Sedona Scenic Cruise is a modern route up the northwest prow of Gibraltar Rock. Despite its appearance, it travels over good quality rock and is very well protected.
All belays are on nice ledges and though the rap line crosses the climb, rap and belay anchors are separate in all cases (very convenient). As it turns out, odd pitches are mostly trad and even pitches are largely bolt protected sport climbs.
Head south on 179 from the 89A/179 roundabout to the Little Horse Trailhead, the first trailhead south of Sedona on your way to Bell Rock and/or the Village of Oak Creek. If southbound, you will cross the divider left to enter the paid parking area. Exit the trailhead across from the restroom and turn right on Bell Rock Trail. Pass Little Horse Trail intersection and cross a wooden bridge. In a few more minutes you will come to a small stone built bridge. Enter the wash on your left and follow the main wash northeast towards Gibraltar. As the wash starts to peter out and fork, stay with the most direct line to the northwest face of Gibraltar. It was relatively well cairned in 2012. Hike up the slick rock (some 4th class) to the col between Gibraltar and a red subpeak on the right. From there follow a faint climbers trail as it switchbacks up to the very northwest point on Gibraltar. The 5.8 obvious corner is the start of the climb.
Route Description1st Pitch- 40m- 5.9/This first pitch is part of what makes this route a classic to be sure.
Start up an easy corner for the grade. Eventually it turns into a cleaner hand crack. When it widens and takes off left above (stuck C4 #4- 2012), make a few dramatic moves for the grade to mantel up through the large crack on small face features with perhaps a chicken wing or knee jam employed.
Small and/or large gear can protect this route crux. Traverse left into another crack and finish to the top where there is a fixed belay. The last rap is actually composed of some chains you can see off to the right. Move the belay via 4th class ground between where you are and to a tree that is above those chains for the next pitch.
2nd Pitch- 45m- 5.7/
This is by far the least sustained pitch
of the route. Follow several bolts left of the corner off the belay next to the tree. Mantle up through a crack to below a fixed rap (one I never used on descent).
Traverse out right up easy ground following another bolt or two and climb a short corner through several blocks to a small, but comfortable, fixed belay ledge below a wide crack.
3rd Pitch- 45m- 5.9/
As enticing as the wide crack is above, make an exposed traverse left with good gear
, then clip two bolts as you mantel up to a nice crack/corner up and left. I advise extending your pro to avoid rope drag. The corner leads to a ledge and then continues up a cleaner hand crack to yet another ledge. Continue up a short face past a bolt to a comfortable ledge. The fixed rap for descent is off to your left before you climb that clean hand crack.
4th Pitch- 30m- 5.9/
Follow the bolts straight up and trending right on sustained 5.8-5.9 face features. The fixed rap is on your left (chains), the fixed belay is to your right before the chimney.
5th Pitch- 30m- 5.9/
There is an added fixed piece straight above (2012). No doubt someone thought the traverse right into the chimney was too exposed. I personally do not see the need for this piece and ignored it. Traverse right with one move on crimps into the chimney. Extend all pro as you pull the chock stone above (2nd crux of the climb)
and finish off the chimney to a small ledge below the summit ridge with a route log in place (2012) below a rap station.
Take four double rope raps, ignoring the fixed rap you passed on the 2nd pitch. Rap back to the top of the fourth pitch (single 60m rope works on this first rap). Make a free air rap from the long chains back to midway on the third pitch (near the clean hand crack, and out left). A full 200' rap from here gets you to the chains below the tree at the top of the first pitch, bypassing the fixed rap midway up the second pitch. One more double rope rap to the ground.
Double 60m ropes. Single set of C4's: #.3 to #4. Doubles from #.5 to #2. I led all the pitches and placed no passive pro. In terms of temps/clothes, this route is well shaded in October until early afternoon. In fact my wife was climbing in her down early in the morning! which leads me to believe that you could climb this route in the summer if you got up at the crack of dawn and was fast enough to get off the route before noon.
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