd pitch (unless you're an experienced old (or young) fart who's comfortable on run out 5.8.)
By Russ Walling
From: www.FishProducts.com
Feb 5, 2009
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I just did this route a few days ago (2/09) and had to ask WTF a few times on the beta available. Maybe some stuff has changed, but the approach descriptions only vaguely mimic the route we did. Here is an easy and straight forward description:

Look at the dome. See all the chickenheads cutting across and down the dome. Go to the base, boot up, grab a few slings, and then scramble up and right to the base of the wall. You will see a rampy ledge system with a single old bolt and a small tree on the left end of a ledge. Look to the right about 60ft and see two newish bolts heading straight up. Start there. A couple of thin pulls (maybe 5.9) get you on the main face. Look up and left and you will see another newish bolt near a small right facing book/feature. Head toward this and then continue moving up and left on easy ground to a fat 2 bolt anchor. From here just follow the giant holds until 2 bolt anchors appear. Repeat, a few times, moving up and right as you go. All the anchors are bolted and the jugs are giant. Pro is the jugs, but a handful of slings might help you out if your wig pops off during the 120ft runouts (on 5.5c holds) between anchors. For the last pitch, if you try to skip the 2 bolt anchor about 80ft below the summit, and try to gas it all the way to the rap anchors, you will not make it. We had a 70m cord and came up about 20 ft short, using the far right arete finish. You can sling a giant chickenhead before doing the arete finish, and clip an off route bolt, before paddling up the slabby ramp to the top.

This is a great route and is highly recommended for anyone who will not fall. If you pitched off on this thing and Pachinko balled down the face, you would really be a mess. That being said, you could pro the thing to death with slings and the climbing is very secure and easy for 98% of the route. The other 2% is near the bolts on the first pitch.
By Russ Walling
From: www.FishProducts.com
Feb 5, 2009
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

I think I'm still confused. So the two bolts that are in a line, about 15 feet apart, that lead to a large flake/stance with grass in it (see pics) is some aftermarket retro bolt thing? Weird. So is there a 2 bolt anchor that would be to the right of where I started that is described in some book?

Maybe Susan will chime in.... I think she has a pic of an old and new bolt right together, maybe on that pitch.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 6, 2012

Repeated one of the above-listed variations to this direct start today; we started by heading straight up past two bolts and then traversing to the left. Done this way the route has a couple of moves in the 10 to 10+ range. It is difficult to protect the second on the traverse unless you have a couple of tricks in your bag.

Two old bolts still need to be pulled and filled. Please try to re-use old holes when replacing bolts; these 1/4" buttonheads could have easily been pulled prior to replacement.

If you want a topo for this route simply PM me.
By 303scott
Mar 3, 2013
rating: 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R

Excellent route. Went straight up at the first bolts- agree it is 10 or 10+. The traverse after clipping the second bolt (i.e. where Geir's photos indicates 5.9R)felt more like .9R/X. This is probably because I am not as comfortable with Cochise runouts. However, by the time you are clipping the third bolt (just before the right facing book feature) you are 20-25 feet above your last bolt, 20-25 feet left of the last bolt, and only 40-50 feet off the ledge. It is sustained .8 climbing to get to the 3rd bolt. I think you would be lucky to survive the fall if you blew it at or near the bolt.

Regarding the "optional nut," I could not find the placement. There is a feature at the location shown in the photo that can be slung (less than ideal), which I slung. Also, bring a #1 and #2 camalot to protect the second on the final traverse.

This route is fantastic, but .8 or .9 climbers should be wary of pitch 1. Geir, thanks for the topo!
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 3, 2013

Hey Scott,

I agree the earlier nut is tricky to find (I'll update the topo to reflect this) - I used a BD #7. [EDIT: I left this nut in place and it remained fixed until November 2013.] In my opinion it's only useful if you want to protect a second who might fall on that traverse.

I totally agree this is not a climb for a .8 or .9 leader!