Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Mace

Got on a really fun climb in Sedona this past weekend. I'd heard a lot of different stories about the rock quality down there and wasn't sure what to believe. It turned out to be pretty decent, a little sandy, but mostly solid. The Mace is on the NA classics list put out by the Los Alamos Mountaineers , and I've yet to do a climb on that list that hasn't been spectacular. This was no exception.

Jason and I left Flagstaff at the leisurly time of 10:30am and drove down the winding, gorgeous highway to Sedona. I'd never been on this stretch of 89a, and theres loads of climbing in between Flagstaff and Sedona also. I'm pretty stoked for driving 30 minutes out of Flag this winter to escape to desert climbing. The trailhead was super easy to find and marked with a huge sign. The approach took about 20 minutes at an average hiking pace with great views abound.

The first pitch was an easy but run out 5.7 some sandy rock, pulling over a limestone roof to a huge belay ledge with one huge eye bolt. The next pitch fun 5.9 crack climbing to easy offwidth finish to yet another huge belay ledge with an eye bolt. The 3rd pitch was a very memorable traverse with a couple hundred feet of exposure into an offwidth/squeeze chimney. The 4th pitch, supposedly the crux, had some easy chimneying to a few 5.9 ish face moves into another offwidth, awesome! Once on top of the first summit you walk across set a belay and do the infamous step across move. This is where you have to fully commit to leaning over a 4 foot gap with 300 feet of air, and then full body stem traverse to a decent hold. Pretty sweet. The summit sported a unique register in a big metal canister that looked like it belonged on a ship. A huge metal pipe bolted down with 5 fatty bolts, with a crazy screw on top.

The rappel was also fun a full 70m of freehanging between the two towers.

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