The consensus “best in show” bolted moderate route in all of the Cochise Stronghold is End Game located next to a trad route of similar quality, Days of Future Passed (5.10R), on the aesthetic west face of End Pinnacle in the Rockfellow Group. End Pinnacle’s west face is no doubt the most striking wall in Cochise and can be reached from either the west or the east. End Game is a bolted climb that climbs the right center of the face just left of the only major crack system on this section of the face which is the Days of Future Passed route. Climbing both of these routes in the same day would no doubt make for one of the finer outings in the entire Stronghold. The Rockfellow Group is perched high atop the Stronghold and can be reached from the official campground on the east side by hiking up a well-established trail to the right of the formations or from the west by hiking a longer, but less steep, trail from the primitive camping location below the Whale. In any regard, this summit area is as beautiful and wild as the Stronghold gets.
The first pitch is the sustained crux of the route. It features an unlikely long traverse right to left into the line and the first move off the deck is at the grade. It would be easy to make a mistake and start climbing a variation 5.11+ spur that heads up and right towards a route named Welcome to the Machine. Instead just keep traversing left and then straight up through a well bolted 5.10- face climb. The small roof pull near the end of this pitch is a breeze compared to any other moves before it. The second pitch is a cruiser back up and right to a broad arête and belay in the chimney. The third pitch offers great exposure for a 5.10- move or two, but again is well protected. This is another place to easily get off route if you are not paying attention as there is a bolted line straight up the corner which again is Welcome to the Machine. Rather, Endgame traverses directly right (photo) after the first clip. The fourth pitch is more interesting than it initially looks. I was expecting low angled slab, but it is sustained 5.8+ climbing edges through bolts. Atop this pitch you are on the summit shoulder and move the belay to the far right for the fifth pitch and then climb even further right (south face of the summit block) through bolts to the small summit.
From the east, hike up the approach trail to the main wash directly north of the Rockfellow group. Look for a fainter cairned trail that goes off left following a smaller wash up on its west bank which leads to all routes associated with Rockfellow. The cairns stop right at the base of the west face of End Pinnacle. Circumvent (we stepped over a Faded Midget rattler here in mid-October) down and right along the face to a large house sized boulder leaning against the main wall. Endgame starts directly under this boulder on the left side. This route is fully bolted, hard to miss.
Route DescriptionEndgame, 600’+/-, 5.10-
1st Pitch- 160’- 5.10-/ This fully bolted pitch has a long traverse left into the line which ascends plates via 5.9-5.10- edging. Beware not to get sucked up to early on a different line, a 5.11+ variation, that leads to other routes. Rather, follow the furthest bolts to the left. The initial start is a cruxy slab move. The traverse left is interesting slab as well. The main body of the pitch offers sustained climbing at 5.9 with a few 10a moves on edges and positive side pulls. Near the end, you pull a small roof via large jugs. Then easy run out to a fixed station. The guide says 15 bolts, but I think you end up clipping one or two more than that. It is well bolted until you pull the roof.
2nd Pitch- 150’- 5.8/ Mountain Project calls this pitch runout but the guide does not. The few 5.8 moves (2nd half up the arête) are well protected. Climb up and right heading for the arête on easy ground, then climb the arête which is left of a large chimney. Decent standing fixed belay in alcove below the large left facing corner. Guide says 7 bolts and that sounds about right.
3rd Pitch- 110’- 5.10-/ Another great pitch (as the first one). Climb up the corner and clip the bolt on the right wall and then immediately traverse out right via an under cling with significant exposure following the bolts as they follow a thin arching corner up to a fixed belay. The bolted corner up from atop the 2nd pitch belay leads to another route. Guide has 9 bolts.
4th Pitch- 100’- 5.8+/ A surprisingly sustained pitch up thin edges to the shoulder ledge above, clipping bolts the whole way. Belay from a fixed station directly in front of you or go ahead and traverse right to the belay on the right side of the summit block which is where you are heading. Guide has 7 bolts.
5th Pitch- 100’- 5.8/ Traverse out right. Climb a chimney for a short distance and then trend up and left following bolts to the summit. Guide has 7 bolts.