Winter Break 2020: 4 Days and 7 Climbs in SEDONA
Climb 1: Trundler's Club, Trundler's Buttress, East Twin Butte (5.11-, 4p, 350')
Climb 2: Pussy Mind TrickTrundler's Buttress, East Twin Butte (5.12-, 3p, 350')
Climb 3: Arch Enemy, Merry Go Round / Flying Buttress Area (5.11+, 6p, 500')
Climb 4: NE Face & SE Face Eraserhead Spire, Moose's Butte Area (5.11+, 1p, 60' & 5.10+, 1p, 60')
Climb 5: The Pirate, Middle Mesa, Cathedral Spires (5.10+, 3p, 300')
Climb 6: Rusty Cage, North Mesa, Cathedral Spires (5.10+, 1p, 70')
Climb 7: The Windows Route, Super Crack Tower (5.10, 3p, 220')

JAN
5-8
2020
TR #: 388

Category: Arizona      Elev: ~4,500 ft       Rock Type: Sandstone

Partner: Neil Kauffman

Trying to find rock climbing in the winter.

What a way to spend a few days of winter break. Starfish move by Steph. Awesome photo by Neil.

Intro

I was desperate to climb something during my winter break. I had started out in Moab, but my plans to climb in the Creek were a bit too optimistic for the sub-freezing temperatures and cloudy skies. After a half-day of frozen fingers and the next day waking up to fog and temperatures in the teens, I made a partner post on mountainproject and began driving towards Arizona. Halfway there, I got a reply from Neil Kauffman who was in Sedona looking for partners. The conditions sounded quite pleasant: 60° and sunny. Neil sounded like a fun and competent partner. So to Sedona I went!

Neil had climbed numerous days in Sedona, but I had only climbed there once before, during a family Christmas in Sedona the previous winter break. So I let Neil choose most of the routes, trying to hit quality routes he had not yet climbed. We climbed seven routes and stood on five different tower summits over the course of four days. Desert climbing is by nature fairly adventurous, so it was a fun four days.

The following page gives photos and overlays from our adventures. Thanks Neil for partnering up with me to make for an awesome trip to Sedona!


Routes we climbed

Climbs 1&2 Jan 5 Trundler's Club (5.11-, 4p, 350') + Pussy Mind Trick (5.12-, 3p, 350', toproped on rappel) Trundler's Buttress, East Twin Butte
Climbs 3&4 Jan 6 Arch Enemy (5.11+, 6p, 400') + Eraserhead Spire NE Face (5.11+, 1p, 60') & SE Face (5.10+, 1p, 60') Merry Go Round / Flying Buttress Area
Climbs 5&6 Jan 7 The Pirate (5.10+, 3p, 300') + Rusty Cage (5.10+, 1p, 70') Middle & North Mesas, Cathedral Spires
Climb 7 Jan 8 The Windows Route (5.10, 3p, 220') Super Crack Tower


Pitch-by-pitch photos from the climbs


Climbs 1&2 Jan 5
Trundler's Club (5.11-, 4 pitches, ~350')
on Trundler's Buttress at East Twin Butte

Trundler’s Club is an adventurous route up a corner system to the top of the buttress. 
Gear we used: Doubles to #4, single 70.
Faces: Southeast
+ Pussy Mind Trick (5.12-, 3 pitches, ~350', toproped on rappel)
on Trundler's Buttress at East Twin Butte

Pussy Mind Trick climbs the steep front of the buttress just right of Trundler's Club, with everything from technical face climbing to wide crack slugging. The rap route uses the anchors for Pussy Mind Trick, so we toproped it in reverse order.
Gear we used: toprope
Faces: Southeast
Route overlay:

Photos: Notes:

APPROACH

Start on Chapel Trail. Follow climbers' trail up weaving around a spire and walking along an exposed limestome ledge to base of Trundler's Buttress on East Twin Butte.
1.    
2.    
3.    
4.    
5.    
6.    
7.    
8.    
9.    
10.    
 
   
  
  
 
 
  
 
 
1. Approach beta. We followed the description on mountainrpoject. This was our route.
2.
 We parked on the road just outside the gate for the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The gate does not open until 9am, and there is no other way to access the trail (that I know of at least), which means you cannot begin the approach until 9am.
3. Beginning of Chapel trail. You cut off on a climbers trail when the Chapel trail starts to curve right and you feel the urge to go up and left.
4-5. Scrambling towards the notch between the spires on the south end of East Twin Butte.

6. Fixed handline on the approach.
7. Another season or a hungry rat, and snap!.....
8. View out from the notch.
9. Traversing an exposed ledge on the east side of the formation towards the base of the route. Don't slip here!
10. Photo taken by Neil on approach.


TRUNDLER's CLUB

PITCH
1
(5.8, 140')
11.    
11. Looking up Pitch 1. The giant hueco is a good landmark for the start of the route. This mellow pitch is a nice warm up.


TRUNDLER's CLUB

PITCH
2
(5.10+, 100')
12.    
13. 
   14.    
12. Neil starting up the stembox of Pitch 2.
13. Higher up.
14. Steph following Pitch 2. Photo by Neil.

TRUNDLER's CLUB

PITCH
3
(5.9+, 40')
15.    
16.    
17.  
15. The exit of the "bat cave" that starts of Pitch 3.
16. The layback fingercrack at the finish of Pitch 3.
17. Enjoying a sunny belay perch with a great view at the top of Pitch 3.

TRUNDLER's CLUB

PITCH
4
(5.11-, 85')
18.    
19.    
18. Looking up Pitch 4. The crux is near the top of the pitch.
19. Steph at the crux section. Photo by Neil.

TRUNDLER's CLUB

"PITCH"
5
(4th)
20.    
21.    
20-21. "Pitch 5" is just a 4th class scramble to the first rap anchor. There are a few bolts protecting this "pitch" so may as well stay roped up and clip 'em!

DESCENT

4 raps down Pussy Mind Trick with single rope. bolted stations.
22.     
22. The first rappel is a hanging one.  I was glad to have a 70m rope so the ends weren't dangling in space (which they probably would be with a 60), even though apparently you can rap it with a 60.

PUSSY MIND TRICK 
(toproped on rappel)

PITCH
3
(5.11+)
23.   
23. Crack on top half of Pitch 3 of Pussy Mind Trick, toproped after rappelling it.

PUSSY MIND TRICK
(toproped on rappel)

PITCH
2
(5.10+)
24.    24. Pitch 2 of Pussy Mind Trick. A fun burly crack!

PUSSY MIND TRICK
(toproped on rappel)

PITCH
1
(5.12-)
25.    
26.    
25. Pitch 1 of Pussy Mind Trick. Very techy. I admit I toproped it at 5.10 C1.
26. What a pleasant afternoon to spend climbing. Photo by Neil.

OTHER PHOTOS


 
27.    
28.    
29.    
27. 60° and sunny! I think I found where to find t-shirt climbing in the winter!
28. Tourists and their Pepto-bismal jeeps at Chicken Point. Chicken Point is an alternative approach to Trundler's Buttress, but requires a high clearance vehicle.
29. View out. What a nice day!



Climbs 3&4 - Jan 6
Arch Enemy (5.11+, 6 pitches, ~500')
at Merry Go Round / Flying Buttress Area

Arch Enemy climbs the long and beautiful buttress east of Moose's Butte, offering 6 pitches of varied and sustained climbing. 
Gear we used: Doubles to #3, 1 #4, 60m rope + tag
Faces: South
+ Eraserhead Spire NE Face (5.11+, 1 pitch, 60', trad) & SE Face (5.10+, 1 pitch, 60', sport, toproped)
at Merry Go Round / Flying Buttress Area

Eraserhead Spire is a cool little spire just to the left of the start of Arch Enemy, and a nice tower summit to tag at the end of the day.
Gear we used (NE Face): Doubles to # 0.5, singles # 0.75- 2
Gear we used (SE Face): 7 draws (or toprope)
Route overlay:

Photos: Notes:

APPROACH

(Drive Schnebly Hill Road about 3.5 miles to Cow Pies trailhead. Kind of rough road. Hike on trail and when directly below the route, scramble up the hill to the base of the route. )
1.    
2.    
3.    
4.    
5.    
6.    
7.    
8.    
  
 
  
 
 
  
 
 
1. It took us about 50 minutes to drive the rough road to the trailhead in Neil's Subaru. It would have been faster in a higher-clearance vehicle, but a Subaru will do it!
2. Trailhead for Cow Pies trail.
3. View from the trailhead. The route starts just right of the obvious arch feature.
4. Approaching the route.
5. View of the route from below.
6. Sandstone texture photo.
7. Anvil Spire and Eraserhead Spire just to the left of the start of Arch Enemy. We climbed Eraserhead Spire at the end of the day before hiking back to the car.
8. Neil enjoying the vista at the base of the route.


ARCH ENEMY

PITCH
1
(5.9)
9.    
10.    
11.    
12.   
9. A bolt marks the start of Pitch 1.
10. Looking up Pitch 1.
11. A cool cave halfway up Pitch 1.
12. Tree and shadow.

ARCH ENEMY

PITCH
2
(5.11-)
13.    
 
13. Pitch 2.


ARCH ENEMY

PITCH
3
(5.10)
14.   14. Upper section of Pitch 2 and the Pitch 3 roof. Pitch 3 is short and we easily linked it with Pitch 2.


ARCH ENEMY

PITCH
4
(5.11+)
15.    
16.  
15. Neil starting up Pitch 4.
16. Looking down the upper part of Pitch 4.


ARCH ENEMY

PITCH
5
(5.8)
17.    17. The traverse of Pitch 5. I initially led this pitch but I took a bit of a whipper at the bulge just before the last bolt when a handhold broke off (good thing I had a prusik!). I tried a few more times to commit to the bulge (it's only 5.8 afterall!!) but the fall had shaken me a bit and I let Neil take the lead.


ARCH ENEMY

PITCH
6
(5.10)
18.    
19.   
18. Looking up Pitch 6.
19. The #4 placement on Pitch 6. According to mountainproject, you need both a #4 and #3.5 for this pitch, but we found just 1 #4 to be plenty sufficient.

TOP

20.    
20. View from the top.

DESCENT

(Three rappels off bolted stations to climbers' left of the route. The first is with a single rope and the other two are double rope.)
21.    
22.    
23.    
24.    
21. Bolted rap stations.
22-24. The free-hanging rappel over the arch.


ERASERHEAD SPIRE

NE Face
(5.11+, 1p, 60', trad)
25.    
26.    
27.    
 
25. Neil high on the route.
26. The 30-foot finger crack section. Steep. Hard.
27. Summit shadow photo.


ERASERHEAD SPIRE

SE Face
(5.10+, 1p, 60', sport, toproped after rappel)
28.    
29.    
30.  
28. The featured SE Face.
29. Neil toproping the SE Face in the late afternoon light. Awesome position.
30. The spire is being undercut over time. Someday it will be no more....so climb it now!


Climbs 5&6 - Jan 7
The Pirate (5.10+, 3 pitches, ~300')
at Middle Mesa at Cathedral Spires

The Pirate is follows a crack and chimney system to the top of Middle Mesa, offering three pitches of sustained 5.10 climbing. 
Gear we used: Doubles to #3, 1 #4, 1 #5, 70m rope
Faces: North
+ Rusty Cage (5.10+, 1 pitch, ~70')
at North Mesa at Cathedral Spires

Located a short walk away around the Cathedral Spires group and a great extra pitch to tack onto the day is Rusty Cage. Rusty Cage is the "Indian Creek" splitter of Sedona, climbing a hands to large hands crack in a left facing corner for 70ft to a two bolt rap anchor.

Gear we used: 2 #2, 6 #3, 1 #4
Faces: North
Route overlay:

Photos: Notes:

APPROACH

(Head up the tourist trail from the Cathedral Rocks trailhead and cut off the trail once below the route.)
1.    
 
 
  
 
    
1. Cathedral Spires group on approach.




THE PIRATE

PITCH
1
(5.10+)
2.    
3.    
2. Neil leading Pitch 1, nearing the crux section.
3. The splitter on the upper half of the pitch.


THE PIRATE

PITCH
2
(5.10+)
4.    
5.    
6.    
7.    
8.    
4. Looking up the chimney.
5. Neil starting up the chimney.
6. Looking down the chimney.
7. The thin hands crack on the upper half of the pitch.
8. Steph following Pitch 2, with a shadow of the Mace on the ground below. Photo by Neil.



THE PIRATE

PITCH
3
(5.10-)
9.    
10.  
9. Start of Pitch 3.
10. The chimney/slot to the summit, above the rap anchor at the top of Pitch 3.



TOP

11.    
12.    
13.    
14.    
15.     
11. On the summit.
12. Summit pano. Photo by Neil.
13. Another summit pano. Photo by Neil.
14. North Mesa as seen from summit of Middle Mesa.
15. Some spires.


DESCENT

(Three raps down the route with a single 70)

16.   
16. The upper rap anchor.

RUSTY CAGE
(5.10+)
17.    
18.    
19.    
20.    
21.    
17. Rusty Cage climbs the obvious splitter.
18. Another view. The wide corner to the left of Rusty Cage is called Fat Bastard (5.11- R).
19. Wide hands splitter.
20. Just like Indian Creek!
21. My new iPhone home screen backdrop. Photo by Neil.

HIKE OUT


22.    
23.     
22. Ice on the trail. It's cold in the shade.
23. Dog taking his master for a walk.



Climb 7 - Jan 8
The Windows Route (5.10, 3 pitches, ~220')
on Super Crack Tower

The Window Route on Supercrack Tower is one of the best tower/spire routes in all of Sedona. The wild nature of the second “window” pitch is hard to match. A full stem up the window chimney leads to a dramatic roof turn out of it. The whole feature is really a large split in Supercrack Tower, more of an open chimney than a window. All three pitches are rated 5.10. My favorite route in Sedona to date!
Gear we used: Singles #0.5-4, doubles #0.75 and #1 (we did not have a #5 but could be useful), 70m rope
Faces: North
Route overlay:

Photos: Notes:

APPROACH

(From Midgley Bridge, hike Wilson Trail until you see towers and head up hillsides towards towers.)
1.    
2.    
3.    
4.    5   
  
1. Super Crack area from parking lot.
2. End of the Wilson Trail.
3. Super Crack Towers.
4. Some 'shwacking. Look out for poky things!
5. There is a reason the gully leading to the route is called "The Bowling Alley".



PITCH
1
(5.10)
6.    
7.    
8.    
9.    
 
6. Pitch 1.
7. The foot ledge that starts off Pitch 1.
8. The bolts are nice. I counted at least 4 bolts.
9. The first window. A nice belay spot at the top of Pitch 1.


PITCH
2
(5.10)
10.    
11.    
12.    
13.    
14.    
15.    
 
10. Neil cruising up the chimney at the start of the pitch.
11. A wild and fun move to exit the chimney on the west side. Looked improbable but was no more than 10a.
12. The view to the east from the chimney.
13. The splitter crack on the second half of the pitch.
14. The second window. A nice belay spot at the top of Pitch 2.
15. View out to the east.


PITCH
3
(5.10)
16.    
17.    
18.    

16. Looking up Pitch 3.
17. Neil disappearing up Pitch 3.
18. The wide section on Pitch 3. Features and knee wedging keeps the grade down.



TOP

19.    
20.    
21.    

19. On top!
20. View from the top, looking towards the Mt. Florida area.
21. Super Crack Towers.


DESCENT

(Rap the route in three rappels with a single 70.)
no photos  



HIKE OUT
22.    
23.    
24.     
 
22. Some cacti glowing in the afternoon light.
23. Hiking out the drainage. The basalt chunks come from very high above.
24. Pretty bark.