Monday, September 19, 2011

Favourite Routes - Part 2

5. New Wave/Assembly Line 5.10a 550 ft, Devils Tower, Wyoming

Kristal Imagine a massive granite monolith towering 700 feet above rolling prairie. The climbing is also pretty amazing, if you can avoid the thunderstorms, biker gangs and slow parties in front of you. On New Wave/Assembly line, two pitches of varied climbing lead you to a perfect pitch of fingers and hands. The summit is also an impressive place, a true island in the sky.

Jason Yeah, talk about slow parties! We had the slowest party ever ahead of us on this one, and as a result came our closest to having an epic. The climbing was awesome, the summit was amazing, and the descent gave us enough adrenaline to last a lifetime.

4. West Crack 5.9 700 ft, Yosemite, California

Jason Tuolumne Meadows offers many classic routes in a spectacular alpine setting, but is somewhat marred by the number of people milling about, both tourists and climbers alike. West Crack was an excellent route just far enough off the beaten path to give us that remote climbing experience that we really enjoy.

Kristal West Crack had a couple of super memorable crack pitches, but I think the most memorable part was the American hippie we met on the summit who couldn't believe that, as Canadians, we didn’t absolutely love Rush.

3. Endgame 5.10a 610 ft, Cochise Stronghold, Arizona

Kristal Once the last holdout of Apache warriors, Cochise Stronghold is an isolated maze of granite domes. Endgame climbs both steep, big plates and thin friction slab 600 feet up the Rockfellow dome, near the heart of the maze. The exposure is great and the summit superb, if a little windy. 

Jason Yeah, even though this route is mostly bolted, it provided some exceptional climbing: sustained vertical crimping, runout slab, and some ridiculously exposed traverse moves. Also, nothing quite beats Cochise Stronghold for that back country climbing experience. We didn't see another soul the entire day.

2. Moby Grape 5.8 1000 ft, Cannon Cliff, New Hampshire

Jason This route scored the highest for actual climbing from both Kristal and I. The climbing is superb, with more crazy features than on any single route we've climbed. The experience was slightly lessened by the fact that the I-93 runs right along the base of the cliff. Nothing quite ruins the serene climbing experience like watching and listening to transport trucks barreling down the interstate.

Kristal Oh, Touthomme, you forget. By the time we were four pitches up the wind was howling so badly we couldn't hear anything at all. There’s nothing quite like friction slab in a 100km/hr wind.

1. The Wasteland 5.8 600 ft, Cochise Stronghold, Arizona

Kristal With a vicious chimney, cranking on steep jugs, and two pitches of delicate traversing across chicken heads, with nothing but air beneath your feet, The Wasteland was an exhilarating experience. It had some of the best climbing of our trip (except for that thirty feet of painful chimneying) in one of the most beautiful settings. Plus there’s nothing better than climbing in 25 degrees C in the middle of January.

Jason Absolutely! Winter climbing at its finest. I also thought the chimney was kind of fun, but of course I didn't lead that pitch. This was another amazing Cochise climb where it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves. The day we climbed The Wasteland had everything we look for in a perfect climbing day: a moderate approach; 6 pitches of interesting and fun climbing; a distinct summit; spectacular views; comfortable climbing conditions; an easy descent; and, most importantly, getting back to the car before dark.


  1. Wondering if you have any other photos from your trip to Cochise that i could possibly use in my guidebook. Scott Ayers and I are trying to compile many of the climbs in the area that people don't know about. Please let me know if you would be interested in this project and check out our website Maybe we can help you out next time you are around, Tanya