Earth Angel

Lured into the thickets by promises of splitter handcracks, Andy and I set out on a euphemistically “scenic” approach to Earth Angel Spire. The route may have been Touched by an Angel, but the approach had diabolical fingerprints all over it … Classic Sedona desert bushwhacking!

Climbing with Andy O’Hubble is always a treat. He’s perma-stoked to get on any type of climbing and willing to put up with all kinds of Type 2++ fun for the sake of a good route.


It was a frigid, blustery spring day and I ended up dropping my puffy on the first pitch. It tumbled partway down the approach, out of range …. All the more motivation to climb efficiently!

The first pitch featured a finger crack buried in the back of a flare; decent small gear placements with average-for-Sedona rock quality.

P2 started with a fun variety-sized dihedral, then eventually forced Andy to “tunnel through the vortex” of a hilarious squeeze hole to gain a nice ledge. As far as birth canals go, it was slightly tighter than Kissing Couple but far wider than the interior finish of Wiggin’s Chimney at Battle of the Bulge. By my standards, a squeeze isn’t seriously constricting unless I have to take off my glasses and choose which way my nose faces in order to progress.

The money pitch, a beautiful, crisp hands splitter, delivered in spades. Glorious jams abounded.

I forget if Andy and I flipped a coin for this one or he was just his normal generous self, but if the former, I really should have bought a lottery ticket the same day. Instant winner!

The last pitch was a bizarre, flaring offwidth that didn’t take gear well. Andy put on his game face and coolly deliberated his way up through plentiful FF2 terrain. Eventually he scooted onto a ledge and we both breathed a sigh of relief. Some patina face climbing led to the summit and much-needed sunshine.

Apparently between the beastly approach and cold winds, we hadn’t suffered enough, because the rock gods deigned to bestow a stuck rope upon us mid-descent. Gotta pay your dues at some point, I suppose.

Altogether it was a stellar summit attained by several excellent, unique pitches. 11/10 gotez would repeat.

Good photos by @mcquilat

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