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Rainbow Canyon

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
A Quarter and a Half T 
Air Farce One S 
Angelo's Ashes T 
Back Bumper S 
Barfing Bone Balls T 
Basalt Shaker S 
big fearfull chimney T 
Broken Boy T,S 
Cheap Motel T 
Come and Get It S 
Disco Inferno S 
Disneyesque T 
Double Naught Spy S 
Druce Crack T 
Finlay Crack T 
Flash for Cash S 
Grey Cat S 
Intimidator Crack T 
Leela T 
Lightning Strikin' Again T 
Loco Motive S 
Middendorf's Crack T 
Mormon Meat Machine T 
Nightshade S 
On the Road S 
Owl Be All Right T 
Plant Meets Pillar T 
Poke on Sunday T 
Pullatrain T 
Richard's Crack T 
Saweet two pitch T 
Schwing Time S 
sexual basalt T 
Soak on Saturday T 
Stink Bug T,S 
the route I climbed S 
Two Mints in One T 
Union Atlantic T 
Unknown 5.8 S 
Unknown 5.8 Road Area 3 T 
Unknown 5.9 S 
Vancelot S 
Unsorted Routes:

Rainbow Canyon  

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 4,000'
Location: 37.3123, -114.57 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 17,875
Administrators: Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Francis Baker (fran) on Aug 14, 2006






You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [2 people like this page.]


An obvious wall of clean basalt lies 17 miles south of Caliente on SR317. The cliffs are just off the road. The road is graded dirt and can get washed out. The climbing is both sport and trad. There are beautiful corners and clean, blank face climbs with bolts. The rock is similar to Crawdad Canyon UT. and/or Paradise Forks AZ. This is a remote area with no facilities. There is no guidebook and photos of the area are very rare. Climbing can be had year round although winters can be cold and summer gets hot! Watch the weather as the road can get washed out anytime of year.

Getting There 

Find your way to Caliente, NV and head south on SR 317 for 17 miles. There is also a dirt road heading NE off of 93 (Kane Springs Rd.) that will take you to Elgin and SR 317; from there a short drive N will get you to the cliff. I recommend at least a 4x2 with some ground clearance. The latter route is shorter but can take just as long and there are no services (bring a gas can). The GPS location is a guess based on the map.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.3 miles from here

42 Total Routes

['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',10],['2 Stars',21],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Rainbow Canyon:
A Quarter and a Half   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
Druce Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
Finlay Crack   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   
the route I climbed   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
sexual basalt   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
Come and Get It   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   
Air Farce One   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Browse More Classics in Rainbow Canyon

Featured Route For Rainbow Canyon
Flash for Cash

Flash for Cash 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c  NV : Rainbow Canyon
Delicately climb up a thin crack and face past a few horizontals to a bolted anchor. Fun and sustained and thoughtful climbing make this a great route....[more]   Browse More Classics in NV

Photos of Rainbow Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
The center of the main wall with many fine cracks ...
BETA PHOTO: The center of the main wall with many fine cracks ...
looking North from atop one of the shorter routes.
BETA PHOTO: looking North from atop one of the shorter routes.
Looking South from middle of the wall.
BETA PHOTO: Looking South from middle of the wall.
The best part of the wall. Middle to south section...
BETA PHOTO: The best part of the wall. Middle to south section...
Kershaw-Ryan campground, a couple of minutes from ...
Kershaw-Ryan campground, a couple of minutes from ...
Rainbow canyon in fall color. See the climber at t...
Rainbow canyon in fall color. See the climber at t...
Matt's having a good time at Rainbow Canyon.
Matt's having a good time at Rainbow Canyon.

Comments on Rainbow Canyon Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 12, 2015
By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From: Vegas
Nov 1, 2006
Fran, thanks for posting this area! Freakin awesome! Jonny and I drove out there yesterday, and checked it out. Some of the paved road (by the routes) has been damaged (washed out) by floods; was still okay to drive on though. Loved the dirt road through the beautiful desert, and Caliente had a cool little market to get provisions.
By Karsten
From: Sacramento, CA
Nov 9, 2006
A nice area with some spectacular cracks. Lots of bolted anchors are nice. There are also a ton of sport routes mainly in the hard 10 and up range.

If anyone knows the correct names and grades of these routes, I would like to know.
By Michelle Locatelli
Apr 16, 2007
I must say I was surprised to find a mini guide to Rainbow Canyon. Strange names for some mighty familiar routes. About 65% of the routes were put by me and Richard Harrison, 30% by Gary Fike, and the remaining 5% by others, including Bob Finlay and John Middendorf, two of the area "pioneers". Much assistance was given by Gary's wife Tanya and Richard's daughter Lisa.

All the routes are named and each has a great story to go with its first ascent. We put much sweat and money into the project, hoping to create a peaceful area for locals. So we resisted putting out a guide book. The area was also a sensitive riparian corridor before the big flood and we thought it best to keep it low key. We have had problems with plagiarism (some just trying to make a buck), false info and taking of credit where it wasn't due by some visitors to the cliffs. So at long last we have decided to put together a correct guide for Rainbow. The area is very special; a great mixture of cracks and chimneys, superb technical face climbing and awesome aretes. Please enjoy the routes, keep the place clean and spend some money in nearby Caliente while you're there.
By Jorge Calhoun
Sep 3, 2007
Thanks Michelle and everyone else that found this spot.

Stellar crag
By Michelle Locatelli
Jul 22, 2008
The new guidebook is nearly complete and should be available in Sept.08. I will most likely sell it via the internet. There are 110 routes at Rainbow !
By Michelle Locatelli
Mar 11, 2009
The Rainbow Canyon guidebook is completed and ready to print. I should have copies available in a week. Since it is a first edition, I am running just a limited amount.I'm hoping for useful feed back(rating consensus,missing info) so I can refine the next edition.If you are interested in buying one, let me know and we can set that up.
By Brig J.
Mar 21, 2009
Week's over, pay up. Waaaaaaant that book, just name the price. Hope you have beta on all the trad stuff.

On one hand, I'm sorry to see this piece of paradise go public, it's been a well kept little secret. On the other hand those that developed it deserve recognition and the rest of us want BETA! Thanks Michelle for busting ass for the few that do now climb here.
By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From: Vegas
Mar 22, 2009
Michelle, I'll take one. : ) G
By Jon O'Brien
From: Nevada
Apr 24, 2009
This place looks awesome! Is that guidebook available?! I'll pay top dollar! I've got some unborn children to offer up if money's not your fancy, LOL...
By Michelle Locatelli
May 1, 2009
The guidebook is finished and available for purchase. If you're interested in one, please e-mail via this site or go to shop.wildnevadaclimbing.com
By deniseb
Nov 23, 2009
Hi Michelle,

Is your guide book sold anywhere locally? We would like to see rainbow canyon over thanksgiving weekend but I'm worried that if I order it online today, it wont come in time.

By sqwirll
From: Las Vegas
Sep 6, 2010
The dirt road is in really good shape right now. Any passenger car will have no problems.

Also, Michelle's guidebook is sweet. The hand drawn pictures are amazing.
By sam123456789
Apr 12, 2011
Neat new area-crack and face climbin' right together, who'd a thunk! Routes feel very mixed, interesting. Good pro- still some minor loose rock here and there, but nothing a few more ascents won't fix- belay with a helmet and you won't even have to pay attention at all!
By Kurt Howes
Nov 11, 2013
We really enjoyed this wall. Some super high quality lines! Better suited for the intermediate to advanced climber. East facing. Grades are on save a couple sandbags, perhaps because a 1980's 11.a feels like 2013 12.a. An acquaintance said he climbed here in the 80's. The trains are a treat. Road is quite good now. Thanks Michelle et al.
By Norman Roundy
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Dec 10, 2014
This area is wonderful. The routes are stiff, well protected, and interesting. Of the ten or so times I've come here I have never seen another person climbing and the occasional train or jet fighter only add to the fun. To make it more interesting check out the local native art work and keep an eye out for peacocks.
By Arin
From: North Las Vegas, NV
Jan 4, 2015
Checked this place out 3 Jan 2015 and the road was clear the entire way. Camped at Kershaw-Ryan campground. Temps at night and early morning were as low as 17 deg F. Got to the crag around 1000 and the sun warmed to about 40. Great climbs and roadside!

You could easily camp right on the side of the road next to these climbs or across the street next to the creek.
By Michelle Locatelli
Jan 7, 2015
New website for purchase of R.C. guidebooks. Try www.wildnevadaclimbingstore/freewebsite.com. I am putting together a second edition that will include many of the other remote areas we established, but for now I still have some copies of the original.
By Xavier Wasiak
From: Las Vegas, NV
Jan 8, 2015
Also, Michelle's guidebook is a treat in that it has some great original drawings of the crags by Michelle. Pretty cool. Looking forward to your new book!
By dave blackburn
From: las vegas
Apr 12, 2015
4/11/15 dirt road in great shape. Passable with any vehicle. Saves an hour drive time!
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