/ Wester US route suggestions
Looking for inspiration for a US road trip, looking for good routes in cool places. Grade wise mostly in 5.6-5.9, though can probably get away with the odd pitch of 5.10 or maybe even 5.11 if the second can dog/jumar a pitch.
To give you an idea of the kind of thing im keen for, here are a few that are on the list.
Ancient art, moab
Something on the flatirons
One of the 5.8/5.9 up the devil's tower (Wy)
Royal arches (Yos)
South 6 shooter
Bear's reach at lovers leap
Wolf's head, cirque of the towers (wind river)
What would you climb if you could go anywhere in the western US and wanted to climb cool things up to 5.10?
Places I know little about but sound ace include Zion, Joshua tree and red rocks.
Snake dike - one of the best low(er) grade multi pitchroutes in Yosemite
Hobbit Book - Toulomne
Clyde Minaret - Sierra's (more for the adventure)
Traveller Buttress - Lovers Leap
East Buttress - El Cap (great long day route)
Bastille Crack - Eldorado Canyon (I was on a trip to climb Devils Tower which is very good. Was blown away by the climbing in Eldorado Canyon, but may not be ideal for mid-summer)
Crimson Chrysalis and Cat in The Hat at Redrocks.
Goodness grief! Where to begin! You're talking about the greatest concentration of quality rock climbing on earth....... I'll have a think.
Edit: And there's 5.10 and 5.10 (likewise 5.11)........ Are we talking HVS or E4? ;-)
Figures in a Landscape, Joshua Tree.
The easier side of 5.10... If its a "5.10" offwidth it may be a struggle....
Red Rocks is brilliant at your grades. Almost anything given 3 stars in Jerry Handren's guidebook will pretty much be world class (the starring is very stingy!).
Lots and lots of fun to be had at Joshua Tree.
Crest Jewel and Fairview Dome Regular and Charlotte Dome South Face.
What time of year?
That is a good question. Not sure yet, so suggestions for all times of the year are useful. Most likely September/October, though maybe earlier.
The routes on the cathedral s opposite el cap are very good. More featured than the opposite side so suits a UK skill base better.
The classic line on devils tower is excellent. If your in Wyoming then grand Teton is well worth climbing. There is also at least one excellent long 5.8 or 9 available that doesn't go up a peak.
Wyoming and Yosemite in one trip is a lot of driving....
Thats a good time for stuff like Tuolumne and later on Yosemite Valley but might be early for some of the desert stuff like Ancient Art. You'll need several trips or a long trip.
Mountain Project gives a graph of the typical climbing season for each venue.
As an example Tuolumne peaks in July (and is often closed from November to May). Scroll down the page to see it.
Whereas Fisher Towers has a double peak: in April and late October
Things vary from year to year and you need a flexible itenery due to forest fires. I've been snowed out of the High Sierra in September (and climbed at Joshua Tree when its normally way too hot) and prevented from getting into Yosemite at peak season by fire.
Mountain Project also has a wonderful search facility where you can stick in your grade range and quality limits and find the best climbs for you.
I've done a couple of trips to north america before, so I am aware of the variable season, and I am also aware of the large scale of the driving (previously driven from Canmore to Joshua tree), just need a quality play list! Previously I have mainly climbed in Utah and Yosemite/Tuolumne.
I thought if I can get enough suggestions for good routes in lots of different places, we can just avoid the hot/cold/fires and adjust our plans depending on when we actually go out.
Thanks for the mountain project link, I think I will be scouring it for the the foreseeable future.
I did a similar trip a few years ago. Highlights in that grade range were:
Some good looking stuff there, thanks!
> Was blown away by the climbing in Eldorado Canyon
Funnily enough, I found the place pretty underwhelming (though I only spent a couple of days there). We almost walked right past the crags while looking for them! Had a slightly shoddy feel - certainly not the wow factor of the great US venues. Maybe more of historical than current importance (though no doubt there are some fine individual routes).
if you've already been to Yos/TM, try the Needles, excellent climbing, nice camping and not crowded. definitely some of the best crackclimbs.
Cochise Stronghold (AZ) also highly recommended, lots of 5* climbs in the 5.9 to 5.10/5.11 range.
cool place and nice camping ( easy access )
Couple of my favourites:
The Line (5.9) Lovers Leap
Loose Lady (5.10a) Joshua Tree (Real Hidden Valley)
"Bear's reach at lovers leap"
In reply to dunnyg:
At Lover's Leap I'd suggest Surrealistic Pillar -> Corrugation Corner linkup. This is an excellent (classic) 6-pitch combination, with lots of excellent 5.7 climbing.
If you're in Red Rocks and your partner is up for the odd bit of 5.10 it's certainly worth climbing on Black Velvet Wall, an impressive location with great views across the desert to Vegas. Dream of Wild Turkeys (5.10a) is the famous classic, but I enjoyed the sportingly bolted Prince of Darkness (5.10c) just as much. At 5.8 another classic with the bonus of a beautiful gearing up spot is Dark Shadows (5.8).
> If you're in Red Rocks and your partner is up for the odd bit of 5.10 it's certainly worth climbing on Black Velvet Wall, an impressive location with great views across the desert to Vegas. Dream of Wild Turkeys (5.10a) is the famous classic, but I enjoyed the sportingly bolted Prince of Darkness (5.10c) just as much.
Sourmash 5.10a on the same wall is also fantastic and a little easier than Dream of Wild Turkeys.
I also think Eldo Canyon is underwhelming - other than its proximity to Boulder (+ some history), I never understood what made it so popular.
Another vote for Cochise Stronghold in SE Arizona (late Oct. to end of Jan. are ideal times) - it's like a winter version of The Needles in SoCal.
2 locales that haven't been suggested (for mid-July to mid-Sept):
Washington Pass in WA. Alpine setting but short (<2h) approaches & dry for a Pacific NW crag. Lots and lots to do in the 5.6 to 5.9 range; from 4/5 pitches to 12ish pitches. Look at East Face of Lexington Tower, Beckey Route on Liberty Bell, and SW Face of South Early Winter Spire. This is part of the North Cascades - the most alpine of alpine areas in the lower 48 states.
Sawtooths in Idaho (2.5 hr drive NE of Boise). MP has most of the beta. Look at Elephants Perch (though really only the Mountaineers Route clocks in <5.10 there). 2.5 h approach incl. a boat ride. If you want a back country experience (full day approach), look at Warbonnet in the Sawooths (std. route is an excellent 5.7 with a wildly exposed, summit fin pitch). Solitude almost guaranteed. Also, for a solid car to car day, look at Finger of Fate and its Book route - hard to imagine a better 5.8 multi-pitch route on granite. Unlike many other things mentioned here, there are (as of yet) no permits/reservations/quotas to deal with.
Additionally, for Moab, consider either Kor-Ingalls or N. Chimney route on Castleton (both 5.9), The South Six Shooter outside of Indian Creek (5.7).
Though I have not done it yet, Mount Hayden on the north rim of the Grand Canyon looks like a nice tower in a spectacular location (2 routes reportedly: a 5.8 and a 10+).
Primrose Dihedrals on Moses in Canyonlands/Moab can be made to go at 5.9-5.10 A0.
Also, if you enjoy desert towers, check out The Mace and The Oak Creek Spire in Sedona, AZ. Both are about 5.9/+. The former features a wild step across move on the final pitch; the latter has an even wilder jump across move on the final pitch. These are on par with the best Moab towers.
> I also think Eldo Canyon is underwhelming - other than its proximity to Boulder (+ some history), I never understood what made it so popular.
Glad it's not just me then!
I much preferred the granite cragging up at Lumpy Ridge near Estes park. Far more scenic and some great routes at 5.9 and 5.10.
> Another vote for Cochise Stronghold in SE Arizona (late Oct. to end of Jan. are ideal times).
Interested to see this getting good reviews. I was going to go there this Spring, having only just become aware of it, but then we discovered there was a bird ban. Now definitely on the list - looks a fabulous spot!
> Sawtooths in Idaho (2.5 hr drive NE of Boise). MP has most of the beta. Look at Elephants Perch (though really only the Mountaineers Route clocks in <5.10 there).
I've done Astro Elephant here (5.10b - maybe E2 at most). Brilliant route in a wonderful location.
> Additionally, for Moab, consider either Kor-Ingalls or N. Chimney route on Castleton (both 5.9).
Also on the accessible Castle Valley towers, but a bit harder, Jah Man (5.10c - probably E2) on Sister Superior and Fine Jade (5.11a - probably E3) on The Rectory are pretty much world class outings.
Robert, I agree that Lumpy is much nicer than Eldo.
As you found out, in Cochise many of the classic routes are closed for nesting birds (most of the routes on the east side, incl. those on The Rockfellows which are arguably the gem of the place) but many remain open (eg. Sheepshead with its long routes on the west side). Also, the Rockfellows area can get quite cold in the dead of winter (always seems to be very windy up there). Having said that, apparently last winter the forest service did not close the crags for the first time. Great camping - both established & primitive. Anyway, I don't think you'll be disappointed with a trip there.
Astro Elephant is absolutely amazing.
Back to Moab, I'd add one more to complete the Castle Valley classics circuit: Honeymoon Chimney on The Priest, 5.11 or 5.9 A0 (for us). Some of the most terrifying squeeze chimney terrain I've the misfortune to climb.
Hi Robert, I think it was partly because I don't think I'd personally done any climbing like that on what to me was dessert rock. It was different, driving in on a sand road... sandy red rock.. Some of the routes were very good individually. Interestingly I find a lot of US climbing sometimes not quite as good as UK stuff (the specific climbing), but its the different rock types, settings, amazing places/scenery, people etc. Climbing in the US is cool! All the best
Yes - regular route on Fairview Dome is mega .. and feels very long..
Eldorado Canyon is fantastic - don’t listen to the negative comments above, there are stacks of outstanding has gh quality climbs in you grade range. Yellow spur, Ruper, Alice in Bucketland, Hair City, Outer Space, The Bulge, Over the Hill, Darkness at Noon, Anthill Direct to name a few. It’s a complicated crag so might be hard with just mountain project and no hard copy guide
Cochise Stronghold is great, even though I went there for the birding, not the climbing. Definitely worth a day visit if you are in the region, as well as the Chiricahuas next door.
> Cochise Stronghold is great, even though I went there for the birding, not the climbing. Definitely worth a day visit if you are in the region, as well as the Chiricahuas next door.
I was thinking it looked worth a week or two!
> Eldorado Canyon is fantastic - don’t listen to the negative comments above.
I'm sure it is as a local crag. A bit like I imagine Avon is
My Mrs and I are off to Las Vegas for 2 weeks beginning of Oct. Week covering Zion and Bryce Canyon ( always wanted to go to these 2 and do some of the trails), then a week mixing it up with Red Rocks and Las Vegas.
We have already ticked Yosemite/Tuolomne and the Gunks in previous trip. Its a few years since my wife has climbed.
So I am after recommendations upto 5.9 for Red Rocks ( although the list seems to grow from my own " informants"). There are so many good ones it is difficult to know where to start. I do not want any with long walks in or difficult access/descents.
But has anybody done any easyish stuff near Zion?Its a bit mixed getting realistic info from Mountain Project. I know there is limestone sport near by, but I may as well go to the Med for that.
Any knowledge on the best 5.8 or easier routes in Yosemite (that aren't snake dike) would also be great! I will let you know if I find any Zion/Bryce info...
Nutcracker is the obvious classic In Yosemite , cannot remember if its 5.8 or 5.9.
Yosemite: Braille Book and Higher Cathedral Spire (various routes)
I heard rumors about high quality fish tacos, and enjoyed cathedral peak!
Royal Arches and North Dome South Face link-up. A v long day at 5.7. Or Crest Jewel at 5.10a tho' runout bits are easier.
Washinton Pass, Leavenworth, Sawtooths and Smith Rocks, Cali Needles, Whitney mountain routes.
Haven't seen a mention of Charlotte Dome yet, better than many of the routes mentioned above.
No-one need cross the Atlantic to climb Nutcracker or Zee Tree...
CA is just amazing for rock climbing. Even the lesser known places are ace. Check out Phantom Spires if visiting the Lover's Leap.
Here goes with some recommendations (and endorsement of other posters' suggestions with a few photos and a bit of beta:
Fairview Dome, Tuolmnee Regular Route on the North Face – one of the 50 Classic Routes of North America
Snake Dyke Half Dome
Super Slide, Yosemite Valley
Hueco Tanks (not just a bouldering venue - the routes are awesome )
The Totem Pole, Devil’s Canyon Arizona
Mt Lemmon Tucson
Jemez Mountains New Mexico
... and a +1 vote (but no pics) for Red Rocks especially Black Velvet Canyon
. . and a provisional vote for The Black Canyon of the Gunnison and The Diamond on Longs Peak Heading there next week and I'll report back
All fantastic venues. But be a little bit wary of Hueco Tanks: it kicks butt (as they say in the US) and is certainly *awesome*. But also *very* humiliating!
I highly reccommend Days of Heaven in Rocky Mountain National Park. It's cragging not alpine. Alec Sharp's favourite of all his first ascents - which is saying something. It's not on people's radar as much as many of the routes mentioned so far.
Johnny Woodward ,a very good few years ,ago had an article on his top climbs and this was his favourite. A good recommendation on the quality of Nutcracker.
The Blacks are awesome but certainly not chilled as a venue. Pants filling and to be treated with utmost respect. If you climb at HVS be wary of anything beyond 5.8. The access to routes is already demanding.
However, what a place!
East buttress on Middle Cathedral is a 50 classic and is usually climbed at .9 via a bolt ladder over the .11 bit. Recommended. As is Braille book on Higher Cathedral.
Lovers leap beats Yosemite hands down for 5.6-5.9 trad though. Especially in summer.
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