Mars Attacks (5.8+)

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 34.89565°N / 111.81344°W
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.8 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 4
Additional Information Grade: II
Sign the Climber's Log


Note: Mountain project list this climb as a 5.9 PG-13 climb. I don't agree with this rating. The crux comes early on the slab pitch and slab climbing is just different and that is why many people think it should be in the 5.10 range. Also, the PG-13 rating comes from the fact that the first bolt is around 35 feet off the ground, but the climbing up till that point is pretty easy.

Mars Attacks is an awesome multi-pitch climb in Sedona, Arizona. That first ascent on it was done in 2000 by John Burcham and John Mattson, making it one of the newer routes in the Sedona Area. However, it has quickly grown in popularity in the past few years and is now considered one of the best quality moderate routes in Sedona. Climbing in Sedona can be very hot in the summer, so the climbing is the best in the Fall and Spring. Winter can bring snowfall and wet conditions to the area.

Route Beta


From the parking at Devils Bridge, keep walking .20 miles until you see a small drainage. It should be cairned. If you have a low clearance vehicle, plan to park at the start of Dry Creek Road, which makes the approach to this trail 1.50 miles. From here, follow a use trail marked with cairn up a loose drainage to the top of a cliff band. Follow this trail along the cliff band until you reach the base of Mars Attacks.

Pitch 1 (5.8+) is a bolted slab route. The first bolt is 30ft up so that makes it interesting for some people. Its around 4 or 5 bolts to a nice bolted belay station. The crux is the white band. SMEAR!

Pitch 1 Slab Bottom of the slab
Limestone Band Half way on Pitch 1
Pitch 2 (5.8) is an awesome, airy bolted traverse on a thin band of limestone. The first clip is interesting. The crux comes around the corner with a few awkward bulges. This pitch finishes at a bolted belay.
Ptich 2 Cory working Pitch 2
Along the Traverse Along the traverse
Pitch 3 (5.7) is the classic pitch of the climb with lots of good placements for pro. Follow an amazing hands crack with lots of face holds. There are four small roofs you have to pull and for me, the third was the crux. It was a an awkward flaring offwidth park. 140' to a bolted belay.
Pitch 3 Bottom of Pitch 3
Down Pitch 3 Quarter of the way up Pitch 3
Pitch 4 (5.8+) is the last pitch and is bolted half way up. Start with an awkward crack and pulling a bulge (5.6, you can place 2-3 pieces here) and then go to a bolted slab climb. Its kind of run-out and requires some balancy moves. The top section is an easy scramble to the bolts.
Slab Top part of Pitch 4
Last Belay Station The top of Pitch 4
Rappel 1 can be found around 40ft to the right (climbers right) of the top bolts for the main route. Use both 60m ropes and rappel over an over hang. Rappel 2 is on a hanging belay. Use both 60m ropes again and you'll reach the ground. While rappelling, take a good look at Red Planet (5.13). This is one of the hardest lines in the area and Alex Honnold onsighted it in 2010.
Top Out Me on top
Rapeling Cory Rappeling
Essential Gear: 2 60m ropes, 10 quickdraws, 2-3 alpine draws, doubles of BD #.5-#3, 1 #4, set of stoppers (BD 4-10, not neccesary though) and WATER!!

Getting There

Pink Jeep Traffic Pink Jeeps!!
From Sedona: Head West on 89A from Sedona towards Cottonwood. Take a right onto Dry Creek Road and follow that North until you reach Forest Road 152 on your right. You can either park here and walk the rough road 1.5 miles (watch for pink jeeps!) the rough or drive your vehicle (needs to be high clearance!!). If you choose to drive the road, you can park at the Devils Bridge Parking area or you can park at a small pullout next to the climbers trail (see Route Beta). Anywhere you park, you need a Red Rock Pass (see Red Tape).

Red Tape

Rattlesnake Watch out for rattlers!!
A Red Rock Pass is needed to park in the area. These can be purchased daily for a $5.00 dollar fee at the kiosk at the start of Dry Creek Road or at many other locations in the Sedona Area. More information about Red Rock Passes can be found HERE.

External Links

Castles in the Sand A guide book of the climbing in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon by David Bloom Mountain Project Best place for current beta and conditions on Mars Attack Weather Condition A link to current weather conditions for the Sedona Area as forecasted by NOAA

Misc an Disclaimer

Down Pitch 1 Looking Down
If you have any more additional information or photos, please contact me or add them to this page. While I can provide lots of information about this route, I cannot guarantee that the information will be up to date. Always check for current conditions and go prepared for the worst. New beta will be posted as necessary. Thank you!

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-4 of 4

CClaude - Jun 21, 2012 9:12 pm - Hasn't voted

Two corrections

The first ascentionists were John Burcham and John Mattson, not Jake... And Red Planet isn't the hardest route in the area but among the hardest, along with Lifeline, Lost Horizons, and there are some new projects that are probably harder.

Alex Wood

Alex Wood - Jul 2, 2012 9:49 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Two corrections

Okay cool! I will correct those errors! The hardest route is always up for interpretation. I have heard its the hardest, but by no means am I a 5.13 climber. Did you go to the Sedona Rocks! guidebook release party?


CClaude - Jul 4, 2012 9:44 am - Hasn't voted


Went for a short time, but I'm a single dad, so had other responsibilities. True it's up for interpretation, but figuring I got all the moves linked on Red Planet on the first day. Lifeline still working on the moves after the tips section and I've been on the route 4 days, haven't started on Lost Horizons yet, nor have I gotten onto A Line in the Sands, which took Matt and David quite a few days ( both are on the fall list of things to do).

Alex Wood

Alex Wood - Jul 4, 2012 7:58 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: True.....

I was only there for the end. Wow, thats impressive. Congrats on that! That doesn't sound easy. Hopefully this cloud cover keeps up...maybe we all can get some Sedona climbing in

Viewing: 1-4 of 4



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