Sinking Ship is a notable peak along the South Rim, situated just east of Grand View Point. It is designated as a Class IV climb due to a challenging move over a block within a chossy gully—a misstep here could result in severe consequences.
Our adventure began early, securing a parking spot at 7 AM. The journey took us through a dense forest leading to the rim, where we descended to the saddle between Sinking Ship and the South Rim. Navigating this stretch was straightforward, thanks to a faint but discernible trail. Contrary to most trip reports that recommended approaching the crux chute from the southwest, we found an easier entry point from the southeast, allowing us to traverse towards the west with less difficulty. After navigating some minor Class III sections, we reached the chute's base, marked by a prominent tree.
While the chute initially appeared relatively safe, with rocks that could potentially arrest a fall, the real risk became evident at the block—it was clear that a fall here could have dire consequences. We took turns moving past the block, careful to avoid dislodging stones on one another, and successfully reached a higher ledge, continuing over Class III terrain that presented exposure at times.
An notable alcove stopped us for a bit as there wasn't a clear way around without a class V climb, but after a brief search for an exit, we discovered a concealed keyhole within it that granted us an unexpectedly easy passage. The keyhole led us to the summit, a straightforward and uneventful final ascent.
At the top, we considered rappelling options, but none seemed immediately apparent, prompting us to retrace our steps. At the crux, we employed a hand line to assist with the descent of our gear, while the last of our trio opted to rappel from a small Juniper anchoring the wall.
The return to the car was uneventful, but we remained vigilant, making plenty of noise due to recent reports of mountain lion sightings in the area.