A Sedona Classic, The Fin (5.7)

Where: Sedona, Arizona
When: November 2007
Partners: Walt Hutton
Route: West Arete (5.7)

CP working the 5th class ramp

Next to Morning Glory Spire, The Fin could be my favorite (as of yet) summit in the Sedona area. I’ve actually done quite a few by now.

With Walt, I started from the close trailhead about 10:30 AM. We walked easy to the southwestern base of the feature. It looks like nothing more than a face on lower Mount Wilson as you approach. We got up on the feature, traversing slickrock to the east and north and reached the base of an obvious ramp near the middle of the south face. We followed the ramp up and left (mostly easy, though some class 4-easy 5 sections and plenty of tedious and troublesome cactus, particularly at the top of the ramp’s crux, a 5.2 or so band.

From the top of the ramp, we sorted our gear in a notch. Walt led the first pitch, which we deemed 5.4 via the feature’s west arĂȘte. A tough move near the top of the pitch, so Walt led left around a corner, causing some rope drag, but finished well. Belayed from a new bolt and old piton on flat spot at the top of the pitch.

I led the second and final pitch, moving easily up stair-steppy terrain to the base of a steep and hugely exposed, mostly unprotectable slab. I girth hitched a young tree, then put a micronut and a small cam into a crack below the slab – none of them comforting. I then essentially soloed the slab, no pro for about 20 feet or more, then belayed Walt up from a dead tree.
The start of the West Arete

Scrambled class 4 to the summit along the aesthetic narrow summit ridge. Walt left a register.

On the descent, we rappelled from dead tree (and a piton we discovered up there) 30 feet to near the top of first pitch. Then rappelled 50 feet to near top of ramp below. Scrambled aways down ramp, then rappelled about 90 feet from tree at top of cactus headwall to slickrock below ramp. Easy hike out. Great day! Picazzo’s pizza for dinner.
CP beginning the 2nd pitch

Photos courtesy of Walt Hutton