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Some Sedona Saturdays

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The Doctor and I have been striking southward from the snowy Flagstaff winter to the sunny sandstone of Sedona. Sitting on the sun deck, sunning, snacking, sending...

(OK, that's too hard, back to regular narrative)


The Mission to Mars area, aka The Planetarium, hosts a series of powerful, steep and blocky sandstone routes, sprinkled with a few established mixed and trad lines. The cliff gets sun after 11AM, and the radiant heat of the rock warms quickly.

The M2M gets sun by noon, as seen from the sun deck:




All of the sport routes in this sector are 5.11 or harder, so bring your guns. Most of the routes are also named after the space/planet theme, including a wonderful 100-foot face/arete climb, Space Cowboys 5.11c Mike K climbing:




Mission to Mars is an ultra classic, ticking in at 12c with powerful open-handed moves and body tension.

Clayman Getting it done:




One of the hardest climbs in the area is Galactic Hitchhiker, a 5-star climb on immaculate rock. The 13a crux hits high:




Other great routes include The Doctor's warm up route Starship Trooper, (Mike K again on the finishing crux):




and Lunar Lander 5.12a/b (also put up by the Doctor) Thanks Doc :-)


All this time during the winter staying strong got us looking at some new lines in the area, and last week (yet another Bloom route) found the completion of Do The Bosco 5.12b .

The first 20 feet of this thing climbs out a cave, and requires some attentive belaying as well! Colin Cox on the second ascent:










The climbing stays hard through a steep shield above, it's a long climb:




That got me excited about a line i had been checking, so after several weekend days of work, last Saturday, I completed Solar Flare, 5.11c. Though only 45 feet, it sports two seperate .11 cruxes, and the hardest move is getting on the climb! A 3-foot roof above add spiciness, as well. Colin Cox got some pictures of me on the FA:










And when we get tired of sport climbing, on another level just above us is a stellar 5.10c thin hands crack with a 3-bolt approach, among others:




Ahhhh, love those winter days in Sedona!


All the beta for this area can be found here:




Cheers! Erik



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Bump! And update...


The Doctor and I went out to do a 4-pitch Arizona backcountry .5.11b that has only seen 2-3 ascents this Saturday.

The approach was said to be 45 minutes, so we got an early start. The Doctor got a written description of the approach, and we also had a topo off of Mountain project. We set off, the directions seeming obvious...




20 minutes into the approach, looking back on parking:




After ascending the first part of the hill, about 35 minutes into the approach, looking back again:




We cut off the main trail just after this, looking for the anchors that we would rappel for 4 pitches to get us to the base of the climb.


Looking for anchors in all the wrong places:




We finally realized we cut off too early, and continued for another 20-25 miutes until we saw an obvious North-facing wall (the climb was supposed to be in the shade all day).


Approaching the amphitheater:




the sweeping view from the top:




We were looking for a "nose" of rock - we found about a thousand.


Out on one of the "noses" looking back on the wall we were sure the climb was on:




The last pitch says 5.10 slab, but the wall didn't look slabby AT ALL!!!!


We spent a total of 4 hours looking for the elusive anchors, and an untold number of vertiginous peeks over "noses" before we gave up.


Another shot of the amazing view:




We found another trail we decided to follow back and do some sport-area recon. Sometimes the search for one thing gives you another.


We stumbled upon a series of short one-pitch walls (5-6 in all) that looked promising for our next project:






By this time we were well off the beaten path, but within 30-40 minutes of parking, so we decided to check the walls out. Dropping our packs, we hiked another 10 minutes trough minimal underbrush, and discovered steep, solid, and clean sandstone on the initial formation! Psyche!






The Doctor checking out the rock:




We decided to head over and check out the next few formations. Looking across the next approach section:




After a little more bushwacking, I heard David yell:


"Hey, Look! An arch!"


Looking up, I shot this picture:




It was more of a window, that an arch, but we realized that there was a very, very good chance we had just discovered an undocumented Sedona arch! Sweet! It is very remote, invisible from any trail, and there were zero signs anyone had been here.


We decided to call it Windowpane Arch, if it proves to be undocumented.


David with his find:




We continued on, excited by both the arch find and the potential climbing in the area. The nextwall was very steep and featured:




and another several formations lay behind this one:




I got a cool shot of a gnarled juniper and had some photoshop fun with it:




At this point, we had been back-country hiking and 'schwacking for almost 6 hours, and decided we had seen enough to warrant a return. Plus we were both getting a bit shagged, so we decided to call it. We did follow the lower trail (below the one we came in on), and I got one more shot of the amazing prow near the arch. We dubbed the area Windowpane Rock:




Following the rim back, we spotted a few good trad lines to be done. One is close to the area we explored:




Another was a 2-pitch chimney David had been eyeballing for a few years. Steep and clean, it looks like a classic! Since it is on Bear Mountain, and looks like a real bear of a climb, guess what we're going to call it? (check properties for answer):






Spring in Sedona! Indian Paintbrush:




Cheers! Erik


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