Blood Brother is one of the better trad climbs in the Cochise Stronghold
and can easily be combined with the ultra-classic Moby Dick (5.8)
or Dem Bones (510 R)
for a full day of climbing. In 2017 there was only one bolt on the entire route and that is positioned at the crux. Beta is varied depending on where you source it. We preferred Geir Hundal’s Toofast Topos site which offered a topo showing a direct line starting with a wide chimney (1st pitch) on the east face directly in line with the enormous flake above (4th pitch). We even did a straighter line than his topo by going directly up a stellar 5.8 corner for pitch 3 versus tunneling through to 5.5 ground. The first three pitches were good in their own right when climbing the route direct but of course the attraction to this climb is the tall lichen covered off width flake on pitch 4
which required mostly off width technique in the 5.9/5.10- realm.
The new guide inflates the crux move from 5.10, via several sources, to 5.11-. I agree it is just a 5.10 slab move over a bolt to gain access to the infamous flake corner. But I can only assume this latest (complete and comprehensive) guide has some input from the FAers, so I will go with their published grade as of this date.
Pitch one has an exposed entry move and then eases up to a fun stem chimney. Pitch two traverses right to a stellar finger/hand crack with great relief below (on the edge of an arete). Pitch three is short, but offers great rock in a fun, mostly hands corner. Pitch four has a 5.10 move over a bolt to enter the flake and then is 5.9+ up the wide flake until you pull out onto the right face and keep going for as long as your rope(s) allows. Pitch five is mostly easy terrain to the summit of Whale Dome.
Park at the end of the road. Hike up the left fork in the wash with Whale Dome in sight for most of your approach. Take the wash all the way to a drainage on the south side of the dome that leads up to the ultra-classic route Moby Dick (5.8). Pass the drainage and stay in the wash. Scramble up a short water worn wall in the wash and after approximately another 100 yards in the wash, look up west at the east face of Blood Brother. You are looking for a significant tree about half way up a low angled (3rd class) slab. Leave your packs in the wash or if climbing Moby Dick or Dem Bones afterward, hike them up to the base of those routes and come back to the main wash before proceeding. Scramble the slab up to the tree. Scramble the rest of the slab up to an obvious wide chimney crack (photo). Set up belay here.
Route DescriptionBlood Brother, 650’+/-, 5.11-
Dow leading the 1st Pitch
1st Pitch- 115’- 5.9/
There appears to be variations to start this route. We followed the topo published as of 2017. The topo indicates 180’ from the tree up on the slabs and up the first pitch. But you can 3rd class it all the way to below the off-width/squeeze chimney above, making the first pitch just 115’. The start is burly for the budding trad leader, but a jam of sorts and stemming get you up into the wide in short order followed by a short section of squeeze and then back to stemming. A variety of smaller gear is available during the first half of the pitch. The 2nd half is run out, but on easy terrain. Climb on the left side of a block and bushes, then traverse back right, as the topo suggests, through a wide section and a comfortable tree shaded belay on medium gear.
2nd Pitch- 130’- 5.10-/
Climb up the low angled wide crack and trend right to an arête and block with exposure. From there climb the well featured seam up vertical face to a shaded ledge above.
3rd Pitch- 60’- 5.8/
Climb up the wide corner on stellar rock to the belay ledge below the flake above. Small gear belay on the ledge.
4th Pitch- 200’- 5.11-/
The only possible 5.11- move is after clipping the lone bolt on the route, making the slab move to gain the left facing dihedral/flake. Great physical climbing up the flake, mostly riding the flake but a bit of knees and heel-toe as well, until you hit the roof section. You can place a small cam here, extend it, and pull out right onto the lichen covered face. Easy face climbing up and continue until you want to stop and build a comfortable belay.
5th Pitch- 150’- 5.8/
Finish off by stemming up one or two chimneys and eventually climbing the low angled and well featured left face to the summit. Can belay off of a small tree.
just gets you down the back side in one rap. There is an intermediate slung rap (2017) if you have a 60m. Haul your approach shoes
up for the descent. Return down the gully past Moby Dick and back up the wash to retrieve your packs.
Essential GearSingle to C4#5
is more than adequate for the competent trad leader. Although mostly a sunny climb in the winter, most of the belays are shaded. Haul shoes as you rap off the back side.