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Capitol Butte South Face aka Thunder Mtn, AZ

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233 36 3
Guide 36 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Sedona NW
Rated
4
4 of 5 by 10
 
2
Warning! Technical climbing skills required. Risks include serious injury to death.  Risks are not eliminated by skill.
Climb Consensus (36) → View
Difficulty 4th
Climb II Boulder
Rock Sandstone Good
Length 50 ft 4 Pitches
Statistics
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,646 feet
Elevation Gain 1,702 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 - 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 10.31
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Collective Slideshow
Inaugural Calculation next Tap
5  2018-04-21 BobP
6  2016-11-19 friendofThunderg
7  2016-03-05 nikorock28
6  2015-06-01 BobP
3  2014-07-24 joebartels
8  2014-04-05 sbkelley
4  2014-04-05 neurolizer
5  2013-04-27 The_Eagle
Page 1,  2,  3
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Sep, Oct → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  7:01am - 5:22pm
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Route Scout App
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Official Route
 
1 Linked
 
Water
Nearby Area Water
Little Sugarloaf
Little Sugarloaf
0.1 mi away
0.8 mi
250 ft
Thunder Mountain Trail
0.1 mi away
1.0 mi
70 ft
Chimney Rock - Sedona
Chimney Rock - Sedona
0.6 mi away
1.3 mi
360 ft
Sugarloaf - Sedona
Sugarloaf - Sedona
0.7 mi away
1.2 mi
350 ft
Teacup Trail - Sedona
0.7 mi away
1.7 mi
233 ft
Coffee Pot Rock Trail
Coffee Pot Rock Trail
0.8 mi away
0.4 mi
180 ft
Two Fences Trail
0.8 mi away
0.7 mi
-180 ft
Capitol Butte Southwest Ridge
Capitol Butte Southwest Ridge
1.0 mi away
3.0 mi
1,830 ft
Forest Service Road 152
Forest Service Road 152
1.1 mi away
4.3 mi
333 ft
Chuckwagon Trail
Chuckwagon Trail
1.1 mi away
5.0 mi
512 ft
[ View More! ]
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Soak up Sedona!
by Jim_H

Overview
Capitol Butte is a seldom climbed mountain just west of Sedona's main strip. It separates the 89A corridor from the hikes of west Sedona. It is pretty much the only highpoint in Sedona that is right in the center of it all, and I think it has the best views in town. Unfortunately, its not an easy hike. Instead, it is a challenging non-technical climb to what will be a well earned summit.


The Route
From the trailhead at the end of Andante Drive, hike the Andante Trail northeast from the parking area. After around 1000 feet of hiking you'll come to an obvious cross trail. Take the cross trail towards the lower slopes of Capitol Butte. The trail starts out easy, but gets harder as you approach the base of Capitol Butte. As you move closer you will notice that the rough trail is taking you to an exposed area where you will make the first climb up on to a ledge. From below the climb up this pitch may look impossible, but as the trail takes you closer it becomes clear that you will be climbing up a small angled ledge which is exposed, but very possible to climb.

One you have gained the first section, continue past the 20 foot long ledge and proceed on and pass by a pinyon. Then you want to look for the almost absent trail and head up hill. This first section that you have passed through is the most exposed and challenging part of climbing you'll encounter on the route, and it will probably scare most people off. Nothing else on the rest of the route is this exposed, so don't get too concerned.

The next part of the climb is mostly class 2 and the trail is hard to follow at times. The general path initially continues west before turning back east and your path may weave up hill irregularly. If you are following a trail but unsure, look for one of these two small climbs: A or B. Either one will be closer to the view point than the end of the far switchback, and both will take you up to the view point which is just before you meet the rough trail coming up from the southeast drain. The view point is also directly above the first pitch of climbing.

After you meet the obvious trail coming up from the southeast drain you will climb for quite a while on a fairly well defined trail that goes back and forth between class 2 and 3. There aren't many places to go off trail to on this climb, so if you get into a really narrow or expose area, turn back and look for the trail again. You might need to probe, and some confusing rock scrambling may be needed, but there really isn't too much that is all that difficult until you reach the chimney.

The Chimney is the last bit of climbing you should encounter and the trail pretty much heads right for it. It isn't all that bad going up, but it can be a little hard to go down. Make sure you think you can climb down it before going up. Looking down from on top of the chimney. From the chimney you come to a small saddle, and then it is a short stretch of trail to the summit. This is the view looking down from the saddle. You are a couple of hundred vertical feet above the chimney. Everything above the saddle is class 2 and pretty straight forward. If you think you are off route, just head up. Perhaps that is too simplistic.

Going Down
After you've made the summit and spent some time soaking in the magnificent views you'll need to start heading down. Its pretty much the same as going up, except backwards and it is a little harder. Some of the rock is angled down and can be very slippery when descending. The route is easier to see, and it might be easier to see the trail if you had trouble coming up. If you don't want to down climb the first section you came up, you can take the southeast drain. I have no experience with it, but I can say that I have heard it is much easier than the south face, but also much brushier.

Jim_H
  • Capitol Butte South Face - MAP
    guide related
    Capitol Butte South Face - MAP
  • Sedona Trails 2018
    region related
    Sedona Trails 2018
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Permit $$
Red Rock Pass - may or may not be required. Go to Red Rock Pass then check "When is a Red Rock Pass Required?". If you have questions contact the Coconino forest service.


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To hike & climb trip
From the junction of 89A and SR 179 in Sedona, head south on 89A towards Cottonwood. Turn north (right) onto Andante Drive, which where the Circle K/ Shell is, and proceed to the trailhead which is at the end of the road.
page created by Jim_H on May 02 2009 5:19 pm
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