Peak Name: "The Acropolis"

Peak Height: 6,140'

Location: Sedona, Arizona

Route: Ice Cream Cone Route

Difficulty: 5.10

Round Trip Stats: 3.8 mi, 2400 ft

Date Climbed: 11/24/2016

The Acropolis is an unofficially named peak in the Sedona area, so nicknamed because from the west it bears some resemblence to the Acropolis in Athens. There is no casual way to the top. And none of the technical options are particularly inviting. The easiest route on record is a vague old 5.7+ on the north face.

Being chilly late November and still a bit soggy in the shade from recent soaking rains, the sunny east face was a much more appealing option. Not realizing it at the time we climbed some variation of the Ice Cream Cone Route, so named because the feature forming the first pitch looks like an ice cream cone when viewed from a distance.

The first long pitch is the business. It follows a varying crack in a featured dihedral. The crux comes at the top with a funky 5.10 offwidth traverse. We pulled on gear to get through it (a couple of #4's needed and a #5 would have been nice). From there a short 5.5 pitch leads to a solid tree rappel anchor. Apparently the Ice Cream Cone Route trends up and right (north) on broken terrain for several more unsustained pitches to 5.8. Being clueless at the time, we did another slabby low 5th class pitch up and left instead, and then put the ropes and rock shoes away and began scrambling directly toward the very obvious notch in the south ridge.

The terrain below the notch got very steep and dirty. Changing gears was a royal pain in the ass after we'd climbed ourselves into a jam. Tucked deeply into a steep, tight slot behind a reassuring large bush (which Dom was clinging to), I managed to get the rack and rope in place so he could lead past me. Impossible to change into rock shoes, french freeing commenced. A few hand jams led to some hardy manzanitas great for both slinging and pulling on. Dom stopped to belay at the first available ledge and on this shitty perch we regrouped and got ourselves back in order. The notch wasn't giving itself up easily. After changing into rock shoes again a short offwidth pitch on decent rock finally got us there. It wasn't a pretty place. Well it WAS, but not from the perspective of getting to the top.

Dom boldly led a sketchy and exposed pitch on horrible rock to get us out of the notch and onto the crest of the south ridge. Maybe 5.8? He almost let loose a huge piece of rock that sheared off and started sliding as he tried to gently mantle on top of it.

Once on the narrow ridge we put the rope away and scrambled the remaining 0.14 miles to the summit, passing a couple of low 5th class obstacles and many sharp cacti along the way. I took a big yucca to the knee that had me painfully limping on the hike out and gimped up for weeks!

To descend we reversed the ridge most of the way back to the notch until we eyed a small tree suitable for rapping. Old webbing indicated this was not the first time it served as an anchor. We did a double rope rappel to a ledge with a large bush, and then slung the bush and did a second double rope rappel to reach the big tree anchor above the first pitch. Rapping through the abundance of brush was an exercise in patience. A third double rope rappel put us back on the ground, but it took both of us hauling with everything we had to pull the ropes from here!

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