The 2017 published guide: “not to be missed…the most flawless crack in the Stronghold.”
When it comes to comparing grades of different areas, it is normally anecdotal at best. However, there are tendencies most can agree on, i.e. Joshua Tree grading is normally stiffer than most areas if for no other reason than age of the climbs. I typically consider Cochise Stronghold climbs somewhere between Joshua Tree and Red Rock grading. Utilizing that for reference, the only climb I have led at Cochise that I considered to be sandbagged for the area is Forest Lawn.
This first pitch would be a 5.10- in many climbing destinations out west, 5.11 in British Columbia.
This is an outstanding climb to combine with the popular routes: Days of Future Passed (5.10R)
or Endgame (5.10-)
, both located on End Pinnacle. To reach the base of this smaller Bastion Tower
from the base of End Pinnacle is maybe 20 minutes. It appears (from log posts) that many just climb the first pitch and top rope the route. However, the 2nd/3rd pitches are worthy of climbing to a fixed rap with of course great views. The first pitch has a physical/awkward wide crack/under-cling move off the deck to reach the dihedral proper
, but the climbing is 5.9. The first several lay back moves up the dihedral on tips is the crux of the route
. At mid height it gets easier. The 2nd/3rd pitches are better combined with a short amount of simul climbing, if any at all, on a 70m rope. All the climbing on this upper portion of the route is at a lessor grade, but a fun 5.8 crack makes up the initial 50’ or so until you are jugging out on the face the rest of the way.
From where the main climbers approach trail meets the northwest corner of End Pinnacle, circumvent left (east) around Chay Desa Tsay and Rockfellow Dome. You will start to hike up hill and the trail becomes less easy to follow. Stay low and pass by the first major gully beyond Rockfellow (some bushwhacking despite the popularity of the route). The gully where the route starts is a narrow small one that hardly qualifies as a gully, but more of just a short slot.
Look for the obvious left facing dihedral above (cannot see until you are directly below it) with a wide crack start at the bottom and to the right. The first pitch ends sort of weird, by climbing up through an easy roof/blocks up and left of the dihedral and then back right along a narrow sloping ledge to a fixed rap directly above the dihedral. There is also a fixed rap before that roof that folks use for just top roping the dihedral. This is a sun exposed wall until late afternoon.
Route DescriptionBeeline, 300’+/-, 5.9+ PG
1st Pitch- 100’- 5.9+/
This pitch is full on at the grade and would be 5.10- at most climbing destinations. The start is up a wide but short steep left facing corner. The key protection however is a C4#.75 in a slot up and right out of the corner before you make a crux move left. High step left foot followed by a physical push off of the corner. Then you start the dihedral proper, which starts out at C4#.2-.3 and slowly gravitates to #.5 before you reach a rest ledge. The bottom portion of this section is the crux, fingers in to layback whilst placing gear. As the crack widens a little you can start to stem more. From the rest ledge, easy climbing up into a dirty left facing corner. Pull out right and angle up to the fixed rap chains on a sloping ledge.
2nd/3rd Pitches- 230’- 5.8/
A competent party can make this in one pitch, but the guide has it split as two. It might require a short amount of simul-climbing to reach the summit shoulder. Start off the ledge in the dirty tall left facing corner (5.8) and place gear until it makes sense to take off on juggy chicken heads up and left. Once on the shoulder bring up the 2nd (tree for belay, etc).
DescentSingle 60m or 70m rope
. Scramble up climbers right to the top of the block next to the tree (non rap anchor). Walk the slab north to rap anchors on the end. Take a short rap down north to chains. Take two more single (60m) rope raps down east. A 70m makes it back to the top of pitch one. A 60m can make it back to a rap anchor on the bolted route climbers left of Forest Lawn. A 60m rope makes it to the ground from the top of pitch one.
I placed triples from C4#.3 to .5
in the dihedral itself. Obviously nuts and/or off sets would serve the same purpose in supplementing a standard double rack. Double #.75. Single from #.2 to #4. 60m or 70m rope. This route is east facing. Best to be done in the afternoon unless it is really cold. This wall bakes.